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Italians Yelling At Each Other

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tgb
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Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by tgb » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:50 pm

Not to beat a dead horse (no pun intended), but we've posted many times about movies we can watch again and again and again.

So two nights ago I'm flipping the dial (kids, ask your parents) and come across The Godfather. Naturally I start watching. Last night I'm flipping the dial again (kids, keep bugging them) and come across The Godfather Part 2, and of course start watching that. This evening it was Goodfellas, and naturally I couldn't pass it up.

This in spite of the fact that not only have I seen all three a bazillion times, but I own them on DVD. So tlr comes home from work and says,

"Is that all you ever watch? Italians yelling at each other?"

No, says I. "Sometimes it's Italians killing each other."

But seriously, what is the fascination we (and by we, I mean me) have with the Mafia?
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Holman » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:08 pm

The Mafia in the movies has the whole "evil with a code of honor" thing going for it. I think that's the hook.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by hentzau » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:10 pm

I've never seen any of those movies. So... *shrug*

(Helpful, I know. Just thought I would get that out there right away so you guys can start yelling at me and telling me to watch the Godfather. :D )
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Biyobi » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:15 pm

It helps that they are fantastic stories told by a great director and played out by some awesome actors.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by tgb » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:54 pm

Biyobi wrote:It helps that they are fantastic stories told by a great director and played out by some awesome actors.
This. And hentzau, really?
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:57 pm

I'll step up too - mostly because I know it enrages Trent Steel. I've never seen the Godfather; no desire to do so either. Goodfellas is a great film, though I don't feel particularly uplifted when it's over. For the most part I'm ambivalent towards the whole Mafia thing. I eventually gave in and started watching the Sopranos, but mostly because of the local connection (and that they reminded me of people I've known).

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by hentzau » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:57 pm

tgb wrote:
Biyobi wrote:It helps that they are fantastic stories told by a great director and played out by some awesome actors.
This. And hentzau, really?
I once went so far as to finally get the Godfather from Netflix. It sat on my TV stand for about 3 months before I finally sent it back. I just never got around to watching it.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Kraken » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:03 pm

I'm not a fan of mob movies, either, although I've seen all of those that you mentioned. Wife likes murder stories.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by YellowKing » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:07 pm

I think we all have a dark side that likes to live vicariously through folks who do bad deeds but still enjoy the successes of life - money, family, friendship, women, power, etc......but yet our good, society-conforming side also wants to see those people get their comeuppance. Mob films provide both experiences.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:09 pm

I just remembered -- I did enjoy Eastern Promises -- maybe it's a family thing for me. Dunno.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by KKBlue » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:17 pm

hentzau wrote:I've never seen any of those movies.
Smoove_B wrote: I've never seen the Godfather; no desire to do so either.
My sister in law hasn't either (+ 1 to the club in spirit). I flipped out on her, especially because she is a purebred Italian!

Guess a part of the fascination with the mafia is there is truth/history in the movie scripts. People with power getting more powerful and controlling cities regardless of the law. All seeming to center around family and the importance of that unit.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:22 pm

Importance of family? What ruins it for me is that they have such a deep and structured code of honor, yet they're typically portrayed as being unrepentant misogynists. Everything from spousal infidelity to outright abuse. I can understand cutting up some guy up because he spoke to the police but when you stomp a pregnant stripper to death, I'm not really engaged in your story any more.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by KKBlue » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:33 pm

Smoove_B wrote:Importance of family?
Seems like one of the most important things to Italians is family. Do this for the family, don't do this because of family. Guess you need to see The Godfather in order to understand :wink:
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by SpaceLord » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:43 pm

It's a crime the general public doesn't know of Once Upon a Time in America. It may not be Godfather-good, but it's right up there.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by tgb » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:16 am

For me it's not just the movies, but I have devoured dozens of books about the mob over the years. I think my obsession has something to do with growing up in New York when the NY Mafia was peaking, and having an uncle who was a detective.

Anyway, if you want to get past the movies, this is one of the best places to start. Also this one.

