Henry Hill was Ray Liotta’s best performance, and to honor that great actor, Alex and Nick dive deep into Martin Scorsese’s classic picture, “Goodfellas.” The guys discuss the film’s iconic use of voiceover, its shocking opening scene, paintings of dogs, French New Wave influences, Oscar stupidity, and all their favorite scenes with Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, and more.
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Hey, everyone, welcome to. What are you watching? I'm Alex with their own. I'm joined by my best man, Nick Dostal. How are you doing there, Jimmy? Two times. I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to be here. Oh, why? Good. I mean. No. One, I don't think many people listen to this. Need you and I to explain why Goodfellas is one of the best movies ever made and one of the most rewatchable movies ever made. And this was not a planned podcast. You know, we wanted to honor the great Ray Liotta, which we lost at this point a little over a month ago, still still in mourning about it, still shocked by it. Honestly. And, you know, we were talking what's a good way to really honor him and why not just talk about the best movie he was in? And arguably, though, in my opinion, the best performance he ever gave as Henry Hill in Goodfellas, here we are. There's a lot of ways to talk about this movie. I hope we've come up with a pretty unique one. But tell me about Goodfellas as we get started here. You know, there's like there's books, right? There's books of our time that will never go away. It's the books that we study in school, like, you know, The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald. Like there's certain like. Yeah, exactly. There's certain things that will always be a part of our artistic culture. I think Goodfellas is one of those movies. Yes. I don't think you can look from start to finish the artistic contribution that Martin Scorsese made with this film and not consider this on that level of those contributions. It's literature. It's a movie that has its own language, it has its own style. It's timeless. There is absolutely nothing dated about this movie. There is nothing that feels old, even though this movie is 30 years old. 32 years old. Goodfellas, that's nuts. It's crazy. And I also even though you said why even do a part on this when everyone knows about this movie, I do worry that there are younger audiences that don't know this movie. Perhaps I'm being presumptuous. Yes. Yes. They're missing out on this literature that needs to be valued and it needs to be kept alive. So we're not doing this episode to do that. But I do think there is something to be said about the fact that we shouldn't take it for granted in that way. Yeah, absolutely. There of course, there are younger people who have not seen this or probably some older folks who may not have seen it as well. But like you're saying, in terms of artistic value, whatever modern novel you're going to hold up there, whatever modern piece of art, when we're talking about the art form of film, Goodfellas deserves to be on the highest pedestal possible. Yeah, because it is a gateway into a totally new type of cinema. And there are I mean, one could argue that almost every crime film or mafia movie made after this has at least referenced this movie in some way. I mean, I don't even think that's up for debate as much or if not more than The Godfather. It's up there in terms of references. And if you're willing to do a little extra digging and we'll get into this. But this movie did it's not like it came from nowhere. This is so heavily influenced by European French New Wave cinema and it's really, really cool to investigate Goodfellas on that level and see where Marty was drawing his inspirations from and then going back and watching that stuff. And you're like, Holy shit. I mean, he was taking from things that were 30 years before his movie that were so revolutionary, and it had nothing to do with the Mafia. The narratives had nothing to do with it. But he's picking and pulling these narrative styles. It's like it's breathtaking, the whole scope, the whole arc of Goodfellas, what came before, everything that's come after. It's a breathtaking arc of cinema, genuinely. And he's cooking with all of that and his own life experience. Exactly. Exactly. I think that's why this movie, when you say that it's the best mob movie ever made or why it's referenced so much by that is because it's coming from truth. That real life world that he grew up in, that he knows. And he is just peppering that in with all of those influences of medium that he loves. That's where you get the details. That's where the the attention to detail is so important. Things that he's actually pulling from his real life that he witnessed. Raging Bull is the same thing. Like one of my favorite shots, if not my favorite shot of Raging Bull is a close up of the rope and it just hands over and then you see the blood dripping. That's the detail that he got from going to the fights. He just looked over and he's like that rope is soaked with blood. That's what makes a movie so memorable, you know, the slicing the onion. So, yeah, exactly. Like the fact that you push in for that tight of a close up and then you give it like 2 minutes of screen time. Just the whole conversation, not too many onions, you know, they just keep going. It's like that's the stuff that we laugh with. 32 years later. That's the stuff we're still latching on to. All the most quotable stuff is stuff I've never even heard like referenced in another movie before. I'm going to go get two papers, get the papers, you. Know, that's been able to digest a decent meal in six. Weeks. You're like, I don't know where he's pulling this stuff from. It must be from real life. And Nick Pileggi, who wrote the book that this is based on and co-wrote the screenplay with Marty, has said that there's so much in this that Marty and I pulled from real, real life that like you, essentially, you cannot write this shit either directly from Henry Hill's life or directly from their own lives. And that plays through in the best of these type of films from Marty, Goodfellas, even Wolf of Wall Street, which is based on a true story. They have an excess of riches that they are pumping into their movie. That isn't just coming from Marty Scorsese. He's taking so many different, authentic sources and making something really zany and entertaining. Absolutely. And one of my personal reasons that I adore this movie so much is, is because, like, I got to grow up in my, like, high school years with a best friend who was 100% Italian with his whole family. And this movie reminds me of them so much. I mean, obviously not the violence or like this. Just the family aspect. Yeah. The the rhythms of speech. What was the details? The way they talked, the way that things moved just organically, rhythmically in their lives. And their speech being around that for like four years was just I mean, I was, I was I was dressing like that. I had like the really awful cheap leather jackets. Were just like, you look like a gangster. Like, my mom would be like, Yeah, my mom's. Like, What are you. In the mob? I go, What? I got it from my friend. It's no problem. But I look good. Looks like the fucker you kid. That's how my I can see the truth coming out of Martin Scorsese's life through this movie. Because in my experience, I got to witness just a sliver of this type of community and family and just lifestyle that I'm like, Yep, that's that's exactly what it is. That's just so cool. It's one of the coolest things for me about this movie. Yeah. That even in your own specific slice of life, this movie, it just made this movie feel more authentic, which speaks even better to the film. So. Okay. Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese, released in 1990. You may have heard of it. You may have seen it a dozen times. Again, I'm not sure if we can create our own unique Goodfellas narrative. That's why we are going to use this pod to talk a lot about Ray. It's going to be a very Ray Liotta based pod. He's our he's essentially our home base for this this. So that's that's how we'll frame it. You know, we love him. We miss him. Goodfellas, I would consider this without breaking a sweat. One of the top ten most popular American films ever made. And you can range popularity in terms of how many people have seen it, rewatched it, how quotable it is, how many college dorm rooms I saw with this poster? Yeah, I did it. Famously lost Best Picture and Best Director to Dances with Wolves, which has that's honestly I think aged even worse than the picture director losses for Raging Bull ten years earlier. The Goodfellas stuff just holds up horribly how it fared at the Oscars. But a goddamn tragedy is what it is. I think it honestly made a lot of people view the Oscars differently, like, what are we doing here? And I don't think they some people actually I know for a fact I've met a few people who have not taken them that seriously. After that, there was a huge, you know, before and after with Goodfellas. It was nominated for six Oscars. It won one supporting actor for Joe Pesci, one of the greatest Oscar speeches of all time. Just go watch it. Yeah, I'm thrilled that Pesci won. But again, this is insane. Like one Oscar. It's it's ridiculous. And then forget picture and director. Like, how the hell are you going to tell me that Dances with Wolves is a better edited film than good? That's it. That is absolute madness. That is. Delusional. I mean, that I got to be fair. I've seen Dances with Wolves twice. I don't I don't know. That movie is just so much more shit it on and hated all because of the of these victories if it hadn't have won those in Goodfellas had had justly won Dances with Wolves would be remembered like kind of fondly. Yeah, yeah. But now somebody people. Do shit on it, ordinary people is something that years later is kind of come out the other side. Yeah. It's not a better movie than Raging Bull, in my opinion, but it is a really good movie. But again, just Goodfellas, lack of Oscar love. We're talking about this early because it's so ridiculous and it is so talked about, but it's just again, delusional. I feel like Dances with Wolves every time it's mentioned or brought up, there's like an asterisk next to it every time. And it's every. Asterisk is one over Goodfellas. And then the immediate reaction is like, wait, what? Huh? That and that. That's that's the the crux. That the Institute of the Wolves has to bear now is like, yeah. It's that one over Goodfellas. I don't I, it's not something that can be justified. I know at the time perhaps this is worth mentioning, if we're going to add a little context, Goodfellas was it was liked by all it made money critics loved it again. It was nominated for Oscars, but it was a shock. It was a violent film. It was a profane film. And I think even as the night was getting closer, the narrative had become we've went around this most recent Oscar time. We talk a lot about the Oscar narrative. The narrative was Dances with Wolves may perhaps win picture. And Marty will win. Director And that's not unusual. The year before driving Miss Daisy, one picture and Oliver Stone, born on the 4th of July one. Director Yeah. So they would they could often go for the more artistic, gritty effort for director. And then even