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#94 - Goodfellas

Ah, yes, the first Scorsese film on the List (out of three, I think). Done in 1990, this one stars Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci as three up-and-coming mob guys from the 60's to the 80's.

Another seemingly violent and morally bankrupt film. We've been through a rough patch it seems, with this and two other movies we've seen so far for our little project. But this one was somehow less reprehensible than the others. I think it has to do with the fact that Scorsese is nonetheless telling a moral fable -- which Unforgiven and Pulp Fiction weren't really doing. Yes, the characters do some pretty terrible things, but it all catches up with them. And, in actuality, the only character who does truly reprehensible things (seemingly random acts of violence with no reason or remorse) is Pesci's character. DeNiro's character is ruthless and terrible too, but he has his reasons, however perverted.

Having said all that, it's a fascinating movie. If it is indeed based on a true story, I was continually amazed by the things that occur in the world these people inhabit -- the enormous amount of money being thrown around, the glamour, the way all the laws and rules seem to bend around these people, etc. I mean, it's a movie and movies are mostly fiction, but there seemed something at once utterly believable and astounding about this world. Perhaps it's the pedantic feeling that Liotta's doggedly "I'm just a normal guy" expression and acting lends to the whole thing. It's like, "Well, clearly this guy is just doing his thing, so this must be business as usual." And I guess it was to them. Weird.

The movie is of course meticulously constructed as well. The nearly three-hour running time goes by quickly. The soundtrack is true to each era the film passes through. Cinematography, editing, etc. etc. etc. I seem to say the same thing for each film we see. I really should pair each film we watch with a similar but much worse film with the same themes and genre from the same time period. Maybe then I'd really appreciate the way these films are crafted...

(See this post if you're confused why I'm reviewing movies.)


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