Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy Effing New Years

2008 started off with our neighbors blowing up fireworks to wretched excess, which we wouldn't have minded except that DW had lasik surgery last week and hadn't had a good night's sleep in days, which means that I hadn't had a good night's sleep in days either. Grrr! I was in a relatively bad mood when I got up yesterday morning.

So I was in a mood for a little light entertainment yesterday. I went to bed last night reading Milton's Paradise Lost, and, before that, viewed the delightfully fun Scarface. I'd not actually seen that film before, which is kinda odd given my attraction to violent movies. I avoided the movie due largely to its venerated status in the gansta subculture. I'm pretty much a snob about the whole gangster glorification of violence, which differs somehow from whatever buttons violent entertainment pushes in my own subconscious mind. I suppose the difference is that I don't view the characters in these films as role models to be emulated. Whatever. Anyhow, I picked up the "platinum edition" at WalMart yesterday, which includes a hilarious option of two running tickers at the bottom of the screen--one for "f-bombs" (over 200) and another for gunshots fired (2,049). I remember Scarface being very controversial in its day (1983), largely for the number of f-bombs and the extremely high level of violence.

"Say hello to my little friend."

Scarface originally was planned as a remake of a 1930s movie by the same name about Al Capone, but the film was reconceived in the wake of the Mariel Boatlift of 1980, a brilliant move that allowed screenwriter Oliver Stone and director Brian De Palma to make a film more relatable to audiences of the mid-1980s. De Palma later came out with The Untouchables, which was all about Capone and Elliot Ness. Scarface is about the rise and fall of Tony Montana (Al Pacino), a nobody from Cuba who ruthlessly works his way to the top of the cocaine business in South Florida. The movie is quite emphatic about how the American dream of wealth, power, attractive sexual partners, and wretched excess can end very badly, a la GoodFellas. Scarface, however, is much wilder than GoodFellas, perhaps because there was no organized crime tradition to reign in Tony Montana's crazier impulses. The director, writers, and actors were absolutely fearless, and, I would guess, knew that the critics and other cultural guardians of the day would vehemently denounce their film. It's a much better movie than I expected it to be, but it certainly isn't for everybody.


Anonymous said...

I just recently watched Goodfellas, playing at 11 pm on Channel 5. I thought it ended well. I must have already had some ethical bearings knocked loose by this learned. Just wanted to say hello, congrats on the mention in the trivia...


Randy said...

Wha? Huh? How could one's ethical bearings be knocked loose by GoodFellas? I mean, who hasn't shoved the mailman's head into a pizza oven, or pistol-whipped someone who actually deserved it, or shot someone in the foot for serving too slowly?

I was flattered by the trivia mention. It was unexpected.