when that didn't happen, that's just like, come on, this is silly. But honestly, we're not really going to reference the Oscars again for the rest of this podcast because there's no need to. All right. All right. Okay. Here, here's here's the question I have. Is it more of a sin that Kevin Costner won best director over Martin Scorsese winning it for this? That's yes. To answer it shortly. Yes. And that is why I want to mention that context, because I've read I've done I mean, you know, I know so much about Goodfellas already, but this week has been fun to go. Just refresh myself. There is a great oral history that was published in GQ, I think in 2010. It's a lot of fun to read, but even in that someone says, I think it was Illeana Douglas who was who has a brief role in Goodfellas and was dating Marty at the time, and he kind of figured or assumed Dances with Wolves best picture. I'll probably get director and yeah, that to me is way more it's way more baffling when you take into context that I mean, this goes back much, much farther. Like I think Place in the Sun should have won best picture. It won best director. But then an American in Paris wins Best Picture, 1956 around the world in 80 days, wins best picture, one of the worst best picture winners ever. George Stevens wins best director again for Giant. And I think that would show one picture. So this has been going on for a very long time. And it's just another yet another example of the Oscars really messing it up and that it's more egregious, honestly, that Robert Redford beat Scorsese. And for director Ordinary People, Raging Bull, that's more egregious as well. But you know, to two act actors. Yeah yeah. Beat Scorsese see it and and you know and think about Goodfellas two is like you know I. Can do you one better I can do you one better than this. He lost, of course, in 2000 to 4 Gangs of New York. That lost everything but then jumped to 24. He's up there for The Aviator. He loses to Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby. Makes her director three times. Yes, I bet Clint had already one picture. Director for Unforgiven. So he's an established director. But yeah, so he is an actor, but he's nobody's. He was nominated for actor that year for Million Dollar Baby as well. So it's yeah, boom, boom. And then two years later, Marty wins for The Departed, which we've talked about ad nauseam on this podcast. So plenty to go check out about that. Our first commentary, Hellboy. Oh my God, you got you got to think. Every time MARTIN Marty is lost, he's always like these fucking actors just coming out of nowhere, taking my fucking statue. Exactly what am I doing wrong here? But I mean, there's no hard feelings because one of Martin Scorsese best acting performances is as a really big head honcho bigwig in Robert Redford's quiz show. It's a brief role, but he's really good at it. So it's all, you know, it's bygones be bygones. Like can't make these movies to win awards. I yeah I can tell you any number of movies I've seen that make these movies to win awards, Scorsese doesn't do that. That's not that's not the way to go about it. No, he does not. Goodfellas, what's it about? I i because the movie tells the true. Story of a rags to riches to rags gangster Henry Hill, who was a real life gangster who worked his way up as an earner and an enforcer for the Lucchese crime family in New York City. Three decades in the life of the Mafia, 146 minutes long, not a second is wasted. I could argue that this is the most rewatchable film ever made. I've watched it three times this past week because why the hell not? I've seen it. I'm not going to admit how many times I believe I've seen it. But Martin Scorsese, this is you know, you kind of reference it earlier and I've talked about this on the podcast before, a directors best film, which is perhaps an objective question versus your favorite, which is a very subjective question. One could argue that this is the best film Martin Scorsese has ever made. I'm not going to argue against it. You're not going to have to sell me that hard to, you know, make that point. Dedicated listeners of this podcast will know that my favorite film of all time favorite film of all time is Taxi Driver. There is a difference there. I still think they're both masterpiece, A-plus films. All that to say. Honestly, that's not even the controversy. For me, the controversy is. What do I like better? Goodfellas or Casino? And I still have no real way to properly answer this. I think Goodfellas is perhaps a tighter narrative, more rewatchable, because it is a bit shorter, it's probably more seen. But I have seen Casino more times. I think Casino has a little slightly a little more humor. I laugh a little more during it and I don't know, there's again, it's like, which side of this gold coin is shinier? I love them both, but just kind of want to know where does Goodfellas rank for you? Like among Marty? It's way up there. It's not my favorite. It's the taxi driver is my favorite. MARTIN Scorsese movie. Yeah. And I am about the same particular debacle that you have where between Goodfellas and Casino, it's kind of like how I always feel about The Godfather one and two. It's like when I'm watching Goodfellas, I think Goodfellas is the better movie. And then when I'm watching Casino, I'm like, Nah, Casino Casino's where it's at. And these are not to say that these are the better movies, but it's just when you're in them and you're living in them, you're just watching perfection on screen. You're watching a master. I think I would put Goodfellas a little bit higher if I was doing it more from a perception that this is America's movie in that way. Like this is. Like part of the artistic art form. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think. I think Goodfellas is revered in that way more than casino. I think. I don't know why Casino just seems to be one of those movies that kind of is one of those hidden gems. It's kind of Scorsese. It's very strange. Yeah, it's very fucking strange, considering that was the last movie he made with De Niro until The Irishman. Like, there's a huge gap there of one of the best director actor collaborations ever. It's it's weird casino does better now with social media it's it's talked about a lot on there it's Mehmed a lot I think younger audiences get to it they have fun with it talked about a lot more now than even in the early 2000 for sure. Oh yeah. I don't even I think I would. I've heard of the movie in early 2000 and I was like, Wait, oh yeah, that's a Scorsese movie, right? I was watching the double cassette VHS the weekend. It was released. On VHS in 96. Frank, Chris and I almost vomited the first time I reached the baseball bat scene of that one of the few movies it almost made me. That's it? Yeah. Almost, almost came up. I was ten. I was ten years old. And I remember very distinctly. Ooh, that is I. I sympathize with that. I, I think that is one of the most grotesque uses of violence I've ever seen in a movie. I think it's very, very affecting. Yes, it. Still still holds up in terms of its effectiveness. He he achieved what he set out to achieve. But back to Goodfellas, because I'll tell you something, Casino doesn't have Ray fucking Liotta. And let's talk about this narrative structure before we get to him. I did mention how important that is. So a lot of the Goodfellas style in terms of the way it is cut together and the way that it moves, comes from the 1962 French film Jules and Jim, directed by Francois Truffaut, one of the most popular French new wave pieces of cinema ever, incredibly influential movie over a number of different directors. And this one, Marty's love for Jules and Jim is all over Goodfellas. The extensive narration, the quick editing, the freeze frames, the multiple. We're going from here to here, passing multiple decades in the span of, you know, just an hour and 40 minutes. And even like in The Departed, that great shot of Damon as he's getting ready to walk into the police building. And that vignette that zooms in on him in that circle that's here in Jules and Jim. Like they do. That exact thing. I mean, so I just want to introduce that by way of saying like that is where Marty is pulling his inspiration from. And then I want to move very quickly to ask, is this the best movie opening of all time, Goodfellas? And here's my case for it. If we do, the opening of the movie is, you know, they're driving Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci. They think they hear something in their trunk. And we assume very quickly that they have grave. They have hurt a man very gravely. They have assumed he is dead. They're driving to bury him and he's still alive. And then they open the trunk and they kill him. Most people know most people have seen this. They know what I'm talking about. If we do not see them commit this act of violence, then we do not see them commit an act of violence until about the 56 minute mark in the film when they kill Batts. Granted, the Ray Liotta pistol whipping scene happens before that. That happens a 40 minute mark, but we do not see their full brutality until they kill that man who was in the trunk in the beginning. So the violence here is really coming full circle and it opens the narrative up. So it's like an hour into the movie. The movie gets to start again. This is what I'm talking about with brilliant filmmaking and if you just start the movie with young Henry Hill looking out the window at the cab stand, it has a certain innocence to it that it doesn't mean the violence later isn't going to be more impactful. It actually might be more shocking because we're like, whoa. But right away, Marty and editor Thelma Schoonmaker are like, we are going to let you know exact what fucking world you're getting into. Don't idolize these guys too much. They are fucking killers. I'm going to spend about an hour showing you fun stuff. You know, Robin. Robin Trucks, Robin Stores wearing the flashy suits. You know, the women go into the Copa. Oh, great. It's all fun. It's all good. But it's not going to be fun by the end. And I'm reminding you of that very, very early. That's my case for it. I do think this is the best intro to a movie of all time. I'd have to really think about what my personal favorite intro to a movie is, but upon hearing everything that you're saying, I would like to back up your argument. In some ways, we are seeing an extreme level of violence to start off the whole entire thing, which is cluing us in that this is a movie that is going to go here. This is the world that we're in. To your point, this is the world that we're getting into. And then it's got quite possibly the best hook of a line to start off anything when that infamous shot of Ray Liotta closing the trunk, the zoom going right into his face. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. And it freeze. Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum. You are instantly now and then where we go from there is the beginning when he's a kid and all that. So it does speak a bit of like a novel kind of language in that way. But just to kind of back up your point, that opening scene just by that just lets you know every single thing you need to know, need to feel and then the hook. Yeah, because this is genuinely one of the reasons why the film is so great. This structure, this pace again, Ray Liotta does pistol whipped that guy about 40 minutes into the film. He does not kill him. Bats is the first murder, first of many, but that beginning puts everything into context, including how much we should fear Joe Pesci. Oh, because his am I funny how scene comes before we see him do any violence chronological. Lee That happens about 19 minutes into the movie if again if we just start on young Henry Hill in that window during Pesci's, I'm funny how the first time you're watching the movie, I mean, his acting is good enough to be afraid of him. But we as an audience have already seen this dude butcher a guy with a fucking kitchen knife. So we're like, Holy shit, is he about to what is. He able to pull. Out from behind his suit jacket here and put on Ray Liotta? It's just, oh, my God. I mentioned how after they kill bats, now the narrative is caught up with itself because we see him now, we see how the guy got into the trunk and then all the bad stuff happens after bats is killed. Affairs fights with Karen, casual murders of the crew like spider digging bats up, drugs, prison. All of that happens within 20 minutes of them killing bats. So this movie is constantly reinventing itself. And you see those very fun riches and then we get that downfall that it just oh, it becomes so not fun anymore. Very quickly, Wolf, of Wall Street does this to he's one of the geniuses of this arc. I mean, I would argue he even created this arc, or at least no, the rags to riches thing existed. But he has. Yeah. What he's done with it, he created it in a way that made it so fucking entertaining and so compelling to watch that you know what's coming. You know, this is not going to last forever. And no one handles this better than Marty and Thelma. They really don't. It's just it's incredible to watch. And not to even keep digging in too much this opening scene. But you have to ask yourself the question if that if this wasn't the opening scene, if you're to your point, if you just started with young Henry Hill, even if you had the opening line, like I always wanted to be a gangster, that it cuts right to Henry Hill. Right. Would it work as effectively? No, not at all. Not because it would in time. You're watching this movie up until I mean, this is a very familiar thing now, a lot of horror movies. Honestly, I don't know why this is coming to my mind, but even Possessor does this. There's a brutal killing in the very beginning of possessor. It's it's told chronologically. And then we don't see another murder for, like, an hour. So this is a common thing to show us something to set the tone of your movie, because Goodfellas is going to a dark fucking place to set that upfront and to give us some suggestion about where we're going. It's just smart and it puts us on edge right away. We are not comfortable. We are like, Holy shit, this movie can take us anywhere. Ah, who the hell was that in the trunk? When is that going to come up? And we're just sitting there knowing that this explosive, casual violence can pop off at any time. And again, I'm not suggesting that the film doesn't have any violence for an hour. Even the guy oh, god, they shot me. And wrapping the pizza aprons around it like that's very bloody, but the next killing comes when we see how that man got into the trunk. It's a brilliant narrative, construction and so impactful for the movie. And it's when we finally do catch up to it, we realize that this is the point of no return structurally for the movie. Yeah. Like when exactly. Billy Batts like that is the downfall of everyone else as we go. So when we catch up to it now, we're like, Oh shit, this was now we're in real time again, right? And what's going to happen after this? Now, I wonder maybe, you know, was that actually in the script, screenplay, written, designed that way or is that found. In the edit? No, I just in my research and I did credit Thelma before with it earlier, but it was you know, it was part of their doing, but it was in the script. It was Nick Pileggi and Martin Scorsese. He came up with that and but not in the first draft. They were like, what is the good way like into this? We have to move into there. So you know credit Pileggi, Scorsese, Thelma, all of them for coming up with that idea of no, let's put this here first. Let's let's set the tone. Some people this happened a lot with Wolf of Wall Street did a lot of critics. It was the beginning of the wave of representation is endorsement. And because Scorsese was showing this stuff, he endorses it. And it's like, well, hold on, hold on. And that some of that was happening with Goodfellas, too, like, oh, because it shot so well and it's in such they're in such good costumes and it's so flashy and well-edited that he's telling us to condone this lifestyle. And I think you're a fucking lunatic if you think Scorsese wants you to condone this lifestyle. Yeah, and I think he's telling you that right away. Like, I don't think, you know, shooting and stabbing someone in the trunk is okay. Here you go. Do with it what you will. More to come later. So when you were forming this outline, the first thing, the one of the things that you said was the very first note that I had when I rewatched it. Is this the best voiceover of all time? Yeah, I put that question there as a conversation starter. I suppose my easy answer again is yes. And I know we're doing a lot of Alzheimer's here. Favorite opening. Scene? Yeah, no overt voiceover. There are other I mean, voiceover goes back as far as film does and there are great examples. There's Sunset Boulevard. That's a really interesting one because he's telling you and just about his very first line that he's doing this voiceover from the grave similar to like American Beauty. That's a really interesting way to tell a story. And you have something like Apocalypse Now obviously comes to mind where it really feels like an extension, a direct extension of his character. And you don't really know the time and the place and the circumstance that Martin Sheen actually recorded that under, like he was holding a real fucking gun in the recording room. It's crazy since he's basic and Badlands, I think is great. I think it's so. Yes. And gives you just this really unique insight into, you know, killers and something to make it a little more mainstream. Shawshank Redemption is something where the narration is mentioned a lot about that movie. And, you know, it made Morgan Freeman voice, the Morgan Freeman voice. And I think that's a really good example of it. But we can't sleep. On how impactful Scorsese has been to voiceover narration in cinema Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, a unique type of narration because there is a diary which can we cannot rely upon. You shouldn't be taking anything travels, Travis Bickle is saying as fact. It's coming from his warped mind. Casino has the type of voiceover that's really cool because it keeps bouncing around and then like Frank Vincent gets those one or two lines, which I love. The Wolf of Wall Street is great. VOICEOVER, voiceover can be amusing. It serves a lot of purposes. I genuinely have never laughed harder in voiceover than I did in DeNiro's for the Irishman, because there's one scene when he's like, Oh yeah, some haven't he got a knife? I can go back on. And he just mumbles. It's like, I don't know. It's like it's toward the end of the movie and it's fucking hysterical. I remember being at the. Theater just dying. It's like. So yeah, I mean. The Goodfellas though, like the register that Liotta is delivering in and because. Voiceover is. Acting, voice acting for. Animated films is acting. It really fucking matters where that's coming from, what energy is he bringing into it? And he sounds a little he never sounds like fully excited. He sounds like a guy like he's delivering it from wherever the hell he's living now, you know, like and others. Yeah, yeah. Like he's just right there and just like. And, but, I mean, even when he's not on screen, we feel him through his delivery. Like, everybody takes a beating some time. I mean, the way I remember seeing that for the first time and going, wow, that's like that's this guy's that's where he lives. He's just accepting, like, taking whippings from his dad. Like, whatever, whatever I have to do to live that life or there are really funny ones. Like, How could I sit there and take that good government bullshit? I love the way he. Eases that out. And then, you know, of course, fuck you pay me is hysterical. That's I've heard that reference in any number of rap songs like it's just it's everywhere everyone knows fuck you pay me and there's also I want to say a lot of voiceover and good a lot. It takes up pretty much the whole movie. And he and Lorraine Bracco playing his wife, Karen. Yeah. Which is genius that they split it to occasionally jump to her POV. That's just we can even jump into that like it's genius how it you just never expect it and then handing her the pistol like I got to admit the truth, it kind of turned me on. Now we know right away where Karen's coming from, like, well, I don't know, you know some like girlfriends their boyfriend added of abyssal that make a run like yeah but then she admits that and you're like. Whoa. Great. Now we're taking another turn. And I feel like that's something that a lot of people actually kind of like. You recognize it when you're watching it, but it's not something you actually truly take in. You're like, Wow, the voiceover just became a tag team. Yeah. And I remember rewatching it and seeing when it actually happened. It happened for the first time when they're in the restaurant on their first date, the one that he doesn't want to be. Flipping the. Lighter and. Yeah, yeah. And all of a sudden, you know, she's just sort of like, I couldn't stand him. And all of a sudden I go, Whoa, yeah. Because I got rashes her. It like goes in there and isolates her and you're like. Whoa, what the fuck is this? This is Henry Hill's movie. What is this? I I've seen this movie so many frickin times, and it was this viewing that I was like. Whoa, holy shit. The voiceover just changed. That's what makes it so Rewatchable. Yeah, and. And then I'm like, I'm like, Oh, yeah, that's right. She is like, this is a thing. But it bowled me over. But the one thing I want to say to your point about all this, about the there is something about a voiceover when it works is because there's a musicality to the actor or the narrator and just their actual voice. There's something about Ray Liotta's voice that is so unique and and. This is a. Bad time. I guys love it, you know? Yeah, yeah. Like there's a certain grovel, but there's also a certain high pitched ness. There's just something about his voice that's intriguing. He's very compelling, very captivating. And also, like, you don't hear that voice a lot, right? It's easy to kind of hear De Niro because it's just so unique and it's iconic. It almost seems like you fall right into it. But Ray Liotta, you're like, Ray Liotta. Yeah. I'm going to listen to a movie with Ray Liotta talking for the whole entire time and it's fucking beautiful. And that would have been new to people in 1990 because. You know, I did a. Quick Ray Liotta mini so the day that he passed. But Scorsese saw him in his first film role in Jonathan To Me, Something Wild. And he is he's an explosive ex-con. I mean, he is nuts in that. He