Genre Grandeur – City By the Sea (2002) – Ten Stars or Less

For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – New York Films That Take Place Prior to 9/11, here’s a review of City By the Sea (2002) by Ryan of Ten Stars or Less

Thanks again to Darren Lucas of Movie Reviews 101 for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s genre has been chosen by Ryan of Ten Stars or Less and we will be reviewing our favorite Movies Directed by the Main Actor/Actress.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Oct by sending them to

Try to think out of the box!

Let’s see what Ryan thought of this movie:


When Blockbuster was still in business, I went through a phase where I tried to rent and watch every film they had with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. This quest introduced me to many of their iconic roles and some rather odd ones. During this time, I watched a film called City by the Sea, starring DeNiro, James Franco, and Frances McDormand. To be honest, it is one of DeNiro’s better roles. I have never been a fan of his work in Analysis This or Analysis That, and after Meet the Parents, his character just got worse as the sequels followed. Most people would argue with me over what I just said, but take a moment and watch City by the Sea. DeNiro usually plays a tough-as-nails guy, and his role as Vince LaMarca is no exception. He’s an NYPD detective who walked out on his family years ago, only to learn his son (Franco) is now a drug addict wanted for murder. His character cares, but not enough to do anything except bring his only son in for the collar. I enjoyed DeNiro’s performance because he is the veteran cop with a chip on his shoulder and will do whatever he can to get his guy. When he learns that his son is the prime suspect, we see a different side to the character, one DeNiro nails. He’s vulnerable, emotional, and determined to do the right thing. Watching his personal and professional lives mesh is fascinating, destroying a once peaceful, sheltered lifestyle he built for himself after walking out. Franco has some memorable roles in his career; however, this particular one has stuck with me after all these years. His character has lost direction in life, yet he has a girl and a baby. Despite his best intentions, he messes up and is looking for his next hit. I may not know anything about drugs or a junkie’s lifestyle, but I believe Franco nails the performance. The broken relationship between father and son is the story’s centerpiece. People may think this is a story about a typical junkie who can’t get out of his way, but when the main character’s dad is a cop, it makes for a compelling story. I fondly remember this movie and enjoyed watching it again because DeNiro and Franco’s performances won me over. 8/10

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