Author Topic: Goodfellas  (Read 5430 times)

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27743
  • Marathon Man
Re: Goodfellas
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2016, 06:34:10 PM »
I guess I can just understand the draw of the porn industry in that it is not immediately obvious that you might die when you go into it like you very likely will in the mafia world. It then becomes a surprise when the 80s happen and not an inevitable outcome of the initial decision.
Good point. With gangster life you go in accepting that the rewards comes with a price, usually in the for of physical or financial harm to someone who doesn't deserve it. With porn life, that price is more on you. If you choose to make a porn you're hurting nobody more than yourself. (I once talked to a porn star who went through a list of career paths she can never take now because her porn history can never be erased.) It's also an interesting distinction that gangsters have changed form over the decades but they've never gone away.

Porn is still here too, but it's unrecognizable from the Boogie Nights days. Cracked just posted an article about how big name porn stars are a thing of the past. "Performers who once earned thousands of dollars per scene are now doing webcam shows where name recognition takes a backseat to whether or not they fulfill a specific request. A few eager actors are still trying to cling to the old model, fighting fiercely for a shrinking market and continuous low pay..." You may be aware things are going to change, but you can't predict how.

This difference is what keeps Boogie Nights interesting for me. It's most of the PTAs camera style that reminds me of Scorsese. He names other filmmakers and films - Hal Ashby, I Am Cuba - in the commentary, but the overall tone is Scorsese-esque, just like There Will Be Blood is a modern John Huston film.

chardy999

  • Elite Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3483
Re: Goodfellas
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2016, 10:45:10 AM »
just like There Will Be Blood is a modern John Huston film.

Can you explain what this means? I don't know what makes a 'John Huston' film. FYI, I've only seen The African Queen, The Maltese Falcon, Key Largo and Prizzi's Honour and liked none of them.
Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
- Groucho Marx

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27743
  • Marathon Man
Re: Goodfellas
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2016, 10:52:19 AM »
It's not as obvious as the Boogie Nights/Scorsese connection. It has been said - by the director’s own admission - that Paul Thomas Anderson watched John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre every night before filming TWBB. Huston has a varied resume, but his key films - The Maltese Falcon, The Man Who Would Be King, African Queen and of course Treasure of the Sierra Madre - feature tough, almost bullish leads whose drive borders on insanity, sometimes spilling over.

chardy999

  • Elite Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3483
Re: Goodfellas
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2016, 11:00:54 AM »
Got it. Cheers :)
Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
- Groucho Marx

jdc

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 5774
  • Accept the mystery
Re: Goodfellas
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2016, 11:43:29 PM »
Good point. With gangster life you go in accepting that the rewards comes with a price, usually in the for of physical or financial harm to someone who doesn't deserve it. With porn life, that price is more on you. If you choose to make a porn you're hurting nobody more than yourself. (I once talked to a porn star who went through a list of career paths she can never take now because her porn history can never be erased.) It's also an interesting distinction that gangsters have changed form over the decades but they've never gone away.

Porn is still here too, but it's unrecognizable from the Boogie Nights days. Cracked just posted an article about how big name porn stars are a thing of the past. "Performers who once earned thousands of dollars per scene are now doing webcam shows where name recognition takes a backseat to whether or not they fulfill a specific request. A few eager actors are still trying to cling to the old model, fighting fiercely for a shrinking market and continuous low pay..." You may be aware things are going to change, but you can't predict how.

The wonders of the internet.  People use to also get paid good money to write film reviews but now I can come here and read many more interesting discussions.

I do wonder though if a career in porn will always be a stigma. Many things have been leveled and excepted that would have been career killers before.

Your addiction take is interesting though.  One thing I always wonder about people that go down the "wrong" path is what they think the final outcome will be?  How many examples are there of those the defy the odds without paying the price?  Does Kim Jong-un think he will be the leader of N. Korea for the next 50 years?  If he isn't, what possible good outcome will there be?


"Beer. Now there's a temporary solution."  Homer S.
“The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations” - David Friedman

LukeH

  • Junior Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
Re: Goodfellas
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2016, 10:09:24 AM »

Delayed response here, as my internet was down for a couple of days...

@1SO - Great analysis!  I love the addiction connection. Also agree on comparing both Goodfellas and Godfather to different types of music. I think the seemingly-musical flow of both films is what makes them both so damn rewatchable.

