Sidewalks of New York (2001 film)

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Sidewalks of New York
Original theatrical release poster featuring the World Trade Center towers. The towers were removed in later posters.
Directed by Edward Burns
Produced byMargot Bridger
Edward Burns
Cathy Schulman
Rick Yorn
Written byEdward Burns
StarringEdward Burns
Rosario Dawson
Dennis Farina
Heather Graham
David Krumholtz
Brittany Murphy
Stanley Tucci
Cinematography Frank Prinzi
Edited byDavid Greenwald
Distributed by Paramount Classics
Release date
  • November 21, 2001 (2001-11-21)(U.S. limited)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million (estimated) [1]
Box office$3.5 million [2]

Sidewalks of New York is a 2001 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Edward Burns, who also stars in the film. The plot follows eight cycles in the lives of six Manhattan residents whose inter-connections form a circle that places each of them less than the proverbial six degrees of separation from the others.

Comedy-drama genre of theatre, film, and television

Comedy-drama or dramedy, is a genre in film and in television works in which plot elements are a combination of comedy and drama. It is a subgenre of contemporary tragicomedy. Comedy-drama is especially found in television programs and is considered a "hybrid genre".

Edward Burns American actor and director

Edward Fitzgerald Burns is an American actor, producer, writer, and director best known for appearing in several films including Saving Private Ryan (1998), 15 Minutes (2001), Life or Something Like It (2002), Confidence (2003), A Sound of Thunder (2005), The Holiday (2006), One Missed Call (2008), 27 Dresses (2008), Man on a Ledge (2012), Friends with Kids (2012), and Alex Cross (2012). Burns directed movies such as The Brothers McMullen (1995), She's the One (1996), Sidewalks of New York (2001), Purple Violets (2007), and The Fitzgerald Family Christmas (2012). He also starred as Bugsy Siegel in the TNT crime drama series Mob City and as Terry Muldoon in TNT's Public Morals.

Manhattan Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Manhattan, often referred to locally as the City, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and its economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough is coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.



The circle begins with Tommy Reilly, a onetime wannabe writer who became the producer of a weekly television entertainment news show by design rather than choice, and has stayed with it for the money rather than any professional satisfaction. Dumped by his live-in girlfriend without warning, he temporarily moves in with colleague Carpo, an aging Lothario ready to offer unlimited and useless romantic advice.

A television producer is a person who oversees all aspects of video production on a television program. Some producers take more of an executive role, in that they conceive new programs and pitch them to the television networks, but upon acceptance they focus on business matters, such as budgets and contracts. Other producers are more involved with the day-to-day workings, participating in activities such as screenwriting, set design, casting and directing.

Lothario is a male given name which came to suggest an unscrupulous seducer of women in The Impertinent Curious Man, a story within a story in Miguel de Cervantes' 1605 novel Don Quixote.

At a video store Tommy meets grammar school teacher Maria Tedesko. The two flirt, meet for coffee, and begin to date. Maria, recently divorced, finds it difficult to commit to a new relationship and stops taking Tommy's calls. When she discovers she's pregnant, she attempts to reconnect with him, but at the last moment opts to lie and tell him she's leaving town and chooses to raise the child on her own.

Maria's ex-husband, who longs to reconcile with her, is Benjamin Bazler, an apartment house doorman and aspiring songwriter whose obsession is 1960s/1970s rock music. He shares his dream of becoming a full-time musician with Iowa transplant Ashley, an NYU student working as a coffee shop waitress to support herself.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

New York University private research university in New York, NY, United States

New York University (NYU) is a private research university spread throughout the world. Founded in 1831, NYU's historical campus is in Greenwich Village, New York City. As a global university, students can graduate from its degree-granting campuses in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, as well as study at its 12 academic centers in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Washington, D.C.

Ashley is involved in an affair with considerably older married dentist Griffin Ritso. Although he professes to love his mistress, the once divorced Griffin shies away from leaving his wife Annie Matthews for fear of being a two-time loser at matrimony. Eventually Griffin's inability to commit to their relationship causes Ashley to dump him and reject his advances to get her back as she becomes involved in a relationship with Benjamin.

Real estate broker Annie is unhappy with her marriage, but too moral to consider having an affair. She finds herself confiding in and flirting with one of her house-hunting clients Tommy Reilly. Thus the circle is complete. She finally leaves Griffin.

A real estate broker or a real estate agent is a person who represents sellers or buyers of real estate/real property. While a broker may work independently, an agent must work under a licensed broker to represent clients. Brokers and agents are licensed by the state to negotiate sales agreements and manage the documentation required for closing real estate transactions. In North America, some brokers and agents are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association for the industry. NAR members are obligated by a code of ethics that go above and beyond state legal requirements to work in the best interest of the client. Buyers and sellers are generally advised to consult a licensed real estate professional for a written definition of an individual state's laws of agency, and many states require written disclosures to be signed by all parties outlining the duties and obligations.

