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ethansloan
11-08-2010, 03:28 AM
Growing up, I always heard how awesome Scarface was. By the time I saw it I was royally disappointed. Brian De Palma's direction was pretty good and Pacino gave a great performance but I didn't care for the story or the characters. A couple years later I caught Blow, starring Johnny Depp, on late night TV. Now that became an instant favorite. In high school one of my teachers had us watch Blow to learn about the illegal drug trade. Most conversations with my friends went something like this:
Me: Dude, can you believe we're watching Blow in class?
Pal: Such a good movie. How sweet is that?

It was like a law that after mentioning Blow the other person had to say some variation of "such a good movie." However, most of my non-white friends didn't care too much for it. They would always bring up how much better Scarface is. I've come up with the theory that Blow is the white man's Scarfaece. Both movies initially did poorly at the box office and later became hits on home video. Maybe in a few years rich white guys will have posters of Blow on their living room walls.

Why are Scarface and Blow so divided among the races? I'm going to try and say this without sounding racist. I believe that many minorities can identify with Tony Montana. A man on the bottom of society doing what he has to to get ahead. Likewise, I know for a fact that caucasian film-goers identify with Johnny Depp's George Gung. Unlike Tony Montana, George doesn't come from abject poverty. He's middle class. He could get any job, go to college, and be an upstanding member of society. But he gives it up for the quick money and fast living that comes with dealing drugs. He doesn't want to live a comfortable life with a pension; he wants to live a kings life in a palace.

Two very different protagonists would obviously lead to different fan bases. I think that the ultimate popularity of Scarface and Blow is not based purely on the mechanics: writing, directing, and acting. I think it's all about identifying with the drug kingpin. Please respond to this with your own thoughts on the matter. And please don't try and make this into a race thing (if anything, the fan divide is based more on the audiences income level and social status, but I simplified things for this thread).

Andy Bensini
11-08-2010, 03:42 AM
Scarface is stylish, unique and exciting. Blow is just derivative of about ten other movies, stylistically speaking anyways, all of which are far more compelling.

Daniel M
11-09-2010, 02:15 PM
^ Post-MIAMI VICE, it's easy to forget how innovative SCARFACE's pastel-palette was when it released in 1983. I'm not sure BLOW was as influential visually.

Also, Oliver Stone's screenplay is peppered with some truly classic lines of dialogue. The script for BLOW has some great moments, even if "Life passes most people by while they're making grand plans for it" seemed a rather obvious riff on John Lennon's famous "Life is what happens while people are busy making other plans."

Mike S.
11-09-2010, 02:24 PM
I don't remember anything about BLOW, while I vividly remember scenes, shots, characters and dialogue from SCARFACE.

I'm "white."

Adam L
11-09-2010, 03:13 PM
I don't remember anything about BLOW, while I vividly remember scenes, shots, characters and dialogue from SCARFACE.

I'm "white."

Yeah, Scarface may be a barrel of self-indulgent, ridiculous, overlong cheese, but Blow is not so much a movie about drugs but about how many cliched montages you can string together while still pretending you're doing a stylistic "homage" to Goodfellas. Is there a single moment in Blow that isn't completely predictable?

John G.
11-09-2010, 04:19 PM
Add me to the list of "white guys who love SCARFACE and couldn't care less about BLOW."

Chad Haden
11-09-2010, 04:52 PM
I don't care for either of them

Shane K
11-09-2010, 06:28 PM
Add me to the list of "white guys who love SCARFACE and couldn't care less about BLOW."

Seconded.

Paul Casey
11-09-2010, 08:03 PM
I don't care for either of them

Scarface is too long and the best part of Blow at is the beginning when they mention Weymouth, MA.

mark t
11-10-2010, 09:27 AM
BLOW is alright....I guess. SCARFACE is overdone.

The one thing that i will give BLOW is this.....the point of the film and of telling the story is not nearly as overlooked as it is with SCARFACE.

I won't turn that into a racial thing, but if i hear one more stupid homeboy talk about how badass Tony Montana is, like on the extra features of the last DVD where they empathize with him because he started from nothing....yeah, and then he got everything, he killed his sister, he killed his best friend, he got all fucked up on coke and paranoid and ended up filled with lead face-down in his fountain. Awesome.

Shane K
11-10-2010, 11:04 AM
Michelle Pfeiffer > Penelope Cruz

Stefan A.
11-10-2010, 11:06 AM
If there's a new "Scarface," it's a documentary called "Cocaine Cowboys."

Dan B
11-10-2010, 11:15 AM
This white man loves Scarface but found Blow to blow.

