The King of Staten Island, a film directed by Judd Apatow, tells of a young man-child, based on events from Pete Davidson’s life. This is not a documentary on the life of Davidson, but plays into aspects that relate to Davidson’s life, such as his loss of his father, a firefighter, or the introduction of his mother’s new boyfriend.
Davidson plays Scott Carlson. Scott hangs out with his friends and smokes weed all day in the basement, and has yet to find his way in life. Scott doesn’t know what his goals are or what career fits him. He is an unemployed experimental tattoo artist, who uses his friends as his canvas.
Scott Carlson experiences a change when his mother boots him from the house when she meets a new man. The King of Staten Island explores how Scott Carlson can react and create with his new circumstances.
Apatow opens with one of the most striking, yet underestimated scenes from the film. Carlson is driving a crappy, out-dated sedan, and he closes his eyes while driving on the highway and sees how long he can go without opening his eyes back up. Scott has them closed for what feels like a lifetime and ends up opening them right before what could’ve been a fatal car accident. Many people, at first glance, would assume this was just a funny antic from the main character, yet it could be a mental health crisis related to Carlson’s depression referenced later in the movie.
Scott is a lost soul throughout the first half of this film. He has no job, no work experience, and no goals.
The development of the main character enhances every viewer’s screening experience. Scott grows immensely throughout this film. Scott, pictured in the second scene in his friend’s basement, smokes pot and laughs with friends. In this scene we learn the reason behind Scott’s depression and anxiety, his father’s death. Scott is a lost soul throughout the first half of this film. He has no job, no work experience, and no goals. Scott, after an altercation with his mom, is kicked out of his basement and has to bounce from location to location. This is where we get to watch the amazing growth of the protagonist. He finds a drive, goals, and a job along this journey. He separates himself from the friend group of drug-ridden buddies and attempts to do something with his life.
Somewhat parallel to his late father, Scott’s job is a maintenance worker at the firehouse. This brings something out of the viewer. Apatow realizes that, while not being an active actor in this film, Scott’s father is nonetheless crucial to the film. Apatow finds a creative way to full circle Scott’s journey of loneliness and laziness to trace the footsteps of his true role model: his father.
Exciting, sad, and humorous: three words that describe the film. The King of Staten Island is a title that was confusing at first because I actually thought Scott was the opposite of a “King,” but Scott developed so much throughout this must-watch film, that his transformation was indeed regal.