Oscar is not your father's Stallone movie
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A day in the life of a gangster trying to go straight.
Communism is just a red herring.
On and off stage drama has never been so funny.
When Oscar came out in 1991, it did well for about two weeks then it pretty much disappeared. Stallone has his own opinion about why. He said he felt audiences may have felt cheated. That they didn't get what they were expecting from a movie starring Sly Stallone. That it was like buying a can of Arnold Schwarzenegger, opening it up, and finding Jerry Lewis inside.
If he's right, I only have one thing to say to those people:
The movie's a comedy. It was billed as a comedy. What else did you expect? But moreover, I think Stallone is about as perfect a choice for this movie as anyone I could think of.
The movie is set in the 1930's and follows a gangster named Angelo 'Snaps' Provolone (Stallone). His father (Kirk Douglas) makes one final request of his son on his death bed. (That's the father's death bed, not Snaps'.) He wants his son to promise to go straight and give up his criminal ways. Snaps promises and the rest of the movie happens on one day when he is trying to enter the world of legitimate business. The cops don't buy it. His rivals don't buy it. Even his own men are a little iffy.
And that's why I absolutely love Stallone in this role. For the movie to work, the character of Snaps has to appear to be a real, tough gangster who has been thrown out of his element. And I think Stallone pulls that off perfectly.
And the rest of the cast does a wonderful job backing him up. Peter Riegert and Chazz Palminteri are excellent as two of Snaps' goons. Tim Curry is hilarious as Doctor Poole, the elocutionist.
The comedy is well timed and the pace is snappy. Director John Landis filmed the movie specifically with the same kinds of elements as movies from the era. Riegert even says "Why I oughta ... " at one point.
Now, the movie is not perfect. At times the switch from madcap farce to overblown melodrama can be a bit odd, and for some, the constant bag confusion may come across as repetitive and old, but overall, the movie works very well. My family loves it and regularly quotes many of our favorite sections.
For me, I give this one 7 / 10.
Oscar is rated PG for a little bit of language and some mild sexual implications.