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GOODFELLAS (A Thank you to Marty)

GOODFELLAS-United States-1990

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill

Robert De Niro as James Conway

Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito

Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill

Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero

Directed by Martin Scorsese
Screenplay by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese
Based on the book “Wise Guy” by Nicholas Pileggi
“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster”-Henry Hill

This marks the third time that I’ve started writing this review. I begin, I trash it. I begin, I trash it. I just can’t think of what to say that would do this perfect film any justice. It is, in my humble opinion the greatest movie from the man who makes the world’s greatest movies. I tried to write down the basic synopsis of the film and I would just stop. What the hell was the point? This film was released in 1990 and if you haven’t seen it yet then you either don’t like movies or you’ve been living under a rock in Funk and Wagnall’s’ back yard. So, without a synopsis, there’s no review, right? Well, yes and no. If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you pretty much know that I don’t write the most descriptive of summaries or synopses. Why start with Goodfellas? So what could I do to make this review stand out? Then it dawned on me. I’m not going to write a review. I’m just going to say these simple words:

Thank you, Marty Scorsese, for making the world’s greatest movies. Without them I can honestly say that my life and the lives of millions of others just wouldn’t be the same.

TRIVIA

The “You think I’m funny?” scene was based on a story that Joe Pesci acted out forMartin Scorsese. While working in a restaurant as a young man, Pesci once told a mobster that he was funny and the mobster became very angry. Scorsese allowed Pesci and Ray Liotta to improvise the scene. He did not tell the other actors in the scene what would happen because he wanted their genuine surprised reactions.

For the famous “Layla” montage, Martin Scorsese actually played the “piano coda” section of the song during the shooting of each scene so that certain bars of the piano piece would match up with certain shots.

According to the real Henry Hill, whose life was the basis for the book and film, Joe Pesci’s portrayal of Tommy DeVito was 90% to 99% accurate, with one notable exception; the real Tommy DeVito was a massively built, strapping man.

After the premiere, Henry Hill went around and revealed his true identity. In response, the government kicked him out of the Federal Witness Protection Program.

 

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DEATH AND THE MOVIES

Christopher Walken

Christopher Walken

There is nothing more certain than death. You can’t run from it. You can’t hide from it. You know neither when, where or how it will occur, but you just know it’s going to happen sooner or later.

One thing that is for certain is that The Grim Reaper and the cinema have quite a relationship going on. Real or imagined, the movie industry has been the scene of many a memorable demise. So, here for your entertainment is a list of 18 memorable cinematic deaths. Enjoy.

Goodfellas-1990-It was revenge for Billy Batts… Batts was a made man, and Tommy wasn’t.

The death of Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) is one of the greatest moments of self-realiztion in the history of cinema. That “Oh, no”  that Tommy utters before his death may as well have been “I’m dead” or “I’m screwed.”

Final Destination 2-2003-Death comes for Tim Carpenter

The only thing I can say about this scene is that if Tim’s mom had any sense of foresight she would have been wise to cancel his dental appointment. All that money spent and the kid gets flattened right outside the building. Yeesh.

Jurassic Park-1993-T-Rex has lawyer for lunch

I’m sure there were a lot of people secretly thanking the T-Rex for this one. In an act of cowardice, the lawyer Gennaro (Martin Ferrari) leaves the children to fend for themselves againt the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The T-rex has other plans, however.

X-Men-2000-”I think you’ve got one less person to be afraid of”-Senator Robert Kelley (Bruce Davison) to Storm (Halle Berry) before succumbing to the mutation that liquifies his body. Senator Kelley doesn’t go to a watery grave; he becomes it.

Jason X-2001-Face-off

This has to be one of the coolest kills in the history of the Friday the 13th franchise. Pun intended.

Saving Private Ryan-1998-A Coward dies a thousand deaths; a hero only one

Private Upham (Jeremy Davies) is too much of a coward to save the life of his colleague, Private Mellish (Adam Goldberg). The German soldier who kills Mellish is so confident that he poses no threat that he walks right past him.

Deep Blue Sea-1999-”I have had it with these motherf**kin’ sharks in this motherf**kin’ movie”

Hey, Samuel, don’t look now, but I think the sharks feel the same way about you. Either that or they were getting tired of your ridiculous mon0logue.

Psycho-1960

This one needs no introduction. It is firmly entrenched as a classic in every sense of the word.

Bonnie and Clyde-1967-A new era for American filmmaking

Bonnie and Clyde marked the beginning of a new, more violent era in American Film. The final scene in which Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) are gunned down by Texas Rangers plays out like a ballet of violence, blood and bullets.

The Deer Hunter-1978-”One shot.”

Michael (Robert DeNiro) desperately attempts to get his friend Nick (Christopher Walken) back home to the States. He reminds Nick of the way things were before Viet Nam. The trees. The deer. One shot. It is one of the saddest scenes in film history.

Alien-1979-In space no one can hear you scream

Another scene that needs no introduction. It is still effective over 30 years later.

The Fly (1958)-”Help me, help meeee!!”

I never understood why so many people laugh at this scene. It scared the bejeebers out of me when I was a kid. It still scares the bejeebers out of me.

Robocop-1987-Part man.Part machine. All cop.

Every superhero has an origin. Little does Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) realize, but he’s about to become a superhero.

True Romance-1993-”I haven’t killed anybody since 1984.”

Clifford Worley (Dennis Hopper) knows that he’s going to die. He’s ready for it. What he doesn’t want is to be tortured. If you listen closely as he tells Coccotti (Christopher Walken) about the origins of his Sicilian skin tone and hair color, you can hear an angelic chorus. It’s as if they’re just waiting for Coccotti to pull the trigger. Putting Hopper and Walken in a scene this strong is a work of casting genius.

American Beauty-1999-” My name is Lester Burnham. This is my neighborhood; this is my street; this is my life. I am 42 years old; in less than a year I will be dead. Of course I don’t know that yet, and in a way, I am dead already.”

Every time I see this scene I think of the quote by John Lennon. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

The Green Mile-1999-”He killed them with their love. That’s how it is; everyday all over the world. “

A masterpiece of a motion picture from start to finish. Like The Shawshank Redemption, it is a poignant film about hope and redemption in the most difficult of times.

Sin City-2005-”He never screams. Even after the dog has its fill and his guts are hanging out, he never screams.”

All I can say is that I will never look at Elijah Wood the same way ever again after this film. I loved the graphic novels and I loved the movie.

Final Destination 3-2006

I wonder if tanning salons took a dive in business after this scene.

There you have it. The many faces of death. Faces of Death…hmm…that has potential.

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