Jump to content

Should Goodfellas remain on the list?  

15 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Should Goodfellas remain on the list?

    • He's a good fella, he's one of us.
      11
    • Go home and get your fuckin' shinebox.
      4

  • Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.
  • Poll closed on 05/15/20 at 07:00 AM

Recommended Posts

Amy & Paul jump into 1990’s kinetic Scorcese mob epic Goodfellas! They learn some of the wild details about Henry Hill that didn’t make it into the film, discover the origins of the Morrie’s Wigs commercial, and ask if there are too many gangster films on the AFI list. Plus: Chef Evan Funke (The Shape Of Pasta) shares a tomato sauce recipe you can make even in quarantine.

Next week tune in for our Spool Party episode about Kid N Play’s House Party! Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. And check out our Spool Parties live on youtube.com/earwolf– this Monday we’re talking about Clue!

Share this post


Link to post

Amy you have completely misread the last 30 minutes of Goodfellas. The prominence of the making of the food and the brother in the 3rd act has absolutely nothing to with Henry Hills relationship to them. It is merely meant to show his state of mind. That it is jarring to the audience is precisely the point. The  film isn't  trying to say he goes out of his way to pick up his brother and make him his favorite meal amid all the craziness because of some great love or loyalty. He's out of his mind on drugs, he shouldn't even leave the house. The fact that stirring sauce and trafficking guns and drugs is given the same weight by the narrator is insane and that's the point!! He has lost the ability to tell the difference between the mundane and ultra serious parts of the story he is telling. These things  had only been shown in background up until now because they were incidental to the story. They still are but he's so off the rails there is no difference in his mind. This is exactly the way that someone that coked out would tell it. It's actually brilliant. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Joshua Davison said:

Amy you have completely misread the last 30 minutes of Goodfellas. The prominence of the making of the food and the brother in the 3rd act has absolutely nothing to with Henry Hills relationship to them. It is merely meant to show his state of mind. That it is jarring to the audience is precisely the point. The  film isn't  trying to say he goes out of his way to pick up his brother and make him his favorite meal amid all the craziness because of some great love or loyalty. He's out of his mind on drugs, he shouldn't even leave the house. The fact that stirring sauce and trafficking guns and drugs is given the same weight by the narrator is insane and that's the point!! He has lost the ability to tell the difference between the mundane and ultra serious parts of the story he is telling. These things  had only been shown in background up until now because they were incidental to the story. They still are but he's so off the rails there is no difference in his mind. This is exactly the way that someone that coked out would tell it. It's actually brilliant. 

And the other characters in the movie literally tell this to him. Both Paulie and Jimmy tell him he needs to lay off the drugs because they're turning his "mind into mush." This whole sequence demonstrates that. Within this sequence we also have a direct refutation of the idea that Henry's narration only repeats to us what's on the screen: the guns he brings to Jimmy are clearly crap, as we can see from the visuals. Jimmy is right to reject them. Yet Henry's narration acts like Jimmy was crazy to turn them down. He's not reliable, and the movie wants you to know that. The narration puts you at a distance on purpose.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
16 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

And the other characters in the movie literally tell this to him. Both Paulie and Jimmy tell him he needs to lay off the drugs because they're turning his "mind into mush." This whole sequence demonstrates that. Within this sequence we also have a direct refutation of the idea that Henry's narration only repeats to us what's on the screen: the guns he brings to Jimmy are clearly crap, as we can see from the visuals. Jimmy is right to reject them. Yet Henry's narration acts like Jimmy was crazy to turn them down. He's not reliable, and the movie wants you to know that. The narration puts you at a distance on purpose.

I thought the entire movie is that Henry Hill is supposed to be an unreliable narrator. The highs are never that high. The lows are never his fault. And with what we know from the real life person, that seems consistent with who he is. I feel like a lot of the inconsistencies (but certainly not all of them) are tied to Henry Hill saying one thing and him just being wrong.

