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Cast: Danny Glover, William Demeo, Alec Baldwin, Michael Madsen
BACK IN THE DAY is a realistic tale of one determined young man pursuing his dream against all odds. Set in both the late '80s and the current day, the film is a gritty tale about Anthony Rodriguez (played by the film's writer, William DeMeo of Analyze That), a half Italian-half Puerto Rican teenager growing up on the streets of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn - a then very dangerous and racist neighborhood filled with bullies, big shots and social clubs where all of the neighborhood shots were called.
After his mother (Annabella Sciorra, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, The Sopranos) dies and his father (Manny Perez, El Cantante) is run out of town, Anthony, an aspiring boxer, is taken under the wing of a mob boss (Michael Madsen, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill) and a grizzled trainer (Danny Glover, Lethal Weapon, Dreamgirls).
When "Don of Dons" Gino Fratelli (Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross, 30 Rock) and his crew conspire to ruin his career, Anthony, his friend Matty (Joe D'Onofrio, Daddy's Little Girl) and his newly rekindled love (Shannen Doherty, Bukowski, Beverly Hills 90210) are in for their toughest fight yet. Can Anthony prove once and for all that no one can knock out his dreams?
"Back in the Day" tells the story of Anthony Rodriguez, life was not easy for a young teenage boy leaving in Brooklyn in the 80's. It was a very tough and racist time and since Anthony was half Italian and half Puerto Rica it made his life pretty difficult. Toss in his drunken father and his family life wasn't much better. After his father assaults his mom on the street, a local mob boss has his men give his dad a beating which forces him to leave town. Life seems to get a little better, at least at home but then Anthony's life completely falls apart when his mom is killed by a hit and run driver. Confused and all alone Anthony takes comfort in a punching bag and a pair of boxing gloves his mom bought for him. That is when the local mob boss decides to hook Anthony up with a veteran trainer and that is when Anthony's life really began to chance but now his battles will be fought both inside the ring and outside as well.
As the film opens Anthony wins the boxing championship and afterwards during an interview is when we get to see Anthony's life unfold as he tells his story. The film goes back and forth in time but it is never a distraction. This is an Independent film done on a low budget so it has some of the same flaw’s a lot of films like it has, one is the acting. The main cast are all very good but since there are a lot of characters in the film some of the acting is a bit weak. I am not saying that to criticize, it is just a fact. Like I said the main cast did a good job including, William DeMeo who plays Anthony and who also wrote the film as well. The film makers also did a great job drawing in some star power like, Michael Madsen, Alec Baldwin and Danny Glover. Mike Tyson even has a cameo in the film as well but the best performance to me came from Joe D'Onofrio who plays Anthony's best friend, Matty. He brought out his inner Joe Pesci with a tough and funny performance.
But the film's biggest strength is its story, a cross between "Rocky" and "Goodfellas" or any other mob movie you can think of. There is a lot to the story and it just gets better as it moves along. The film might be about a boxer but it is more about the man himself and the hurdles he faced in his life to get to where he is. What the film lacks it more than makes up for in story and in heart. I was able to feel for Anthony and all the other characters very easily and it helped in keeping my interest for the entire two hours.
A shout out to Director, Paul Borghese as well who did a great job telling the story while keeping the film moving at a great pace. The film looks and sounds great and they did a great job bringing back the 80's in the flashback scenes. "Back in the Day" will be available on DVD and Blu-ray June 28. You can order the DVD HERE and the Blu-ray HERE.
I do recommend checking the film out regardless of its flaws, it starts off a little rough but once the stars come out the film gets much better and stays that way all the way to the end.
Released by Virgil Films
*** Out Of *****