2016 Blind Spots: Scarface

In 1980, Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino) makes his way to Miami, Florida with his best friend Manny Ribera (Steven Bauer). Together they take on the drug cartel, with Tony rising to the top of the empire, controlling nearly all the cocaine that comes through Miami. But as Tony’s power grows, so do his ego and paranoia, which both lead to his eventual downfall.

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It’s a weird coincidence that I watched this particular movie this month for the Blind Spot series considering what happened in Cuba just a few days ago. But anyway, Scarface is one of those movie remakes that’s able to set itself apart from its predecessor and stand on its own, mostly thanks to its 80s setting in the Miami drug world as opposed to the 1932 film’s Al Capone-inspired bootlegging tale. With all that said, though, I do have to say watching Brian De Palma’s Scarface just made me want to watch the original version. Clocking in at nearly three hours, this modern version of the rise and fall of a man chasing the American dream is too self-indulgent and excessive for my liking. It’s one of those beloved classics that I likely watched too late to appreciate it as much as many others do.

While I didn’t fully enjoy Scarface as much as I would’ve liked to, there are still plenty of redeeming qualities that do make it a movie worth checking out at least once. For one thing, it features what’s essentially Michelle Pfeiffer’s breakout role, and she’s great in all her scenes. Steven Bauer is also exceptional as Tony’s confidant Manny, balancing out Al Pacino’s over-the-top performance. I’m glad I can finally check this movie off my ever-growing watchlist, as there’s a good handful of moments in Scarface that continue to be referenced in pop culture (seeing the movie’s most famous quote in context was particularly great). It’s also a movie that’s still quite relevant in today’s social climate, serving as a cautionary tale on what having too much power can do to one person and how it impacts other people.

Scarface (1983)
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Starring: Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer
Oscar Nominations: N/A
Rating: 4/5

Check out what other bloggers have discovered this month for the Blind Spots series here!

8 thoughts on “2016 Blind Spots: Scarface

  1. Not sure why I’ve never bothered to see this…it seems right up my alley. But I have a feeling that, if I did, I may see it the same way you did; I’m not that big a fan of Al Pacino (except in Serpico!), but I may check it out anyway, keeping your ‘hesitant’ review in mind!

    And if I’ve asked you this before, I apologize: if those are your screen captures, what program did you use to grab them with? Are they from a DVD or Blu-ray disc?

    • I normally like Al Pacino in the movies of his I’ve seen, but I didn’t care much for his performance here. It was mixture of his character being mostly unlikable and Pacino just being over-the-top. But like I said, the movie still has its moments and is pretty good overall.

      Sometimes I’ll grab pictures from various movie screencap websites (which I did for this post), other times I’ll take them myself from a DVD using VLC. If you have VLC, while watching a movie you should be able to press Shift + S and get the screencaps directly in your pictures folder. Hope that makes sense!

      • Thanks, Keisha! I thought I remembered you telling me that you used VLC, but some recent screencaps of yours looked really nice…nicer than the ones I’ve been getting of late. Maybe those sites you’re visiting are capturing from Blu-ray. Anyway…yes, your answer makes sense!

      • Yeah the nice ones I grab from are from Blu-ray screencap sites! I haven’t yet figured out how to take screencaps from my Blu-rays, so I’ve resorted to grabbing from them. The sites I usually frequent are DVDBeaver, CriterionForum, and Blushots.

      • I use DVDBeaver as well, but the other two I haven’t heard of, so thanks for the heads up there! My brother recently gave me a laptop that plays Blu-rays, so I’m going to install VLC and see what happens.

      • Oh which laptop do you have? I have an external Blu-ray player that I plug into my laptop (which only plays DVDs), and so far I haven’t figured out how to take screencaps off of it.

      • It’s a Dell Inspiron…he just recently gave it to me, so I haven’t started using it yet. The DVD drive shows that it plays Blu-rays, and VLC has a Blu-ray option, so I’m sure it works the same as screencapping a DVD. I’ll see if I can get VLC loaded onto the Dell this weekend, and I’ll experiment with a Blu-ray movie and let you know what I find out.

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