#112: Scarface (1983)

When and how did I watch this?

August 11th and 14th, 2016, on a friend’s PLEX account and Amazon Instant Video.

Had I seen this film already?

Nope.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

“Say hello to my little friend!”

What do I know about it now?

It’s clear why this is a cult classic. While Montana is initially fleshed out and we sort of feel sorry for the Cuban immigrant, the story takes a sordid turn and several servings of gore, drug use, profanity, and cheap thrills are heaped onto our plate. The dialogue is turned off, we lose all interest in the barely-grafted love story, and characters we cared about are killed off with no remorse. Pfeiffer is nice, but she doesn’t really fit into the film at all and eventually becomes an accessory, both to Montana and the viewer. The rise and fall of Tony Montana, however, is intriguing, and the pace of the film works well enough to capture his desperation to make it, the subsequent corrupt figure he becomes, and the drug-fueled monster who sees his demise.  The movie might have been more compelling as a rags-to-riches-to-rags story had more time been spent developing characters and a realistic plot and less time spent on shouting and shooting things.

What are some themes in the film?

Pride, Cuban immigration, drugs, power

Did this affect me personally?

Not really.  The chainsaw scene was heavy, and many of the shootouts were incredibly bloody.

Why is this ranked #112?

This is strictly on this list for its iconic main character and cult status.  Most critics find the film empty and appalling. I would guess many voters haven’t even seen the film, but throw a ten star rating up there just for Pacino’s over-the-top performance.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She also thought it was terrible.  The violence and profanity were too much.

Would I watch it again?

No.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

It’s not worth it.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Maybe.  It’s difficult to tell only because so many people seem to gravitate toward Montana and the machine guns and drug lifestyle.  For whatever reason, he is glamorized in pop culture while the director is certainly not intending to do so. Scarface is certainly a well-known film, and perhaps it’s “great” because we still talk about it, but it’s not a good film at all.

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