Although he's appeared as a minor figure in several mob movies, I'm surprised no one has made a movie centered on the amazing career of Meyer Lansky (one of the few mob bosses who were never convicted of a major offense and who quietly died in old age). During prohibition and the war years, the Jewish gangsters like Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were very much the equals of the Italians.

Speaking of which, yes, SpaceLord, Once Upon A Time In America is very good. I haven't seen it since it was in the theater. I think it gets overlooked because it isn't all over cable like these others. I suspect Donnie Brasco airs 24/7 on some cable network or another.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Holman » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:31 am

tgb wrote: Although he's appeared as a minor figure in several mob movies, I'm surprised no one has made a movie centered on the amazing career of Meyer Lansky (one of the few mob bosses who were never convicted of a major offense and who quietly died in old age). During prohibition and the war years, the Jewish gangsters like Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were very much the equals of the Italians.
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I just love the title.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by tgb » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:59 am

Holman wrote:
tgb wrote: Although he's appeared as a minor figure in several mob movies, I'm surprised no one has made a movie centered on the amazing career of Meyer Lansky (one of the few mob bosses who were never convicted of a major offense and who quietly died in old age). During prohibition and the war years, the Jewish gangsters like Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were very much the equals of the Italians.
Image

I just love the title.
I've been trying to find an ebook edition of that, but with no luck.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Scraper » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:16 am

tgb wrote:
Holman wrote:
tgb wrote: Although he's appeared as a minor figure in several mob movies, I'm surprised no one has made a movie centered on the amazing career of Meyer Lansky (one of the few mob bosses who were never convicted of a major offense and who quietly died in old age). During prohibition and the war years, the Jewish gangsters like Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were very much the equals of the Italians.
Image

I just love the title.
I've been trying to find an ebook edition of that, but with no luck.
When I was in Grad school I had a professor who specialized in the mob. His theory (and belief) was that Lansky was the most powerful and successful mob boss in American history. He also thought that Goti was a relative nobody compared to other lessor known guys. The really successful bosses did not get a lot of media or law enforcement attention. Not sure how true it is, but it makes sense to me.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Holman » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:17 am

There's another history of Jewish gangsters called TOUGH JEWS.

I haven't read it, but I remember when it came out. (That's something I say a lot because I worked in bookstores for years.)
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by GreenGoo » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:34 am

tgb wrote:
Biyobi wrote:It helps that they are fantastic stories told by a great director and played out by some awesome actors.
This. And hentzau, really?
I have never seen any of the godfathers, although I've seen most other mafia movies (goodfellas, casino, etc etc). I think I'm saving the godfathers for my deathbed. I feel like I need to watch them in a relaxed, peaceful environment with good sound and no interuptions. Not something I can manage very often. I also don't want to watch them hacked apart with commercials interjected every 10 minutes.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by LordMortis » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:06 am

I've never been able to get through a Godfather movie, either. I've probably had about a half dozen false starts. Nothing about them appeals to me. I got through Goodfellas and it pretty much just managed to make me uncomfortable, knowing that there are so many people out there that are really broken like that. All it does is make me appreciate the 2nd Amendment and lose too much faith and empathy for too much of my fellow man. It's not a feeling I particularly like to accommodate. The last movie to do that to me inspired the same dislike from me that everyone else loved so much, Trainspotting and the end of that movie pretty much explicitly summed up what it was asking me to face that I don't like. What's partiularly sad is that previews for the movie made it seem like it was going to be an hysterical underground comedy. I made it a point to see it opening night in an art house theatre and planned an entire night around it.
reminded me of people I've known
That's one of the reasons I don't care for these kinds of movies and I'm no where near New York and most of our organized crime is organized by local governments.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Trent Steel » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:15 am

Smoove_B wrote:I'll step up too - mostly because I know it enrages Trent Steel. I've never seen the Godfather; no desire to do so either. Goodfellas is a great film, though I don't feel particularly uplifted when it's over. For the most part I'm ambivalent towards the whole Mafia thing. I eventually gave in and started watching the Sopranos, but mostly because of the local connection (and that they reminded me of people I've known).
If it makes you feel any better, this no longer enrages me because that takes too much energy. Now I'm just deeply disappointed. Which is the way most things go with you anyway.

