"Trying to Help a Friend"
What You Need To Know:
Despite the moral, but bittersweet, ending and some other positive elements, this movie provides mostly a pagan warning at what happens to people when they let their childhood give way to mediocrity. WENT TO CONEY ISLAND also contains three characters with homosexual desires who play important roles in this story about Dan and Stan’s search for their homeless friend Richie. The movie also has plenty of strong foul language.
(Pa, HoHo, B, LLL, V, A, D, M) Pagan worldview with homosexual & moral elements, including character hopes God is watching over homeless man; 59 mostly strong obscenities & 20 mostly strong profanities; mild scuffle & loan shark thugs threaten & beat up compulsive gambler; no sex scenes but man lives with girlfriend, who viewers learn just left him; no nudity; alcohol use & alcohol dependency; smoking; and, gambling, loan sharking & friends are sometimes hurtful toward one another.
WENT TO CONEY ISLAND ON A MISSION FROM GOD . . . BE BACK BY FIVE is a low-budget independent movie about two childhood friends who go searching for a third friend who has long disappeared. Jon Cryer plays Daniel, who’s now working at a small jeweler’s in New York City. One day, his friend Stan, played by Rick Stear, comes in to the jeweler’s to tell Dan that their old friend Richie was seen living on the streets near Coney Island. Using a childhood phrase about going on a “mission from God,” Stan convinces Dan to take off work to look for Richie and see if they can’t help him. When they finally find their dazed friend, their experience changes both men’s lives for the better.
WENT TO CONEY ISLAND has a moral, but bittersweet, ending. Dan and Stan make a valiant, noble effort to save their friend. Despite these positive elements, this movie provides mostly a pagan warning at what happens to people when they let their childhood give way to mediocrity. For instance, contrary to what the title might indicate, Dan and Stan really don’t turn to God or God’s moral laws to straighten out their lives. The movie also contains plenty of strong foul language, including a fair number of profanities. Thus, a strong biblical worldview, even a Christian one, definitely would have improved this movie in every way, including aesthetically.
WENT TO CONEY ISLAND also reveals, in two mostly visual flashbacks, that Richie was a young man with frustrated homosexual desires who occasionally had epileptic-like mental seizures. Apparently, a family tragedy caused by his homosexuality has gnawed at his psyche until he stopped taking his medication. Hence, the homelessness.
During their search for Richie, Dan and Stan also encounter a lonely middle-aged homosexual, whose young black lover rejects him while the two protagonists eat in a small empty café. WENT TO CONEY ISLAND thus aims to make homosexuality a sympathetic thing, but these elements also add a kind of sad note to the story to see such wasted lives. In a sense, the homosexuality in this movie is as derelict as the famous amusement park which provides the crazy title. Interestingly, Stan’s experience causes him to straighten out his life and marry the live-in girlfriend who, the movie reveals, just left him before he went to get Dan’s help in searching for Richie. He finally decides he’s not about to waste his own life any longer. In that respect at least, WENT TO CONEY ISLAND has something positive to say.