Making the Grades
For four retired crooks, Miami's South Beach district used to be a nice place to live. But when the somewhat rundown residence hotel they call home begins to look attractive to younger beach bums and their landlord doubles the rent, they decide it's time for a neighborhood dis-improvement project.
Calling on their past experiences as moderately successful professional criminals, Bobby Bartellemeo (Richard Dreyfuss), Joey "Bats" Pistella (Burt Reynolds), Tony "The Mouth" Donato (Seymour Cassel) and Mike "The Brick" Donatelli (Dan Hedaya) hatch a seemingly simple plan. With Brick working at a mortuary doing makeup on corpses, Bats (who only gets good ideas when he's unconscious) figures a fake murder in their building will effectively send the yuppies packing. When an unknown body found on the beach arrives at work, Brick figures he has just the man for the job.
Putting a bullet through his head, they leave the corpse in the hotel lobby. Sure enough, media attention sends rents plummeting. But when they discover the unknown body is the father of Raul (Miguel Sandoval), a powerful drug lord, the gang suddenly find themselves not only running for their lives, but also enjoying the revitalizing feeling of being back in the old business.
In an attempt to make the four old guys appear innocent compared to Raul's nasty dealings, The Crew trivializes organized crime with silly hijinks that result in large amounts of property loss and plays depictions of violence for laughs. Meanwhile, Mouth becomes distracted by a stripper that he hires for some off-hours entertainment, and eventually begins a sexual relationship with... her mother.
Mixing their illegal behavior with some good intentions, such as Mouth discovering "love", Bats yearning to find the daughter he left behind when he went to jail thirty years ago, and the foursome's desire to help other elderly people afford to live in their building, the movie endeavors to present a warm and fuzzy message. Yet when you consider what these "reformed" crooks are willing to do to keep their rent down, you gotta wonder what they'd do if you played the stereo too loud.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Crew.
Why do movies often portray elderly people playing criminals in a comedic way? Can an elderly person be dangerous? Does the end result of The Crew’s actions justify their crimes?