This thread has reminded me that I haven't seen the Godfather or Godfather II in quite some time so I'll have to remedy that post haste. Also, watching Breaking Bad has reminded me that I haven't seen Scarface in a while either. Gonna have to watch that again soon. However, I can recite Goodfellas from beginning to end, so I got that going for me. Which is nice.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Lassr » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:29 am

I will step up and take my punishment also. I have not seen the Godfather series. I have watched Goodfella, I can recognize it as a great film but it's not a subject that interests me so I have never watched it again.

I always say I need to watch Godfather if for no other reason to remove the stigma of never seeing it.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by MHS » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:26 am

Add me to those who have never seen The Godfather movies. I've seen Goodfellas and The Untouchables.

I think the fascination with the mafia is that they involve all the things humans are interested in...money, sex, power, death, control. So many people go through their lives cautiously, maybe even timidly. The idea of making your own rules, living with impunity, is interesting from a safe distance.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by tgb » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:09 pm

Scraper wrote: When I was in Grad school I had a professor who specialized in the mob. His theory (and belief) was that Lansky was the most powerful and successful mob boss in American history. He also thought that Goti was a relative nobody compared to other lessor known guys. The really successful bosses did not get a lot of media or law enforcement attention. Not sure how true it is, but it makes sense to me.

Gotti was a punk, and the other heads of the families hated him, not just because of the way he generated publicity (bad for business), but also because the hit on Paul Castellano wasn't authorized.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by SpaceLord » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:26 pm

tgb wrote: Speaking of which, yes, SpaceLord, Once Upon A Time In America is very good. I haven't seen it since it was in the theater. I think it gets overlooked because it isn't all over cable like these others. I suspect Donnie Brasco airs 24/7 on some cable network or another.
Oh man. Get the DVD. The version released to theaters was a hack job. Several film critics at the time said it was among the worst movies of the 80s, and then, when they say the intended version, several called it amongst the best.

And, really, do you need to know more than: It has Bobby DeNiro as an opium addict, with Pesci, Burt Young(Paulie from the Rocky movies)*and* Danny Aiello? And a score by Morricone???
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by tgb » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:33 pm

SpaceLord wrote:
tgb wrote: Speaking of which, yes, SpaceLord, Once Upon A Time In America is very good. I haven't seen it since it was in the theater. I think it gets overlooked because it isn't all over cable like these others. I suspect Donnie Brasco airs 24/7 on some cable network or another.
Oh man. Get the DVD. The version released to theaters was a hack job. Several film critics at the time said it was among the worst movies of the 80s, and then, when they say the intended version, several called it amongst the best.

And, really, do you need to know more than: It has Bobby DeNiro as an opium addict, with Pesci, Burt Young(Paulie from the Rocky movies)*and* Danny Aiello? And a score by Morricone???
The version I saw in the theater was the Leone-intended cut. It ran close to 4 hours, iirc.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by SpaceLord » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:37 pm

tgb wrote:
SpaceLord wrote:
tgb wrote: Speaking of which, yes, SpaceLord, Once Upon A Time In America is very good. I haven't seen it since it was in the theater. I think it gets overlooked because it isn't all over cable like these others. I suspect Donnie Brasco airs 24/7 on some cable network or another.
Oh man. Get the DVD. The version released to theaters was a hack job. Several film critics at the time said it was among the worst movies of the 80s, and then, when they say the intended version, several called it amongst the best.

And, really, do you need to know more than: It has Bobby DeNiro as an opium addict, with Pesci, Burt Young(Paulie from the Rocky movies)*and* Danny Aiello? And a score by Morricone???
The version I saw in the theater was the Leone-intended cut. It ran close to 4 hours, iirc.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by hepcat » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:18 pm

Man, I ALWAYS forget to get a copy of that when I'm at Best Buy or searching for movies online. I've always wanted to see the full, uncut Once Upon a Time in America.

