Saturday, December 8, 2007


Sleepers (film)
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Directed by Barry Levinson
Produced by Barry Levinson
Steve Golin
Written by Barry Levinson
based on the novel by Lorenzo Carcaterra
Starring Kevin Bacon
Billy Crudup
Robert De Niro
Minnie Driver
Ron Eldard
Dustin Hoffman
Jason Patric
Brad Pitt
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) October 18, 1996
Running time 147 min
Language English
IMDb profile
Sleepers (1996) is a dramatic movie based on Lorenzo Carcaterra's novel of the same name. Carcaterra alleges that the story is true, although much evidence exists to contradict the majority of the events depicted.

1 Synopsis
2 Truth versus fiction
3 Cast
4 See also
5 External links

[edit] Synopsis
Shakes, Tommy, Michael, and John are four childhood friends (played by Brad Renfro, Joseph Perrino, Geoffrey Wigdor and Jonathan Tucker) living in Hell's Kitchen, New York City in the mid-1960s. Shakes describes the ethnically-mixed working class neighborhood as a "place of innocence ruled by corruption." This essentially means while their neighborhood is safe for children, the people running it are often involved in illegal incidents. As kids, they work for a local gangster named King Benny (Vittorio Gassman) who has them deliver bribe money to the local police precinct on a weekly basis. When King Benny and their families are not watching them, they are often under the eye of Father Bobby (Robert De Niro), himself a one-time delinquent turned priest. As described by King Benny, he would have been a great hitman had he not gone to become a priest. The boys respect Father Bobby deeply, perhaps more than any of the other authority figures.

As the events of the 1960s (e.g. the civil rights movement, Vietnam) unfold, their neighborhood remains locked in time as the boys realize that all of these radical change groups protected by money and upper-class standing couldn't care less about the inhabitants of their poor-white neighborhood. On a hot summer day, the boys see a Greek hot dog vendor whom they and the other neighborhood kids don't respect and tend to rip off. They decide to play a prank which involves stealing hot dogs, and ends up with the boys unexpectedly stealing the vendor's hot dog cart. A near-fatal accident occurs which results in the hot dog cart falling down a subway stairway, crushing a man at the bottom of the stairs. Found guilty of reckless endangerment, Tommy, Michael and John are sentenced to 12 to 18 months and Shakes was sentenced to 6 to 12 months at the Wilkinson Home for Boys in upstate New York; the judge tells them that it was only Father Bobby's intervention that kept them from a longer and harsher sentence.

Upon arriving to the Wilkinson home, they realize that they are not as fit for prison as the rest of the kids there. As described in the novel, the majority of the offenders, Black and Puerto Rican youths, are serving time for violent drug-related crimes. The rest of the inmates, principally Irish and Italian kids like themselves, are in primarily for assault charges and gang activity while in the company of older men. These four do not belong to a street gang and were seen in their neighborhood as relatively good kids whom the adults, many of whom served time in these facilities, did not think would ever end up in prison. As a result, the guards Nokes, Addison, Styler, and Ferguson (played by Kevin Bacon, Jeffrey Donovan, Lennie Loftin and Terry Kinney) readily abuse the Hell's Kitchen quartet as they do not respect them as violent criminals who could react with deadly force. One night the four guards take them to the basement where they engage in the gang rape of the four boys as an assertion of power and authority over the youths.

Throughout their stay, the guards continue to abuse them and other inmates physically and sexually, often while drunk, over any possible infraction. When Father Bobby visits, he explains to them that he and his best friend served time at Wilkinson and his best friend, now at Attica Correctional Facility, was killed internally by Wilkinson and warns them that the same will happen to them if they let the place get to them. When the guards put together a team of inmates to play them in a touch football game, the four are selected and think that they can use this as an opportunity to get back at the guards physically. They ask inmate Rizzo (Eugene Byrd), a fearsome Black inmate on the team whom the guards tend to avoid, to lead the team in assaulting the guards during the game. This goes through and the inmates win but the guards out of revenge toss them into solitary confinement and kill Rizzo as they are locked away. During the remainder of their stay, they are left hopeless and fear every night during which they stay at Wilkinson. Shakes is the first one released after serving ten months.

The time jumps forward to 1981. John and Tommy (as adults, played by Ron Eldard and Billy Crudup), now gangsters, come across Nokes in a Hell's Kitchen pub. Nokes, now middle-aged and down-and-out, is now presumed to be working as a security guard for an armored car company, as suggested by his uniform and John's line "while you were guarding other people's money".

As the two of them have both been hardened by prison and are currently the leaders of their own gang, they don't think twice before murdering him (in front of several witnesses; their status as gang leaders makes it unlikely that anybody will testify against them).

Shakes and Mikey (played by Jason Patric and Brad Pitt) enlist the help of their childhood friend Carol Martinez (Minnie Driver), Father Bobby, a local cop named Nick Davenport (Daniel Mastrogiorgio), King Benny, and a struggling lawyer, Danny Snyder (Dustin Hoffman) to guarantee the acquittal of their friends and expose the actions of the guards and abuses at the center.

