#94: Goodfellas

If the whole job thing doesn’t work out, as well as my Bonnie & Clyde-esque capers, my next career path will probably be to join the mob.  And I’ll tell you why.

GoodfellasTwo reasons: Italian food and booze.  As evident in Goodfellas (#94), the two commodities are never scarce when you’re a gangster.  Everyone is well fed and much imbibed with drink.  So what’s not to love?

Well actually… a lot, and Ray Liotta’s character Henry Hill finds out the hard way.  As a child, Henry dreams of becoming a gangster.  So he does what ANY kid from Brooklyn does if he wants to hit the mob fast track: join the corrupt Italian front company across the street.  They’re everywhere, right?

Working for mob boss Paul Cicero, Henry meets all the top Brooklyn gangsters, baddest among those are Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci).  Jimmy is a smooth talking big spender, but plays his cards close to his chest.  Tommy on the other hand has a bit of an anger problem.  If you talk smack on the guy, chances are he’ll kill you.  Or at least stomp on you a few times and stuff you in his trunk.

Life is good for Henry.  He’s settled down with a nice girl, had a few kids, and receives a constant stream of income from his airport heist business.  But that starts to change when Jimmy shoots one too many friends of “the family.”  Oh, and Henry takes on multiple mistresses, which doesn’t make his wife very happy and she threatens to shoot him.  Then there’s the fact that he’s started dealing/taking dope and his friends are getting “whacked” left and right, which leaves Henry always watching his back because he’s a paranoid mess.

Whew.  He might get his meals and drinks for free, but at what a cost.

I’ve wanted to see this movie for a long time.  Martin Scorsese ranks up there as one of my favorite directors.  The fact I hadn’t seen this film until now should really be a crime.  Scorsese paces the narrative so that you can’t seem to pull yourself away.  Match that with visuals that shift with the story and you’ve got yourself a film worthy of a place in the top 100.

The ending of this film was ruined for me.  Not because I have some malicious friend who likes to spoil movies for me.  All thanks to Netflix, the ending was apparent before I even put the disc in the player.  It’s not like the film has a M. Night Shyamalan-esque twist or anything, but you’d like to at least be surprised when you reach the credits.  Netflix on the other hand likes to pass off in its summaries crucial pieces of the resolution as minor plot points.  Here’s the Netflix synopsis of Goodfellas:

Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro chew plenty of scenery, but the focus of this gripping Martin Scorsese opus is real-world mobster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), a gangster who dreamed of making it big but landed in the Witness Protection Program.

This whole Witness Protection Program thing is only introduced in the last five minutes of the film.  Last five minutes.  If you were a writer of descriptions at Netflix, don’t you think it would be a good idea to not give away any information that occurs in these final frames?  Having this information made me ponder all kinds of things as I was watching.  “When is he going to enter the Witness Protection Program?”  “I wonder what happens that lands him in the Witness Protection Program.”  “Two hours have passed.  Why isn’t he in the Witness Protection Program yet?”

So maybe the mob isn’t a very good choice of employment.  But I potentially see a future in writing Netflix summaries.  At least I’d do better than the broad writing them now.

Brett HeadBrett HeadBrett HeadBrett HeadBrett Head 5 out of 5 Brett Heads


1 Response to “#94: Goodfellas”

  1. October 8, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Great post baby! I loved it! And you can be a gangsta, but I’ll be the one behind bars if you take on any mistresses!

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