Congratulations, Kyle Smith! You’ve just ripped the internet apart with your scathing editorial in the New York Post on women’s incapability to understand director Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus GOODFELLAS. You’ve exposed us! Only we’re too busy being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, making you a sandwich to have time to read your commentary. Yes, all of this is written with extreme sarcasm. Actually, we are too busy to read his clickbait/ hit-whoring article because we’re either in the boardroom, calling the shots or simply too smart to waste any time with this drivel. In the immortal words of viral sensation Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” However, if you’d rather not give Smith’s piece the hits (we beg of you not too, but, in the interest of journalistic integrity, here’s the link), we’ve got you covered as to what he’s claiming. So let’s get on, getting our well-earned outrage on!
After describing GOODFELLAS in a way that would make Scorsese himself keel over and roll around in his grave, as “ENTOURAGE with guns instead of swimming pools, the Rat Pack minus tuxedos” and later comparing/ contrasting it with SEX AND THE CITY, he sets in on his argument.
It’s not really a crime drama, like “The Godfather.” It’s more of a male fantasy picture
Um… okay. Sure, I’m a fan of off-beat thinking. Let’s see where this goes.
…takes place in a world guys dream about. Way down deep in the reptile brain, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), Jimmy the Gent (Robert De Niro) and Tommy (Joe Pesci) are exactly what guys want to be: lazy but powerful, deadly but funny, tough, unsentimental and devoted above all to their brothers — a small group of guys who will always have your back. Women sense that they are irrelevant to this fantasy, and it bothers them.
After 25 years of watching this movie as a hyper-sensitive film critic, I’ve never once felt my sex was irrelevant nor let it get under my skin. On an extremely superficial level, this is a story about male protagonists in a world most of us – men and women – aren’t exposed to. But does Mr. Smith know that this story speaks on a grander scale? Like all films, there’s universal resonance. Does he know that Lorraine Bracco was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance? Liotta wasn’t – not even for a Golden Globe. Does he know it was edited by a woman (Thelma Schoonmaker) That there wouldn’t be film for him to watch without her skills in piecing it all together? And does he know it was produced by a woman (Barbara De Fina)?
The wiseguys never have to work (the three friends never exert themselves except occasionally to do something fun, like steal a tractor-trailer truck), which frees them up to spend the days and nights doing what guys love above all else: sitting around with the gang, busting each other’s balls. Ball-busting means cheerfully insulting one another, preferably in the presence of lots of drinks and cigars and card games.
Has he never seen the comedy stylings of Sarah Silverman, Lisa Lampanelli and Amy Schumer?! We love razzing one another. It’s not just all sitting around, validating each other, talking about our periods and braiding our hair. We value the merits of taking the piss out of things.
…women are the sensitivity police: They get offended, protest that someone’s not being fair, refuse to laugh at vicious put-downs. In the male fantasy, all of this is unforgivable — too serious, too boring. To a woman, the “GoodFellas” are lowlifes. To guys, they’re hilarious, they’re heroes.
Gah! WUT?! [runs to grab a steak knife] No matter how much of an anti-hero a protagonist is, we’re with him throughout the whole thing. That’s the whole point of great filmmaking. As a fantasy, we root for Henry to get away with his crime. We are all on his side.
The rule is, be a man, be tough, and always keep the party going
Scorsese’s CASINO had this same rule – but not for the man, Sam Rothstein (Robert DeNiro). Nope. This was his paramour Ginger’s (Sharon Stone) philosophy. It then became my mantra – which originated from GOODFELLAS.
What would “GoodFellas” be like if it were told by a woman?
Meet an at-risk youth called Henry Hill. Victimized by horrific physical abuse from an early age, and traumatized by the responsibilities of caring for a handicapped brother, he fell prey to criminal elements in his rough East New York neighborhood in a time when social-services agencies were sadly lacking. At an impressionable age, he became desensitized to violence when a gunshot victim bled to death in front of a restaurant where he was working. His turn to the mafia was a cry for help — a need to find a family structure to replace the one he had never really known.
And who would want to watch that movie?
I can’t even. Blatant misogyny, right there. It’s what female filmmakers are battling these days trying to get their voices heard by studio executives. I would contend that if you reversed the sexes in GOODFELLAS, the film would still work brilliantly. I’m certain you could find just as many men as you can women who don’t like GOODFELLAS. And that’s their prerogative. But you can’t, by in large, paint females in broadstrokes saying we don’t like the film because we don’t understand it. What we don’t understand is how this author can be so narrow-minded in classifying it as such.
It’s totally possible Smith is propagating a parody. That may very well be, though this smacks of genuine MRA support and grasping at straws more than anything. It’s no wonder he was “dumped for being a jerk.” At least he has some self-awareness going for him.