Saturday, November 19, 2005

Two Movies

Yesterday I came upon, and watched some of, two movies I hadn't seen it quite a while.

The first was Goodfellas, which still ranks as a classic. Couple of notes from the bits I saw ( was in and out):

The manic "helicopter" scenes near the end -- just before Henry Hill is arrested -- have to be the most complete marriage of film and music in the last 20 years. The pacing and editing do all that's necessary to tell you how out of control Henry is at that point.

David Chase must have cast most of The Sopranos directly from the cast list from Goodfellas. From just The Sopranos' billed cast only we have:
  • Lorraine Brocco (Karen Hill/Dr. Jennifer Melfi)
  • Michael Imperioli (Spider/Christopher)
  • Tony Sirico (Tony Stacks/Paulie Walnuts)
  • Vincent Pastore (Man With Coat Rack/Big Pussy)
  • Frank Vincent (Billy Batts/Phil Leotardo)
and that doesn't even get into the hundreds of guest appearances in five years of The Sopranos, so I'm sure there are many more that I'm missing.

The second was Talk Radio, which was on at the same time as the Illini basketball opener, so there was a lot of toggling back and forth. As with any Oliver Stone picture, you know you'll have a certain amount of goofiness right off the bat.

The core of the movie is, of course, Eric Bogosian's performance (the movie is a filmic version of a stage play that he wrote/directed/starred in). His eye-popping bizarro rant near the end is much the logistical equivalent of Goodfellas' famous Copa scene -- the fabled "long take." As I remember it, the shot involved wrapping the camera cords around the axis of a spinning dolly set-up, which slowly unwound as the shot played out. The result is -- figuratively and literally -- dizzying.

Of course it's hard to watch the movie now without flashing on the "Low-Budget Tales of Cliched Horror" skit from The Ben Stiller Show which deftly satirized combined bits of Talk Radio and Jerry Stiller's hate-radio-host-turning-into-Satan freakout Tales From The Darkside episode. Little too much later baggage to look at Talk Radio quite the same way as in 1988.


Post a Comment

<< Home