60/60 Review #44: GoodFellas.

Between the two "Crime" months on this list, I thought I'd enjoy the first one much more seeing it dealt with heists and the like. I was more worried about the second month due to a few things: 1) it following the longest month on this list, 2) it having a bunch of long films one after the other, and 3) it being about mobsters, which doesn't overly excite me. So color me surprised when I enjoyed very little of last month... and I'm already starting off this one in a very good way.

Goodfellas doesn't exactly have one straight story as much as it is the life and times of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his mob family. This family includes Paulie (Tom Sorvino), Jimmy (Robert De Niro), and Tommy (Joe Pesci). It also eventually includes his wife, Karen (Lorraine Bracco). Henry raises in the ranks and respects of his new family and goes has to deal with a handful of screw-ups.

The acting is top notch and a lot of fun. Joe Pesci, who earned a supporting actor Oscar for his role, is fantastic as the hot head Tommy. And this was a case where I knew some quotes and didn't realize they were from this movie (the "you're a funny guy" scene, for instance). Ray Liotta was good, but I've always thought he has a weird laugh (and he laughs a lot in this movie). It's mostly because of his teeth. But I still really liked him in it, despite his character turning out to be a total bastard by the end. And the kid who plays the younger version of him looks just like him.

Scorcese's direction is great, too, but there's something interesting I noticed. The visual style, the use of the camera, the dialogue, the music... it all reminded me heavily of early Tarantino. Hell, there's even a short appearance by Samuel L. Jackson. And it makes me wonder how influential this film was on Tarantino's beginnings with things like Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. Moreso early in the film, there were a lot of long shots. There were some interesting shots, especially the more violent moments, too. And the use of music... I'm feeling redundant now, but everything about this movie made me think of early Tarantino.

The film is about two and a half hours long, but it never really drags. I was never bored. But you can still tell it's two and a half hours... if that makes sense. I don't have anything incredibly insightful to say about the movie. I can tell you I really, really enjoyed it. I would definitely watch it again. And if you've not seen it and you like crime films, I strongly recommend it. There's good humor, good dialogue, good acting, good "action" (though it's more just quick violence than outright action)... just all around very good.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. This is a strong rating--probably 4.5 out of 5. I would have given it the next rating up, but a little over halfway through, I started feeling the length. That's really the only thing I have against it.)


  1. I caught this for the first time within the past year or so, and I while I thought it was good, I didn't really understand why everybody loves it so much. I think if I had seen this before all the other crime/mobster movies that were heavily influenced by it, I would've liked it more. But I didn't, so I don't.

  2. I'm feeling redundant now, but everything about this movie made me think of early Tarantino...

    Congratulations - you've just figured out why Tarantino has been called a Scorsese rip-off artist for years.

  3. Red: That's understandable. I feel the same about other film genres, even during this 60/60 list. I've said on numerous occasions that had I not just watched a month's worth of whatever genre, I might have liked it more. But this falls at the start of the month, so maybe that's why.

    Ryan: I wasn't aware he was. But to be fair, I don't go about reading about Tarantino. I like the guy's movies, but I'm not one to go around reading about or discussing him in depth. That's interesting, though.

  4. The skinny on tarantino is that he isn't so much a gifted director so much as he is steeped in enough film knowledge to copy like crazy and bring it all together in an interesting way.

    He had a hard time shaking that early on when PULP and DOGS were released (parallels to Scorsese were especially noted in reaction to DOGS), and in many ways still hasn't quite done enough to distance himself.

    Back to GOODFELLAS, it really took the whole crime/mob genre and infused it with a new rhythm. It took the lyricism of THE GODFATHER and the excess of SCARFACE and took it to the next step. Without this movie, The Sopranos doesn't exist.

  5. Not a fan of this one. I don't think the protagonist is interesting and the last act of this film, especially the end, is terrible. I appreciate some of the technique and filmmaking, but I much prefer Casino which I think has a much better story and a stronger set of characters.

  6. James: I know what you mean about the third act and the ending. I wasn't particularly excited about it, either, and I thought he became a total douchebag. But if that's how it really happened, then...

  7. GOODFELLAS is a tour-de-force of detail and Scorsese infusing, like Ryan said, gangster films with a human story.

    Must admit, I may enjoy CASINO a bit more.

  8. Duke: I actually just started Casino as read your comment... so we'll see!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.