...hmmm...perhaps this weekend.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Rumpy » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:49 pm

MHS wrote:Add me to those who have never seen The Godfather movies. I've seen Goodfellas and The Untouchables.

I think the fascination with the mafia is that they involve all the things humans are interested in...money, sex, power, death, control. So many people go through their lives cautiously, maybe even timidly. The idea of making your own rules, living with impunity, is interesting from a safe distance.

Agreed, and ditto. I've never seen the Godfather movies, but I found the Untouchables rather fascinating. Just never got around to seeing them, I guess.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Archinerd » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:16 pm

This reminds me. Back in 2008 I decided my summer project was to watch all of the classic Mafia/Mobster movies. Godfather's, Goodfellas, Casino, Scarface, etc.
I'm way behind, I haven't seen any of them yet.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Smoove_B » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:17 pm

What, did you fuhgeddaboudit?

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Baroquen » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:23 pm

Haven't seen Godfather either. But my copy of the DVD is right.. over.... there. (It might even still be wrapped/unopened). I've got no aversion to the genre, just haven't been motivated enough to want to spend time watching it. Someday though.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by hepcat » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:38 pm

by the way, the last time I was at a best buy (about a week ago) they were unloading the blu ray special editions of the godfather films for about 10 to 15 bucks a pop.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Archinerd » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:19 am

Smoove_B wrote:What, did you fuhgeddaboudit?
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by McNutt » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:41 am

There is definitely a perverse appeal to watching a move where the main characters are scumbags. Good lord, Tommy in Goodfellas is one of the most despicable psychopaths in movie history, but you love him and watching him do his crazy stuff is actually fun. It gets a little sad when you realize you're rooting for horrible people like Michael Corleone, Tony Soprano and Henry Hill, but part of the fun of watching them is that it almost makes you feel like you're getting to be the bad guy for a change.

What I still can't wrap my head around is the pride some people take in not having given what is widely considered the greatest American movie of all time a chance. Just blows my mind.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by YellowKing » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:33 am

I have a weird relationship with the Godfather movies.

Godfather I - first watched in high school I believe, loved it, watched it several more times over the years.

Godfather II - started this one at LEAST 5 or 6 times and never finished it. Finally watched it to completion when doing my AFI Top 100 Movie Challenge last year.

Godfather III - never saw it due to the bad word of mouth.

I can see why a lot of people never get up the energy to watch them though. They are loooong movies and compared to popular mob movies like Goodfellas they are slow build-ups.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Kraken » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:34 am

McNutt wrote: What I still can't wrap my head around is the pride some people take in not having given what is widely considered the greatest American movie of all time a chance. Just blows my mind.
+1. I step outside of my genre preferences all the time to see movies that are reputed to be exceptional. Just last night I watched The Fighter despite a strong dislike for boxing movies. (Despite a well-acted and realistic depiction of Lowell lowlifes, it was a typical boxing movie...5/8 tentacles.)

I've seen The Godfather and appreciate it for what it is, although I don't like mob movies and feel no urge to see it again.

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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by tgb » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:27 pm

Kraken wrote:
McNutt wrote: What I still can't wrap my head around is the pride some people take in not having given what is widely considered the greatest American movie of all time a chance. Just blows my mind.
+1. I step outside of my genre preferences all the time to see movies that are reputed to be exceptional. Just last night I watched The Fighter despite a strong dislike for boxing movies. (Despite a well-acted and realistic depiction of Lowell lowlifes, it was a typical boxing movie...5/8 tentacles.)

I've seen The Godfather and appreciate it for what it is, although I don't like mob movies and feel no urge to see it again.
Somewhat o.t., but please tell me you've at least seen Raging Bull.
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Re: Italians Yelling At Each Other

Post by Rumpy » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:55 pm

McNutt wrote: What I still can't wrap my head around is the pride some people take in not having given what is widely considered the greatest American movie of all time a chance. Just blows my mind.
I don't take pride in it, no. But in my case the circumstances simply haven't availed me to see it. I figure one of these days I will see it, but I don't feel compelled to rush out and see it.
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