Even twenty years on, it still amazes us that Martin Scorsese’s ‘Goodfellas’ did not sweep the board at 1991’s OSCARs, such is its singular brilliance in virtually every category. That it lost in Best Film and Best Director to ‘Dances With Wolves’ and ‘Kevin Costner’ is astounding to the point of comedy, but must still wake the great man up with the night sweats.
Tommy at his mother’s house
Astonishing Martin Scorsese is, of course, a legendary film-maker, and one who with his depictions of gangster life, Mafioso, street-level hoodlums and more has had a profound effect on some of the music that we love. His own clever and perfectly positioned use of music in the films he creates is often absolutely inspired, and itself reveals a deep love of music and diverse collection. And of course the ‘goodfellas/scarface’ reference points were a key element of mid-90s hip-hop, so there is relevance to our own Code of the Streets mixtape project, hosed by DJ Evil One.
But we digress slightly because we really wanted to just focus on the film for a moment. Seriously, look at how well Goodfellas is pieced together and moves from scene to scene so gracefully (in its first hour particularly) look at the interplay of sound and dialogue, look at the marvellously sculpted set-pieces, the sets and costumes, the story-lines, the characters, the music, the script. It is fantastic from the opening seconds. Indeed it is so perfect, and so influential and oft-referenced, that it is easy to forget just how good it is as a movie to sit down and watch.
But there is a happy post-script to the story of course, a reason to believe that all may just be right with the world after all. And this is simply that amongst the scandalous OSCAR night decisions that year there was one category for which they couldn’t ignore Scorsese’s film. Joe Pesci’s best supporting actor win for his role as the psycho mobster Tommy De Vito is irrefutable. And again, although it is perhaps obvious and clichéd and so often imitated, it is easy to forget just how incredible that performance is. Seriously, watch it through again, there is simply no wasted line, expression or movement. Like Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction, it is faultless as far as we are concerned. Just like our Code of the Streets mixtape in fact. Fuggedabowdit.
Tommy trying to bang jew broads