If Amy doesn't like the movie, that's fine. I like the movie okay but am maybe not a huge fan of it either. I genuinely agree with the criticism that Pesci is too old but I felt like the rest of her criticisms didn't make much sense. Especially the sauce argument. It's such a huge stereotype that Italian Americans love sauce that I don't think we need our hands held with an earlier scene of it. Unless the movie makes a point of saying "this guy really hates cooking" I won't balk at them showing an Italian American cooking tomato sauce.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I think one of the major points glossed over was upending the "noble Mafia criminal" trope that the Godfather films spawned. When I saw the movie my first thought afterwards was that I loved how it subverted the HUGE cultural Godfather Mafia myth. The film basically tears down all the noble, family first, "we're not animals, we're businessmen, our families are important" theme of both Godfather movies. They are venal, fairly dumb, violent thugs and not criminal masterminds looking to create an Empire. They are making jokes, robbing, getting loot - but then murdering someone because they get irked for 2 seconds, destroying their own efforts.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, grudlian. said:

If Amy doesn't like the movie, that's fine. I like the movie okay but am maybe not a huge fan of it either. I genuinely agree with the criticism that Pesci is too old but I felt like the rest of her criticisms didn't make much sense. Especially the sauce argument. It's such a huge stereotype that Italian Americans love sauce that I don't think we need our hands held with an earlier scene of it. Unless the movie makes a point of saying "this guy really hates cooking" I won't balk at them showing an Italian American cooking tomato sauce.

I remember Amy going on about the pasta sauce in The Canon episode about this movie too and found it an equally exasperating point.

On Pesci: for me having an older actor in this part kind of subconsciously suggests to the audience that, yeah, this guy is too old to be acting this way and it's definitely not sustainable for him. Not sure if that was intentional or not, but I think this gives the character a greater undercurrent of menace from the beginning.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I remember Amy going on about the pasta sauce in The Canon episode about this movie too and found it an equally exasperating point.

On Pesci: for me having an older actor in this part kind of subconsciously suggests to the audience that, yeah, this guy is too old to be acting this way and it's definitely not sustainable for him. Not sure if that was intentional or not, but I think this gives the character a greater undercurrent of menace from the beginning.

I've fallen behind in these covid times (and unfortunately on the slew of movies I mostly haven't seen - I've been relatively busy).

I still need to rewatch Goodfellas, and being someone who remembers being mostly "meh" on it (and I think I'm more meh on mob movies), I found Amy's two big complaints to be exasperating in such a way, I just assumed she mostly argued a much higher level thesis on The Canon episode and this was her wrestling with details of why this movie doesn't work for her - which seem like mostly nitpicks.  Though, I am also confused by the idea that someone who went into details of how food was prepared in prison would be considered someone who wouldn't cook seems weird to me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I remember Amy going on about the pasta sauce in The Canon episode about this movie too and found it an equally exasperating point.

On Pesci: for me having an older actor in this part kind of subconsciously suggests to the audience that, yeah, this guy is too old to be acting this way and it's definitely not sustainable for him. Not sure if that was intentional or not, but I think this gives the character a greater undercurrent of menace from the beginning.

I feel kind of the same about his brother suddenly being important. I think it's a more valid point, but another huge stereotype of Italian American mafia movies and families is the importance of family while also being really shitty to them. So, his brother being important is awfully convenient, but not a deal breaker. I don't think she's wrong to point this stuff out but her biggest arguments felt like nitpicks to me. I'm certainly guilty of that myself but I was expecting much more substantive arguments from her after Paul said the episode of The Canon was convincing.

I'm not sure I agree with your point that Pesci being too old cements that his behavior isn't sustainable. I think it kind of proves that it has been sustainable for him if he's made it to 47 acting that way. His connections have covered for him long enough that he doesn't need to learn. With a younger actor, it would feel more to me that this will probably be his downfall. But Pesci is so good in this that I guess I don't care.

So, I get Amy's point here with Pesci's age. I've seen this a couple times and I guess I never even thought of Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta as childhood friends even though that's clearly what they are supposed to be. But I understand Paul's point as well. If you're going to have a movie take place over 20-30 years, how do you cast that? Typically it's young people who eventually get grey hair wigs and makeup but I don't see why de-aging people is a problem either (except that it usually isn't convincing).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I think Amy is right about the age stuff. I think the whole story would've felt more consequential if these guys were all like 30. Then they'd truly be throwing their lives away by living this sort of life and facing prison time at the end and everything. The stakes would have felt so much higher and urgent. But I guess it's a 'true' story so they had to go this way? I dunno.

I like the movie a good bit, truly, but I did vote no here. I just don't know if it transcends the genre so much.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I voted no because I don’t think we need (3) Scorsese/DeNiro films on the list and none of them are very 

I would be willing to keep this one over Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, but there really only needs to be one of these on the list.

Out of Scorsese’s filmography on the whole, I think The Departed would be a better film to include. It was Scorsese’s first Oscar win for Best Picture, has far better performances, and WAY more interesting characters with motivation beyond “I wanna be a gangster.”

For gangster/mob movies, I’d love to see Scarface on the list (1983 remake, though 1932 is excellent as well). Goodfellas is way too similar to The Godfather for me to wanna keep it, but Scarface (Al Pacino notwithstanding) is a more focused story and would diversify the list to add a story of Cuban refugees in the ‘80.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm mostly in agreement with Amy on this one.  For one thing, I would definitely choose Taxi Driver and Raging Bull over this, and I'm okay with that amount of representation from Scorsese/De Niro on the list.  (I'd be willing to consider a Scorsese/DiCaprio if people could agree on one, since DiCaprio is really Scorsese's better version of Ray Liotta.  Just not Wolf of Wall Street, please.)

I think Amy is spot-on about the age thing.  I don't remember her mentioning this in the episode of the Canon about Goodfellas, but it's something that I didn't pinpoint as a cause of my frustration until she mentioned it.  The real life Billy Batts was 29 years older than the real life Tommy, who was 19 or 20 when he murdered Batts.  Frank Vincent, who played Batts in the film, is less than 6 years older than Joe Pesci.  That discrepancy completely changes the tone of the scene.  From the point of view of Batts, it would seem more like more like a harmless joke for him to tease a teenager.  Instead, it looks like they are generational peers, so Batts's teasing comes off as making fun solely of Tommy's social position in the gang, which makes Batts seem more like an asshole, which makes Tommy's response seem, while still excessive, more justified.  The other side of this coin is when Tommy terrorizes Spider.  In reality, Tommy wouldn't be much older than Spider, so the only difference between them is the social power.  Instead, Tommy maybe seems a bit more justified in expecting respect from Spider because of their on-screen age generation difference.  In all, it lessens who Tommy is as a character, because we don't get to see how psychopathic he is at such a young age.  I love Joe Pesci's performance, and he crafts an incredible character for this, but the character doesn't fit the script as tightly as it could, and that's because he's playing someone 25 years younger.  I'd love to say, imagine if Michael Imperioli (who played Spider) were playing Tommy and gave that same performance, how much different the character would seem.  But then if Michael Imperioli (or any other 20-25 year old) could give a Joe Pesci performance, I'm sure they would.

On the "final day as a gangster" sequence: I'm mostly with Amy, but the pasta sauce argument is not a hill I'm willing to die on.  However, she's right that we don't get any indication from the rest of the film that bringing his brother to his house and painstakingly cooking him his favorite meal is in character for Henry Hill.  Now, there are two counters to Amy's argument: the "drugs defense", which is that Henry was high out of his mind and we can't expect him to act logically in character under those circumstances; and the "ordinary day defense", which is that these are unremarkable things that tended to happen offscreen and wouldn't need to be noted on except that they happen to be the things that were happening on the day he got busted.  (Note that I don't believe that you can argue both of these simultaneously with logical consistency, because either these actions are in Henry's nature, or they aren't.)  I have some problems with both of these defenses though.  The obvious hole in the "ordinary day defense" is that I think the film goes out of its way to point out how extraordinary the day is, when Henry listed off how busy he was.  As far as I can tell, the film is telling us that running all over town to coordinate different things is not something that Henry tended to do on a semi-regular basis. 

So, the "drugs defense": as far as I can tell, this was Scorsese's intention, as it seems in line with the film's verdict that doing drugs is worse than violence or theft, and it makes the most sense within the story.  However, I think this puts a harsh spotlight on the narration.  Who is narrating the film?  Is it supposed to be Henry's inner monologue at the time depicted on screen?  Not likely, because he's using the past tense.  Is it supposed to be Henry on the witness stand, which fits with the awkward fourth wall break scene at the end?  For one thing, as mentioned in the podcast, that doesn't explain the bits of Karen's narration, since the scene with the FBI guy makes it pretty clear that he doesn't need her to testify.  And for another thing, I think that works against the "drugs defense", since if he's stone cold sober on the witness stand making the narration commenting on things he did while high, would he really act as if they all made sense in hindsight?  To me, the "drugs defense" only works if you assume the Henry making the narration is also on drugs.  So to me, this is far less an indictment of the "drugs defense" than it is of the narration.  What I'm trying to say is that the narration in this film sucks, in so many ways.  In general, I do find it rare when a film has narration that I actually think is done well, but this is not one of those rare cases.  And to be clear, I don't think that Scorsese fell short of his aim in some way.  As alluded to on the podcast, Scorsese knows that this film is chock full of shitty, lazy, hack screenwriting and stylistic choices, but included them anyway as a "punk-rock" fuck-you sort of spirit.  He is enough of a technical master and a student of cinema that he knows full well how incoherent so much of this is, which he did to make the film intentionally jarring to audiences.  He executed that vision exceptionally.  I'm just far less impressed by that vision as I am of so much of his other work.  I'm still glad this film exists!  It's fun to watch, and like Amy, I'm happy that so many people love it more than me.  I just think it's a bit overrated among Scorsese's filmography, and I wouldn't vote for it on the AFI list.

And finally, I just want to say that I used to think the "Layla" sequence was one of the best melds of music and film.  On this rewatch, it's really not.  "Layla" just happens to be one of the greatest songs ever written, so of course it heightens anything it's used for.  I could make a montage of myself taking out the garbage and it would be more captivating and memorable if I put "Layla" overtop of it.  In general, I had a particularly negative reaction to all of the music drops on this rewatch.

Also, lots of people making their first posts on the forum for this film.  Which is great!  I'm always curious which films/episodes of the podcast will cause people to create an account, but it's not too surprising that this is one of them.  I hope everyone comes back in a couple weeks to talk about The Bridge on the River Kwai as we all get the Colonel Bogey March stuck in our heads.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

This was a pretty frustrating episode to listen to. I love hearing opposing viewpoints as it makes me think critically about why I personally may like or dislike something, but the complaints Amy had for Goodfellas felt so off-base and nit-picky that I wasn't sure if she was doing a bit or not half the time.

Briefly, regarding Henry's love of cooking seemingly coming out of nowhere, I agree with Paul in that I don't think we need a scene that establishes his love of sauces or cooking for it to "make sense" that he is cooking at the end of the film. As was stated in an earlier post, that completely misses the point of the scene and how it's intentionally manic because he's high on coke. That being said, they totally do establish his love (or at least knowledge/interest) of cooking (and specifically sauces) during that first scene in the prison when they are having dinner. The scene opens on Paulie thinly slicing garlic with a razor as Henry's narration explains that this "very good system" allows the garlic to liquefy with a little bit of oil. He then complains that Vinny uses too many onions in the sauce he cooks, though it's still very good. The scene is a full minute of Henry talking about and critiquing cooking.

Now, for my experience: I first saw Goodfellas when I was a teenager and had dismissed it as a typical gangster film that glorifies being in the mob. I realized during this rewatch just how wrong I was and I ended up, surprisingly, loving this film. I think there are maybe 2 or 3 instances that briefly show some benefits to the mob life such as having the mail man roughed up or the aforementioned dinner privileges at the prison. But for every seeming benefit there are half-a-dozen horrors tipping the scale back: Dealing with psychotic men like Tommy who have no qualms about killing anybody for almost anything; the creeping realization that the whole "family" thing is BS and that ANYONE may turn their back on you or kill you for any reason; the ever-looming risk of going to jail; having to bury bodies; the list goes on and on. This time around I did not feel like it glorified the life at all. Much like Fight Club or The Sopranos I'm shocked by how many people watched this film and thought "yeah, that's so badass, I wanna be like that." You'd have to completely ignore the messages of these films/shows to think that Tyler Durden or Tony Soprano were people to idolize or that the mafia was a cool organization to join.

All that said, while I ended up loving this film so much more than I thought I would, I have to admit that there are a handful of Scorsese films that I think deserve spots on the AFI top 100 above this. I find Scorsese's films that deal with faith and religion to be so much more interesting and thought-provoking than any of his mob films (haven't seen Casino, though) so I would gladly take Kundun, The Last Temptation of Christ or Silence before Goodfellas any day of the week. I still voted to keep it on the list as I think it's a vastly superior to 90% of the other films currently on the AFI Top 100.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Great episode -- honestly, it's kind of a thrill to watch (or listen to, in this case) someone tear into a sacred cow. Amy pulls no punches -- Kael would be proud. 

But I've still got bones to pick. Re: the last thirty minutes: of course the brother and the dinner aren't as important as the guns or the drugs. If Henry still had his life under control, he would know that, but he doesn't. He's too coked up for that. His mind is mush, he doesn't know which way is up, and he has no sense of priority. It makes no sense for the Henry Hill of the first half to make these kinds of mistakes, but that Henry Hill doesn't exist anymore. 

