Goodfellas (1990) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from John of Written In Blood. Thanks for the review, John! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about Goodfellas, IMDB rank 15 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

DISCLAIMER: I have to say that this is the first time “horse cock” has been mentioned in this way on CPD (or, at all). I’m going to get some weird Google search terms now. 😉 Now on to the review of fuckin’ Goodfellas…

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When I first volunteered to write a review of Goodfellas for the IMDb Top 250 challenge I began to wonder if I had bitten off more than I can chew. How do I approach a review of what is arguably the greatest Mob movie ever put to celluloid? Do I summon my inner Ebert and wax poetic in my praise? No. Why? Because it’s fuckin’ Goodfellas, that’s why.

Do I compare the movie to that other great Mob (read also as Mafia) movie, The Godfather? No. Why? Because it’s fuckin’ Goodfellas, that’s why. There’s no Don Corleone stroking a cat and handing out jobs and favors; there’s Paulie (a portly Paul Sorvino) holding court at a backyard cookout with a fat chunk of food in his hands giving the nod to his people as a sign of approval for whatever deal is going down at that particular moment.

There’s no big wedding with Italian songs and Sonny’s horse cock plowing Lucy upstairs in the closet. Granted, there’s a wedding and there are Italians and Sicilians and dancing and food; there’s just no horse cock-or horse’s head, for that matter-anywhere in sight. Why? Because it’s fuckin’ Goodfellas, that’s why. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Comparing Goodfellas to The Godfather is like comparing Elvis to the Beatles; they are the twin sons of different mothers. The Godfather is subtlety and the life of a Mafia family and the rise of its new Don, Michael Corleone.Goodfellas is Henry Hill and his life in the Mob (or as close as he can get to it as he is not “one hundred per cent Sicilian on his mother’s side and his heritage can’t be traced back to the old country”) and there is no guarantee that the particular moment that he is living and breathing will not be his last. If Goodfellas is even remotely about life in a Mafia family then that family is nothing but sharks. Why? Because it’s fuckin’ Goodfellas, that’s why.

With what is quite possibly the greatest opening line in cinematic history (“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”) Goodfellas begins to unravel the true story of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his slow rise and hard fall in the life of a wiseguy. His journey is a violent one filled with angry fathers, towels wasted on gut-shot and bloody men, icepicks and bullets to the heads of unfortunate fools getting too close and fucking it all up; there’s Karen (Lorraine Bracco) his Jewish wife who enters into their marriage wide-eyed and innocent and transforms into a woman just as dirty as himself.

Along the way we meet Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) who loves to steal but is not above killing to protect his investments. Fuck with Jimmy and his haul and you may just find yourself frozen stiff in the back of a meat truck or right beside your wife in the front seat of your new Cadillac with bullets in both of your heads. Why? Because it’s fuckin’ Goodfellas, that’s why.

Then there is Tommy and let me begin by saying this: It is my opinion that for as long as he has a career in movies that Joe Pesci will never be given a role that is as great and-dare I say it-iconic as that of Tommy DeVito. Perhaps Pesci knew this; perhaps that is why he shines (not a good word to use in his presence, may I remind you) in every scene. If it’s not already then the, “How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me?” scene should be taught in film schools as a mandatory course in great acting and direction. Pesci earns his Best Supporting Actor Oscar in every scene that he is in.

Okay, so I’ve just looked over this and I don’t think that what I have written has been so much of a review as it has been a gushing letter to a movie that I have loved since I first saw it on VHS in 1991 and have watched more times than I can count in the past twenty-plus years. I also notice that I have failed to mention one name and I deserve to be whacked for not doing it sooner. Without Martin Scorsese there would be no Goodfellas. The man who makes the world’s greatest movies has shown his mastery of the Mob movie with films as diverse as Mean Streets and The Departed but it is here that his mastery is at the highest zenith of his career. It burns my balls knowing that Goodfellas lost out to Dances with Wolves for Best Picture and that Scorsese lost out to Kevin Costner as Best Director at the 1990 Academy Awards. To paraphrase a quote from Jay Leno: What the hell were they thinking?

So, this is my review cum love letter to Goodfellas and to Martin Scorsese for making it. I have put my entire heart into writing it as I knew that I would. Why? Do I even have to say it again?

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Mike of Screenkicker!. Thanks for the review, Mike! Let’s see his true thoughts on Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. 🙂

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Home Alone 2 – The original torture porn movie?

In 2006 the phrase ‘torture porn’ was coined. Torture porn is films that focus on the minutae of torture and violence in a completely gratuitous way. The title was first applied to the movies of directors like Eli Roth (Hostel) and James Wan (Saw) who shocked audiences with a different kind of violence. However there was a famous director who was making what could be interpreted as torture porn as far back as the early 90s. The director – John Hughes, the films – the Home Alone movies. Let me explain:

Home Alone 2 tells the story of psychopathic child Kevin McCallister, a precocious little shit with a fascination with methods of hurting other humans. Kevin knows he can’t perform these atrocities with his family around so he steals his father’s credit cards and cash, slips away at the airport and heads to the big apple. Here he commits fraud, associates with a crazy pigeon lady, and attempts to murder two petty crooks.

