GOODFELLAS GETS “MADE”
Somewhere in the muted-palate slog of Black Mass is a compelling story of an unlikely and twisted alliance: at one point in the movie’s interminable runtime, crime-boss Whitey Bulger cozies up to his FBI handles dinner with his FBI handlers. Chewing the best steak he’s ever eaten, he asks about the marinade. The G-man who grilled it playfully demurs—the recipe is a family secret—but this is friendly company, and it’s only a moment before he proudly reveals the ingredients. Bulger snaps into a stone-cold interrogation—why would anyone so quickly divulge something so ostensibly private? The room temperature plunges, Bulger’s voice turns feral, the agent’s eyes fill with dread. After a taut exchange, Bulger goes lax: he’s joking. Everyone manages a few false chuckles.
Sound familiar? When Joe Pesci pulls the same routine in Martin Scorsese’s breakneck-opus Goodfellas (“I’m funny how? Like a clown? I amuse you?”), he lunges onto Ray Liotta as they both laugh their heads off—everyone’s having a ball. That one bit is funnier, scarier, and more kinetic than all of Black Mass, but comparing the two doesn’t do either any favors: twenty-five years after its release, Goodfellas remains unmatched in its off-the-charts magnetism. Squealing tires open the movie like a starter’s pistol and the ride never lets up. Buzzing with electric period detail and driven by a propulsive rock-and-roll strut, it’s a sensory explosion, a pop masterpiece—and more than a little funny.
Recently given a 4K overhaul in honor of that anniversary, those colors and sounds should roar from the screen during its one-night-only engagement.
Goodfellas plays at the Alamo Mainstreet October 14th at 7pm.