The narrative segments are intermingled with documentary-like interviews in which of the characters address the camera with their thoughts about sex, love, and relationships.

Documentary film nonfictional motion picture

A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record. "Documentary" has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries. Documentary films were originally called 'actuality' films and were only a minute or less in length. Over time documentaries have evolved to be longer in length and to include more categories, such as educational, observational, and even 'docufiction'. Documentaries are also educational and often used in schools to teach various principles. Social media platforms such as YouTube, have allowed documentary films to improve the ways the films are distributed and able to educate and broaden the reach of people who receive the information.

Production notes

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2001. Following the terrorist attacks three days later, Paramount Classics withheld its release until late November. Although the World Trade Center looms behind Tommy during his interviews, the image of the twin towers in the original promotional poster was deleted.

Toronto International Film Festival annual film festival held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world, attracting over 480,000 people annually. Since its founding in 1976, TIFF has grown to become a permanent destination for film culture operating out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, located in downtown Toronto.

Paramount Vantage specialty film division of Paramount Pictures

Paramount Vantage was a film distribution label of Paramount Pictures, charged with producing, purchasing, distributing and marketing films, generally those with a more "art house" feel than films made and distributed by its parent company. Previously, Paramount Vantage operated as the specialty film division of Paramount Pictures, owned by Viacom.

World Trade Center (1973–2001) complex of buildings in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States

The original World Trade Center was a large complex of seven buildings in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. It featured the landmark Twin Towers, which opened on April 4, 1973 and were destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. At the time of their completion, the Twin Towers — the original 1 World Trade Center, at 1,368 feet (417 m); and 2 World Trade Center, at 1,362 feet (415.1 m) — were the tallest buildings in the world. Other buildings in the complex included the Marriott World Trade Center, 4 WTC, 5 WTC, 6 WTC, and 7 WTC. The complex was located in New York City's Financial District and contained 13,400,000 square feet (1,240,000 m2) of office space.

In an episode of the Sundance Channel series Anatomy of a Scene that focused on the film, Burns revealed he shot the film in only seventeen days, working with a budget of $1 million. Many of the locations used were within the same neighborhood in order to facilitate a quick move from one to the other.

Principal cast


Critical response

In his review in The New York Times , A.O. Scott said, "Though it fails to be very interesting, Sidewalks of New York, like the people who populate Mr. Burns's New York, is impossible to dislike. If it's not especially funny, it is appealingly good-humored, and the actors perform well within the limitations of the script ... [Burns] deserves credit for avoiding the sudsy happily-ever-after clichés that deform so many contemporary romantic comedies. The view of love that emerges from Sidewalks, while it is not particularly deep or insightful, is refreshingly hard-headed without being altogether cynical." [3]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times observed, "The movie lives at the intersection between Woody Allen and Sex and the City ...[It] is funny without being hilarious, touching but not tearful, and articulate in the way that Burns is articulate, by nibbling earnestly around an idea as if afraid that the core has seeds." [4]

In Variety , Scott Foundas called the film "not just instantly forgettable, but beginning to fade from memory even as its images still play across the screen" and one "seized by fitful bouts of hilarity and charm," a picture whose "overall impression is one of overindulgence and underimagination - a sponge cake without the yeast." [5]

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said, "In the world of this picture, just about everything people do with their clothes on is a sham, or at best some lame diversion between the spasms of real life that take place only in a bedroom. This may be the way very young adults think, but as a presentation of grown-ups, Sidewalks of New York is just weird. It's also, scene by scene, well acted and well written. Burns writes clever dialogue, and he knows how to work with actors." [6]

In USA Today , Mike Clark rated the film two out of a possible four stars and commented, "Any goodwill the performers build up is quickly shot down by the incessant interviews, which restate the obvious when they're not showing how self-delusional some of these characters are. Those who teach public speaking sometimes advocate telling your audience what you're going to tell them, then actually telling them, then telling them what you've told them. Sidewalks reproves this isn't a wise path for movies." [7]

Box office

The film played on 224 screens and grossed $2,402,459 in the United States. The international box office accounted for another $1.1 million. [2]

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  1. Scott Macauley, 'Breaking Down Ed Burns' $9000 Budget', Filmmaker Magazine, 18 March 2011 accessed 23 July 2012
  2. 1 2 "Sidewalks of New York (2001)". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  3. A. O. Scott (2001-11-21). "''New York Times'' review". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  4. "''Chicago Sun-Times'' review". 2001-11-21. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  5. Foundas, Scott (2001-04-21). "''Variety'' review". Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  6. Mick LaSalle (2001-11-21). "''San Francisco Chronicle'' review". Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  7. "''USA Today'' review". 2001-11-21. Retrieved 2011-04-03.