Back in 2006, when A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints was first released, the movie was a surprisingly decent flick with a recognizable but not-staggering cast. Flash forward three years and the movie has changed significantly: it’s a surprisingly decent flick with an A-list cast.
Back in 2006, the movie starred Robert Downey, Jr., who was still was looking for his comeback role, and Shia LaBeouf, whose biggest film to date was a role in Bobby. Channing Tatum was a force to be reckoned with, but the only place you would have seen him was a dance movie called Step Up. Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, Transformers, Indiana Jones, Disturbia and Eagle Eye later, however, and you suddenly have two A-list actors who have strung together a series of massive hits. Tatum still hasn’t broken out, but most people know who he is.
In other words, given the quality of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, this movie may actually have received some promotional backing had it been released more recently. It’s amazing what a few years make.
The movie is a flashback/flashforward story of three friends who grew up in a tough neighborhood in Queens. All troublemakers as teenagers, they diverged at adulthood – one was able to escape the neighborhood, while the others fell victim to it. Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest and Rosario Dawson also star.
You can read my original A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints movie review here (in which I say, it “offer[s] some fine performances from some up-and-coming stars”).
This Tuesday, February 3, 2009, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is re-released in an all-new Limited Edition DVD set. By set, I mean one disc, but it sounds better that way. Usually I criticize studios for re-releasing films for the umpteenth time just to make a buck, but given the suddenly changed star power of many of its stars, it makes sense to try to get this picture in front of a larger audience – after all, most people haven’t heard of this film, let alone seen it.
The Limited Edition includes these bonus features:
- Commentary with director Dito Montiel and editor Jake Pushinsky
- The Making-Of Documentary
The making-of featurette primarily revolves around writer/director Dito Montiel (who is played by LaBeouf and Downey, Jr.) and how he came to make this movie. It also involves several interviews with the casting director, and their determination to cast on acting ability rather than star power. There are some interesting moments, and the featurette feels authentic (not promotional), but there’s nothing spellbinding her. The featurette just moves along without providing us an “a-ha” moment or even any stimulating interviews.
- Alternate Endings and Openings
There are about ten alternate endings and openings provided here, all of them of considerable quality. This is an impressive collection.
- Deleted Scenes
There are also several very good deleted scenes; I haven’t seen this many well-done deleted scenes packaged together in a long time. They were apparently cut for pacing and storytelling reasons, and not due to lack of quality.
- Rooftop Scene
Dito Montiel directs and acts in this alternate scene with actress Helen Dallas; it’s a riveting little piece of stagework, and well worth watching.
- Full Monty Interview
Well worth your time. Just kidding. 30 seconds with an old guy. Stimulating.
- Young Laurie Audition played by Diana Carcamo
A pretty good screen test further exemplifies the raw talent that can be found in this film.
- Trailers and Previews
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints is a pretty good movie with intense performances and a worthwhile, gritty story. Certainly recommended.