My Blue Heaven Reviews
and even back then I found it humorous
I really liked that they put Martin in the Witness Protection, and in there he finds a bunch of old friends, and basically starts up a crime wave while under protection!
Moranis and Cusack are pretty good, but it takes awhile for them, as with their characters, to lighten up and join in with the fun.
Martin is just amazing here. It's like his entire life is Bullsh*t, and he never knows it as he just keeps telling more and more lies to get what he wants.
Bill Irwin is kind of funny as the wacky co-worker.
The ending is kind of cliched, but the film has a lot of heart and is really funny.
I don't know how we didn't get this when I was a kid. Perhaps Webster's didn't have a copy. I know Mom isn't all that into Steve Martin, though Elaine and I very much were, but it still seems like the sort of thing we would have picked up on a deathly hot summer afternoon. It's silly. It's a fish-out-of-water story featuring two people in a ridiculous situation. Heck, even the fact that it has Joan Cusack in it indicates that it's probably the sort of thing we would enjoy. Still, this remained one of those movies I'd heard of but never seen until now. Even as an adult, I hadn't quite gotten around to it myself, but then, most of the movie-renting I've done over the years has either been while I was living in Port Angeles--not exactly known for a wide range of possibilities--or else has been part of my alphabet project. While I did get through "M" some time ago, I knew enough to save this one until I wasn't too thoughtful.
Vinnie Antonelli (Steve Martin) is a mobster. He has agreed to testify against his higher-ups, and of course this means that he has ended up in the Witness Protection Program. His case is being handled by FBI agent Barney Coopersmith (Rick Moranis), and we'll get to that in a bit. At any rate, Vinnie is now living in a small suburb of San Diego, California, and it's really starting to get to him. He is arrested several times for petty crimes, running afoul of District Attorney Hannah Stubbs (Cusack). Barney gets him out repeatedly, because if he is arrested, it will blow the FBI's case against Vinnie's former associates. Vinnie spots that Barney and Hannah will make a nice couple and works toward that end. Barney works toward getting Vinnie through his testimony and safe from the hitmen that his former mob associates are wont to send after those who betray their secrets. Vinnie, however, doesn't know what to do when he isn't running criminal enterprises, so that's what he does.
Apparently, Vinnie is based on the life of Henry Hill, who was also portrayed by Ray Liotta in the rather more serious film [i]Goodfellas[/i]. While this film doesn't explore the full reign of Hill's stupidity, it does touch on perhaps my favourite thing about him. This is why Hill ended up leaving the Witness Protection Program, at least according to his cookbook. (Yes, he wrote a cookbook, which isn't bad. It's also a bit of an autobiography, and it's what convinced me that his stupidity wasn't invented for dramatic purposes in [i]Goodfellas[/i].) Vinnie was sent to the suburbs of San Diego, which is admittedly very different from New York. However, Henry Hill was sent to the Midwest. There were, even in 1990, plenty of places not terribly far from San Diego where a person could get all sorts of ingredients of the kind Henry Hill wanted. Kansas, where I believe he was actually sent? Not so much. So he left because he was tired of the food options.
Of course, Vinnie has rather more of a point when he suggests that part of the issue is that he has no other skills to draw upon. Henry Hill dropped out of high school at fourteen to go to work for the mob, and there's no reason to assume that Vinnie has much more schooling than that. There's no reason to believe that Vinnie has any marketable skills beyond the illegal ones. Schooling isn't one of the things Witness Protection seems to offer. And you know, even if they did, I'm not sure Vinnie would be all that interested. What is he suited for? It's a grim thought, but I really don't know what Vinnie would be able to do. That's mostly, however, because I don't think he's ever put any thought into it. The very idea that there is a different life from the one to which he is accustomed is an idea that has never crossed his mind. I mean, he still seems to think that he deserves to be taken care of for the rest of his life because he's admitted to the crimes in which he was involved.
There is also the FBI thing. Witness Protection isn't run by the FBI. As I thought everyone knew, it's run by the Federal Marshals. Every once in a while, it seems as though screenwriters (even talented ones like Nora Ephron) think all feds are created equal. There's no real reason for this to be the FBI. I mean, I'm pleased that Barney's partner, Kirby, is Bill Irwin, better known as Mr. Noodle--and he does a bit of a Noodle dance at the end! However, despite the fact that Ephron was married to Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote the book and screenplay for [i]Goodfellas[/i], the movie gets a lot of the details wrong. This isn't a huge problem, given that it's a silly little comedy, but it still kind of bothers me. Mr. Noodle just isn't enough to make up for that. No, the details aren't all important--though all those mob guys in one little town would never happen--but it certainly strikes me that it would be easy to get those details right, too. That's usually my problem with these things.
VERDICT: "High-Quality Stuff" - [Positive Reaction] This is a rating to a movie I view as very entertaining and well made, and definitely worth paying the full price at a theatre to see or own on DVD. It is not perfect, but it is definitely excellent. (Films that are rated 3.5 or 4 stars)