Welcome to Your Favorite Film is Trash, a weekly look at the flaws in some of your favorite movies. This week’s film is Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese. Now, let me say something about this movie before we go any further: this might be the closest thing to a perfect movie that I’ve ever seen. It was so difficult to find anything to trash on this movie that I legitimately stopped halfway and had an existential crisis.
“Is this movie so good that even *I* can’t trash it?” I asked myself. No, the answer is no. I dug deep and came through, like a champion. Here are 3 reasons why Goodfellas is trash*.
1. Why did anyone expect Tommy to be ‘made’?
From the time we’re introduced to Tommy, we can see that something’s a bit off about this guy. He’s racist, he’s insecure, and most importantly, he’s a loose cannon. Being the only full blooded Italian in the group, Tommy is the only hope Jimmy and Henry have of being “made men” which would effectively render them untouchable in the Goodfellas universe (read: it would essentially be illegal to kill them). That bit in the parentheses is important because Tommy decides, in his infinite wisdom, that it would be a great idea to kill a made man himself. In revenge, Tommy is later whacked whilst under the guise that it is his turn to enter the exclusive club.
But, let’s take a step back. I mentioned that Tommy’s a loose cannon. We watch him shoot a kid in the foot for…no real reason. When that kid comes back to work, Tommy then kills him for talking back to him. Again, there’s no real reason Tommy’s fucking with this kid other than the fact that he thinks it’s a fun thing to do.
THIS, is the guy Jimmy and Henry pinned their hopes on becoming “made”? This guy who is so insecure that killed a kid for making a snide comment back to him? Was it really any surprise that a guy who’d think nothing of killing a kid for not getting him a drink would think it was OK to kill a made man?
2. How does someone who spends his life dreaming of being a gangster become a snitch?
One of the first things we hear from our reliable narrator, Henry Hill, is that he always wanted to be a gangster. He was willing to drop out of school, lie to his parents, blow up cars, whatever. If something needed to be done, young Henry Hill was willing to do it. he wanted to be a gangster that bad.
Ok, so fast forward a few years after Henry gets jammed up for a third time by the cops. What do we see? Henry cooperating with the feds to enter witness protection, and by cooperating I mean snitching on everyone he’s ever known.
I said a bit earlier that Henry had been arrested before. The gang tells him when they go to pick him up was how great it was that he didn’t flip on any of them. It’s not like he doesn’t already know what his gangster obligations are. Dude folded like fresh linens under pressure. Damn.
3. Henry’s never heard the phrase “happy wife, happy life”
Henry, in his quest to be the most gangster gangster that ever did gang, has a girlfriend outside of his marriage. This is an issue because homeboy is not discreet with this shit at all. His wife finds out and goes to shorty’s apartment…with the kids, and curses her out for what feels like 3 weeks. It might’ve been less than that, I’m not sure.
Anyway, Karen’s pissed but Henry makes it right…for the moment. But the idiot gets caught AGAIN when Karen visits him in jail and sees that his sidepiece was there before her. It’s at this point that Karen starts pulling out the drugs that she was smuggling and puts them on the table where anyone could see them. Dude’s already in for 10 years, the drugs could double his sentence. The drugs could put HER in jail as well but she’s so mad that she doesn’t care. Why doesn’t it ever dawn on him that it’d be smart to placate the one person who could bring his burgeoning drug empire to his knees?
Now I think about everything I’ve written so far, Henry’s kind of an idiot playing a really high stakes game. It’s a wonder he didn’t crap out earlier.
*It’s not really trash. This might be the best movie ever, no bullshit.