Snyder's career is floundering as he battles with alcoholism and drug abuse. King Benny, by now elderly but still very much in control of his turf, pressures Snyder to work what appears to be a hopeless case.

Mikey is an assistant District Attorney and arranges to be assigned to the case, secretly intending to lose as a means of getting revenge on the Wilkinson home. Shakes is a low-level editorial assistant at the New York Times, and uses contacts from this position to gather background information on the guards at Wilkinson's. Carol is a social worker, and uses her office to access files on Wilkinson's.

Guard Styler, now a policeman, is arrested for murdering a drug dealer by the NYPD internal affairs division led by Davenport, and Guard Addison is killed by black gangsters led by Rizzo's older brother, Little Caesar, (Wendell Pierce) after hearing the truth from King Benny about how his brother really died in prison. In the courtroom, Guard Ferguson, now a social worker on Long Island, is discredited as a character witness, and the sexual abuses perpetrated by the guards are exposed in open court.

At first Snyder appears bungling and disorganized, using mainly material supplied to him anonymously by Shakes and Mikey, but as the trial progresses he begins to be effective, as he successfully casts doubt on several prosecution witnesses.

To clinch the case, after a long talk with Shakes and Carol, Father Bobby lies on the stand about where John and Tommy were the night of the shooting. Father Bobby claims they were at Madison Square Garden at a Knicks game with him and as a result, they are found not guilty as the jury does not doubt the word of a priest (ticket stubs to the game, surreptitiously supplied by King Benny, help convince the jury).

From there, the boys are reunited for a last time for a celebratory party at a Hell's Kitchen bar. In a brief epilogue, it's revealed that after the trial, John and Tommy return to their lives of street crime, and both die violently within a few years of the trial.

Mikey, stigmatized by the D.A.'s office for losing an apparently open-and-shut case, resigns, and stops practicing law, eventually moving to England to live alone in the countryside. Shakes remains in New York, and becomes a full-time writer. Carol also remains in New York, where she becomes a single mother to a son she names after all four of her childhood friends.

[edit] Truth versus fiction
Though Carcaterra claims that the book is a true story, critics have asserted that the majority of it, if not all of it, is fictional:

No record has been found for any such trial even remotely similar to the one depicted in the film.
Carcaterra's school records show that between the ages of 5 and 14, he only missed a total of three weeks worth of school; according to the book, he was incarcerated in a juvenile detention center for six months when he was 13, and he would not have had any school records for this period.
No records exist for any of the other three boys mentioned in the book.
No murders, as described in the book's closing chapters, took place on the dates specified.
Carcaterra states that everything he wrote was true, but that he did change names, dates and places to protect the identities of those involved, making it difficult to independently verify the facts. As an example, he states that he moved the location of the trial to Manhattan. If the trial had taken place in another jurisdiction, such as a different borough of New York or in New Jersey, that would not be reflected in the Manhattan district attorney and court records. The book also explains that school records were altered to show that the boys were in school during the time they were actually in Wilkinson. It is not surprising that only records for Carcaterra exist as his is the only real name used.

The version of the film shown on cable, although uncut, contains disclaimers before the end credits stating that the New York youth correctional authorities and the Manhattan district attorney's office deny that the events in the film took place. A final title card states that Carcaterra stands by his story.

[edit] Cast
New York (PTI): Believe it or not, sleeping too much, just like sleeping too little, can make you restless in bed.

Researchers in America have carried out a study and found that those who slumber more that eight hours a day and short sleepers who get fewer than seven hours of shut-eye experience disturbed nights, the 'ScienceDaily' reported.

"Although it is unclear why long and short sleepers should have similar types of sleep complaints, our findings challenge the assumption that more than seven or eight hours of sleep is associated with increased health and well-being," lead researcher Michael A. Grandner was quoted as saying.

To find out if long sleepers have as many sleep complaints as the sleep-deprived, the researchers at the University of California used data from 100 adults interviewed in the National Sleep Foundation's Sleep in America Poll.

All the participants were asked how many hours they slept on a typical workday, not including naps, and whether they had any complaints about the quality of their sleep and sleep's effect on their daily activities.

According to their findings, long sleepers reported more problems with falling asleep, waking up during the night, awaking too early, feeling "unrefreshed" upon waking up, and feeling sleepy during the day than those who slept seven or eight hours.

Sleep complaints were more common in both long and short sleepers than in those who got seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Women were more apt to be long sleepers than men were, the researchers found.
number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin is continuing to fall, according to new figures from the Homeless Agency.

The agency says it counted 104 people sleeping on the capital's streets on November 20th.

This compares to 185 two years ago and 275 in 1999.

The Homeless Agency is due to publish its latest report on the state of services for homeless people later today


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