Film Review: GoodFellas (1990)

Release Date: September 9th, 1990 (Venice Film Festival)
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese
Based on: Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi
Music by: various
Cast: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Tony Darrow, Mike Starr, Frank Vincent, Chuck Low, Frank DiLeo, Henny Youngman, Gina Mastrogiacomo, Catherine Scorsese, Charles Scorsese, Suzanne Shepard, Debi Mazar, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Imperioli, Illeana Douglas, Tony Sirico, Samuel L. Jackson, Vincent Pastore, Tobin Bell, Vincent Gallo

Warner Bros., 146 Minutes


“[narrating] I know there are women, like my best friends, who would have gotten out of there the minute their boyfriend gave them a gun to hide. But I didn’t. I got to admit the truth. It turned me on.” – Karen

This is a perfect movie in every way.

Motion pictures like this are hard to review because it’s just going to sound like glowing praise and lack actual objectivity. But man, this is a perfect movie and arguably Martin Scorsese’s best.

Revisiting it now, I’d have to say that it is, indeed, my personal favorite. Considering how great of a director that Scorsese is, this is a film that is in good company but still sits on the mountaintop of the auteur’s stupendous and legendary work.

The film is perfectly cast, top-to-bottom, and features a slew of iconic characters with dozens of memorable lines, which have transcended pop culture and for good reason.

The pacing of this film is perfect, as is the story structure. While I haven’t read the book it was based on and can’t compare the two, this just flows tremendously well from the early backstory part all the way to the end, which sees the main character, Henry Hill, rat out his friend and mentor, Jimmy Conway.

I love that this movie is also full of guys that would go on to star in one of the greatest television series ever made, The Sopranos. You’ve also got really small roles for other actors who would carve out nice careers for themselves like Samuel Jackson, Kevin Corrigan, Debi Mazar, Vincent Gallo, Tobin Bell and Illeana Douglas.

Additionally, one thing that really does wonders for this film is that it doesn’t have a traditional score. Instead, Scorsese filled the movie with the pop tunes of the time in which the scenes take place. The music added a lot to the movie and really made it feel more authentic and genuine.

This is also perfectly edited, never wasting a moment while also allowing you to get to know and like some of the more minor mobster characters… and there are many.

In the end, this is a fascinating crime story about a rat. It’s incredible seeing him go from being so loyal, to hitting the drugs hard and then selling out those closest to him over the course of his entire life. It’s also a true story, which just adds to the weight of it.

Goodfellas is a masterpiece, plain and simple.

Rating: 10/10

Film Review: Street Trash (1987)

Also known as: Horror in Bowery Street (Italy), Trash (Mexico), Violencia en Manhattan (Spain)
Release Date: January, 1987 (Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival)
Directed by: J. Michael Muro
Written by: Roy Frumkes
Music by: Rick Ulfik
Cast: Mike Lackey, R. L. Ryan, Vic Noto, Tony Darrow

Street Trash Venture, 91 Minutes, 90 Minutes (cut), 101 Minutes (unrated)


“Fuck you. Gimme a bottle of booze, here’s my dollar, suck my dick!” – Fred

If you’ve ever wanted to see a movie with shrill, unlikable people, human beings melting into a fluorescent glop and a game of keep away football with a severed penis for the ball, then this is your movie!

If none of that appeals to you, then you’ll probably want to steer clear of this gross out bizarre bonanza.

Street Trash is a movie that focuses on street trash. The title is accurate, as the film goes on to show us the lives of disgusting, filthy people without any moral compass or likable qualities. But that also makes it hard to watch as there is no true protagonist.

I guess there are antagonists and that’s just about every person in the film. But that’s another problem. Nothing is clearly defined in a way that gives this motion picture any sort of structure. The story is an absolute mess, the script itself is deplorable and after seeing this movie, I still don’t know what the hell I watched.

However, there’s something weirdly endearing about the movie. As a big fan of practical effects, there is a lot in this movie that I dig in that regard. If you can get past the gross shit, some of what they pull off here is damn impressive.

Additionally, this movie has some incredibly stellar steadicam work. I mean like top notch shit. I guess that’s why the director, J. Michael Muro went on to be the stedicam operator for James Cameron on The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies and Titanic. He also worked on Dances With WolvesOpen Range and a slew of other movies. But no matter how far up the Hollywood ladder he climbs, he always has to look down and see Street Trash. But we all started out as primordial goo, I guess.

I also love the scene in this movie where the hobo starts stealing food at the grocery store. It’s just a weird sequence crammed into the middle of the movie but it’s comedy gold and it was achieved by people with no acting or filmmaking experience, whatsoever.

It’s also worth noting that Tony Darrow started his acting career in this movie. He’d go on to have a pretty memorable role in Goodfellas. He also does a weird spoken word song over the end credits.

All in all, despite the few positives, this is a hard movie to get through in one sitting. It’s a loud, colorful clusterfuck. But it has stupendous technical wizardry and a few good funny bits that keep it from sinking too deep.

In fact, this is probably the most Troma film that wasn’t made by Troma.

Rating: 5.25/10
Pairs well with: Basket Case, The Stuff, Ghoulies, The Video Dead and Neon Maniacs.