The King of Staten Island is a 2020 comedy-drama film co-written, produced, & directed by Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People, & This Is 40). It was co-written/produced by Dave Sirus (Saturday Night Live) & Pete Davidson (Trainwreck, The Angry Birds Movie 2, & Marmaduke). It was produced by Barry Mendel (Rushmore, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, & The Royal Tenenbaums) & Michael Bederman (The Cobbler, Collateral Beauty, Spotlight, & Motherless Brooklyn). Due to Covid-119, a major theatrical run was cancelled here but it did have a small release overseas & it hit Video On Demand instead in the United States. It made $2.1 million during it’s run.
Scott Carlin (played by: Pete Davidson from Saturday Night Live, The Dirt, The Jesus Rolls, & The Suicide Squad) is a 24-year-old high school dropout, who lives with his mother Margie (played by: Marisa Tomei from the Spider-Man franchise, Avengers: Endgame, Captain America: Civil War, & The First Purge) & his sister Claire (played by: Maude Apatow from Knocked Up, This is 40, Funny People, & Assassination Nation) on Staten Island. Scott’s firefighter father Stan died fighting a hotel fire when he was young, a loss that continues to affect him. He is unemployed & spends his days hanging out with his friends including Kelsey (played by: Bel Powley from Moominvalley, White Boy Rick, Mary Shelley, & Ashes in the Snow). They keep hooking up but Scott isn’t willing to commit. Claire is leaving for college which makes Scott think about his future. Scott dreams of being a tattoo artist & practices regularly on his friends. He takes it too far one day & tattoos a 9 year old boy named Harold (played by: Luke David Blumm from The Sinner & The Walking Dead). Later, the boy’s father Ray (played by: Bill Burr from Breaking Bad, Daddy’s Home 1/2, Zombeavers, & Date Night) shows up at Scott’s house. He is initially furious but is attracted to Margie so he eventually asks her on a date.
As things become more serious, Margie reveals their relationship to Scott, who is disturbed that Ray is a firefighter like his late father. Ray tries to bond with Scott but something isn’t right. Scott is determined to ruin his mother’s relationship. He gets a job as a busboy & gets closer to Ray’s kids plus ex wife Gina (played by: Pamela Adlon from Californication, King of the Hill, Bumblebee, & Louie) to gain information about his new enemy. Scott’s friends plan to rob a pharmacy for oxycodone pills to sell. Scott is uncomfortable with the plan but agrees to be the lookout. The robbery goes horribly wrong but Scott manages to escape. Margie dumps Ray & kicks out Scott during their heated rivalry. Both men are forced to get along to make her happy again. Scott ends up staying at the Firehouse & finds out that he actually likes the job there. Scott decides to finally grow up & change his life. Can he keep this up or will he mess it up again????
Judd Apatow’s last actual feature film Trainwreck was made in 2015 & it definitely had the right title because it was awful. Since he has been working on documentaries & television so it’s great to see him return to the big screen after all this time. I am a huge Apatow fan, his work reminds me of James L. Brooks. There’s not that many newer films this year due to the pandemic so I was excited to get this for review. Apatow is back in the comedy game with The King of Staten & it has a similar tone to his earlier movies but with a darker feel to it. The script was sharp when it came to the dialogue & it had solid character development. Scott Carlin goes through a lot in this & he puts his life together after slacking all these years. I am not going to lie, I usually don’t think Pete Davidson is funny at all & I am honestly not a big fan of his acting either but this was the best performance that I’ve ever seen from him. I was actually very surprised with him in this & I think Apatow brought the best out of him here. Marisa Tomei & Bill Burr were top notch in The King of Staten Island, they boosted the quality of everyone in it with their presence. The chemistry between Davidson & Burr really carried the production, it was fun to watch them interact in so many different situations. I won’t say everyone that I am about to list was good here but this feature is loaded with familiar faces like Maude Apatow, Pamela Adlon, Bel Powley, Machine Gun Kelly (The Dirt), Steve Buscemi (Fargo), Domenick Lombardozzi (The Wire), Kevin Corrigan (True Romance), & Jimmy Tatro (Stuber). This one has a great balance of comedy & drama. Apatow has always had issues with editing & length, The King of Staten Island is a little better in those departments but it still has those problems. I’ve only seen a handful of new films in 2020 so far but this is one of the best so far, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Universal Pictures! This 1080p (2.39:1) transfer really shines on it’s main location & shows off area throughout the whole thing. It has two different audio options which includes English: Dolby Atmos & English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 on the release. Both tracks sound amazing here & the soundtrack is the true highlight when it comes to this feature. All of the dialogue is crystal clear & all the madness is elevated here. It has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Universal Pictures! “Audio Commentary” with director Judd Apatow & lead actor Pete