is great. I actually rewatched that this week. I had only seen it once. So good to rewatch it to like channel that really Liotta Energy and he does a few other movies, most notably Field of Dreams, in which he's playing Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1989 completely different register than what he's bringing to Henry Hill. But it was something wild that initially intrigued Scorsese about it. But, you know, he searched for Henry Hill for about a year to cast this. My point is, though, Ray Liotta was a not like unknown, but a relative unknown. Everyone knew who Pesci and De Niro was, and he did not want to give Pesci or DeNiro that main part. He wanted it to be the one that we didn't have that much of a relationship with. And it's a huge part, even looking at the voiceover and you know, you're in almost every scene of the film. So yeah, it's I want to talk about the actors because we are going to talk about most everyone in the movie, but I want to talk about them. How they relate to Ray. So all the people in his crew, Lorraine Bracco, all that stuff, I just want to have as much of a very focused conversation as we can because I miss him and we've already talked about what he's bringing into the voiceover, which is such a big part of his performance. And just I mean, we're going to get into it, but my God, this is some incredible work from one of I've said it a lot in the past month, but one of my favorite actors ever, and I do think this is his finest performance. I said that in the mini showed. So we're going to get into Ray now we're all in first of a talk about Ray and Joe because. Even when you meet with. Joe walks into frame. When it's a young actor, you're like. I wonder who this is going to be. You're still going. To be working together. He goes, All right, sounds good. You're like, This is definitely going. To be Joe. Yeah, you're so. Convincing as a duo from that opening shot when it just pans up from their shoes at the airport. My absolute favorite interaction they have and one of my favorite, if not my favorite moment in the movie is Pesci Cleaning up after the bat's killing. And he looks right at Liotta and goes, I didn't want to get blood on your floor. And you're like, Yeah. And Liotta just looks at him and goes, Oh, my God, that's that's in his head right now. Like, he has no idea this is the death. I mean, you know, this podcast is coming from a place of people who have seen Goodfellas. This is a spoiler episode. I should've said that upfront, but, you know, come on, it's Goodfellas is 32 years old. It's one of the most popular movies ever. That's the killing of bats that. Leads. To Joe Pesci dying. It's years later, but it's revenge for that. And the only thing he's worried about is blood on the floor. I love I love everything about the way she plays this, of course. But I love their dichotomy because. Pesci Tommy is a psychopath. Like, I've done so much research on this movie. I listen to this, a great DVD commentary with Henry Hill and the agent who got him into Witness Protection, which is really cool. And he's talking, he says over and over, Yeah, he was insane. But when a guy acts like this, they are bound to get killed. Even by their own crew because they are a loose cannon. And watching that like, you know, we never see Ray Liotta kill anyone. We never see Henry. He'll kill anyone now. And watching that him toe that line of. Yeah, there's a line and we're all we're all playing in this game. But I mean, they're they're going overtime. And I'm just saying, I'll stay on the bench during this. It's it's really, really thrilling to watch. It's terrifying, trust me. But it's thrilling. A favorite Pesci in Ray scene. It's so easy to say it's that funny how I mean, so I'm not going to say it. Yeah, I'm not going to say it. My favorite scene actually with them is when they're in the car together. Just the two of them. Prejudice against Italians. Yes, that's one. Yes. True. Yes. But if I could get a good fucking score here because I wound up. Yeah, it's so great, but sorry, keep going. It's also the. One time that we actually see Joe Pesci somewhat real in that way, where he's. He's asking for something. Yeah. He's like, Hey, I want you to go on this double date. He's not saying it quite like that. And Ray's like, No, I got a thing. Okay. Yet I'm trying to being this broad. Okay. What do you want from me? I'm trying. I'm trying to do this one thing. Why won't you do this? And It's in. That is when Ray kind of comes along to it is like, I'm just trying to do this one thing. It feels like this is their relationship. Ray knows that. Oh, God. Then he's just always, you know, it's like, all right, you asked me, ask me. I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it. I just stop talking about it now. Just stop talking about it. You. It's a big fucking belt. Yeah. And then they're get so wrapped up in it that they missed it. The building's about to catch fire. It's like we got you in the matter. We. We should've been gone by now. But I'm telling you, that's what. When you watch that scene the first time, you're you. You're looking for the smoke and the fire, and then it goes and yeah, you may miss. I just. I really implore people to go back and watch how Pesci just starts to rent at the end. You know, she loses the five bullets. We get a big fucking score out of this. Yes. You're like, What now? Did we get to that? He's just mad. He's really, really going, Yeah, that's what I saw. I love that you bought that, too, because that's always been one of my favorites between them. Like, No, no. And then I mean, in the next, that's what's so cool about pitching this because that next scene on the date, like, What are you doing? We just got here like he's so old and clearly doing he's putting on some charm in an effort to give the woman back. I mean, obviously, we get we get what's going on. But just to see these moments of lightness from him, I mean, the scene with Scorsese, his mom playing Tommy's mother in the movie is so just the way he is with her like, oh, my God, it's so great. And then what I want to say about the Pesci performance is the death of Tommy really does represent the death of their Goodfellas empire. He only said, Yeah, that line is only said once. Goodfellas, you know, we call each other Goodfellas. It's right before Pesci gets killed. And it just it really all the gloss is gone. Now we descend into pure chaos, you know, jump into the fire. It's just it's great. My final thing about Joe Pesci's performance in this movie and referencing that scene with the mom and unfortunately, I have to call a few people out here, you included. So here we. Go. Oh, son of your stage. I hear you're going to fucking do this. I'm doing it. I'm doing it. And this time, folks, I visual evidence. I visual evidence. My case is tight. This is a bunch of bullshit. Explain to me how it's bullshit before I start. Explain. I just can't believe you're bringing this up. I know, but you're not the. Only one getting dragged under the bus here. I promise you're not. You're not. There's like. All right, people. Ten people. Here we go. I was in Atlantic City in, like, October, just there. I'm checking into the hotel with my wife. We were going to see a comedian, Bill Burr. We had tickets, so we check in a night early. So I'm checking in and I'm in line. I'm behind someone and the wall directly behind the person who checks you into the hotel. There is a little portrait and it is a portrait of one dog looking this way. One dog looking the other way, and a man with a beard sitting in a boat, basically. It's it's that exact portrait from Goodfellas. It's like a print of it, obviously, but it is hanging up behind dude checking people in. And I see this and I just start like laughing and there's someone standing behind me. So I start laughing and then I get up to be checked in and I say, Oh, one dog goes one way, the other dog goes the other way. Blink guy has no fucking clue what I'm talking about. I'm like, and he's nice, he's nice, you know, he's like courteous customer service. And I'm like, okay. So I start a thing where every time I go down to the front lobby to ask like, whatever, you know, you need stuff sometimes more. I mean, whatever, you're down there. That would be how I would introduce myself to every person who works there. No one had the slightest fucking clue what I was talking about. Two people behind me in line twice heard me and started laughing. They were like they were laughing. How funny was it? No one else got it. So then I'm just getting heartbroken. Like it's up at their hotel and people still don't get this. Then I get the idea. I'm going to take a picture of exactly what it looks like to stand here when you're checking into the hotel, and I'm going to text a few people. So I texted a few people, that top five movie people I know. I texted them a picture of my POV and I said, One dog goes one way, the other dog goes the other way. These are people who I thought I thought knew about movies and cared about them all. Five within 10 minutes. Go. Huh? What did you mean to send this to me, huh? No one has the slightest fucking clue what I talking about. And I have visual evidence. I saw the picture. I'm going to post this picture now. I know what you're talking about, including you. But it wasn't just you. It was also my friend Taylor, who, you know, Taylor's surprising because a few years older than me. So I figured he would have got that fucker. No one got it. So then I start to send it to more people, including you all. And I say, okay, is there anything in this picture that I just sent you that reminds you of any movie, including the quote that I just texted, any movie I say this to all five of these movie people. No one has a clue what I'm fucking talking about. No one I up this. I sent it to about 20 people total more every time I send it to someone. More context. Do you notice anything. In this picture from Goodfellas? No one has a clue. A clue? I have to start explaining it to people and then sending people the fucking YouTube. Clip from the movie because they have no idea what I'm talking about. I've never been more unseen in my entire life. It was a terrible weekend, that's all. It was nuts. Not even my dad got it. No, I mean, it was so funny. I mean, I'm just sending it to people more context every time. First, it's a quote. Okay, now it's from a movie. Now it's from Goodfellas. No one no one knew. That's the last thing I had to say about I'm done with the podcast. I block it away. You take it a block away. This is the last one they had saving this. I was heartbroken. I knew my Twitter heads would have gotten me, but I wanted to be able to explain this on the pod. So now, you know, John Klein would understood you would have gotten a man on fire who would have gotten that shit within seconds, seconds just from the quote, one dog goes one way with the other. So I'm not going to speak for those fine two gentlemen, but I'm going to say, upon watching it. This. Time around and we get to that scene, I literally had my note because like, I always have like a notepad in my hand when I'm watching movies for the pod. Yeah. And then. I literally as soon as we get. To the painting, I just tossed it right in the air. Threw my arms up in the air. I go, Motherfucker, there it is, God damn it. And yes, so, yeah, one dog. Goes