The “who knows?” states are in yellow. The reptilian nihilists and sociopaths who are still supporting Trump after everything he’s done and everything that’s gone down…words fail. “Deranged” isn’t a strong enough term. From npr.org’s Dominic Montanaro, posted this morning:
Trying to write about Glenn Kenny‘s “Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas“, which put me into some kind of serious hog heaven…I don’t know where to start. Or end for that matter. Talk about a package stuffed with goodies and more goodies, and before you know it you can’t keep up and they’re falling off the conveyer belt and you’re Lucille Ball in the chocolate factory.
Please understand this is the most devotional and meticulous making-of-Goodfellas book that anyone could ever possibly write. I mean, Kenny burrowed and burrowed deep…talked to or library-researched every possible source, living or dead — director Martin Scorsese, producer Irwin Winkler and Barbara De Fina, “Wiseguy” author Nick Pileggi, Robert De Niro (whose casting as Jimmy Conway happened at the last minute), editor Thelma Schoonmaker, crew guys, et. al. — and generally oil-drilled for a two-year period and then assessed this 1990 gangster classic from each and every imaginable angle.
But it’s so great to sink into this thing, which is like…I don’t know, a combination college course, shiatsu massage and mineral bath. At times it’s almost (and please don’t take this the wrong way) exhausting, and yet in the best possible way. It works you over, and at the same time delivers an amazing cumulative high. If you want to know, like, everything and I mean everything about this film, this is the well you need to jump into.
If Goodfellas means as much to you as it does to me…if you’re a Goodfellas junkie (which I’ve been for the last 30 years anyway) you don’t have much of a choice. You have to pick it up and keep this ultimate couch-potato companion on your coffee table and pick it up when the mood strikes.
That’s how I got through it, to be honest. After the first three or four chapters I decided it might be better to read it in short spurts, 10 or 15 pages at a time and then put it down and then come back. It felt better that way. Because otherwise it’s a big fat chocolate bear.
I’ve watched Goodfellas…I’d almost rather not say. At least 15 or 20 times, which isn’t as obsessive as it sounds. Not once a year since it opened, which would be 30 times, but a whole lot of times in my living room…VHS, cable, streaming, laser disc, DVD, Bluray (including the infamous 25th anniversary “Brownfellas” version, which definitely isn’t as pleasing as the 2007 and 2010 Bluray versions) and of course 4K streaming, which I’m cool with because the lentil soup and caramel have been removed.
It’s frankly gotten to the point that I can’t really get off on it like I used to…I know it too well…backwards, forwards and sideways. And yet I’ll never stop savoring and re-savoring all the great parts, which is pretty much every shot and scene.
Why, then, would I want to re-immerse all the more via Glenn’s book? But I wanted to without question. I had to. An uncorrected trade paperback proof is sitting right next to me, and I know that the next time I crack it open it’ll be good sailing.
If I’d written “Mad Men” I would have blended the history and facts and quotes with how this film has always made me feel about my suburban New Jersey past, and those aggressive Italian guys I used to run into from time to time, and particularly those black pegged pants, starched white shirts, pointy black lace-ups and black leather jackets they all wore. And how they’d taunt me from time to time (Them: “Are you a guinea? No? Then what good are ya?”) and how I’d scowl and mutter “aagghh, fuck those guys.”
And yet nothing in the history of cinema has ever made me feel so warm and comforted and at ease among friends as that tracking shot when the camera (assuming the POV of Ray Liotta‘s Henry Hill) strolls through the Bamboo Lounge, amber-lighted with tiki torches and packed with friendly wiseguys who say to him “hey, what’s up, guy?” and “I took care of that thing for ya” and “I wenna see that guy, wenna see him” and so on. Strange, isn’t it? I hated the guineas as a teenager but I’ve loved their company ever since.
Thanks to Larry Karaszewski, Hollywood Elsewhere now owns the coolest (not to mention the most exclusive) ironic Joe Biden bumper sticker in all of Los Angeles, if not the entire nation.
HE to Millennials and Zoomers: Released in mid-July of 1970, Joe was a disturbing lightning-rod drama about simmering middle-class annoyance and anger towards hippie culture. Five or six weeks before Joe opened the infamous “hard-hat riot” happened in lower Manhattan, and thereby provided a real-life echo with roughly 400 construction workers (many of them helping to build the World Trade Center) beating up antiwar demonstrators.
Directed by John Avildsen (Rocky, Save The Tiger, The Karate Kid), Joe launched the career of Peter Boyle, whose performance as the titular blue-collar hippie hater had everyone talking. It also featured the debut performance of 23 year-old Susan Sarandon.
Wiki anecdote: “When Peter Boyle saw audience members cheering the violence in Joe, he refused to appear in any other film or television show that glorified violence.”
Two days hence IFC Films will be opening Sean Durkin‘s The Nest theatrically. Alas, in relatively few…well, actually one Los Angeles-area location when you get right down to it. I’m talking about Santa Ana’s Regency (South Coast Village, 1561 W Sunflower Ave.Santa Ana, CA, 92704). Honestly? So starved am I for a theatrical experience, I’m thinking of driving all the way down there to see it.**
“It’s been nine long years since The Nest’s writer-director, Sean Durkin, made a splash with his superb feature debut, Martha Marcy May Marlene. (In between, he directed a miniseries, Southcliffe, for England’s Channel 4.) That film was fundamentally a triumph of editing, cutting back and forth between different time periods in a way that made past and present feel interchangeable. Here, Durkin has teamed up with the great Hungarian cinematographer Mátyás Erdély (the original Miss Bala, Son Of Saul, Sunset), and together they’ve fashioned something remarkable: an utterly non-supernatural haunted house story.
“Nothing overtly creepy or menacing ever happens, with the exception of one moment in which a door is mysteriously open after Allison is sure that she’d locked it. Yet The Nest deliberately replicates the ominous look and feel of a slow-burn horror movie, with establishing shots held just a beat too long, shadows that swallow up corners of the room, and physical distance between characters that generates constant free-floating unease. This approach may well frustrate genre buffs who jump to the wrong conclusion early on, but it provides a startlingly fresh angle on otherwise routine domestic discord.” — from Mike D’Angelo’s 9.15 AV Club review.
This is small potatoes but if you have any sporting blood, you have to admit that Joe Biden referring yesterday to the “Harris-Biden” administration along with Kamala Harris mentioning the “Harris administration” last weekend…you know the Trump campaign will make an attack ad out of this. A Joe gaffe is one thing (part of his brand) but a seemingly coordinated Joe-Kamala blunder (emphasis on the “s” word) is something else. It might as well be admitted to. The Trumpies will claim these mistakes are Freudian slips.