“Scarface” is one of those cultural films that you either worship, love or don’t care for. I’m in the worship category. I remember seeing it for the first time in high school when film was becoming my thing. I was watching all the classics, and when I saw “Scarface,” it was love at first cocaine kingpin. To be fair, my older brother also worshiped this film. I grew up hearing lines quoted from the film by him like “Cara de saca trice.” For those who don’t know, that line is said by the guy with the chainsaw. Yeah, it’s obscure, but for fans of “Scarface,” if you’ve watched the film enough, you catch on to those tiny, obscure lines that become embedded in your everyday vernacular.
So long story short, I’ve seen “Scarface” probably over 30 times and I even wrote a paper about it in college. Yeah, I was obsessed. The story, the empathy you feel for a criminal turned cocaine drug pin who just wanted too much and got everything that was coming to him. It’s weird when you feel empathy for a killer and drug dealer on screen. You almost question it: Why? Am I a bad person for rooting for Al Pacino’s Tony Montana? But, that’s the brilliance of the film, directed by Brian DePalma. It’s the ultimate American dream story, gone bad. An immigrant fighting for survival goes down the wrong path, comes into money, wants way too much, yet has a moral code (like don’t kill women and children) and then it ends the only way it could…guns a-blazing! Yeah, it’s hard as a movie lover to not love everything about this film, especially the soundtrack and score of the film, that is the ultimate ’80s theme song.
So, fast forward to seeing that Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer and director Brian DePalma were going to reunite at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. I was EXCITED! Watching the film again on the big screen for the first time and with an audience who probably feels all of what I just mentioned was surreal. It’s one of those movie experiences you live for if you’re a movie fanatic. Plus, knowing that when the film ended, you’re going to see the legend himself – Al Pacino? Well, words can’t describe that feeling. So the film ended, the four got introduced by moderator Jesse Kornbluth. I was ready for an epic rehashing of this iconic film…then things went awry.
— Tribeca (@Tribeca) April 20, 2018
First, Steven Bauer was very mic happy, butting in to every question and conversation. Like, I wanted to hear from him, but his stories were long and went off on tangents that made little sense. Not sure what was going on there. When Al Pacino got asked a question, it was great. He was so forthcoming, and I wish if Steven Bauer and a different moderator had been present, we could have gotten some more gems about the film. We did get the iconic line recited: “Say hello to my little friend.” Then Kornbluth proceeded to ask Michelle Pfeiffer, “As a father of a daughter, I’m concerned with body image. What did you weigh in this film?” Like WTF. Why would she remember what she weighed 35 years ago, and if you wanted to know what went into the role of becoming an emaciated drug addict, ask that. The audience booed and it didn’t get any better from there.
The SCARFACE moderator just “as the father of a daughter”-ed Michelle Pfeiffer and then asked her how much she weighed before she started filming and half the audience yelled “NOO NOOO NOOO!” #Tribeca2018
— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) April 20, 2018
Steven Bauer kept interrupting, while Brian DePalma and Al Pacino were keeping it together (probably for the sake of fans) but it was a shit show, to put it lightly. We did learn that DePalma had to fight the ratings board to get the cut he edited first on the screen which is what happened. Then Kornbluth asked another silly question directed to Pfeiffer, “Should the remake be made with a female Tony Montana?” Before she could answer, DePalma and Pacino said “No” and Pfeiffer proceeded to say “No.”
It was great watching them onstage and it will be one of my favorite highlights, but I do believe it was a missed opportunity to gain some insight into this iconic film that is embedded into the pop culture mainstream. Maybe we can hope for a 40th reunion with a different moderator, and maybe leave out Steven Bauer this time.
The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival is a 10-day event that runs April 18 – April 29. To find the full schedule of films and events visit https://www.tribecafilm.com.
Featured image credit: Photo courtesy of Universal Studios