this way. They all go that way. Yep. I like it. They go, look at this, look at his head. Let's go and see. What do you want? It looks like. So we do. All right. Speaking of that, De Niro and that scene, The Hustler. Oh, what a great scene. That scene is just great, because you know where they've come from, from this killing and where they have to go. And now they're trying to put their best together for dinner. And to Joe Pesci's psychopathic nature, he's the only one who settles into that scene as if it is a family dinner just eating. Yeah, yeah, he's just great. Liotta is, like, freaking out because he understands the gravity of what's just happened. De Niro is doing his best. Yeah. To to be like, you know, like, continue conversation to try to be accommodating. But he still knows damn well what's going on. But Pesci's the only one that's almost forgotten. This is a guy in the trunk. His mom's telling jokes, so he's content to be a jerk. Oh, God. Yeah. Great. Let's get to De Niro and Ray in this, because he probably honestly has more screen time with De Niro than I would say he has the most, maybe with Lorraine Bracco. Yeah. And then I mean, he has a lot with De Niro in this and it's a great this. Ray Liotta was never given enough credit for this movie. I mean, I'm so glad Pesci was nominated and won. Lorraine Bracco was nominated. That's great, too. Ray Liotta absolutely should have been nominated for best actor for this. And he wasn't. It's it's one of the it's another egregious Oscar faux pas for 1990 but yeah. De Niro Ray in this great chemistry right away. The one thing I want to say, I think the thing I like most about this is that De Niro, as Jimmy is always game for their little heists, even when drugs become involved. Because Paulie's like, stay away from this fucking drugs. I don't want anything about it. But De Niro is just along for it. And I really like that, that dynamic of De Niro being being an authority figure, but also knowing that he can technically never be a made guy because he's not 100% Italian. Yeah. And he does dirt with them as opposed to just ordering them to do dirt. And I love that. And, you know why? Because Jimmy loved to steal and that's really it. Like, yeah, just fucking gets so much enjoyment out. Of it and oh folks, you want to know a lesson in acting? Go look at the line delivery of You may know who we are, but we know who you are. I remember the first time I saw that movie being like, Wow, he played with language there. I just that's the type of stuff I fucking love that shit. But I mean, he's greatness. Oh, shocker. De Niro's great in Goodfellas. But I know I love. Their dynamic in it. I really, really love it. And how he kind of fears Pesci too. Yeah very aware when Pesci the spider stuff like if you watch De Niro's face during that card game, he's like, ah, you know, even when he after he shoots Spider in the foot, Tommy does DeNiro is like, you know, are you in? And he just he's like, God, it doesn't we didn't have to go there with it, like, and then he kills him. Stupid son of a bitch. You're going to dig the fucking hole like one of. My favorite moments with De Niro is in the Billy bad scene where Pesci leaves. You know, he's trying to ice over the situation. And but even De Niro in that moment is. Like insult it a little bit insulting him a little bit. Just a little bit. And he's like, no, I didn't insult them. Drinks are all drinks are on the house. Yeah. Okay. My favorite moment. Between De Niro and Ray is actually a scene where they have no dialog together because I actually think that true, like real, like chemistry and understanding of two characters in a movie is always really, really good when they actually don't have any lines. So it's the scene where De Niro finds out that Tommy just got whacked. Yeah, the phone booth. In the phone booth. And obviously, you know, like, you know, for somewhat of a man like De Niro to start to cry, that's not something a guy like him does know. And this is not to interrupt. But I did listen to that commentary with Henry Hill, and he said it as the only time I ever saw that man shed a tear in my fucking life was after Tommy was killed. Yeah. Yep. And you can see De Niro coming out of that booth in the emotional state that he is. Ray Liotta comes out immediately. He understands, like, you know, he says it like they acting. But you can see the way that Ray is processing the information that he's heard. But he's also witnessing this man. He's never seen be like this and trying to be there for him. There almost is a moment to me that seemed like like De Niro almost kind of wanted to hug him like that. Like he goes in just like a little bit for just some type of, like, close Ray doesn't even know what to do, so he just kind of almost just reaches out his arm to pat him. Just seeing how these two are energetically. They're being extremely truthful to the circumstances, but they're also being extremely truthful to who they are as characters. And what do we do here with each other? Think that that scene is just so full of life. I love that scene between the two of us. Yeah. And De Niro, you can tell he's like he's holding trying to hold back that crying like, yeah, that's not what, you know, you do. And they only did that once. They only filmed it once. And De Niro was really into one take because he had a that's a it was a tough place for De Niro to get to. And I know that from that oral history, he says that specifically and it was not planned that he was going to knock that fucking phone booth over. He's just going for it. Wow. I mean, you can you can really tell. I mean, it's so sad. It's so shocking. Speaking of the assassination of Joe Pesci in this film, do you know who kills him? Oh, man. It's about looking. For his name. But have you ever seen him in another movie that comes to mind? And for the record, that's Paul Sorvino, his brother. He's playing Paul Sabrina's brother in the movie Tootie. You see him in the beginning. We got to fucking get up. That's Frankie Sharpe. Sharpe Records from Wayne's World. Oh, my God. That is great. Is that the old guy ever? The old guy? Would he get zero on the phone? Oh, we had a little problem. Jesus. I mean, they're just so cold, and there's nothing. There was nothing we could do about it. Yeah. Yeah, that that moment. That's one of those moments in movies where you only see that once. Yeah. Like, like even you can rewatch Goodfellas as many times as we have and obviously, you know, when that scene is coming. But they're, I remember viscerally, the first time I ever saw Goodfellas. When was that? How old? We didn't get into that. We talked about that with Casino. Oh, that's that's a good question. I did see this one kind of early. I was one of those. Young folks, I'll put it that way. Yeah, like like. They I think how young I was if I went to my friends, one of my best friends, Chris, has a son and I'm going to ask him like, who's got to be approaching seven, eight, which is when he and I were watching Goodfellas, like, would you show him Goodfellas? He's going to look at me like I'm on drugs. It's got liquor talking about. Of course not. It's just so funny how and I don't think I would show this to an eight year old. I mean, I'm a responsible adult. I would do that. But my father showed me this was when I was eight, shortly after a screening of Raging Bull. But, you know, we've talked about this on the podcast. Like, I really looked at movies different way and I'd be like sitting in front of the screen with my notepad talking about like, how did they do that? And I'm looking up like, Oh, who's that actor? I want to look up everything they're in. So I was very odd in terms of my movie Love very young. But yeah, I was just curious what wit your entry point into this was. But this came out in 90 like I absolutely remember watching this VHS and that iconic cover of them, that poster of the three of them standing there. Yeah, really, really young. I wasn't that young, but it was before high school. Yeah. And it was definitely before I, I really entered into my appreciation of film. But I do remember watching this movie and not understanding that it was a masterpiece or not feeling like it, but also realizing, Oh, I'm watching a something special here in New. I never seen anything like it. Yeah, I. My appreciation for it developed over rewatches for sure. Sure, sure. But that first time, I think my biggest takeaway from the whole movie was the scene where she got killed because of the offscreen very, very quick. Oh, no. Oh, that the realization that he was going to die. So every time I rewatch this movie now and I wait for this scene, I try to pinpoint the exact editing decision of. When that voice it's not it's not a voiceover, it's an off screen line comes in because that was so strategically placed for the first time. You see that movie, you don't think at all he's going to get killed right there, that. Even I remember distinctly eight years old being. It's still one of the most shocking things I've ever seen in a movie. I didn't I'm not I don't know, like, where the movie's going. I was young. And when that happened, hearing that, oh, no. And then you get, I don't know, a fraction of a second, a millisecond fraction of a second blood. And you're you just sit there and then he fucking sends you and that's that and you're like, Oh my. Gosh. And it's the even quicker POV shot of the room. Yes, empty. I always thought in my head that that shot lasts for longer than it actually does. No, it's like a few frames. How quick do we need to see this shot of an empty room and then just so really quickly add in? Oh, no, because I think he's still saying no finishing that vowel when he's getting shot. Yeah, yeah. All of that plays such a very, very important factor into that one moment that you only get one time upon first watching it. And it's so fucking effective to me. It's still the it's just like the departed. It's just it's that. It's that. Yeah. But I think this is a little bit more, even more masterful in that way. Yeah. Because it's your own crew who does it. And I mean now any person who's a fan of Sopranos or mob movies, we know that it's you know, often it is your crew. But this is the first time I'm seeing that. And I'm like, Whoa! And it's these old dudes. Like the head had made guys. Yeah, they're. The ones who do it and it's like, wow, you know, for Billy Batts and a lot of other things, too, you bring up a good point, too, about how it is constructed. And this is why we talk about the great editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, in our Yeah, whenever Marty gets brought up, because she's edited almost all of his movies, certainly since Raging Bull. And that is what they are. So daring with, is how long does someone need to see this? We could talk about this that could dominate the entire conversation of the last half hour of the film. Like how fast, faster, faster that jumping in the sequence. And she says every time they would screen the film for an audience or just for them, especially in that last half hour video, faster, faster, faster. Like we just need to make it faster. And that's what makes the movie so alluring and fun is because it's not over edited saying the way that like a michael Bay movie might be too, where you're looking around, you can't catch every part and it's just the right amount to