I have no idea how this one got by me, or how I could have forgotten about it if I’d already seen it on the newsstands, but GQ has done an article I’ve always dreamed of writing: GoodFellas The Oral History.
With the collapse of the economy, there’s no good movie publications left, and it’s hard to find articles like this today unless in the pimpiest publications.
I’m surprised this one hasn’t been tackled yet, but covering this one is certainly no easy task.
Having tried myself, I can attest it’s probably easier to get the Pope on the phone than to get an interview with Martin Scorsese, and we all know that attempting to get an articulate answer out of DeNiro in an interview is akin to trying to part the Red Sea.
The article also comes with sound clips from some of the stars, and pages from the GoodFellas script with handwritten notes on the pages from Scorsese himself.
Being a long time fan of the film and Scorsese, my personal favorite director, this article is absolutely film geek nirvana for me. (Just the story behind the classic Steadicam shot alone is incredible reading.)
The intro to this story definitely sums up my feelings: “Yes, indeed The Godfather is masterful. The Sopranos? We never missed an episode. But you want to talk about a movie that leaves a mark?…The truest, bloodiest, greatest gangster film of all time.”
And I totally agree.
The story also opens with Michael Imeprioli saying, “I don’t know if I would have had the same career had I not done GoodFellas. Probably not. Would I have been cast on The Sopranos? Who knows if there would have been a Sopranos?”
And Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote Wise Guy, the book that became GoodFellas, says, “Mob guys love it, because it’s the real thing, and they knew the people in it. They say, ‘It’s like a home movie.'” (I also have to mention that GoodFellas is one of the best film adaptations of a book I’ve ever seen.)
Am I jealous I didn’t do this myself, or couldn’t have pulled this off in a million years myself?
Not in a bad, envious way. My hat’s definitely off to the team of writers who did this story (Sarah Goldstein, Alex Pappademas, Nathaniel Penn and Christopher Swetala), and any celebration of Scorsese and GoodFellas, whoever does it, is always welcome.