“City Island” depicts a quirky, funny family

Juliana Margulies in film that suggests we all have secrets

| May 9, 2010

A scene from City Island
City Island is a terrifically enjoyable little film that has the audience chuckling all the way through it and sometimes causes outright laughter.

The title refers to a little island off the east side of The Bronx in New York that is only one square mile in size and that used to be an old
fishing village. We are told that if you live there, you would never think about moving somewhere else.

Vince Rizzo and his family live on the island, they are one of the most interesting and unintentionally funny families you will ever meet, and they all have a secret that they are keeping from each other, some small and others very big indeed.

Vince is played by Andy Garcia, his wife, Joyce, is played by Julianna Margulies, and they have an older daughter named Vivian who isn’t
currently living at home and a teenage son named Vince Jr. who is in high school. All of the actors are outstanding with their parts and characterizations.

The time is spring break, and Vivian is home from college, or so her family believes, but Vivian’s secret is much more than just she has dropped out of college and doesn’t really want to be home.

Vince is a correctional officer who makes a point of telling people that he is not a “prison guard,” and once a week he tells his family that he has a poker game with friends, but that isn’t where he goes, although he is not having an affair, which is what Joyce thinks he is really up to.

Joyce’s secret at first is just that she smokes in secret, and when she learns that smoking isn’t allowed in prison, she says, “Being in prison
and not being allowed to smoke? That’s like being in jail!”

Junior’s secret is that he has a fetish for overweight girls and for one of their neighbors in particular.

Then when Vince brings a prisoner home to stay with them for a while, the prisoner becomes Vince’s biggest secret of all his secrets, and theirfirst dinner together with everyone is priceless.

However, the final showdown when all their secrets are revealed is classic and priceless.

City Island is a terrific film about a family who could have their own television show called “We’ve All Got a Secret.”

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”


“Hotshots” is a weekly movie review by Dan Culberson available on KGNU Community Radio (88.5 FM in Boulder and 1390 AM in Denver, on Filmchannel1, and on Boulder Reporter. Culberson has been reviewing films since 1972 for newspapers, magazines, radio and television.