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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Down the Shore

MOVIE REVIEWS

DOWN THE SHORE (2010)

Starring James Gandolfini, Famke Janssen, Joe Pope, Edoardo Costa, John Magaro, Gabrielle Lazure, Kate Skinner, Ruza Madarevic, Johann Benét, Christian Welter, Emma Canot, Steve Moreau, Bill Slover, Tom Schimpf, Jon Randazzo and Ellen Wolf.

Screenplay by Sandra Jennings.

Directed by Harold Guskin.

Distributed by Anchor Bay Media.  93 minutes.  Rated R.

 

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Down the Shore

The New Jersey shore has needed a lot of image renovation thanks to Jersey Shore.  What Snooki, the Situation and J-WOWWW didn't do to destroy the good image of the tourist destination, a bad economy and Hurricane Sandy have piled onto. 

The drama Down the Shore will not undo some of the more depressive views of life on Jersey beaches, but to it's credit it isn't trying to be a Chamber of Commerce commercial for fun in the sun.  In fact, Down the Shore takes quite the opposite approach, more like old classics like Atlantic City and King of Marvin Gardens, the movie looks at the desperate lives of rundown people who survive on the frigid, lonely off-seasons.  Not to suggest that Down the Shore is in a class with those two great films, but it shares certain sensibilities.  And any time that the characters do shots, it is dramatically warranted, unlike the Jersey Shore crowd.  This is not jut mindless excess.

Down the Shore takes place in some unnamed little resort town in North Jersey, deep in winter.  (It was apparently filmed in Keansburg, NJ, a town I've never even heard of and I've been going to the Jersey Shore all my life, but it's closer to New York, I've always gone to the South Jersey shore points.)  The tourists (called shoobies by shore folk, a Jersey shore quirk that doesn't make this script) are mostly home, but a hardcore group of natives continue to make sure the concessions and rides work at the local amusement park.  When they are not trying to protect the rides from mother nature they are sitting in bars drinking or home sleeping.

The movie starts though, interestingly enough, in Paris.  Susan (Maria Dizzia) a Jersey woman, is touring the city and meets Jacques (Edoardo Costa), a charming Frenchman who runs an ancient carousel in the City of Lights.

Fast forward a bit (you never quite know how long she was gone, at different points in the film it feels like several years or just a matter of months) and Jacques arrives at the Jersey shore. He tracks down Bailey (James Gandolfini), Susan's older brother, and tells him that he had married Susan, but she has since died.  Susan had willed Jacques half of their family home – the home that Bailey still lives in – and told Jacques that he should work with Bailey to help renovate their rides on a local pier.

Bailey is also hiding a dark secret from his past, something to do with his best friend Wiley (Joe Pope), his landlord at the pier.  One night years before, Wiley's dad was shot to death and Bailey's father disappeared, apparently guilty of the crime.  Since then, Wiley stole Bailey's girlfriend, the only woman who Bailey ever truly loved.  The couple had a mentally challenged son, and that, the bad economy and Wiley's bad habits are leading the couple into very dangerous waters.

Down the Shore has apparently been sitting on a shelf somewhere for several years (its copyright date is 2010 but it was apparently filmed in 2008), finally getting a video release with no apparent theatrical run.  That is in itself not so unusual, despite the return of Gandolfini to his North Jersey Sopranos haunts.  (Not a long-awaited return, because when the film was made it was only a matter of months after The Sopranos left the air.)

The movie isn't great, but it did not deserve that fate.  In fact, Gandolfini's performance actually makes Down the Shore worth searching out.

Ken Sharp

Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 27, 2013.

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Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 27, 2013.

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