Scarface (1983)

Entertainment Rating: C

For some reason I had no idea what this movie was about. I thought it was a traditional Chicago-style gangster movie, but it was totally different. I had only heard about how widely acclaimed it supposedly was and put it down on my to-watch list. Maybe, according to others, I missed the overall effect of it by watching the TV-edited version, but I tend to think I would actually deplore it after watching the original. I also learned, that it was never highly acclaimed, at least by Hollywood or major critics, it’s mainly it’s fan base that gave it its popularity, very similar to Fight Club’s circumstance.

How a movie like this and Frost/Nixon or Once can fall in the same MPAA rating is beyond me.

Moral Rating: 1

The one quasi-existant message that this story depicts is that all the money and power in the world will not bring you happiness and that doing/selling drugs will bring you down. Tony Montana even comments on the seemingly pointlessness of his life to his friend and partner, Manny, while eating at a restaurant:
“Is this it? That's what it's all about, Manny? Eating, drinking...? Snorting? Then what? You're 50. You got a bag for a belly. ... You got a liver, they got spots on it, and you're eating this [junk], looking like these rich…mummies in here.”
This next quote (same scene) is very reminiscent of Fight Club where Tyler interrogates Raymond K. Hessel and we see that there is greater freedom in knowing who you are and where you are going (though Tony didn’t have much of a realistic plan for where he was going, and in this regard he lied to himself - another connection to Fight Club):
“Tony: What you lookin' at? You all a bunch of [snobs]. You know why? You don't have the guts to be what you wanna be? You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your [fat] fingers and say, "That's the bad guy." So... what that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There's a bad guy comin' through! Better get outta his way!”
If you’re tempted to watch it to see what all the fuss is about, stick with an edited version, but don’t go out of your way for this one. After doing a little research on the film and when it came out, it seems to have sparked nothing but evil (though there’s no scientific evidence for causation) - gangsta rap and all the street violence it glorifies. Ken Tucker, author of Scarface Nation said the following of the film:
“On the most superficial level, Scarface went from being a warning against the evils of doing drugs to a primer for thug life because being preached to is less exciting than being shown how to have a good time. …
People like rules, dictums, aphorisms, credos; such things are used as inspiration, as codes of discipline and honor. In the absence of either a legal system that served or protected the vulnerable -- whether we’re talking about a fictional Cuban immigrant like Tony Montana or a real young black or Hispanic youth scraping by in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, or any big city -- the rules as set down in Scarface had an irresistible allure.
…[This is] one of those movies whose surface message was ‘Don’t do this!’ even as its action and subtext sniggered, ‘Isn’t this cool?’”
That last sentence really puts the film in perspective.  The movie is nothing but glorified violence and drug using.  For some reason Scarface is considered an ultimate guy flick, probably because of all the violence and mostly because of Tony Montana's ultra ego and machismo.  If that's what the ultimate guy is supposed to be like, you better check where the invitation to want to be like that is coming from.

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