Over the course of these 26 posts, I plan to tell you about my three favourite movies. In no particular order (and as today is the day of G), we begin with Goodfellas – Martin Scorcese’s epic trawl through the life and times of gangster Henry Hill played impeccably by Ray Liotta.
This is a mind-blowing monster of a movie from “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster!” to “I’m an average nobody – get to live the rest of my life as a schnook!” and then Joe Pesci’s terrifying Tommy DeVito blowing us away into the end credits.
It was 1990, and we went to see Goodfellas the night before my driving test (which I passed – third time!). I’d never seen anything like it: visceral story-telling that won’t let up for a second and that pumping soundtrack pulsating through every scene. The movie is by turns hilariously funny and then deeply dramatic; explosive and uncompromising in its violence, portraying a life that is eye popping in its nouveaux lavishness as it is uncomfortable in its cheap sleaziness. But it doesn’t judge. Just like Wolf Of Wall Street (which could have been Scorcese’s masterpiece if it was half an hour shorter), it lets you make up your own mind about these lovable amoral characters.
I could go on about Scorcese’s ground-breaking direction, his pitch-perfect screenplay written with Nicholas Pileggi, the production design and costumes that take you right back in time, and those amazing performances: Liotta and Oscar-winning Pesci of course but Robert De Niro sparkles, Lorraine Bracco is a scene-stealer and Paul Sorvino is the best boss since Brando. Very few movies send me out buzzing but this one had me walking on air.
I won’t give you the obvious “how am I funny” clip. Here are two great moments. And if you haven’t seen this picture, drop everything. Watch it now! Your life is missing something.