John G.
11-10-2010, 11:56 AM
BLOW is alright....I guess. SCARFACE is overdone.
That's sort of the point, though... operatic, excess, "Push it to the Limit" montages... take those away and you wouldn't have SCARFACE.

mark t
11-10-2010, 12:19 PM
That's sort of the point, though... operatic, excess, "Push it to the Limit" montages... take those away and you wouldn't have SCARFACE.

I meant, "overdone", like "I'm fucking sick of watching it, analyzing it, hearing about it, and talking about it".

ethansloan
11-10-2010, 01:15 PM
I guess that saying one film was "white" and the other "minority" may not have gotten my point across. Blow is not a bad film, but it's nothing special. At least not on a technical level. But I find it much easier to sympathize and relate to Johnny Depp's character than to Al Pacino's. Depp plays a person who could have gone into any business, but he got into the drug trade to feed his rockstar complex. Tony Montana is a poor man who turns to dealing drugs because he wants to rule the world that he feels dealt him a bad hand. My real question is, is Scarface the beloved film it is today because of the good mechanics involved (i.e. directing, acting, dialogue, and structure) or is it because the audience relates to the main character? From where I am ( and most of my peers) we can see more of ourselves in Johnny Depp's character than in Scarface's Tony Montana.

Jon Rollins
11-10-2010, 01:33 PM
I liked seeing Franka Potente in a bikini, and Paul Reubens was fun, but other than that, I hated Blow.

james_brummel
11-10-2010, 04:27 PM
meet my lil friend
now de leg, ah?
now you talkin to me
look at you now
who did you kill for this, Tony?
I kill communists for fun
Hello, Mel.
The Columbians!
Tres metres, no mas
Her insides are so polluted she can't give me a little baby
Hancock? Sounds like a bird.
I live in a laughably small room. It used to be a small room.
eating, drinking, fucking, snorting
Chi Chi, get the jajo.

I haven't seen it in over 20 years, these gems just rolled off. BLOW was vapid.
SCARFACE glimmered with the decadence of the era it portrayed.
BLOW glorified drug dealing as pretty much harmless way to make lots of money
and tried to idolize Jung, who while I don't think he shoud die in prison, he wasn't heroic, just greedy. Tony was an anti hero in the best sense--the money was not what he really wanted, he wanted to nail his sister. He wanted to impress his family.

The fact that Ted Demme died at 38 after sniffing coke before a basketball game
is not even ironic.

Derek Steckler
11-10-2010, 04:56 PM
My main problem with Blow is that Depp seemed just too wimpy to become a big time drug dealer. I got the feeling he wouldn't last a week in the street. I saw it once in the theater and honestly don't remember much else about it. Just nothing special.

Scarface on the other hand is great filmmaking - as exciting, violent, and over the top as the subculture it represents. I've seen it theatrically twice - first as a midnight screening at an LA arthouse, then years later in Times Square with more of a hip hop type audience. It worked like gangbusters for both crowds. The 3 hours flew by and I felt a similar kind of rush as Goodfellas. I can't say I identified with the character - a moron who cares only about drugs & money, who would kill his best friend and wanted to screw his sister - but Pacino gave Tony so much charisma it's hard not to root for him.

Scarface is a case where every element of a film - the writing, acting, directing, camerawork, editing, music, etc came together to create a classic. Blow was a bland, by the numbers biopic.

Terry Carpenter
11-10-2010, 05:51 PM
I've noticed lately that the Scarface hip-hop crowd has toned down quite a bit and that god for that. Maybe they finally realized Tony was a sister fucker?

And Blow, it's not so bad, I actually liked it.

Mike S.
11-10-2010, 09:57 PM
meet my lil friend
now de leg, ah?
now you talkin to me
look at you now
who did you kill for this, Tony?
I kill communists for fun
Hello, Mel.
The Columbians!
Tres metres, no mas
Her insides are so polluted she can't give me a little baby
Hancock? Sounds like a bird.
I live in a laughably small room. It used to be a small room.
eating, drinking, fucking, snorting
Chi Chi, get the jajo.

I haven't seen it in over 20 years, these gems just rolled off. BLOW was vapid.
SCARFACE glimmered with the decadence of the era it portrayed.
BLOW glorified drug dealing as pretty much harmless way to make lots of money
and tried to idolize Jung, who while I don't think he shoud die in prison, he wasn't heroic, just greedy. Tony was an anti hero in the best sense--the money was not what he really wanted, he wanted to nail his sister. He wanted to impress his family.

The fact that Ted Demme died at 38 after sniffing coke before a basketball game
is not even ironic.

Where'd you get the beauty scar, tough guy? Eating pussy?

How'm I gonna get a scar like that eating pussy?

You know what capitalism is? "Get fucked!"

Randy Thomas G
11-11-2010, 02:13 AM
I thought Blow was completely full of shit. It was too closely based off of the source material, where the guy blames everyone else for whatever happened to him: his criminal partners, his wife, etc. Nothing is his fault. It's what Raging Bull would be if it actually followed the book instead of being radically adapted by Scorsese.

