It's been 25 years since the release of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas. What Marty gives us is a fictionalized account of the life of Henry Hill. It's all about "living the life" and "being a big shot" and "not being the average guy" - or so it says. It's a slick and wonderful seduction and Marty ain't interested if he can't bend the truth. Once free of reality, a filmmaker can create any sort of fantasy he or she wishes. It just won't be relevant.
Do you really want to hang out with a bunch of losers like the Goodfellas gang? They were cheap and dirty and afraid. Don't believe it? Then go hit someone over the head with a hammer and see what it does to you inside. You'll only end up full of self-loathing and die in jail from cancer like Jimmy Burke, the De Niro character in the film. Here's a fun fact left out of the film: "Burke frequently liked to lock the young children of his victims in refrigerators." Throw in that cold water - and there's plenty more where that came from - and your movie is DOA.
Instead, we see wise-cracking high-livers with plenty of cash and a perverse pride in sociopathic behavior. They think they are rock'n'rollers (like in the very laughable A Bronx Tale), rebels living outside of society with their own rules. But it's just the opposite. They're a bunch of conservative cowards flinching in a prison of fear at any possible cross word. They have to have others think good things about them because they don't think it themselves. Who wants to live like that?
I jerked off in my jammies last night. You think that's funny?
Like a lot of creative endeavors, GoodFellas was done by parsing out the bad and filling in the blanks with a soothing lie to tie it all together. GoodFellas pretends to show the awful truth, posing what unpleasantness it contains as the whole truth. Scorsese knows if he did show their complete depravity he'd lose his audience who'd be muttering Good Riddance instead of GoodFellas. One has to imagine it wasn't Eric Clapton's epic love song "Layla" going through Jimmy Burke's mind while committing serial killings as portrayed in the film. But it certainly sells better and the director knows that once seduced the converted will defend the film's portrayal to the bitter end.
So in honor of Marty's landmark lie I made my own quickie video as a tribute. I channeled my inner Scorsese as I wondered how he'd treat the biggest gangsters of all time: the Nazi Party. He wouldn't detail the concentration camp commander who lost his prolific sex drive as he absorbed the realization of the atrocities, hollowing him out as a human being into agonizing desperation and depravity (Read some of the post war debriefing interviews for that and other stories of psychological destruction). Nah, he'd concentrate only on the "party" part, supplying them with a classic rock soundtrack and witty moments of hilarity.
Don't get me wrong, Martin Scorsese is a very highly skilled filmmaker. I loved The Color Of Money, I loved his part in Quiz Show and I certainly wish I had his talent at my disposal. Be that as it may, his proclivity for anything bent is a dead end street. There's far more to film in the starburst of truth than the black hole of the bent world. One only need look within.
Below you can view my un-masterpiece.