Sunday, April 28, 2013

Top 22 Things I Love About Goodfellas (that no one else talks about)

As far as my personal tastes go, Goodfellas has a rewatchability factor that is met only by Pulp Fiction. I can watch the film anytime, anywhere, for any amount of time. During my most recent viewing, I noticed a few things I love, but that no one else seems to ever discuss. Hope you enjoy my insights, and be sure to tell me your favorite overlooked moments from the film.


The way Joe Pesci always… 

…looks… 

…pissed. 

The simplicity of Saul Bass’ opening logos.

Look, Paulie Walnuts! 

The way Paulie Walnuts’ character calls the innocent mailman a “scumbag.” 

The way The Kid, Henry gracefully delivers a sandwich to a craps playing ‘fella. 

“You might know who we are, but we know who you are.” 

Remember Joe Pesci’s manic, out-of-breath rant begging Ray Liotta to go on a double date with him? I love that he caps the tirade by saying they may have a chance to rip the girl off:  “She’s fuckin’ beautiful! Her fuckin’ family, they live in the Five Towns there. You know, this Jew broad’s gotta a lotta money – maybe her family owns the whole fuckin’ block! You’re liable to wind up with a big fuckin’ score here, you mothafucka!”

This dude, who I assume gets paid to hangout in the basement of New York’s hottest club and eat sandwiches. That’s awesome. 

The anger of this face. It terrifies me. 

The fact that the line “I didn’t wanna get blood on your floor,” is the most telling line ever said by a psychopath in the history of cinema. 

The way Robert De Niro says “the hoof?”

Martin Scorsese has the exact same laugh as his mother. Seriously, listen to this, now listen to this.

“Sorry it took so long, that skinny guard is gettin’ to be a real pain in the ass.” 

The way Paul Sorvino rarely let’s people finish a sentence. Such a boss. 

The way the number of times Tommy shoots Stacks doesn’t match. It’s a continuity error, but a fun one. (After Tommy shoots Stacks in the head, he finishes the job with three subsequent shots. In the slow motion flashback, he finishes the job with five shots.)

Joe Pesci’s face when De Niro tells Liotta that Tommy is getting made. Pesci looks like a kid whose father just paid him the highest of compliments. 

For half a second it looks like Robert De Niro (the actor) is shocked that Jimmy Conway (the character) actually knocked the phone booth over. 

Liotta’s hysterical, cartoon-like laugh as he sneaks out of Sandy’s door.

Paul Sorvino’s aged makeup. 

The fact that, when Goodfellas came out, 2004 seemed like a long way away.


Click here for more lists from And So It Begins, including: 

30 comments:

  1. Ah... I love those moments. Goodfellas, a classic in every sense of the word. My favorite moments involve the scene where Henry, Jimmy, and Tommy are eating breakfast at Tommy's mother where it's just a simple yet well-crafted shot. Another moment is the way Paul Sorvino cuts the garlic with a razor. Also the music. Scorsese is great with the music.

    BTW, you are one funny motherfucker...

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    1. The late dinner scene with Tommy's mother is just perfect. You're right, the whole film is a true classic.

      And wait, I dunno, maybe it's because I'm a little fucked up... but I'm funny how?

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    2. You're.... just... I don't know... funny...

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    3. Ha. It's really the reactions of the actors sitting around them that make that scene. You have no idea what's going to happen.

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    4. Yeah, there's a great feature on the DVD I have where they talk about how the success of that scene comes from holding the camera at a fair distance, rather than pushing in for the close-up, so that the growing tension in the crowd around them creates that sense of uncertainty.

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    5. That's a great, great Making Of documentary. One of my favorites.

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  2. Brilliant. I want to watch it again straight away.

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    1. Thanks man! I can watch this one on repeat.

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  3. I love how Goodfellas is simultaneously a fine example of cinema and a fine example of cult. It's so very watchable on a number of levels. Although Taxi Driver and Raging Bull are masterful, Goodfellas takes the cake for most rewatchable Scorsese film in my eyes. That use of freeze frame after Liotta closes the trunk of the car, Jesus! That's what made me want to become a filmmaker. Great article mate!

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    1. Yes! I love your enthusiasm here. I agree with everything you said. While I do prefer Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, Goodfellas is definitely the most rewatchable film Scorsese has ever made. That freeze frame in the beginning just kills.

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  4. loved this post. Goodfellas is definitely one of my all time favorites. I've seen it more times than I can count. First time seeing it (in elementary school...when I should have been watching cartoons or something) I thought Jimmy 2x was the funniest character ever.