where you want to go. You're compelled to go back and watch it and like, How did I just see Tommy die? Like, what did just happen there? Here's another one that I absolutely love. And this is going to bring us to our next actor to talk about when Lorraine Bracco sets that bloody fucking gun, hides it in that compartment, and we get that perfect match cut to the glass being wrapped at the wedding. Mazel tov. It's just, you know, I don't know. Who comes up with those ideas, but I think that was actually a Marty idea. But it's just so brilliant. And Lorraine Bracco, God, I cannot say enough fine things about her in this movie. I had never seen her before. And I mean, honestly, it's after Goodfellas. I saw her in a few things here and there. Of course, she completely reinvented her career as Dr. Melfi on The Sopranos, very deliberately asking to not play the wife role she didn't want to do, you know, Carmela Soprano. She already did. Karen Hill, very wise move, did something much more, you know, subdued but still very emotive in playing Dr. Melfi. And of course, she has a lot to do as that show goes on. But here is Goodfellas it's this is one of the most believable. You know, she's setting a big precedent here for Sharon Stone in Casino. And I always hold a lot of stock of the way. Stone plays Ginger. It's like, you know, really going above a mob wife in a movie because, you know, like every other mob girlfriend or wife in Goodfellas, it's like we see at that makeup party. That's usually how women are treated in these movies. They're not given a lot to do. They they nag, they complain, they put on makeup. They want too much money to give Lorraine Bracco so much to do and to show her devolving into drugs and chaos as well. It's just it's brilliant. And I'm so glad she was nominated for this, too. It's a great performance. I like it. I like this more and more with each passing viewing. I respect her more and more and I see more of her performance has always been there. It's always been the same, but I am seeing more from her every time and it's she's fantastic in it. You brought up such a cool point about the way that she, in her narration, explained to the other women in this life, because she is really bringing up all of those things to make fun of or to have a negative viewpoint about. When you're talking about a movie that depicts women in a certain way, she's actually verbally calling it out. Yeah, I think she is is absolutely breathtaking in this movie. I think she can go toe to toe with all of the scenes that are being asked of her. And you're going from absolute love to betrayal to jealousy to drugs, to I think she's so great. My favorite scene with her is actually my favorite scene with Ray. So my favorite Ray moment of the entire movie is the scene where he stands her up at the date and then she just drives that car into the street, literally. The first note I have for her too, for very specific reasons. So I love this. She looks good. Like Liz Taylor. Yeah. And so she's just going off. Yes. Like balls to the wall. Thank you. How dare you? Yes. Standing me. Up. You saw Frankie Valli? Yeah, exactly. But when you look at him at his face as he is witnessing this and this is this is a note that I wrote down, he truly looks like a man who's just fallen in love. He is seeing something with his eyes that he's never seen before. And he likes it. He's intrigued. And it's in front of all of his gangster friends. Right. And they're all. Being like, ooh. And he doesn't give a shit. He is just completely entranced with what this woman is doing. And then when she's walking, he goes, We can get this going back the other way. It's the one moment in the movie where I look at his character of Henry Hill and I go, That's a man who's sublimely happy in this one moment. That's my first note for her. And her performance in this is that I love how they both are interested until her fire comes out. Yes. And then I like that it takes them a second. It takes that second meeting for them to fall for each other. But to your point, you can see him breaking down on that street. She start and then she starts smiling. It's going to cost you. It's going to cost you up. Yeah. And it's it's so fucking believable. It's one of the best, like, quote unquote meat cuts ever. But what what's so cool about it is that it is their second time meeting. First time it's a disaster. Like it didn't go well for it. And so Ray's beating of shithead neighbor Bruce is one of the most convincing beatings I've ever seen in a movie. And this this again, this movie is 32 years ago. And there's few things I can think of it that match it because it's so relatable. Talked about this was like the coat hanger in the departed like how you see him stabbing him with that coat hanger and this you can just I don't know, it's all held in one shot and you can really imagine what it's like to get hit like that. And it happens 40 minutes into the movie. And I don't mean to sound morbid, but I think this is more of a scene that turned him into a star than anything else in the film, because you can really feel his rage watching this like it is palpable and then it's a complete fucking reversal than what we may anticipate happens because she's turned on by it. And admits it and it leads to them. Directly getting married. So this violence is positively reinforced. It's just it's star making shit from both of them. I love that it takes fire in both of them to come out for them to be like, Yeah, this is a long term partnership worth diving in. It's like, really after he stood you up and then he beat the shit out of some guy. That is what convinces everyone involved. Let's just go for this that it's great. And another great thing about why Ray Liotta is so perfect for this movie, like there's no one else is because once you start seeing more of his life and he has mistresses, there is like an elements to like in the audience, in her standing. You know, this Henry Hill is not a good guy. Right. But Ray Liotta is so goddamn charismatic. And there's something that you're watching about him that you just can't take your eyes off and you love. So you're almost I don't know, forgiving is the right word. But you are. You're forgiving of the shitty things that he's doing. Well, he makes it seem so casual. I don't. Know. Yeah, I don't. Know if it's like forgiving, but he's like, Saturday was for the wives on Friday it was always for the girlfriend. And you're like, Wait, huh? Yeah. This is the way it is, folks. And it's like, hey, again, depiction is not endorsement. It's just this is the way that guys lived. And I think in that way, too, like that's what you're also getting from Lorraine Bracco is when all of a sudden she starts going off the deep end with jealousy about all of that. Which is a superintendent, you have a whore living, you see. So but. With the kids right there, I. Think that's how, you know, she's like losing it because the kids. Yeah, she's not going on her own. She's got the kids, they look fucking terrified. And all that scene is, is just a shot. Downwards, a still shot of just showing the kids. Right, by her ways. Yeah, it's. Fucking brilliant because, like, it's all you needed to do. Yeah. You can see her with the close up, like, and then the quick cuts with the with the buzzer. The apartment buttons. Yeah, the buzzers and all that. And she's just losing her mind. And even then, again, with, like, the quick cuts of when she goes visit him in jail and she sees the girls. That is so French new wave she takes. Yes, it is. Selma. I mean, takes like ten cuts to go boom, boom, boom. And you don't need to calculate everything. You know, you're looking at it silent book and then the way the light just hits it right there. So you just see Rossi. Janis Rossi. Oh, my God, I love that. That again is fucking around with the form. Thelma and Marty have already proved to us that they are masters of this. They know what they're doing and the movie's very well told. It moves. And then right there, hey, give me. Let's just make this crazy, like opening the book, looking through it. It gives it just that little burst of, like, boom, it's that little burst of life. We don't need it. But by having it, it just gives a little bit more. It's not wasted. And then, I mean, we're mostly talking about their relationship when things are somewhat good, but then, God, I mean, she's right along there with him during that downfall in. Oh yeah. When he get that scene, when he is, when he gets out of prison, you know, why did you do that, Karen? He's just slamming against the wall and she's smiling and you're like, There's a few things playing out there. It's like he's hoping to find those drugs, to sell it because he needs the money. But the dude is also jonesing. I mean, oh yeah, in jail. You know, you got to get me out of here. And if he's using this much Coke on a daily basis like he needs, that he was relying on that to, like, get up. And then he's coming from a place of that's completely illogical. Like, they wouldn't have found it like this. They would have. They were everywhere. Just like, of course, she just pulls. It out of like a drawer, like it's of course they would have found it and oh, man, but you really feel them falling down together. And I remember the first few times seeing this, I was always surprised that she his insistence on, no, she needs to come with me into like witness protection, into witness protection. Yeah, really cool. It was one thing they leave out that I got from the commentary is that he also insisted that two of his girlfriends come as well. A may be put up in houses and they did. Oh, my. God, that's so fucking incredible. I love that fucking crazy Henry Hill. I can understand why they didn't include it in the movie, but, you know, that is a factual piece of information. Is is just. That's that's I love that. That's awesome. I'm going to move on to Paul Sorvino here, who plays? Paul Cicero. It's been brought up a lot that he was having trouble finding his character and he kind of found it a few days before. And just go watch a Paul Sorvino interview even now, like around the time now, his voice does not sound like that. His voice is actually more up here. He's like an Italian opera singer, like he's a much higher pitched voice. And he does not present himself as an imposing figure, like go watch his daughter winning best supporting actress, and he melts. He starts sobbing. He's a very just emotional Italian man. And I, I love knowing that because it it helps contextualize what he had to do to get to this rageful. I mean, this is an all timer stare like this is just one of the best stairs in all of film. Yeah. You just. God, you really, really see that? It's so good. And now I got to turn my back on you. Oh, feel it. Feel the heartbreak and all of it. And it's an amazing performance to your point, because there's a lot of scenes with him where there is no dialog and they're very quick cuts just to show that he's here and that he's the guy. And a lot of it is just that like he's fully walking in and out of cars, walking in and out of rooms. Well, that first time you see him, he's just staring at everyone, like, don't act like fucking clowns out here on the street. Like, I love that stare he's doing. It's awesome. So he does so much with his presence that there's not a lot of dialog. And then every scene that