To many people, the name Tony Lip may be one you only know of from Donnie Brasco, The Sopranos and other related films. But before he was known for playing the typical Italian mobster and every day guy he had an interesting past and one that is brought to the big screen in the new film Green Book.
Green Book, named for the motorist travel book for African American travelers in the 50’s and 60’s takes you on a trip through the deep south where racial segregation still reigned. When Tony Vallelonga, a bouncer at the Copa is hired to escort a Black musician on a two month tour through the south and back home the two men face challenges along the way. From differences in values, views, racism, violence and even denial of service the two month trip may test both of them to their limits.
The story was written by Nick Vallelonga, Tony’s son and inspired by the real life story between Tony Lip and Dr. Don Shirley, a world-class African-American pianist. While they initially have a rough start, the journey takes them both to different places emotionally and physically throughout the journey and solidifies a friendship the two men had until their deaths.
Due to the time frame of the story, there are moments where the actions and time in history will make you cringe. The unfortunate parts of history are fully highlighted and put on display. But they show the viewers the reality of the past, and what Dr. Shirley lived through and was actively fighting against with his tour. They are also what motivated Tony to change his views and fight back against the issues he saw around him. The story of their friendship is one that will inspire you to look past what society says is the right, and find your own path. With the of use of many family members of the Vallelonga family as extras in the movie, the movie brings a lot of love and heart to a true story of friendship.
Green Book Trailer:
About GREEN BOOK:
When Tony Lip (Mortensen), an Italian-American bouncer with a seventh-grade education, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class African-American pianist on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on the “Negro Motorist Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for Blacks. Confronted with racism, danger—as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini. Directed by Peter Ferrelly. (UNIVERSAL) This film is rated PG-13.