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    1. "I'm gonna go get the papers, get the papers."

      They definitely should've given that guy more lines haha.

      I also saw this for the first time in elementary school. Having lax parents was the best!

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  5. This is brilliant, man. I just rewatched Goodfellas not too long ago, and now you've made me want to watch it all over again.

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    1. Thanks Eric! You really never can watch Goodfellas too much, can you?

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  6. Genius, man. I must rewatch this soon.

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  7. "I love that he caps the tirade by saying they may have a chance to rip the girl off." I've watched this movie I don't know how many times and, I swear to God, and I don't know how, but I honestly never caught this. Sometimes I guess Pesci's delivery gets so amped up you're just listening to the sound of his voice as opposed to what he's saying. Maybe? Either way, bravo, sir.

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    1. Thanks man! One thing I've done since DVDs came out is watch EVERY movie with the subtitles on, even English-speaking movies. I'm always amazed how much is missed.

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    2. I've heard this line a few times, but for some reason I always naively thought he meant that she was rich and marrying her would payoff. Which of course makes no sense with Pesci's character, but I'd never put that much thought into it!

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    3. Haha, he says it so fast, it's hard to pick up on exactly what he's talking about, but yeah, I definitely think he means he can rip her off!

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  8. Awesome list! God, that pissed off look on Pesci's face is really hilarious.

    I really liked several small moments in that movie, like when Liotta's wife thinks she is about to be killed by De Niro's men and he keeps encouraging her to go in the warehouse. He overdoes it a bit with his enthusiasm and she knows she needs to run. That was such a memorable moment for me, De Niro was amazing in this movie.

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    1. Thanks! Pesci has a perfect pissed off face. Love him.

      I really love that moment too... the way De Niro excitedly hooks him arm around as if to say, "No, turn there." God, he's just the man.

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  9. Great list. Goodfellas is definitely one of the most rewatchable movies of all time. Every time I watch it I notice something different, whether it's Scorsese's cinematography choices, those little, perfect acting decisions, or - more often - how carefully the cast of extras is managed throughout the film. And the first half, no matter how many times you see it, remains such a powerful sugar (or other powdered white substance, I guess) rush.

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    1. Thanks man. The flick is a total anonymous powdered white substance rush, isn't it? Scorsese is a master with extras. Too many directors pay extras no mind. But he always casts them right.

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  10. A few for myself:
    Nobody ever refers to that the cut-way at the end to Pesci shooting at the screen, signifying that Henry Hill's life is effectively over, being a gangster was the only thing he ever wanted to be... so what now?
    The fact that this ruined Sinatra for me.
    The fact that this was the first movie where I watched twice in a row (it was broadcast uncut on cable one night on TNT or some station like that), and many more times since then.
    The fact that even censored to all hell, it's still great to see on basic cable.
    The fact that I owe a debt to this for being my first Scorsese movie
    Just the sheer amount of cajones that Martin had to make a film about the New York crime mafia, when noone else would touch the subject after 'The Godfather' seemingly 'perfected' that genre. Scorsese decided to un-romanticize the whole life-style and show these people for who they really are and I cannot thank him enough for making in my view THE crime-thriller to end all. The only thing I ever want to be now is a filmmaker and it is due to 'Goodfellas'

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    1. Dude, I love that you included some things you love about the movie. I've actually never thought of Pesci shooting at the screen as the "end" of Hill's life (I always just thought it was Scorsese's ode to The Great Train Robbery), but I can totally see that. Leave it to you to have such great insight like that.

      Old Marty had HUGE cajones in making this. That's for damn sure.

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  11. Joe Pesci in Goodfellas is the scariest non-horror character I've ever seen (rivaled only by his character in Casino!). Of course, that he's "pissed" in the UK means he's drunk...I had to do a quick bit of transatlantic translation, complemented by my long-held love of American movies and understood you to mean "annoyed"! :)

    Great film...one of the best...and definitely one of my favorites.

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    1. Oh man, I love to use the word "pissed" to describe people (or myself) as being drunk, but people here don't get it. They think I'm mad, which can make for an interesting conversation.

      Ha, anyway, I agree that Pesci is utterly terrifying in both films. I love to fear him.

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  12. There is one error in Goodfellas that I love: when Pesci shoots Samuel L. Jackson and you can see the blood flying to the bed... it is AWESOME!

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    1. That scene is BRUTAL. Ol' Pesci... whatta badass.

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