@Oldkid - As I said above, your overall take of just hating all the characters is completely justified. At the end of the day, they're all admittedly pretty awful people...but I've never had problems with their motivations. I saw this film for the first time when I was very (probably too) young...and I've never viewed it as aspirational. I always viewed it as a fascinating and thrilling cautionary tale. It's the first piece of fiction that made me think about systemic, generational causes of crime and violence (as I said in or original discussion, the first time I saw The Wire I felt it was diving deeper into ideas that had first sparked in my mind through Goodfellas.) I feel it completely works in that context.

@Junior - I'm intrigued by your choices of superior gangster movies. I mean Godfather is one of the greatest films of all time, so sure...it's better. And Miller's Crossing is brilliant, but I'd argue is exploring something very different....but are you telling me you find the characters in Scarface or Gangs of New York more sympathetic and compelling? I find both of those films borderline unwatchable (only made it through both because of an admittedly towering performance at the centre of each). I'm curious as to why you find those films superior?

@Chardy999 - I agree. Ambition, enthusiasm and palpable joy that the characters display go a long way in making them interesting.

@Pixote - Thanks for the link!  I'm gonna dive into those!


verbALs

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 9452
  • Snort Life-DOR
Re: Goodfellas
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2016, 10:54:13 AM »
No bad characters. Just bad writing.  ;)
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

Junior

  • Bert Macklin, FBI
  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27106
  • What's the rumpus?
    • Benefits of a Classical Education
Re: Goodfellas
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2016, 04:46:26 PM »
@Junior - I'm intrigued by your choices of superior gangster movies. I mean Godfather is one of the greatest films of all time, so sure...it's better. And Miller's Crossing is brilliant, but I'd argue is exploring something very different....but are you telling me you find the characters in Scarface or Gangs of New York more sympathetic and compelling? I find both of those films borderline unwatchable (only made it through both because of an admittedly towering performance at the centre of each). I'm curious as to why you find those films superior?

Yeah, I guess part of what I don't like about Goodfellas is the typical rise and fall story. All of these except the '32 Scarface go beyond that, though Gangs of NY does use it as part of its story. The Godfather Part 1 is a movie about a man getting dragged into a lifestyle he doesn't really want to participate in, which is both more compelling and eliminates my major problem with Goodfellas. Miller's Crossing features a guy on the edges of the big organizations who doesn't really have a stake in becoming the boss, which basically everybody else in these kinds of movie does. Additionally, although it gets a lot out of its setting, it could also take place in any kind of industry or setting which has rival factions competing for control of a thing. You could make a Miller's Crossing in a sports league, for example, and not have to change too much to make it work. Gangs of New York succeeds in large part because of its setting, which hasn't really been featured elsewhere, or at least not as richly explored. I don't care all that much about Leo's character, but damn if Bill the Butcher isn't insanely watchable. The other cast of characters works for me, too. The closest thing I have to Goodfellas on this list is Howard Hawks' Scarface with Paul Muni, who gives a spectacular performance which I find much more interesting to watch than anything happening in Goodfellas. It's also got that weird incest undercurrent and some really interesting filmmaking things going on (the machine gun montage, the Xes on screen when somebody is about to die, the fantastic set design) which I guess is also a pro of Goodfellas and basically the only thing I can appreciate about it.
Check out my blog of many topics

“I’m not a quitter, Kimmy! I watched Interstellar all the way to the end!”

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27743
  • Marathon Man
Re: Goodfellas
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2016, 06:11:28 PM »
Now you have me curious to know what you think of Donnie Brasco, since you haven't mentioned it. It's another gangster film that isn't a typical rise and fall.

As for Goodfellas, I think Henry Hill finds that lifestyle even better than he ever dreamed it might be when he was on the outside looking in. He knew some of the perks of being respected around the neighborhood, but he had no idea how deep and all-consuming the life was, right down to prison time being spent with the same guys and being served personal meals by top chefs who were also doing a stretch. (The kind of constant insane details that keep me fascinated time and again.)

If you were to give Scorsese the Oscar for Best Director for any film, which would it be?

Junior

  • Bert Macklin, FBI
  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27106
  • What's the rumpus?
    • Benefits of a Classical Education
Re: Goodfellas
« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2016, 06:15:21 PM »
Of the one's I've seen so far, I'd probably go for Taxi Driver or Shutter Island (heh, I'm pretty sure nobody else would hold those two in the same esteem), though I'm holding out hope for The Last Temptation of Christ. And, yeah, Donnie Brasco is on my list of interesting looking things, but not super high up on it. I like the people involved, at least.
Check out my blog of many topics

“I’m not a quitter, Kimmy! I watched Interstellar all the way to the end!”