The Valero Verdict: The King of Staten Island

Welcome to another edition of the “The Valero Verdict” movie review. In this I will give you a quick movie review with a couple of bullet points of which I either liked or disliked. I will end the review with rating of the movie and a short overall thoughts.

On the docket today, The King of Staten Island.

Scott has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.

The King of Staten Island is the troubling story of a man trying to find his identity. Scott Carlin lost his father at the age of 7. The tragic passing of his father impacted his growth, his maturity, and the man he was attempting to become.

The way Scott handled the loss wasn’t healthy. He tried to combat the loss with humor. We see him in several scenes where his dad’s death was the butt of the joke. One tender scene, in particular, showcased the hurt within his joke.

He was at the baseball game with Ray and the firefighters. They wanted him to give his honest opinion of firefighters. Towards the end of Scott’s dialogue, he said: “Tell that to my dad. Oh wait, you can’t cause he’s dead”. The pain in his voice just broke me.

Scott isn’t a bad kid, he had a big heart, and you saw that when he would walk Ray’s kids to school. He just was lost and needed a father-like figure in his life to guide him.

There is a moment in the movie without spoiling it too much I will call it the “Marisa Tomei had enough of their shit scene”! This scene transformed Scott, Ray, and their relationship as a whole. Their bond over the last hour of the movie transcended this film from being good to great.

The scene where Scott rides along on the fire call sent chills down my body. The range of emotions you see, the pain in his eyes as he watched the man his mother loved go up that ladder and understanding he could see his father in that situation. This scene was heartbreaking.

From his role in Big Time Adolescence to now this, Pete Davidson has become a heavy hitter in the world of film. The emotional range that he showed in this film was stuff you see from people that have been doing this for years.

Bill Burr, who knew this man had this incredible acting ability inside of him. When you first see Burr, you think: “oh man, this is going to be funny”! But instead, we get this tough as nails man that while at times can be funny but is very serious.

Marisa Tomei is one of the best actresses in Hollywood. Her range over her career has been remarkable. She is a national treasure and should be treated as such.

There was a lot of talk surrounding the run-time of the film. I never felt like the film over-stayed it’s welcome. Each act elevated the movie to an eventual payoff that showcases some of the best writing of 2020.

Awards Potential: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress.

The Verdict:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The King of Staten Island is damn near perfect. The film provides the perfect combo of drama/comedy, the acting from all parties is remarkable, and the direction was top-notch. The movie felt important, it felt like a film that was made with a purpose, and for that, I love it.

Subscribe to the Music City Drive-In podcast on all your favorite Podcasting apps. Check it out here

Tell me what you thought of the movie, hit me up on here or talk to me on Twitter @RickyValero_

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: