This evening I was at a friend's birthday party and one of the conversations I had was about Italian movies. It began because the reality TV show "Jersey Shore" was brought up. I have not watched this yet, but think I may check it out just to what's up with Snookie and The Situation (I dunno). But then we got talking about great Italian movies. Of course "Scarface" was mentioned (not a favorite of mine - although Pacino is brilliant). Another discussed was "The Godfather" trilogy (genius!).
But, I would like to suggest some other, lesser known, films that are based around the Italian culture. The two that immediately jumped to mind, and were recommended in my conversation, were "Everybody Wants to be Italian" and "A Wedding for Bella" - both are basically romantic comedies (with a bit of drama thrown in for balance).
"Everybody Wants to be Italian" is about two people who meet at an Italian mixer dance. Our romantic lead here is a guy who runs a fish store and is still hung up on his ex-girlfriend. He is also not Italian which is the crux of the comedy. But all his friends and co-workers are. They insist he go to this Italian dance so he can meet a nice girl and get over his ex. He is set-up with Marissa. It's an interesting friendship that blooms. There are several character actors that will probably be recognized, and the movie is a funny examination of what it means to be Italian because as they say - Everybody want to be Italian!
I love "A Wedding for Bella" - it's touching, funny, romantic, heart-breaking, and just altogether wonderful. Scott Baio (the best I've ever seen him - you'll be surprised) is a high-powered business exec who really wants to be a baker. With his two brothers, he owns and operates, part-time, a bakery in an Italian neighborhood. Living above the bakery is an older couple who are like family. The movie explores what it means to be family and what a precious gift love is - in every form it touches your life. This one too has comedy, romance, drama - is both heart-breaking and beautifully love-affirming. And, Shuler Hensley is so good as one of the brothers.
In conclusion - whether it's a classic or a hidden gem - Italian films are just downright fun - so watch and enjoy!