we see with him and Ray is really just a different type of scene between a father figure and a son type or contrast, maybe an employee and a boss. Yeah, I like that. That line is what's blurred. It's a little bit of both, and every scene is working on that type of hierarchy and and you buy it. And it's not until you get to that heartbreaking final scene that they have, he just gives him 3200 bucks sweaty money. And it's just that sums up what I've meant to you, what you've meant to me. He's got those, like, those bags under his eyes, and you may look like a fucking jerk. And then, yeah, of course, we get the insert shot of the sausages frying up. It's just the whole thing is brilliant. You know, in this back, like, back room. And I liked that they left it a bit ambiguous as to like Paulie and Jimmy's intentions about what they were planning to do with Henry. And evidently the real life guy that Paulie here is based on did put out a hit on Henry Hill, and it's like you can ice him out. So that's why felt more compelled than ever to go into witness protection. He did feel that his life and his wife's life was in jeopardy. You know, there's that great scene with Nero, love. Just go here. Turn right. There. You just know. Yeah. Go, go, go, go. Oh, it's so chilling. You look at there, those guys move and stuff like. Ooh, I argue that's the most uncomfortable scene in the movie. It's very uncomfortable. It's so well staged and shot. You can hear like so little wind and like the traffic and those that long, kind of steady dolly of her walking, she looks terrified. It's great acting. It's great going on there. There's no, like, voice, you know, it's just it's all right there. You're just locked in. And it's the dynamic because it's the guy that you're married to for her. And from her point of view. And this is like his best friend. Mm hmm. And you trust that person? Of course. And yet he's trying to do something awful, and it's. It's so uncomfortable. I it's such a good scene. It's such a fucking good scene. So, as I mentioned, I do think this is Ray Liotta's best work. One of my favorite actors. I loved watching him in everything. A few sad bits of trivia for this role here. His mother was very sick when he got the role and he found out that she was going to pass away during the making of the movie and got the call. That dreaded calls like this is hours away or like days away. And you need does need to come back. And he got that call directly before they shot the scene of Paul Sorvino and Robert De Niro at Janice's apartment, saying, like you got to go back home, like, you know, this is what it is, but you got to leave this and you got to go back home like she'll never divorce him. So if you go watch Ray in that scene, there's a certain on him that I was always curious about. Always like he looks to me. I know he's ashamed because, you know, Paulie's here and Jimmy's here and there to talk to about him, about this mistress. I know he's ashamed, but he seems very sad. That's why. That's the energy he's carrying. Wow. PESCI And like a lot of the Teamsters, they came to the funeral, which is really nice. It's kind of cool to, like, organize everyone to come for support. And then Liotta said one of the first scenes he shot after his mom's funeral was the pistol whipping scene and I think it goes without saying that we can see some us an extra bit of rage being brought into that scene. And he did clipped a guy once by mistake. He felt bad. But yeah, he did. He did get him once, which kind of felt good. But God, that sound design everything about it just again, an extremely authentic beating. But all that to say, I do want to ask you where this does rank among Ray's best work for you? It's number one. Yeah, it's got to be right. It just has to be. He carries it. He carries the whole movie. And that's not to say that, like he peaked with this. No, no. It's the biggest movie. He's been a part of, the biggest lead performance he's ever delivered. And it's amazing that he never got more opportunities to be a lead like this. But I think, you know, if you look at his whole entire career, like, you know, he steals every fucking scene he's fucking in. And that's just that's just the truth. Charisma, I think he is the biggest scene stealer in the best possible way. Oh, yeah, I like that. I can think of like it doesn't matter what type of movie, it could be a good because it could be a good movie it could be a not so good movie. He's done some of those, but he's never bad. And every scene he's in, it just becomes the scene of the movie. They tried to get him in the In The Departed for a role, and it just timing didn't work out. That would've been really cool, you know? Of course, everyone wishes he and Marty could have worked together again. Marty released a very nice, you know, sentiment eulogy type thing shortly after Ray died, saying that he saw him in marriage story. I was like, Oh, my God, there's a whole new energy here that I want to harness and that he wanted to talk to immediately about working with him again. And it adds to the weight of it adds to the sadness of it. But but I do want to touch on we talked about the last 30 minutes of this movie a lot way back and our favorite like song soundtrack moments, because the jump into the fire sequence is one of mine just ever in film and seeing that a lot in this podcast ever all time history. I know. It's crazy. I mean it's Goodfellas. Liotta again was never given enough credit for, I think, his performance in Goodfellas, at least critically. And in terms of awards, it's just never been given. Whenever I hear like, what's the best addiction performances? This one doesn't get brought up a lot, I guess, because it's not entire movie. But what he puts into this line, these last like just in that sequence is more than most people do in an entire performance. And the way the whole sequence is organized, the editing, the music, there's like 30 songs. It was so expensive for them to use all this, all these different tracks, the pacing, his frenzied performance is just one component of it, but it is a component that should be recognized so much more. He just inhabits someone who is so gone, so flawlessly. I mean, you really feel like he's going to get into that accident. Like you fucking feel like he's going to slam into that guy. And I rewatched that scene a bunch. He's not even going that fast or slamming his brakes, that's all. Acting in sound design and editing. And how many times you're cutting? I'm like, I see him hitting his brakes there. The car is not like screeching. It's just, again, just filmmaking. It's brilliant. Fucking filmmaking. Brilliant. Brilliant. It's I mean, the mere fact that this movie didn't win for editing just for this sequence is just like this is one of those sequences where it's like, Yeah, give it, give it. Best editing just because of this. Yeah. And I think maybe the reason why the addiction aspect of it doesn't get the credit that you're talking about is most addiction performances that we revere and we talk about is because the the soul of the movie, you know, even shame, you know, like the whole entire movie is a character study on this guy, right? With Addiction leaving Las Vegas. He's always drinking. It's not like it's the last half hour of the movie. Exactly. So I think that's why it doesn't get talked about in that way. But when you're just watching the acting performance of somebody who is in that place, this is that great. And it's also like you know, the make up. Is. So visceral when you see that closeup of him taking that line and his white is a ghost, but his nostrils. Are red, are so red, that's when we like cut in and turn around. Yeah. And he just. Sits up and looks and you're like, holy fuck, he's just gone. He's just on top of everything else he's done today. He's still. Pushing it. He's still going. Yep. Yeah. And it's that, that right there, that lap. That's, that's my favorite moment. That's my fucking favorite with the whole entire sequence is that he's walks away like she like throws a brick of coke at him, like, yes. Cries people. Oh, it's incredible. Yeah. It's like that stuff doesn't happen by accident. You know, if you don't think about movies and you just enjoy what you're watching, that's great. I want people to tend to do that. But if you investigate, it's like how many takes they would have done for this, like for as an actor to keep that energy level up there for weeks. It would have taken weeks to film this segment. Just it's so impressive. It's just so impressive. But we focused a lot on Ray in this episode for good reason. But. But any other scattered thoughts here to get to before you wrapped up? I like, for instance, that the actress playing the babysitter slash drug mule would later play Joe Hoffa, Jimmy's wife, in The Irishman. And she's great in that with her scene with De Niro on the phone. I just love all the guys. I love the structure of meeting those first round of guys, you know, Jimmy two times and then an hour later, a room meeting the second round of guys. Johnny Budda. Johnny Roast beef, you know, stacks. Edwards Yeah. Just the world. Like, it's like he sets up the world so well that, even if you've never known it, you don't need to. He's introducing you to it. You really do feel like you're in a book in a way. Like it does feel like you're receiving the story in the way that read something. I agree it's very novelistic. And again, this was written by Nicholas Pileggi and he co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese. And then but real quick, kind of a funny side story here. Have you ever seen a movie called My Blue Heaven directed by Herbert Ross, written by Nora Ephron, who was with Nicholas Pileggi at the time, starring Steve Martin and actually came out a few months before Goodfellas. Oh, yeah. I've heard of this. I haven't seen it, though, but I know exactly you're talking about. That is a direct extension of Goodfellas, because Nora Ephron was with Nick Pileggi at that time in the movie. It's a comedy, but it's all about a mob guy who goes into witness protection. So if you want to see like a comedy of where Goodfellas leaves off with him as a schnook, and then that's where my heaven picks up in Goodfellas. Never reference Henry Hill is never referenced, but this is definitely Nick Clegg working on this movie with Nora Ephron, and it's one of my favorites, Steve Martin and Rick Moranis is at it. He's great. It's a. Hilarious guy. Oh, that's so funny. Yeah, I'll check that out. That sounds amazing. Yeah, he's playing, like, just this, really. I mean, it's a very like, satirical version of a gangster that Steve Martin's doing, but there's this great early scene, and he, like, goes to a grocery store and tries to pay in hundreds, and they're like $100 bill, like, they've never seen a dollar bill. It's great. He's, you know, he's got. The he's hamming it up with the accent. But yeah, Rick Moranis is like the agent in charge of making sure he's protected. Oh, that's that's fantastic. I mean, that's peak. That's peak. Martin and MARANISS. Yeah. No, I haven't seen that in forever. So it made me want to recheck that one out. I'd forgotten that little. But, yeah, favorite shots of the movie Goodfellas, the director of Photography's Michael Ball House, who I mean, they had such a great partnership together in terms of where put the