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High Hopes 2: A New Beginning (2016)

| Comedy, Romance
Written, Directed, Produced by, and starring Dennis Cabrini, this hilarious new feature film comedy centers around Danny Valentino, an aging New York taxi cab driver whose passionate dream of being an actor gets him into a crazy situation!

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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Production Notes from IMDbPro

Status: Completed | See complete list of  »
Updated: 9 July 2016
More Info: See more production information about this title on IMDbPro.
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Cast

Credited cast, sorted by IMDb STARmeter:
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Boxing Spectator
Matt Jade ...
Matt
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The Boss
Sal Rinella ...
Actor Auditioning
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Carmela (Sis)
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Joanie Valentino
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Manny's Girl
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Danny Valentino
Michele Eve Nadler ...
Selena Valentino
Dale Killian ...
Mikey
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Sherry DiBiase
Oriana D'Agastino ...
Lisa Titanelli
Bob Dubato ...
Dick (Richard) DiBiase
Manny Rosario ...
Manny
Robin Lisanti ...
Boxing Spectator
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Storyline

Nothing seems to be working out for Danny Valentino. Despite being an aging taxi cab driver, he continues to pursue his unbreakable dream of becoming an actor! But this time, his high hopes get him into a horrible situation which ends up involving all the strange and aloof characters in his life. Now he must fight, quite literally, to keep his job, his wife, his dignity, and his life! Written by Andrew Schwarz

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Comedy | Romance

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HIGH HOPES 2: A NEW BEGNNING is New York story as told by real New Yorkers. Here is proof that all you need is a camera and passion if you want to tell a story.
11 September 2017 | by (Mexico) – See all my reviews

Danny Valentino (Dennis Cabrini) is a New York taxi driver who aspires to make it big as an actor. HIGH HOPES 2: A NEW BEGINNING recaps the events of part one where Danny and his hot temper got him in trouble with a passenger who turned out to be the executive producer of the Sitcom he had a shot at auditioning for, the producer Blacklisted Danny and now he's struggling more than ever. Danny is basically a bad-luck magnet, he's a constant underdog, but the man is relentless. He has as much a capacity to get himself into trouble as he does to somehow live another day. In the events of part 2 is less concerned with Danny trying to audition for more parts and with his day to day life which usually resembles a snowball of trouble, gaining traction as it gets bigger and bigger. Part of the problem is that Danny is hotheaded even by New York standards. He just can't back down, and while this is his most admirable trait it's also the reason behind most of his trouble. When the film begins he's eyeing the hot neighbor and making fun of the building's landlord unfortunate accident. His wife has enough of his behavior towards other women and now his landlord also sets the police on him. To make matters worse, Danny confronts his boss after his cab breaks down for the fourth time in a week. The boss is a woman who is as ruthless as they come and challenges Danny to a boxing match. In a single day, the worst of his life so far, Danny experiences run-ins with crazed New York denizens, tries to get his wife back, gets yelled at by his daughter who hates him and is abandoned by his best friend who moves to L.A. after their script goes nowhere. The pressure mounts on Danny, but the man can take it, he can get up, he has to. Unfortunately, losing his wife thanks to his behavior may be what finally breaks this tough guy.

Danny Valentino as portrayed by Dennis Cabrini is an example of a leading character who may be considered unlikable, but who is still worth following to see where he gets to. Most of the situations Danny confronts are of his own making, this is a man who makes his own luck, even if it tends to lean more towards bad luck than good luck. It is well known that New Yorkers are tough-hotheaded people, it's the only way to survive there. But Valentino doesn't know how to pick his fights, he just takes them all without caring what sort of trouble it may get him into. Throughout the day, we wonder how much he can take, what's going to be the breaking point? When is he going to say "OK, enough" and despite his behavior being somewhat unlikable, you just have to give it up for a guy who can't take "no" for an answer. He's constantly reminded that his time is up, that it's too late to make it big, but Valentino believes in himself and that gets him closer to where he wants to be. He is, deep down a good guy, like one of his neighbors tells him "you may have lust in your eyes, but are no cheater". Valentino loves his wife, and despite being neglected by his daughter he wants to be a good father for her too. That's a good guy in my book. Flawed characters may not be "likable" in traditional movie terms, but they are more relatable, more entertaining to see. Who is perfect? People are flawed, people need to work constantly to get better, and that's the root of character development on film, characters who take a journey of change to become better than they were a moment ago. That's who Danny is and it makes us root for him. And the film is entertaining in how it keeps the ball rolling, the pace is relentless. The amount of trouble and situation she gets into would break anyone, but this is a good example of a man who can take it and keep going.

Dennis Cabrini and co-director Andrew Schwarz work with very little here, from budget to equipment. But they are an example of self-thought filmmakers who don't wait around and simply go out there and make their film. Film-making is extremely difficult as an endeavor, no matter if the movie costs millions or if it costs next-to nothing, it all comes with its own set of logistical problems that need to be solved in order to successfully tell a story. People constantly brag about how they could make a movie better than the filmmakers while never ever making a move toward achieving any goal. For both Cabrini and Schwarz it's just a matter of picking a camera and telling their story, gathering cast and crew who usually work on both sides of the camera and make no more excuses. There is a passion here to make films, to tell a story, to perform. I even dare to say this is totally autobiographical and Cabrini lays it bare there for us to see. It's a deeply personal film. And we must remember, this is part 2, a sequel. So this is not the first time that Cabrini and company grab a camera and say: "Alright, let's get to work". They already made a first part and now they are back for more. It couldn't have been easy working with what is definitely guerrilla film-making techniques, shooting around New York without permits, etc. So they doubled down on their first feature and now there's a sequel. Danny Valentino may overcome the odds with each feature, but there's still room for him to grow as a character. Here's hoping we get to see part 3. These various elements constitute the strength of this project.


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