Friday, June 18, 2010

Funny how? Funny Like a Clown?

Day 2 of Blogging Rehab:
Okay so I didn't realize it until this morning, but figuring out what my favorite movie was was even harder than my favorite song! After a long debate with myself (that sounds incredibly odd, but yes, it was me vs. me), I had to go with my all-time favorite: Goodfellas.

I even have this poster in my bedroom. (Yes...I still have movie posters, lay off). It would be an understatement to say that it clashes with my Kappa Delta frames and nautical pieces--quite frankly if people walked into my room they might think I had multiple personality disorder. Or that I was a sorority girl who maybe sails and then moonlights as a hit-woman.

Either way, Martin Scorcese is easily my most favorite director of all time. And I think he captured the original non-fiction craft of Nicholas Pileggi into nothing short of a masterpiece. I read his original book, "Wiseguys," and there were a couple of tweaks but overall it was pretty true to form. I think I'm also a little biased because most of the movie took place in Bensonhurst (as do most Scorcese movies), which is where most of my family grew up. And really, I'll be honest, I'm just fascinated by any and all mob movies.

What's so intriguing about Goodfellas though, is that Pileggi never paints these men as actually good OR bad, just born into a life that seems not only normal, but very respectable to many in the neighborhood. That's not to say the life of a gangster is completely glamorized, I mean they do show the scene where Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro have to dig a hole themselves to bury their recent hit, and Liotta repeatedly pukes. (As many times as I've seen this movie, I don't handle vom well, so to this day I still fast-forward through him heaving up his capicola and prosciutto).

I can't tell you exactly why, but my favorite dialogue in the movie is where all three of them come home to Tommy's mother's house in the middle of the night, and she cooks for them and they enjoying their post-whacking feast:

In the middle of dinner, his mother whips out an oil painting she just finished (Tidbit of trivia: Pileggi's mother actually painted it!), and she and Tommy go back and forth concerning this obvious masterpiece:


MOTHER: Have some more. You hardly touched anything. Did Tommy tell you about my painting? Look at this.
JIMMY: It's beautiful.
TOMMY: I like this one. One dog goes one way and the other goes the other.
MOTHER: One's going east, the other’s going west. So what?
TOMMY: And this guy's saying, "Whaddya want from me?" The guy's got a nice head of white hair. Beautiful. The dog it looks the same.
JIMMY: Looks like somebody we know.
TOMMY: Without the beard! Oh no, it's him! It's him. (They hear a loud thumping through the open window from the trunk of the car parked outside--the last guy they "whacked" isn't actually dead.)
TOMMY: What's that?

Just listening to their back-and-forth makes me die laughing every time. Not to mention the fact that they're enjoying their pasta while their latest hit is still half-alive in the truck of the car parked in the driveway.

There's also the famous scene where Joe Pesci grills Ray Liotta for telling him "he's funny." I would type out the whole dialogue but just reading it without Pesci's inflection and voice would not do it justice.

The whole movie is based on this "world" of organized crime, and although there are some dark parts, there are so many quick one-liners sprinkled in that you can't help but laugh. Pesci adds to the levity, and this was the movie that made me fall in love with both Ray Liotta and Robert DeNiro as actors. Again, I think I just love Robert DeNiro because some of his facial expressions mimic my grandfather to a T. And yeah, Ray Liotta has that AWFUL acne scarring and it looks like someone took meat-mallet to his face, but, I'm still a sucker for blue eyes so I can't help it.

I think this is just one of the few movies I own that I can watch over, and over and over again and never get sick of it. It has just all of these simple aspects that I love: Scorcese, Brooklyn, Italians, organized crime, and a lot of thinly sliced garlic. After typing this post, I might just now have to run to Publix, get myself a big Italian sub, and pop in this classic.

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