Laws of Gravity on the Mean Streets

Laws of Gravity - 1992

Mean Streets. Laws of Gravity.

I’m a sucker for movies about toxic friends and a code of loyalty, but these two films have always been more than just that to me.

The similarities between these two features are purposeful with Nick Gomez’s first feature Laws of Gravity aping Martin Scorsese’s  first feature Mean Streets. In both, you see early brilliance both on the directorial front as well as the acting front. With MS you get young and hipster versions of Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel. With LoG, you get young and punkish versions of Edie Falco, and Paul Schulze. There is an eagerness and visceral quality to these early films, each with characters amidst a slow burn, trying to hold onto their core values and stay true to their blue-blooded beliefs even when the walls come crumbling down around them.

More than the films themselves, I recently discovered that my novels are essentially remakes of my favorite films; or put another way, novelized versions of my favorite films. Zombie, largely, I consider my YA send-up of Taxi Driver, my absolute favorite film of all-time, as sick as that may be. This is not to say that my novels are straight reboots of movies. Clearly in the case of Zombie that couldn’t be farther from the truth. While the material is different, the over-arching tropes and emotional journeys are the same.

For me, cutting my teeth on story-telling came first through film, and is always where I go first to find answers in my adult life, seek advice, retreat for solace. In the case of writing, it is where all drama begins for me.

All of this is to say that my next novel underway is my Mean Streets, or my Laws of Gravity, depending on the decade you are drawn to most. What is it about? Childhood friends bonded and bound together, eventually thrown deep inside a viper pit. The ultimate test of loyalty, faith, forgiveness and, most importantly, sacrifice. Set in Baltimore, naturally.

Mean Streets – opening sequence

About J. R. Angelella

J. R. Angelella is the author of the popular debut novel ZOMBIE: A NOVEL (Soho Press) and a contributing author to the murder-mystery anthology WHO DONE IT? (Soho Teen), benefiting the nonprofit organization 826NYC. His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals, including Sou’wester, JMWW, The Collagist, Literary Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal and The Nervous Breakdown. His short story “Sauce” won the 2012 Short Story Contest held by The Coachella Review. He received a BA in English Literature from Ithaca College and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College. He taught creative writing at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City and currently teaches professional writing at the University of Maryland at College Park. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, the writer Kate Angelella.
This entry was posted in Favorite Films, J-Rans, Le Magic, Nonfiction, Soho Press, Zombie. Bookmark the permalink.

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