Coming to HBO tonight, Wednesday, October 30 and to theatres this Friday, November 1:
THE BRONX, USA
LA theatrical release (October 2019)
A nostalgic love letter to the NYC borough.
Danny Gold’s very old-fashioned doc revels in nostalgia, following octogenarian Hollywood producer/manager legend George Shapiro back to his old neighborhood to reminisce about the good old days, reunite with members of his “Bronx Boys” group of childhood friends, and meet with present-day students of his beloved DeWitt Clinton High School. But first, viewers must suffer through a terribly conceived opening musical number, and it’s likely many will choose to tune out before it’s finished. For those who soldier on, they’ll still have to endure a near-constant, always distracting background score, unfortunately. Leaving that aside, Shapiro is supplemented by a chorus of celebrities with fondness for The Bronx, including Hal Linden, Alan Alda, Melissa Manchester, Colin Powell, and Rob Reiner, also sharing heartfelt and amusing memories of the past, and, to balance out their general homogeneity of age and race, profiles of the more diverse present-day Bronx students. While there are occasional interesting anecdotes or bits of history, the film aims for a naively positive take, skimming past the borough’s dark days of the 1970s and ’80s. As a result it feels overly simplistic, and it’s hard to imagine a non-NYC audience taking much of an interest.