Breaking Away by Steve Tesich and directed by Peter Yates
La Divina Comedia!!
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This is astounding, a feast and a great joy to watch.
It won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, the Golden Globe for best comedy and many other awards.
One of my favorite comedies and I say like Dave, the hero, in his crazy Italian phase, when all things Italian were divino…
- Grazie Padre!!
- Santa Maria and Mama Mia
- What a Meravigliosa Comedy
From the start, there is a funny conflict between young Dave and his father or Dad, who is played to perfection by Paul Dooley.
Dave is cycling a lot and he fell in love with Italian food, language and music, which is actually “noise” for his father
- Dad: What is this?
- Mom: It's sauteed zucchini.
- Dad: It's I-ty food. I don't want no I-ty food.
- Mom: It's not. I got it at the A&P. It's like... squash.
- Dad: I know I-ty food when I hear it! It's all them "eenie" foods... zucchini... and linguine... and fettuccine. I want some American food, dammit! I want French Fries!
- Mom: [to the cat] Oh, get off the table, Fellini!
- Dad: Hey, that's *my* cat! His name's Jake, not Fellini! I won't have any "eenie" in this house!
- [to the cat]
- Dad: Your name's Jake, you understand?
Dad is evidently annoyed, even if mother points out that his body is all right now…yeah, but his mind is gone, comes the reply
There is a fine balance though, because the acting and direction are perfect, avoiding the area wherein tension could have escalated and the parents could have been just abusive, instead of funny or the boy annoying and not likable as he is and keeps calling his father Numero Uno Papa, the last being contradicted- I am your goddamn father and not papa.
There are other moments where Papa, who is a used car salesman, shows his son the “real horror show” of life, wherein one has to lie (really?) to get cars off the property and then to deny promises and reject refunds:
- I dreamed all last night, that everyone I ever sold a car to come back for a refund. And there you were, handing out the checks! One for you, and one for you...
Looking back on this film I say that every other scene, if not all of it, is a gem and the humor is excellent.
The boy is shaving…his legs, calls a girl called Katherine Catarina, is full of Arrivedercis, Amore, Ciaos and La Grande Belezza
But after disillusionment with the Italians that come to town and play against this type casting by cheating and being the opposite of what poor Dave thought they must be, there is a new, French phase:
- Dad: [Last lines] Hi ya, big shot!
- Dave: Bon jour, Papa!
Mother has a solution when Dad or Papa talks about the crisis, the clients who wanted refunds and the boy was more than willing:
- We could strangle him in his sleep- but it is obviously another- very good I think- joke
They touch on other subjects, including religion and confessions, about the latter one character says that he went to confession twice…
- Dave: Moocher, you're Catholic, right?
- Moocher: Yeah.
- Dave: Did you ever go to confession?
- Moocher: Twice.
- Dave: Did it make you feel better?
- Moocher: Once.
And then on the same subject, more or less:
- Cyril: When you're 16 they call it Sweet 16 and when you're 18 you get to drink and vote and see dirty movies. What the hell do you get to do when you're 19?
- Mike: You leave home.
- Cyril: My Dad said that Jesus never went further than 50 miles from his home.
- Mike: Well, look what happened to him.