The movie climaxes with a final showdown between Kevin and the two burglars. If you’ve seen The Raid or Dredd you’ll have some idea what happens next. The burglars attempt to ascend a tower block to catch the bloodthirsty child. Things go very bad and here’s where the torture porn comes in. Among the sick ways that Kev tries to kill the unlucky victims are:

– repeatedly smashes Marv in the head with bricks
– fires staples into Harry’s testicles
– drops an iron on Marv’s face
– sets Harry on fire
– electrocutes Marv with an arc welder

There are many more forms of stomach-churning torture that really gives Hostel and Saw a run for their blood money. If you think about it Kevin is like a peer of other horror movie bad guys like Freddie Krueger and Jason Voerhees. Essentially he’s the original Jigsaw from Saw. Don’t get me wrong, Home Alone 2 is a great, Christmassy, fun, wish fulfilment fantasy and I watch it every year. My point is if you look really closely the movie becomes the perfect companion piece to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

Which in my book is a good thing. So remember – John Hughes invented torture porn with a children’s movie which makes him a subversive genius.

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**FYI: Mike is still accepting entries for a Blogathon he’s planning over at Screenkicker. All you need to do is “a piece about a movie and/or actor from where you live or where you’re from”. You can find the full details of this Blogathon HERE. Sounds like good fun, Mike! 🙂

Home Alone (1990) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rob of MovieRob. Thanks for the review, Rob! Let’s see what he thinks of Home Alone. 🙂

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“Bless this highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who sold it on sale. Amen.” – Kevin McCallister

Number of Times Seen – 1 (3 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis –An 8 Year old kid gets left at home by accident when his family travels to France for Christmas. He must try to find a way to fend for himself and to keep 2 bumbling burglars from robbing his house.

My Take on it – Surprising, I have never seen this whole movie from start to end before I sat down to watch it for CPD’s amazing John Hughes Blogathon.

I have never been the biggest fan of Macaulay Culken and didn’t really think this movie would be enjoyable on a whole. Some of the clips I had seen in the past were funny, but I didn’t believe that they could keep it up for 100 minutes.

I put all my negative thoughts aside when I sat down with the hope of giving this one a chance.

In retrospect, I can now say that this movie was enjoyable to watch, but I don’t see myself wanting to watch it again in the near (or maybe even distant) future.

Hughes does a great job placing all the puzzle pieces at the beginning of the movie to make most of the plot seem plausible. I can conceivably believe that two large families traveling together and in a rush to catch a plane (yes, post-9/11, they wouldn’t have a chance of getting on that plane to France) would forget a kid. No parent, myself included would admit to having such a thing happen to them, but Hughes’ writing makes it at least seem plausible if not possible.

The burglars staking out the place dressed as cops and the lax security systems of the late 80’s also helps move the idea of the plot along.
When I think about it, the last few comments that I made actually prove that the concept of this movie and the way it was done is so timely and only worked up until 1990 or so because of all the technological advances since then. This is one of the few Hughes movies that I can currently think of that isn’t timeless and couldn’t be re-made well enough today. (I’m not advocating Hughes remakes or any remakes for that matter.)

Being the parent of a 9 year old and an 8 year old, I can’t imagine either of them or any of their friends for that matter being able to survive like Culken did over 4 days all alone. I’m not sure if this says something about today’s youth or something about the implausibility of a young kid being able to fend for himself so well.

I’m aware that I’m a strong advocate for suspension of disbelief when watching a movie, but I usually refer to unexplained science in a movie or things that might be plausible in certain movie worlds, but here I’m referring to the fact that very few (if any) 8 years olds could act as independent as Culkin does here and that actually somewhat disappoints me.

Besides that, the slapstick humor in this movie is great whether it be the ways Culken fends off the burglars, the way he can perfectly use a VCR remote to get a pizza or even the way he searches the house for things to do worked well.

This movie also has its sentimental parts, but I had a lot of trouble sympathizing with the mother and her quest to get back home and also with the caricature of the neighbor Old man Marley (perhaps a reference to Jacob Marley since this takes place around Christmas????) who is used as a plot device similar to the furnace to show us that even though he can fend for himself, he is still a kid who fears things only a kid would be able to fear. His character tho is not developed at all and his appearance at the end is strange if not inexplicable.

Nice cameo by John Candy here.

Bottom Line – As enjoyable as this was, I think Hughes was much better at creating teenage characters as opposed to younger ones and I’m quite glad he didn’t make too many from a kids perspective. Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy