What Happens When Your Indy Mob Flick Was Already Made

The film The Wannabe, which is available now on Amazon Prime, has a very specific setting: the 1992 John Gotti trial in New York City.

Still, despite this leverage of the Gotti name, The Wannabe is much more reminiscent of the former HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

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Did the filmmakers really not realize they were essentially remaking a film released only last year called Rob the Mob?

We strongly suspect that they found this out too late so they added a "twist" to try to distance the film from the previous year's cinematic account of a married couple who robbed Mafia social clubs for a few months in the early 1990s.

Ultimately the two were brutally murdered in broad daylight.





"The Wannabe" drew so much of its talent from Boardwalk Empire, it's distracting. (The villainous Gyp Rosetti was our favorite Boardwalk character)

Martin Scorsese's name is attached to The Wannabe, but as a producer, which doesn't necessarily mean anything more than that he maybe owed someone a favor.
The big-name stars in The Wannabe -- not to be confused with the trifling Wannabes film -- are Patricia Arquette, a Boardwalk Empire veteran, and Michael Imperioli, who of course starred in Goodfellas and The Sopranos. (He's a fine actor and his Christopher Moltisanti will not be forgotten soon.)

One of the best Sopranos' episodes, in our opinion, was Pine Barrens.

The Wannabe also stars Vincent Piazza, who played a good Charlie "Lucky" Luciano on Boardwalk Empire.

So when did The Wannabe filmmakers realize that the Uva story had been told the previous year?

Probably too far into filming, we speculate. Otherwise, they'd have pulled the plug, which perhaps should've been done anyway. It's ironic how inconsequential the Mafia film genre has become that one group filming a re-creation of a quirky, tragic nonfictional story is not even aware that another group already told the story.

Now this does happen in Hollywood, on occasions, two or more films about the same topic are released closely together. (There were a couple of doomsday films about world-ending asteroids making a beeline toward planet earth. Embarrassingly I can't think of another example. Can you? Please comment below.)

And of course the great irony here is that filmmakers have literally thousands of stories at their artistic disposal!

Mafia cops! Alleged murderous FBI agents! Greg Scarpa Senior! (Or Junior!) Three Colombo crime family wars!

There's a goldmine of material for British filmmakers to wade through and sift....


But back to practicality. What do you do if you're in the process of remaking a film that was already made (and it wasn't exactly a hit the first time it was released the prior year).

You keep as much of what you've already shot -- and shoot as little new material as you can get away with.  Basically, you need to throw a kink into the plot, make the characters a little different. The last thing you want to do is acknowledge the other film.

You also activate your marketing and public relations machines to start ruthlessly spinning, spinning, spinning, using the resulting centripetal force to hopefully distract the largest number of potential viewers.

So we have this (which we reluctantly post verbatim as it's about as well-written as most mob genre screenplays of the past 10-20 years. It includes perhaps the only instance in which The Mafia is referred to as a man. One man.).

Notice how the following release does as much as humanly possible to minimize mention of any overlap with Rob the Mob  (while also butchering the English language).

The first thing Thomas does after meeting Rose is take her to the Gotti trial and convinces her that the jury can be rigged. After making a deal with the “brother” of a jurist in order to make sure that Gotti is released, he runs back to the mafia and tells him about this situation. He is later devastated when he finds out that the plug he thought he had, was just a fan watching the Gotti trial and tried to rob them all. He breaks down and for the first time, Rose sees him at his most vulnerable state.

Both Rose and Thomas have their own dark secrets that are revealed throughout the movie and play a role in their relationship. These secrets surprisingly are what make their relationship so strong even when at times it seemed like everything went from bad to worse. Rose has always had a empty space in her heart because she never felt accepted until she met Thomas, who changed her life and filled a void.

The story follows the couple who falls into a downward spiral when they start robbing New York Mafia social clubs.

The film, executive produced by Martin Scorsese, depicts a world when crime bosses were neighborhood kings and young men aspired to be a part of their world to gain the social status.

Based on true events, The Wannabe tells the iconic mob story from a new perspective: an outsider’s point-of-view.

We stole that from The Source. The writing is horrid, too, but we're lazy today... Even this lackluster report tried to hide the film's major plot point. The writer maybe was easily influenced. Whatever...

The Uvas 2.0. That's Patricia Arquette....


Rob the Mob, directed by Oscar-nominee Raymond de Felitta starred Michael Pitt, Nina Arianda, Andy Garcia and Ray Romano.

Garcia, playing a mob boss possibly inspired by Joe Massino (who really cares), unbelievably has a full beard -- we couldn't help but think he did this to subliminally distance the film from the woebegone Godfather Part III, which of all things made a fictional crime family the ultimate protectors of Christendom, avenging the Pope's murder in the process.

The ending was something out of Monty Python or Mel Brooks... the very ending, the scene in which Michael dies.

What do you think? Am I crazy or what?

 I have to add that I recently met with one of my deep background sources at a Manhattan pizzeria. He had murders on him, many more than one. Anyway, we joked around about this and that. The next day, texting each other, I sent him a funny GIF.... He called me crazy...get it? They guy with the murders called me crazy... I only realized the irony of that now.)




What were you thinking F.F.C.?

There were a few great scenes in the film, and we honestly thought it was a fine effort that failed.

The great director took a risk... credit him for that....

Rob the Mob was watchable but didn't strain itself too much for accuracy's sake.

It generally jibes with what's known to have happened when Thomas and Rose Marie Uva, a married couple, made the foolhardy, fatal decision to rob Mafia social clubs in Little Italy, Queens and Brooklyn from the summer of 1992 to Christmas Eve 1992, when the two were killed.

In nearly every robbery, 21-year-old getaway driver Rose Marie waited in the car while Tommy, hefting an Uzi, simply walked into the clubs, the doors of which were open.

The wiseguys, despite what had happened to them, nevertheless voiced their admiration for Rose Marie's skills as a getaway driver.

When will they learn that in the mob, truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Method acting and star power won't save a film. A good script is needed first.

It's been too long since anyone's made a decent mob flick....

The Uvas robbed the mob...





Comments

  1. I thought rob the mob was crap, all the romanticised garcia scene's where shite but the best part of it was the end, as I could go and do something else. Coincidently I saw the ad for the Whitey Bulger film today and that also looks like total shite. At this this version of Rob the mob will have Michael Imperiolli in it, might make it watchable.

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  2. Just because Imperiolli is in it doesn't mean it won't be total crap,he probably needs the money cause he hasn't been in anything worth a shit since the Soprano's. Scorsese needs to get off his ass and make The Irishman film. I have read just about every great mafia book there is and still can't believe that no one has made a movie on Murder Machine the Roy Demeo book. Come on Hollywood get your head out of your ass and make this movie.

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  3. Rob the Mob was a little weak. And what was with the beard on the mob boss? That's mob 101.

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  4. Right!!!!! My point exactly. They made such an effort to insert this nifty true-to-life details and overlooked the major fact that mobsters are not allowed to wear facial hair -- though of course some have and do....

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  5. Yeah the beard was stupid. and what was that list they got from the old wise guy?? That was complete B.S.

    But I think the Depp Black Mass looks great!! Can't wait to see that. What ever happened to the jack Garcia movie?? I read bonicio del Toro was gonna be jack.

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  6. I was a friend of Tommy Uva since we were kids and I can say this Rob the Mob was a total bullshit piece of garbage...Tommy was almost killed in the 80's when he robbed a club in Pelham Bay but was given a pass when his family made restitution and Tommy left for Vegas

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  7. Yeah it should be better with Imperioli

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  8. The trailer for Black Mass looked great

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  9. Didn't scarpa sport a sweet seventies pornstache??

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  10. Ok, I'll bite, what made you sign off with that name? You obviously wrote it for a reason and you didn't pull it out of a hat.

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  11. My main scooter AJ, I like your posts pal. You're a sharp kid! Don't take offense that I called you a kid, to me everybody's a kid. All my best brother.

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  12. No problem brother, the best to you as well

    ReplyDelete

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