Scarface is an absurd, sentimental and overblown exploitation film. Taken in that sense, it is quite good, but those who compare it to Godfather I or II are nuts.

Donnie Brasco is a better film than either one of these films, and it has the stars of both of them in it!

mark t
11-11-2010, 08:05 AM
The one thing that bothered me IMMENSELY about BLOW from a filmmaking perspective.....what's up with that insert at the end of the film, of whatshisnuts now all old an in jail? That's got to be one of the worst, WORST decisions ever.

james_brummel
11-11-2010, 09:01 AM
The one thing that bothered me IMMENSELY about BLOW from a filmmaking perspective.....what's up with that insert at the end of the film, of whatshisnuts now all old an in jail? That's got to be one of the worst, WORST decisions ever.

BLOW is film made by people who love cocaine, so they idolize this guy, who is just a criminal driven by greed. It's like my next film is about T. Lorenzo Suzy-Q, who invented my favorite snack cake. I plan on ending it with a shot of T. Lorenzo languishing in a secret CIA prison somewhere in eastern europe. But that makes sense from a moral standpont, see?

mark t
11-11-2010, 09:41 AM
BLOW is film made by people who love cocaine, so they idolize this guy, who is just a criminal driven by greed. It's like my next film is about T. Lorenzo Suzy-Q, who invented my favorite snack cake. I plan on ending it with a shot of T. Lorenzo languishing in a secret CIA prison somewhere in eastern europe. But that makes sense from a moral standpont, see?

I guess it makes sense in that way...still, aesthetically, it comes off as out of place and sketchy. Like most cokeheads. :D See, i can make fun of cokeheads because i was one.

Anyway, it's weird. I remember seeing it for the first time, and my ex-wife saying, "What in the FUCK was that?"

Horace Cordier
11-11-2010, 09:27 PM
I meant, "overdone", like "I'm fucking sick of watching it, analyzing it, hearing about it, and talking about it".

Pathetic. :D

I can never get enough of SCARFACE. Now where is the fucking blu-ray?!

As for BLOW - I bought it, new, for 5 bucks. It remains in my collection, sealed. I bought it 4 years ago. :eek:

John G.
11-11-2010, 09:37 PM
That movie's taking up precious space on your shelf Horace... I'd get rid of it if I were you.

Edward McDougal
11-11-2010, 10:19 PM
Scarface is an overrated piece of shit for the most part. Pacino is ok, but I really think he was, again, FAR overrated in this role.

I really like Pacino, dont get me wrong.

But I mean look at the Godfathers, Dog Day Afternoon, etc for classic Pacino

This is w/o a doubt one of the most overrated films ever, right along there with

-Forest Gump
-Fight Club
-Saw
-Crash (the oscar winner. THE WORST film I have ever seen)

etc etc

mark t
11-12-2010, 10:18 AM
Pathetic. :D

I can never get enough of SCARFACE. Now where is the fucking blu-ray?!

As for



Smartass, hi-def motherfucker. :D

Troy Howarth
11-12-2010, 03:12 PM
I thought Blow was completely full of shit. It was too closely based off of the source material, where the guy blames everyone else for whatever happened to him: his criminal partners, his wife, etc. Nothing is his fault. It's what Raging Bull would be if it actually followed the book instead of being radically adapted by Scorsese.

Scarface is an absurd, sentimental and overblown exploitation film. Taken in that sense, it is quite good, but those who compare it to Godfather I or II are nuts.

Donnie Brasco is a better film than either one of these films, and it has the stars of both of them in it!

I'm with you 100%!

With regards to Scarface and its place among hip hop culture... that's really no reason to dislike it, IMO. Goodfellas is also embraced by the same culture. All this proves is that the people who embrace it for the wrong reasons are too STUPID to realize that these films are, at heart, morality plays. Scorsese and DePalma show the good side of it. You have to. You have to understand WHY people lead this kind of life - it CAN be fun, it's loaded with highs and lows... but ultimately the protagonists learn the hard way that it's a cycle of violence that cannot be escaped.

Jonathan H.
11-12-2010, 04:07 PM
Saw BLOW in theaters when it came out...and thought it blew. Have never felt any desire to revisit it.

I like SCARFACE (83) a lot, but feel, like many, that it's overrated. I think it was all done quite well in the original SCARFACE (32). Oh, I'm white, too.

james_brummel
11-12-2010, 10:01 PM
One word I never think could never apply to DePalma is restrained. Here are some others:

Cronenberg: Wacky
Craven: Consistent
Milligan: Sell out
Tarantino: Original

I'm tired. help me out here.

Mike T
11-12-2010, 10:22 PM
Scarface: the white man's...um, Scarface. :p

Having seen both (but De Palma's film numerous times), that's my thought on the statement.
I'm with Horace -- why does Blow have a BD and Scarface doesn't? :mad:

Jon S.
11-14-2010, 05:38 PM
I'm with you 100%!

With regards to Scarface and its place among hip hop culture... that's really no reason to dislike it, IMO. Goodfellas is also embraced by the same culture. All this proves is that the people who embrace it for the wrong reasons are too STUPID to realize that these films are, at heart, morality plays. Scorsese and DePalma show the good side of it. You have to. You have to understand WHY people lead this kind of life - it CAN be fun, it's loaded with highs and lows... but ultimately the protagonists learn the hard way that it's a cycle of violence that cannot be escaped.

Alot of white nerds complain about "homeboys" missing the point of these films but young white men do the same thing. Every young white guy I know thinks gangster films are "sick" and "epic". But for some reason only blacks are called out and accused of missing the point. Most of you guys are probably white middle class folks and don't understand where blacks are coming from. Tony Montana is similar to alot of young black men in America. He starts out as a poor minority who has to take shit from upper class(white) people who are just as fukcked up as he is. He knows that his chances of ever amounting to anything more than a minimum wage slave at best or dead/in prison at worst are slim to none. Tony rose from the gutter and lived the kind of life that many Americans would kill for even if it was short lived. He went out with more than any of the black hustlers/drug dealers in this country could ever dream of. Most film nerds can't understand that because the vast majority white are middle class white men who have never had to face any real hardships.

Troy Howarth
11-14-2010, 05:53 PM
That could be, but it also comes down to somebody being too thick to understand the film's basic point.

Jon S.
11-14-2010, 06:01 PM
That could be, but it also comes down to somebody being too thick to understand the film's basic point.

I agree. But white men do it just as much. They also seem miss the point of most war films and think that the message in films like Black Hawk Down, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket is "Fuck Yeah! Kill those gooks,chinks,rag heads, sand niggers,ect." Americans missing the subtext in films is common but film nerds act like it's strictly a black thing.

Terry Carpenter
11-14-2010, 06:14 PM
Nope. Those white American chavs like it too...

james_brummel
11-14-2010, 07:29 PM
I agree. But white men do it just as much. They also seem miss the point of most war films and think that the message in films like Black Hawk Down, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket is "Fuck Yeah! Kill those gooks,chinks,rag heads, sand niggers,ect." Americans missing the subtext in films is common but film nerds act like it's strictly a black thing.

I think stupidity is the protective blanket that holds all races together. God bless us all everyone.

Troy Howarth
11-15-2010, 09:10 AM
I agree. But white men do it just as much. They also seem miss the point of most war films and think that the message in films like Black Hawk Down, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket is "Fuck Yeah! Kill those gooks,chinks,rag heads, sand niggers,ect." Americans missing the subtext in films is common but film nerds act like it's strictly a black thing.

Sadly, there's no cure for stupid - and if it were a crime, 90% of the country would be behind bars! :D

Ray Kanne
11-15-2010, 04:49 PM
I agree. But white men do it just as much.

Probably. I think the reason black people are singled out and discussed is probably because of the documentary on the 2 disc dvd featuring black rappers making themselves look very silly by blatantly missing the point. If there was also a documentary included about white suburban males doing the same I bet the discussion and percentage of pointed fingers would be different.

Randy Thomas G
11-15-2010, 05:02 PM
Admittedly though, it wasn't like they had Mos Def and Common on there missing the point. The fact that someone like Puffy is a moron doesn't exactly come as a surprise. It was hardly a representative sample of even hip-hop.

Ray Kanne
11-15-2010, 05:25 PM
Admittedly though, it wasn't like they had Mos Def and Common on there missing the point. The fact that someone like Puffy is a moron doesn't exactly come as a surprise. It was hardly a representative sample of even hip-hop.

Good point.

John G.
11-15-2010, 07:55 PM
People missing the point about SCARFACE doesn't bother me in the least... the film is still wonderful, no matter how badly it is or is not misinterpreted. :D

Troy Howarth
11-15-2010, 08:05 PM
Scarface is a big goofy cartoon. I suspect Stone's script was intended to be more earnest than DePalma's treatment of it lets on, but it's the contrast between Stone's sometimes ham-fisted writing and DePalma's always over-kinetic style that makes it so much damn fun.

Daniel M
11-15-2010, 08:46 PM
What really would have been interesting would have been a companion documentary, or at least a couple interviews, with people like Paris and Sistah Souljah lamenting the rap world's overzealous endorsement of the film.

Terry Carpenter
11-16-2010, 09:48 AM
Or with Brian De Palma about he told them to shove it when they wanted to hip-hop over the movie.