Davidson. They chat about all the usual stuff about the production & cover all the basics. Most of the same information is bought up on the other extras for this release but it’s still fun to check out. The track was done through Skype. “Alternate Endings (Which Didn’t Work)” include two different attempts that includes Family Breakfast (1:25) & Career Day (2:25). It has a little over 15 minutes of “Deleted Scenes” that includes Drive to Cemetery/Cemetery, Beach Walk, Zoots/Pepe Fight, Grounders Challenge, Scott at Work, Police at Richie’s House, Sound Machine, Ray Picks Up Kids from Gina’s House, Construction, & Firefighters at Bar. “Gag Reel” is almost 6 minutes & it’s has all kinds of hilarious moments in it. “Line-O-Rama” is a little over 4 minutes. It has various alternative takes & lines from the film. I’ve always loved this segment on Apatow home video releases. “The Kid from Staten Island” is a little over 19 minutes. It has interviews with the crew, cast, Davidson’s family, & real life firefighters. Apatow sits down with Davidson, they have a real & personal conversation about his life that inspired this film. They chat about what really happened. They talk about him growing up with losing his father in 9/11. People around him bring up the comedian & their experience with him. They go over making the real story into a feature film. They mention it was important that Buscemi was a real life firefighter before he became a full time actor so he knew exactly what it was like. Davidson goes over his relationship & history with comedian Bill Burr. This is a very personal look into his life & it’s a great extra. “Judd Apatow’s Production Diaries” is almost 32 minutes. The director gives you a very detailed inside look into the production of The King of Staten Island. It has interviews with several cast members. It has all kinds of behind the scenes footage. It shows various days & scenes being put tpgether in a variety of locations. “You’re Not My Dad: Working with Bill Burr” is almost 5 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. It goes over their chemistry & real life relationship over the years from Burr being a mentor to Davidson when he was younger. They talk about the story & characters. “Margie Knows Best: Working with Marisa Tomei” is a little over 3 minutes. It has interviews with the cast, family members, & crew. They chat about & praise the Oscar winning actress. They make comparisons to the real life mom & share their experiences with her. “Friends with Benefits: Working with Bel Powley” is almost 4 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. They go over the character & friends with benefits relationship in the movie. They bring up her being real life friends with Pete over the years & their natural chemistry together. I didn’t know she was from overseas & her accent here is amazing. “Sibling Rivalry: Working with Maude Apatow” is almost 4 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. They chat about the real life person, situations, & everything that inspired the role. “Best Friends: Working with Ricky, Moises & Lou” is almost 4 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. It shows the various friends of Pete Davidson that got roles in this. “Papa: Working with Steve Buscemi” is almost 3 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. They chat about & give props to the acting legend. They go over his real life firefighter experience & how it really helped the production. “Friends of Firefighters Stand-Up Benefit” is a little over 6 minutes. It’s a shortened version of the comedy show & it features various stand up acts in it. “Scott Davidson Tribute” is a little over 5 minutes. It has interviews with family members & real life firefighters. They chat about Pete Davidson’s late father & pay tribute his life. They talk about him as a father, person, & hero fireman. It has the official “Trailer”. “Who Is Pete Davidson?” is a little over 3 minutes. It has interviews with the cast, family members, & crew. This is quick personal look into the actor & comedian. It’s very similar to the earlier extra on the disc. “The King of Staten Island. The Firehouse” is a little over 3 minutes. It has interviews with the cast, firefighters, & crew. It shows one of the most important locations in the feature. It goes over the firefighters & their roles in this. They say they want to make something that they would enjoy & appreciate. “Pete’s Casting Recs” is almost 3 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. It shows the various friends of Pete Davidson that got roles in this. “Pete’s “Poppy” (Grandpa)” is almost 2 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. It shows & highlights Pete Davdson’s real life grandpa’s cameo in the film. They chat a little bit about the man & his inspiration on Pete. “Video Calls” is 4 different segments which includes Pete Gets Judd to Release the Movie (4:09), Pete Asks Judd Where the Trailer Is (3:48), Judd and Pete Tell Bill Burr There’s No Premiere (2:46), & Judd and Pete on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (10:03). All of these videos are very random but they are funny. It’s a nice social distancing promo for how movies are right now. As you can see this was a very personal project for Davidson & this blu ray is loaded with so much bonus material. It also has a slipcover, a digital code, & a DVD copy of the release. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!