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Goodfellas



GOODFELLAS
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I’ll admit it: Despite all of its acclaim, despite the fact that it stars ultra-pimp Robert DeNiro, despite Martin friggin’ Scorcese, I have only seen Goodfellas twice. To this day, I’ve seen only two of Scorcese’s hits, Casino and The Departed besides this. I enjoyed them all immensely. But, as far as Goodfellas goes, it was a bit of a letdown since my first viewing. It reminded me a bit too much of Casino (my own fault for seeing that first), and I just wasn’t amazed.

Ray Liotta (Field of Dreams) plays Henry Hill, a gangster working with his two pals, Jimmy Conway, played by Robert DeNiro (Raging Bull) with his usual mobster performance, and Tommy DeVito, played by Joe Pesci (Raging Bull), again with the usual mobster performance, as they move through the mobster hierarchy.

Their acting was good, but nothing unexpectedly astounding. I know Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci are two well-respected actors, but something about them didn’t connect as well as their other mob roles. That brings me to Ray Liotta: He’s a capable actor, but again, nothing astounding—just good enough. The one real standout role was Hill’s wife, brilliantly played by Lorraine Bracco.

Martin Scorcese helped them out a lot; he went above and beyond. I love how he stopped the images for the really important dialogue, because sometimes the moving pictures were a bit distracting. Also, the way he put specific times on every little black title card helped me get into the “true life” aspect of the film.

Nick Pileggi is probably my favorite writer. He’s not a big name usually thrown around like Charlie Kaufman or Diablo Cody when it comes to writing, and it’s a shame. He comes full-form here. I loved that we got just about everyone’s point of view, especially Karen Hill, the wife. I would’ve killed for that perspective in Casino. Another good part was the extent to which the mob went to not get pinched. Paul Cicero was such an interesting character.

Bringing it all together is James Kwei and Thelma Schoonmaker, a really great editing talent. Her editing is really unparalleled; anyone considering how to become an film editor could learn a lot from her work. Just look at Hill’s busy day with errands: It’s a brilliantly put-together scene. And you should see the rest of her work in any Scorcese movie, ever.

Overall this was kind of disappointing. it was built up to be the greatest movie friggin’ ever, but it really was just a good little movie ever.