camera, how much to move it, when not to move it. The cinematography. This movie, again, is one of the other components that makes it so brilliant. There's a Copacabana shot of the great tracking shots in the history of cinema. That's just where the conversation begins, because there is it's kind of one of those things where that shot is so good that when you bring up cinematography in Goodfellas, that's what everyone kind of goes to. And because you talk about that shot for like an hour, then the cinematography conversation may end. But the whole thing is shot fucking brilliantly. I honestly love the it's brutal. But seeing Pesci kill stacks again. Oh, it's in slow motion and it's from under your belt. And you're like, Jesus. Oh. My favorite shot of the whole of the whole entire movie is actually it's the pistol, it's the point of view. And it's so good when someone says Goodfellas, visually, that shot comes to mind. Him looking down the barrel of that gun. Yeah, yeah. She cocks. And then the vise versa yet of of him looking right at him you can see the bullet. Yes. In the chamber. There's just something about that. The that construction just is so damn effective. I okay. This is the company that I give it. It's the only time in a movie I feel like there's a gun on me. I'm feeling the energy of what it could possibly be like to be having a gun pointed at you. Have you ever fired like a revolver? Yeah, I. Have, actually. When you pull that to kill the guy back now, you fucking did, right on that fucking edge. Jesus. Fucking done fucking funny, though. Oh, no. The point I'm making is when pull that hammer back when they call that thing a hair trigger. Yeah. You do not have to apply a lot of pressure to fire gun when that hammer is pulled back. I know a lot of people know this, but I'm just saying, like, I didn't know that first time I watched this movie and then I the very first thing, the first time I fired a gun like that, I remember thinking of Goodfellas like, holy shit, you could just accidentally pull over. You pull this hammer back, you barely have to touch that thing. And boom. And the fact that he grabs it from her and then goes nuts, they were really nervous to film that. They knew it was going to be intense and it was intense. And I'm Lorraine Bracco was actually with Harvey Keitel at the time they were together and dating, and he was for her to film that. And he said, just make sure you tell Ray to take it easy in that scene. Like don't go too far. And I mean, it feels like they're going far. I mean, I had to come for this. Oh, my God. He's got his hand in her hair. Yeah. Punches the the the draw. Oh, my God. That scene's amazing. Well, my friend, we could be here all day. We could do this all day. I still feel like we just. Like, scratch the surface. Is are there any other, you know, broad stray thoughts you want to say, you know, we talk about special features on DVD and Blu rays and commentaries. The commentary for this with Henry Hill and the agent who got him into witness protection and, Weird MacDonald, who plays himself in the movie, which is cool. The guy whose, you know, Don't sell me the Babe in the woods routine. Karen, I heard those tapes. That's the guy who actually did it. He's playing himself. And to hear them on the commentary, it's not one where, like the real Henry Hill, he's not talking the whole time. You know, he kind of fades out. But during the killing of Joe Pesci, Tommy in particular, MacDonald at one point says, You know, Henry, you look really upset watching this and you can hear it in its voice. It's like, this is the most upsetting part of the movie. It's just a very upsetting the way this happened. So just I don't know, it's just cool to get it's not very often that you get to hear the subject of a movie, you know, literally narrating it. It's not just this voiceover is doing a commentary, so I would recommend people listen to that if you're as obsessed with Goodfellas as we are and then the Die Hard Goodfellas aficionados. My, what are you watching? Recommendation is a go all in. If you're really into Goodfellas, I want you to watch this movie. But do you want to go first? Do you want me to go first? And we do go. We do volley back and forth fucker because I have a spreadsheet that you have access to where I put who went first. Anyway you want go first. I don't think it exists you have access to this to people, the world. I have access to it be and you know I'll go first. I'll I'll I'll do it for once. I'll go out the first four once I'm doubling down on her on her boy Ray. Oh yeah. We know we listed a lot of movies in throughout this podcast that are movies that absolutely see his performances in Something Wild Field of Dreams. I mean, that's just a beautiful movie we referenced way back in our Place Beyond the Pines podcast, where we talk about the weight of his performance. Yeah, and I do think that he is the ultimate scene stealer, but the one movie that I want to bring up with him, we talked about how the violence of this movie, I think the movie I'm bringing up is actually my most personally, my most effective use of violence I've ever seen. And it's killing them softly. Oh, boy. Great call. What a movie. Brad Pitt. Andrew Dominic is the director. It's a great fucking movie. It's always on Netflix. It's definitely one that it would go good with a cup of coffee. You kind of got to really pay attention to the slow burn of this movie. But Ray Liotta is in it. He's got a scene where violence happens to him. And it is it's truly, truly disturbing and gritty. Mikey Trap, it's just a great movie. And another example of why he is who he is. I think it's just a great, great performance from him and just a really, really good movie that I highly recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it. Killing Him Softly. Andrew Dominic. Brad Pitt. James Gandolfini. James Gandolfini. Scoot McNairy. Ben Mendelsohn. Scoot McNairy. Richard Jenkins. Great. But I was. Going to say the introduction to James Gandolfini, his character is one of, I think, filmmaking wise, one of the coolest introductions to a character you can see. So pay attention to it. Is that the escalator? Escalator? That's all I'll say. But yes, yes, there. But it's also the the voiceover that's happening and. What's going on. On TV. And it's cool. It's very, very cool. And that was one of his final film roles and he's so good in that he's only in like two or three scenes. Like, he's so good. I mean, I love Andrew. Dominik has made three movies, yet his fourth is going to come out very soon. It's blond with Ana de Armas playing Marilyn Monroe. It's rated NC 17. It's going to be premiering on Netflix. I think aside from the Scorsese movie that's coming out at the end of the year, that's those are my two that are looking the most forward too. I love Andrew Dominik. He makes the movie that's like, Oh, have you ever seen a prison drama? Like, Yeah, I've seen a prison movie. Okay, now you're going to go see a supremely fucked up one with Chopper still my favorite movie by him. Have you ever seen a Western? Well, yeah. Now you're going to go see one that completely revisionist assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford. You ever seen, like, sweaty, dirty mob movie? Well, yeah, of course. Okay, now you're going to see one. You're going to see one that's 97 minutes, a slow burn, but has some supremely fucked up action in it and is incredibly entertaining. Now go killing them softly. We've seen Marilyn Monroe biopics. I promise Blond is going to be very different. I have no idea what the hell it's going to be, but it's going to be very different. He's such a good director and yeah, Liotta is Mark Chapman. He's just one of my favorite aspects of the movie. Any movie he was in, he's one of my favorite aspects of it. And the violence that he has to endure in this movie is not something that you will forget if you watch it. You mentioned like gritty and all that stuff. It's also like kind of funny. It is funny. Like, it just is because. Of the people inflicting the violence. The way they are reacting to it is kind of amusing. Good recommendation for sure. Love always doubling down on Ray. My, what are you watching? It is a double down. He's already mentioned it, but I'm hammered at home hard. Jules and Jim, 1962. Francois Truffaut. This is not a troll. People think I'm going to be, like, trolling, that. I'm telling people to go watch this French new wave masterpiece from 1962. This movie has virtually nothing to do with the Mafia, with the mob. It's about a love triangle that spans about 25 years and. It is absolutely fucking delightful. From first frame to last. It's funny, sad, compelling, crazy. Again, the editing and the story telling narrative styles were the biggest movie influence on Goodfellas. And I promise you, if you are a fan of Goodfellas, if you go watch Jules and Jim, you're going to what I'm talking about and it's so cool. Scorsese is so open with his references, just like Tarantino, Soderbergh and I've always that because there are some like movie buffs who like to watch a lot of movies and they just watch, you know, what's in front of them. There are some freaks like me who like to investigate what influenced Goodfellas. So then I go back to the source and now I'm back in sixties French New Wave, like, okay, this is this doesn't have anything to do with the mafia, but I just I love that. I love going back to the source, seeing where these masters got their influences from. Like I always say, if Star Wars the original or that original trilogy, if you consider those some of your favorite movies ever and you've never seen a Kurosawa film, you're seriously missing out since George Lucas got like all that stuff, you know, one final selling point for Jules and Jim. I, I watched it. I blind bought it, watched it once in college, had not seen it since. And then researching Goodfellas, I'm like oh yeah that was an influence for this put it on it's about an hour and 45 minutes. I spent 3 hours watching it because I kept rewinding it to little gems that I missed. Yeah, it goes fast. I don't speak French, so I may have missed a line here and there. I'm going back and I'm just delighted, like laughing out loud. I genuinely, I can't talk about Jules and Jim highly enough, but maybe my favorite French new Wave movie. But if you've never ventured back that far, it'll be worth it, I promise. So this is a lot of fun I've been meaning to open it up and be able to talk to you about Ray and more like an in-depth way. And, you know, there's just never a bad time to talk about Goodfellas. And I'm glad I'm glad did this. It was fun and good recommendations all around. Good episode. Good episode. Go home, get your fucking shine box. You want to see helicopters for sale? Got this. All right, everyone, as always, thanks so much for listening and happy watching. Hey, everyone, thanks again for listening. You can watch my films and read my movie blog at Alex Withrow dot com. Nicholas Dose Dotcom is where you can find all of Nick's film work. Send us mailbag questions at What are you watching? Podcast at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at W AIW Underscore Podcast. Next time we're going to keep our Ray Liotta streak going by discussing Nick's favorite film of all time. Ted Timmy's blow. It's on Netflix right now. Go watch it. Stay tuned.