Amy and Paul both talked a fair amount about the relatively short life span of a mobster -- that's what this last third of the film drives home for me. Sooner or later, everyone makes a mistake, especially the ones who can't keep their noses clean. In a funny way, though, drugs kind of save Henry Hill's life. If it weren't for the blow, Henry might have stayed in the business long enough to get killed or wind up in Sing Sing for life. Death or prison - there's no other ending. 

To pivot to another problem Amy has with the movie, I think this is what's going on for Jimmy in the scene where he destroys the phone booth after hearing about Tommy's death. It's not so much that he's grieving the loss of his friend -- he's grieving his own life. Out of the three of them, Tommy was the only one who could get made, and even he ends up getting whacked. On some level, I think Jimmy realizes in that moment that the same thing is going to happen to him. He's dedicated thirty years of his life to a business that will literally kill him one day. That's the deal he made -- it's the same deal every gangster makes. And sure, on some level, every one who works for the mob knows how the story has to end, but it's human nature to think that your story is going to be different, right up to the moment that someone puts a gun in your face. Not everyone gets to have that moment of reckoning. 

(SPOILERS FOR THE IRISHMAN)

Interesting, too, to think that De Niro goes on to play Frank Sheeran, another character who has to reckon with the trade-offs he made for a life in organized crime. The Irishman and Goodfellas both are sort of "best case scenario" mob movies: either you end up in witness protection, or you get out of jail an old man and you die alone, ruminating on the lives you ended, the people you betrayed and alienated, all for what? 

As for why there are so many mob movies on the AFI list, I think that there's something uniquely American about mob stories. These films -- Goodfellas, The Godfather Saga, even On the Waterfront -- are all about the intersection of business and family. Sometimes that family is aspect is literal, but for the most part it's a metaphor or a stand-in. I think a lot about the language used in American businesses, big and small, that emphasize the importance of family. The implication is, particularly in more working class jobs, that you should be willing to make sacrifices for your bosses and co-workers, that your co-workers are your brothers and sisters, and that your bosses are Mommy and Daddy. They'll protect you, they say. They'll take care of you, they say. So you stick your neck out for them, you work hard and they reap the benefits of your labor (I'm starting to sound like the communists in Hail, Caesar!), and you don't ever dare to question their authority, even when you're putting your own family at risk (for an example, take a look at the way major corporations are treating their low-wage employees in the middle of a pandemic). 

Mob stories have an intrinsic relationship to American capitalism -- trick people into doing dangerous work for (relatively) low wages by exploiting their relationship to the word "family." Sure, the characters in Goodfellas and The Godfather seem to be pretty well off, but then every corporation needs upper and mid-level management. On the Waterfront and The Irishman are about the grunts. 

In any case, great episode as always, but if anything I think Goodfellas should be WAY higher on the list. 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
On 5/9/2020 at 7:48 AM, AlmostAGhost said:

I think Amy is right about the age stuff. I think the whole story would've felt more consequential if these guys were all like 30. Then they'd truly be throwing their lives away by living this sort of life and facing prison time at the end and everything. The stakes would have felt so much higher and urgent. But I guess it's a 'true' story so they had to go this way? I dunno.

I like the movie a good bit, truly, but I did vote no here. I just don't know if it transcends the genre so much.

I think maybe if they seem younger and more fresh-faced you're more likely to sympathize with them when they fall. Most of Scorsese's choices are working against that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I don’t want to be too long winded so I’ll try to be as brief as possible.

I am third generation Italian-American. I related hard to Paul’s story of being put in a headlock at a graduation party because of his alleged “funniness.” And Amy’s response about being WASPy, and being confused by it is precisely why I don’t think she likes this movie.

I agree with Paul that casting people on the edges of 20-40 makes sense for such a long timeline. You age ‘em down a little in the beginning, then age ‘em up later on.

On Joe Pesci being too old for the role, it never once in my entire life occurred to me, probably because I have cousins who at 19 looked like they were as old as Joe Pesci. Seriously, 1/3rd of my family are balding, stout Italians at 19. 

Amy’s argument about Henry Hill “suddenly” caring about his brother. I would say “yeah, he’s gotta go pick up his brother.” Amy reminded me of the people who were mad we didn’t see Rey’s training in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, calling her a Mary Sue.

