It’s funny really, how anything I encounter throughout my day could remind me of virtually anything. This time it was an entertaining story about how a friend of mine met, what I like to refer to, as his next ex-wife. Mix that together with the fact that he once chased a man down the street for a $0.20 poster, he has earned the new nickname Calogero.
Now, for the non-Europeans out there reading this, Calogero is one of those odd Italian/Greek names that doesn’t have an equivalent in English.
Why did I call him Calogero?
Easy, A Bronx Tale.
Now for those who haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend getting a hold of it and watching it. Not only is it a great coming of age story, but it ties in very well with the idea of The Mentor archetype I mentioned previously.
Now in the post I used Dumbledore and Voldemort from Harry Potter as examples of different types of mentors and while that gets the point across pretty well, this movie does it even better.
I don’t want to ruin it for you, but I’ll give you the quick and dirty version.
The movie follows Calogero from a young boy to a young man as he learns life lessons from two primary people. His father, played by Robert DeNiro, a hard-working bus driver, and Sonny, played by Chazz Palminteri, the local mob boss.
Through an odd series of events, Calogero befriends Sonny from a young age, and the two share an actual friendship. Something very rare for people in Sonny’s line of work. Call it sentimentality, or whatever word you prefer, and Sonny takes the young Calogero, or “C” as he likes to call him, under his wing and teaches him about the world.
This infuriates the young boys father, who doesn’t think that Sonny has anything positive to teach the young man, when in reality, Sonny took it upon himself to teach the young man some of the most important lessons he’ll ever learn.
Now, what I love about this movie even more, is that it’s based on the real life of actor Chazz Palminteri, who was Calogero in real life.
What I love about this movie, is that despite the true opposites that these two father figures really were, they didn’t teach the young man things that were ultimately that different.
I mean sure, you could see their individual bias, but at the same time, the two men were two sides of the same coin. Sonny was the type to go out and take what he wanted, while DeNiro’s character thought that your money should be earned through hard work and discipline, not violence.
What’s great about this is that if young Calogero had only one person to turn to, he would have gone down the wrong path either way. Yet, because he had that balanced view of the world by the end of the movie, I feel that’s what led the character, and ultimately Palminteri himself, to have the success he has in this world.
Sadly, the world is not fair, and sometimes you need to be a little aggressive and rough around the edges to get through it.
On the same side of the coin, the life that Sonny led is a very violent and often times short-lived one.
In the case of DeNiro’s character, if all you do is keep your nose to the grind stone you will have a steady income and possibly a comfortable life.
Unfortunately that also means you’ll probably have a long life of regret and wishing that you had the will to follow your dreams and go take what you want.
Honestly, it’s a beautiful message that too many people are missing these days.
You can’t always do what your told!
It’s that simple. Sometimes you have to go against the grain because that’s the only way to get ahead in this world, and to ultimately make your mark on it.
As Sonny likes to say: “The saddest thing in the world is wasted talent.”
Now, I’ve said more than enough. Go watch the movie, and enjoy yourself.
I highly doubt you’ll regret watching it.
So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Think I’m nuts? Whatever you’re thinking leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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