Mob movies are a part of our movie history - and where there are great mob movies, there are great quotes. It was hard to cull the list down to 10, but I think I did it. Please don't fit me for cement shoes and make me sleep with the fishes if you disagree with what I came up with.
"I'll make him an offer he can't refuse." Don Corleone, The Godfather
If I really wanted to, I could populate this whole list solely from this movie and its sequel, but that wouldn't be fair to the other mob movies. This is the line that most people tend to quote from The Godfather. Of course, they try to do it in Marlon Brando's jowly, mumbly style.
"I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!" Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II
This is one of the most powerful scenes in the movie. Michael Corleone gives his brother Fredo the kiss of death. Yeah, we know how that one ended. It also made me leery of fishing for a while.
"You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little f----d up maybe, but I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?" Tommy DeVito, Goodfellas
This was the scene that made Joe Pesci famous. It's a fantastic scene that shows how fast he could go from being calm to being a raging, homical lunatic. It made you fear him.
"That black book's a joke. It's only got two names in it for the whole country. And one of them's still Al Capone." Nicky Santoro, Casino
Yes, It's another Pesci appearance. It's like a race between him and Al Pacino to see who can get the most appearances on this list. It makes me wonder though... how would a fight between Santoro and Tommy DeVito go? It'd be one with a lot of violence and swearing at each other.
"I always tell the truth. Even when I lie." Tony Montana, Scarface
Here's another movie that I could just take 10 quotes from and call it a day. Pacino makes another appearance on this list and he deserves to be there for his fiery performance as Montana. I was tempted to use "Say hello to my little friend!" but this one won out for me.
"I didn't ask for that and I don't want it. Goodbye Leo." Tom Reagan, Miller's Crossing
A highly underrated movie, this line is so defiantly spoken to bat down the offer of forgiveness. The Coen brothers made a great movie here and this scene deserves to be here.
"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!" Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part III
Yup. Another Pacino appearance. No, he's not paying me to put him in here. This was a very mediocre movie in comparison to the other two, but this was a very powerful line.
"Did he sound anything like that?" Eliot Ness, The Untouchables
Another great movie with an abundance of great lines, particularly Robert De Niro as Al Capone. This was the scene that really grabbed me though, as Kevin Costner's Eliot Ness served up some long-awaited justice. The first time that we saw it in the theater, people cheered.
"You a gangster now. You can't learn it in school...you can't have a late start." Carlito, Carlito's Way
Pacino again. What can I say? The man is good in roles that center around the mob or organized crime. This is one is a bleak statement about what people have to do to enter that lifestyle.
"What Freud said about the Irish is: We are the only people who are impervious to psychoanalysis." Colin Sullivan, The Departed
It's kind of fitting that Matt Damon's Colin Sullivan was the one who spoke this line. His character was a sociopathic dirty cop who had no moral compunction about diminishing his badge by serving a master from the underworld.
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Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
Ben Affleck is continuing his lifelong game of cops and robbers.
Vulture reports that Warner Bros. is so happy with the actor/director's The Town (worldwide gross to date: $60 million. Production budget: approximately $37 million) that they've offered him another crime drama: Tales from the Gangster Squad.
Squad is based on a series of articles by Los Angeles Times reporter Paul Lieberman and adapted for screen by former South Central L.A. cop Will Beall. The story focuses on the L.A. Police Department's off-the-books division of mercenary cops that chased gangster Micky Cohen during the 1940's. Cohen was a criminal who got his start working for Al Capone in Chicago, but eventually worked his way up the ranks through different routes and found himself as a prominent gangster in L.A. He eventually went to prison in 1950 for four years for tax evasion (even though he probably murdered a buncha people).
Right now, there's no word on casting or even if Affleck has accepted the offer. Rumor has it he's considering directing Homeland, a Showtime pilot from 24 producer Howard Gordon about a former CIA operative that might star Affleck's old buddy from Boston -- Matt Damon, but if he's going to work with his Good Will Hunting co-star again, my hope is that they'll get his long-gestating Ness biopic into production.
With this news comes the reality that Affleck is the premiere director for crime-related material: not a bad thing considering that it'll always give the talented filmmaker serious subject matter to work with. Personally, I'd like to see him cross the country and try out the Pacific Coast for once. Yeah, The Town is good. And yeah, Gone Baby Gone is good. But come on, Ben! There's a whole world outside of Boston. Move outta Massachusetts.
"Just because we are Italian, it doesn't mean you have to be a Mafioso."
So said Manny Alfano, anti-violence chairman of UNICO National Inc., an Italian-American service organization, on Friday.
He shares a common concern with some Italian-Americans who say they believe that Hollywood has exploited and misrepresented their culture for years.
The worst offender, at present: The Sopranos.
The American Italian Defense Association filed a lawsuit on Thursday in Chicago against the makers of the HBO television series, alleging that the program wrongly portrays most Italian-Americans as mobsters.
The series "suggests that criminality is in the blood or in the genes of Italian-Americans and that Italians as early immigrants to this country had little opportunity other than to turn to crime," the association said in a statement.
Time Warner Entertainment said it is "very proud" of its critically acclaimed show.
"We are hardly alone in our assessment that the show is an extraordinary artistic achievement," according to a Time Warner Entertainment statement said.
Alfano's group is working with the American Italian Defense Association to combat stereotypes that they consider an affront to their community. He said the film and television industry began its misguided portrayal of the Italian-American community in the early 1960s, when the series The Untouchables first aired.
The series depicted the U.S. government's war against mobster Al Capone, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y, to an immigrant Italian family.
When The Untouchables first began airing, Italian-American organizations worked independently of each other, but now they are coming together and speak as one united voice, Alfano said.
The Italian-American group is not looking to gain any profit from this lawsuit, but hope to gain back their "individual dignity" under Illinois law, the clause in which Time Warner Entertainment Co. is being sued under.
The group wants a moral victory by having a jury declare that the series offends the dignity of Italian-Americans, attorney Enrico Mirabelli told Reuters on Friday.
"There is so much emphasis placed on The Sopranos because of its stands," Alfano said. "We are for the First Amendment and against censorship. I don't expect the series to be taken off the air."
If a jury finds for the plaintiff, the group said it hopes that Hollywood will begin to look for positive traits in their community.
"We can dilute that image if the media has more positive programming and roles," Alfano said. "But that is someone no one wants to address because that's what sells."
He sees the portrayal of Italian-Americans in the media as offensive. The Sopranos, he said, is a "soap opera at its worst," where most of the characters act violently and cheat on their spouses.
"It goes beyond The Sopranos," he said. He cited Matt LeBlanc's character, Joey, on Friends and the Barone family from Everyone Loves Raymond as terrible Italian-American stereotypes.
"The image we see is that we are buffoons, Mafioso and bimbos, which we are not," he said.