I don’t understand how it’s hard to imagine Henry needing to pick up his wheelchair bound brother for some needlessly extravagant dinner he’s planned while coked up. We don’t need two additional scenes of him having a heart to heart with his brother about how he’ll always pick him up from the airport.

I think Goodfellas is an amazingly crafted and entertaining movie that stands the test of time.

I think that Amy simply doesn’t like it because she doesn’t relate, which is fine, it’s okay to not like a movie, but I think she’s wrong. I could go on for longer, but those were my three biggest issues with Amy’s assessment of the movie. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I think maybe if they seem younger and more fresh-faced you're more likely to sympathize with them when they fall. Most of Scorsese's choices are working against that.

Maybe it's because I haven't seen this movie since I was 20, maybe younger, (an age when everyone your age is played by someone in their 30s or 40s), so I don't remember the age aspect of it very well.

Though watching Mean Streets about a year ago, De Niro to some extent, never really looked young, even when he presumably was.

I do wonder how much my pack of interest in the crime films come from not really growing up around the mob, like Scorsese did (something Amy alluded to, but seemed to proclaim more universally). If I get the time to revisit this one (I was more interested in revisiting the Godfather), I'll be curious to see if it aged better for me. Though I wasn't that big on The Irishman (or, a few years ago trying to watch The Sopranos, I went through one season and didn't have that strong of an interest).

Not to say someone who didn't grow up in areas affected by the mob couldn't find this stuff interesting, just, I wonder how much not growing up with it plays into the people who aren't interested as much in it (which is to say, if I were to bump a Scorsese off the list, it'd be this one at the moment).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I enjoyed listening to the episode - I think it will be one of Unspooled's best. Not because anyone "won" an argument or anthing, but it was an actual discussion about how two people see a film.

Amy's ideas about the casting was something I never considered before, and I can kind of see it. Not that I necessarily agree with it. Actually, I'm of two minds. Wasn't it Roger Altman who said that 90% of the director's creative work is in casting? It's a part of the palette the director can use to paint the film how he/she wants to. It *could* have lent something completely different to some of those key scenes. Not only that, but for a film that's meant to be autobiographical and therefore ostensibly more "real," a better air of authenticity such as with age ranges would help. That being said, Scorcese certainly wanted a "performance" on his palette rather than shades of "true to the age range." And we can't argue that the performances aren't great. (Also, this argument wasn't the "hill" Amy wanted to die on anyway, so it's not a key point or anything. I'd just like to add that this is the kind of criticism that is faulting a film for what it it *isn't*, which I never really put too much stock into.)    

I kept waiting for some more substantial criticism but it never really came. I don't like this movie. I tried a rewatch before the podcast episode, but it still never clicked. I watched it as a young person and didn't get why it was so praised. Rewatched as a more serious film student years later and said "Oh!" but yeah still didn't get it. It's a fine movie, not saying it's bad. Just overrated.

For sake of context, I don't like gangster films in general. If that discredits my p.o.v., that's ok. I'll own up to that. I did enjoy Godfather 1 (and 2 even moreso) as those seemed to invoke something larger, more epic or akin to a tale of a dynasty. Goodfellas and others of its ilk are always so mundane, trying to normalize but deify the lifestyle, to delight in it and condemn it at the same time, ultimately rendering it pointless. Goodfellas in particular has no arc for its character. Granted, it's more nonfiction and documentary in its roots, but essentially the character Henry Hill is the same at the beginning and at the end. He and by extention the viewers don't actually learn anything. Noboby is truly challenged or conflicted, or if they are, they don't really do anything/can't do anything about it. I rarely like narration as a device, and here it just feels so random. Take that plus the breaking of the fourth wall at the end and the whole thing basically boils down to your old granduncle trying to tell the same story of his glory days for no reason whether you want to listen or not. Great, thanks, uncle Hill. Got it. Sure, tell me again about cooking sauce in prison, yeah.   

    

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Maybe Goodfellas was already spoiled for me because of the Goodfeathers segments on Animaniacs. 

  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I already expressed my disagreement with Amy on this film back in the Canon days, but I'd like to agree with those people who don't think it's "out of nowhere" or requires explanation for Henry to care about his brother or want to make the sauce right. Those are normal things which don't require exposition to establish. Henry's criminal activities are unusual, and that's what the film mostly focused on, only showing this other side of him when that intersected with his criminal life collapsing.

I also don't really think of On the Waterfront as being a comparable "mob movie", since the main characters aren't really mobsters.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×