Film Review: GoodFellas (1990)

Release Date: September 9th, 1990 (Venice Film Festival)
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese
Based on: Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
Music by: various
Cast: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Tony Darrow, Mike Starr, Frank Vincent, Chuck Low, Frank DiLeo, Henny Youngman, Gina Mastrogiacomo, Catherine Scorsese, Charles Scorsese, Suzanne Shepard, Debi Mazar, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Imperioli, Illeana Douglas, Tony Sirico, Samuel L. Jackson, Vincent Pastore, Tobin Bell, Vincent Gallo

Warner Bros., 146 Minutes

Review:

“[narrating] I know there are women, like my best friends, who would have gotten out of there the minute their boyfriend gave them a gun to hide. But I didn’t. I got to admit the truth. It turned me on.” – Karen

This is a perfect movie in every way.

Motion pictures like this are hard to review because it’s just going to sound like glowing praise and lack actual objectivity. But man, this is a perfect movie and arguably Martin Scorsese’s best.

Revisiting it now, I’d have to say that it is, indeed, my personal favorite. Considering how great of a director that Scorsese is, this is a film that is in good company but still sits on the mountaintop of the auteur’s stupendous and legendary work.

The film is perfectly cast, top-to-bottom, and features a slew of iconic characters with dozens of memorable lines, which have transcended pop culture and for good reason.

The pacing of this film is perfect, as is the story structure. While I haven’t read the book it was based on and can’t compare the two, this just flows tremendously well from the early backstory part all the way to the end, which sees the main character, Henry Hill, rat out his friend and mentor, Jimmy Conway.

I love that this movie is also full of guys that would go on to star in one of the greatest television series ever made, The Sopranos. You’ve also got really small roles for other actors who would carve out nice careers for themselves like Samuel Jackson, Kevin Corrigan, Debi Mazar, Vincent Gallo, Tobin Bell and Illeana Douglas.

Additionally, one thing that really does wonders for this film is that it doesn’t have a traditional score. Instead, Scorsese filled the movie with the pop tunes of the time in which the scenes take place. The music added a lot to the movie and really made it feel more authentic and genuine.

This is also perfectly edited, never wasting a moment while also allowing you to get to know and like some of the more minor mobster characters… and there are many.

In the end, this is a fascinating crime story about a rat. It’s incredible seeing him go from being so loyal, to hitting the drugs hard and then selling out those closest to him over the course of his entire life. It’s also a true story, which just adds to the weight of it.

Goodfellas is a masterpiece, plain and simple.

Rating: 10/10

Film Review: Hackers (1995)

Release Date: September 15th, 1995
Directed by: Iain Softley
Written by: Rafael Moreu
Music by: Simon Boswell
Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, Fisher Stevens, Lorraine Bracco, Matthew Lillard, Penn Jillette, Wendell Pierce, Felicity Huffman

United Artists, 107 Minutes

hackersReview:

When I first saw Hackers in 1995, I thought it was enjoyable. I also thought it was really ridiculous in several ways.

At the time, I saw it as incredibly implausible and way too stylized and cartoony. Having now watched it for the first time in two decades, I enjoyed it more than I did when it first came out.

To start, I’m not sure if this film was meant to be taken seriously or if the director intended it to be some sort of fantasy world parody of the technological and cultural changes of the times. Seeing it now, I view it as similar to Walter Hill’s The Warriors. It deals with some real shit but ultimately it is presented in a sort of fantastical world different from the reality we live in – highly stylized with an abundance of visual embellishments. It also embraces all the things that were pretty annoying about mid-90s Gen X culture, which twenty years later, makes me feel like I’m trapped in a time capsule full of things I hated at the time. Having had two decades worth of distance, I’m more amused than annoyed now.

The film stars Angelina Jolie’s worst haircut, Matthew Lillard’s worst haircut, roller blades and some kid that Jolie married for a few years and then dumped. It also has Wendell Pierce as a special agent; I love him in everything he does. Then there is the villain, known as “The Plague”, who is a ridiculous prick and more annoying than cool. Also, Lorraine Bracco plays a villain character and she’s just as horrible as ever.

I did like the music for the time and it still plays great in the film. It fits the insane style of the movie and helps enhance its bizarre tone.

I’m glad I rewatched this though, after all these years and no fond memories of it. It is a very dated film nowadays but that also adds to its modern appeal, at least for me. And being that I saw this as a completely different film than I did when I was 16 years-old, makes me want to go back and watch some other films from that era that I haven’t seen in awhile.

This film is unique and that alone makes it worth a watch. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did on the second viewing. And I’m sure I’ll watch this again in less than twenty years time.

Rating: 6/10