I've had "Goodfellas" in my DVD library for years. And I haven't watched it for awhile, because the subject matter makes me uncomfortable for a variety of reasons.
But I love the film for it's atmosphere, Scorsese not only documents mob life but captures a New York that is long gone. The New York of my baby hood and I miss it at times.
Another reason why the film is so fantastic is that it is one of the last films in which Scorsese showcased his greatest film muse, Robert DeNiro. Even though, the director tried to reignite with a younger actor in the same style of DeNiro (namely DiCaprio), it just isn't the same. I don't think any actor will understand Scorsese in the way DeNiro did.
However, that is not why I'm writing an entry about this film.
I'm writing about something only a nerdy actor can appreciate and nerdy actors love DeNiro. Simply because he has this OCD capacity to add in under the radar characterization that is beyond other performers.
Now, the film in the voice of the main character Liotta's Hill, builds up Jimmy Conway to be bigger than life. Scorsese stages a sexy entrance for Conway set in a dark, smoky gambling den. And the young Hill is starry eyed over the older thief. Even as he grows older, Hill always remains in awe. But was it really justified?
The scene where Tommy, Henry and Jimmy are eating at Tommy's house reveals so much. They barge in on Tommy's mother late at night, while searching for equipment to help them get rid of a victim. She manages to convince them to stay for a late night supper.
The dining room table is set up with fresh bread and big bowls of pasta. As the mother badgers her son about his lack of a wife, DeNiro's Conway proceeds to take a Heinz Ketchup bottle and pours its contents on his food. Now believe me, this is an insult to good Italian cooking and its a big statement about the Conway character in general.
He is a wannabe. As is Hill. They both reflect in the glory of Tommy's connections because without him they would merely be tolerated outsiders. The fact that the ketchup bottle is even on the table just shows that Tommy was willing to cater to his friend's strange tastes.
I don't know why I never caught this before in the film. And it wasn't as if I was particularly more attentive then other times. Perhaps it was because I was looking through some of my cookbooks for some holiday meal inspiration...The Silver Spoon to be exact. So I had Italian food on the mind when I noticed DeNiro pouring ketchup on his plate.
And I wondered how did he eat that without puking all over the place. Then I thought, this character is a putz with no taste for good food. But I had to admit, it gave me a good long laugh. A little inside joke humor from the muse himself.
Labels: acting, commentary, culture, food, mafia, movies, new york