Tag Archives: Joe Pesci

25 years of Goodfellas

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster

With this sentence, Henry Hill starts telling his story of rise and fall inside a mob family. It’s not fictional, Hill was a mobster for real, and passed away not too long ago. As fascinating it is, the responsible for delivering it to the mass on a silver plate was Martin Scorsese, who masterly directed one of his best films, and I dare to say, one of the best films in the history.

godfellas

Believe me if I reckon I’ve watched it more than 20 times, and I still find it awesome. One of those films every time you watch them you discover some details which you didn’t earlier, from actors, to locations, or any tiny detail. I never get tired of Ray Liotta laughing at Joe Pesci at the Bamboo Lounge, and how he scares the shit out of him.

This week it’s been celebrated the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie. It’s nice to see the cast gathering for the celebration of a great project, and it’s sad at the same time because you can see time does not forget anyone.

Is Goodfellas the best Italian mob film? Probably not, if you start thinking of The Godfather or Once Upon a Time in America, but it’s definitely one of the best.

The dynamism of a story told in 146 minutes is brilliant, separating the most remarkable episodes in the life of Hill. How he started being the kid running errands and grabbing an umbrella to protect one of the big bosses, the time he’s a successful young guy “well positioned” and falls in love with Karen, the Lufthansa Heist planned with Jimmy Conway and Tommy De Vito, and the devastating consequences for most of the people involved, the jail time, the drugs…everything supported by amazing performances by Liotta, DeNiro, Lorraine Bracco, Joe Pesci and Paul Sorvino, among many others, a terrific soundtrack, and many other features a good film analyst would be able to list.

I love the way Scorsese introduces the viewer to the family, as if making us one of them, going through all the Bamboo Lounge greeting everybody. The little man repeats this formula several times, one when Henry takes Karen to Copacabana, and instead of using the front door, they get into the restaurant by the kitchen access until a table is immediately set for them right at the moment they reach the lounge. Everything filmed with a steadicam, and the other at their wedding, when Karen tells about how overwhelmed she was with such a large family, so many people and so many envelopes.

Goodfellas was also the seed for David Chase at the time of creating The Sopranos. Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco were considered as candidates to play the roles of Tony and Carmela, but the idea eventually was turn down, although Bracco became Dr Melfi, Tony’s shrink, proving what an amazing actress she is. Also many actors were hired for the series, from Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti to Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo or Tony Sirico, the great Paulie Gualtieri.

I think there’s nothing else to say. If you don’t like Goodfellas you’re missing a hell of a great film.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TOLD YOU LOOK VERY SIMILAR TO…?

It’s fascinating our love for finding resemblances between current people and celebrities or characters, I got friends obsessed for relating people, and in many cases these are reasonable and funny, but other times it’s like, WTF?. Perhaps you’ve been asked the typical question saying “Have you ever been told you look very similar to…?” I don’t know whether to feel lucky or not, but I must be a bit peculiar, because nobody finds any counterpart.

The only exception was this girl who told me whenever she sees this rough Wonder Woman illustration by Renzo Ferrer, it reminds me of me. Ok, not that I don’t like her, and I even feel flattered, but let’s be serious, no fuckin’ way, we’re not alike by all means.

While heading to the office this morning, I passed a man on the street who was exactly the same as Jack Black, the actor, a character I simply can’t stand. The poor guy had the same dorky glance, hurrying up to school with his little daughter. This has made me laugh somehow. The fact is that some kind of mechanism, ignited by this minor event, has started in my head. I was sitting in front of the computer and my eyes met Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVitto in Goodfellas (I got a postcard of this film at the office, sent by a friend long time ago), and I started to think of the postman moving in my neighbor 8 years ago…

And I’ve decided to write a top 5 of people I got memory of, reminding me of characters.

JOE PESCI AKA MR. POSTMAN – Classic. I used to pass guy on a daily basis and he was exactly the same. Same size, hairdo, with toothpick included, and he had that nasty smile when talking to grannies. Moreover, he was a bit horny guy and had that typical Pesci’s face in Casino or Goodfellas. In fact, except for the suit missing, I could imagine him telling stories. Funny how, like a clown?

LAUREN BACALL – When I started attending college there was this gorgeous girl whose name I can’t recall now, although we still have some acquaintances in common. I’ve always thought of Lauren Bacall as one of the most perfect creatures on Earth since I discovered her while watching The Big Sleep. And this girl had same blue eyes, the lips always in red, and the wave in her hair exactly the same. If I was a guy I’d had a crush on this girl, believe me. I saw her a couple of years ago, she’s still very pretty and keeps some Bacall scent, but it’s not the same anymore. She had this vintage, film noir beauty, the kind that only lasts for a while.

DAVE WYNDORF AKA THE WAITER AKA THE REAL DAVE WYNDORF – in case I write my memories, this story will be included for sure. I was living in London, and used to go out very often with friends very into rock and metal. There was a joint we were hanging out on a regular basis, and one of the waiters was Dave Wyndorf look alike. In fact his features were so similar, I was thrilling thinking he was the real one, from time to time. You know, like disturbed, belly butterflies, and even blushing. But he was the damn waiter.

One evening I was with my friends at The Underworld, in Camden, enjoying QOTSA live show, Rated R era. My friend Chris comes with some pints and he looks super excited and smiling wide open and says “mates, I’ve just had a chat with Dave Wyndorf”. I couldn’t believe it, in fact because all this waiter thing, I thought he was joking, and he said this time it was for real. Thus I had to see for myself, went straight forward and asked him “Are you the real Dave Wyndorf?” and he affirmed and asked me who I was, so I replied “ I’m the real Toi”, and he started laughing. This was the beginning of 3-4 hours chatting nonstop, he was smoking ultra light cigarettes and drinking water, and I was getting pissed for the two of us. He even introduced me to Homme and Oliveri at the aftershow party, insane! Funniest thing of all is that few weeks ago, checking my old gig ticket collection, I discovered his autograph, saying “I’m the real Dave Wyndorf”.

SALACIOUS CRUMB AKA THE LIBRARIAN – I might sound very cruel but yes, I reckon Salacious Crumb was working at my faculty library, and she was a total cunt, with an annoying laugh, not very great manners, and in bad mood most of times. She was a red hair, but hers was kind of electrified and irregular, which reminded of Salacious ears. I’m considered to be quite exaggerated, a very common feature shared by the natives of my hometown, but I showed Salacious to some friends, and they had to agree I was right. Whenever I see The Return of The Jedi, the librarian comes to my mind.

EDDIE VEDDER, MY TEENAGE CRUSH – We used to say Felix was Pamplona Eddie Vedder, my friend Diana still agrees he looked like him, but I have my doubts nowadays. Truth is that he was a huge fan of the band when I met him in 1993, he had this grunge appearance we thought the coolest style, long hair, and his features were sharper, but I was convinced he looked like Eddie Vedder, and I told him right away. Someday I will tell you about Felix, although nothing really happened, probably because I was too scared and impressed by the huge difference in age (he was 9 years older than me, and I was 17), but hugs and passionate kisses, he made a mark on me that still lasts. He was the first person who made me think I was adult enough as to have my own word and thought, and the right to agree and disagree with my parents and other people consequently. Felix, my Eddie Vedder… I see him everytime I listen to State of Love and Trust, and I thank him, wherever he is,  for introducing me to Alice In Chains.

Sure you have your own list of your personal impersonators of characters, and I’d love to know. It’s a funny pastime. C’mon, tell me!!!