Let me establish this up front: I did not expect The Super to be good. I actually included it on this list partly because I heard a discussion about it on a Giant Bomb podcast about how bad it was. I tried to track it down, but I couldn’t find the exact episode. All I remember is that they said this movie was notoriously bad. Now having seen it, it definitely did not disappoint.
The gist: Joe Pesci plays the son of a wealthy slumlord, who is hoping to one day follow in his father’s footsteps. He doesn’t see harassing tenants for rent or refusing to fix things in an apartment complex as unethical. It’s just part of the game. He’s the boss!
In a strangely clinical turn of events, Joe Pesci is sentenced by a judge to live in one of the crappy buildings his family owns. The one his dad gave him to manage, ironically. He can’t move out until everything is fixed and the building is brought up to code. Frustrating enough. But did I mention that this character’s racist? And that everyone that lives in this building is a stereotype of an “urban” black person?
Okay, the tenants are actually pretty cool. But Joe Pesci is a racist, so watching him try to “bond” with them induces much cringing.
What I “learned”: In every bad movie is a great idea that was executed poorly. I was stunned at certain moments of The Super because they could have been incredible in a different script. You can see the nuggets of great ideas, laying underneath the silt and debris. The only trouble is, no one’s bothering to dig deep into them. By insisting on being a fun romp, The Super misses so many chances to be meaningful.
What’s sad is that this is the movie about what it’s like to live in a horrible apartment complex and be actually poor in America. Not Hollywood poor—actually poor. As in your landlord won’t fix anything but you can’t move out. I’ve never seen a movie that pulled less punches about living in a horrible apartment than this movie. Why did it have to be this one? Ugh. In the words of the great Jeff Gerstmann, I want this but serious.
See this movie if you like: Movies that are funny because of how dated they are. We get that people were scared of urban decay and (alleged) violence in the 1980s and 1990s. But seriously? Hip-hop dance parties and neon windbreakers?
Avoid this movie if: You have a sense of decency. Also, stay away from this movie if you can’t stand race relations being used as a source of humor. I don’t know if Joe Pesci’s meant to be treated as a sympathetic character or not, but it’s not a good use of your energy to think about it. That’s not a knock against Joe Pesci. It’s just not worth your time trying to dissect this character. I wish I had the energy I wasted on this movie back. I could have written a poem or something.
New Films Watched: 78
Films Re-Watched: 4
Total Number of Films: 82
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