Outrage Watch: Don't tell women they don't understand 'Goodfellas'
Welcome to Outrage Watch, HitFix's (almost) daily rundown of entertainment-related kerfuffles. Not anxious enough already? Get your fix of righteous indignation below, and stay posted for outrage updates throughout the week.
New York Post movie critic Kyle Smith doesn't think women get "Goodfellas." They just can't wrap their silly little brains around it! Here he is claiming that the movie's "core" story-driver -- in his estimation, "ball-busting" ethics -- is entirely unrelatable to the female demographic:
"Ball-busting means cheerfully insulting one another, preferably in the presence of lots of drinks and cigars and card games. ...Women (except silent floozies) cannot be present for ball-busting because 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. Deal another hand, pour another drink. ...To a woman, the 'GoodFellas' are lowlifes. To guys, they’re hilarious, they’re heroes. ...When the 'Sex and the City' girls sit around at brunch, they’re a tightly knit clique — but their rule is to always be sympathetic and supportive as each describes her problems, usually revolving around the men in her life."
As for Lorraine Bracco's character -- Henry's (Ray Liotta) future wife Karen -- Smith writes that while she essentially wins Henry's heart by busting his balls, she does it without realizing she's doing it:
"Even Karen’s (Lorraine Bracco) relationship with, and eventual marriage to, Henry is based on ball-busting. He’s bored with her on their double dates with Tommy and his girl, but after he stands her up, she comes down to the taxi stand where he’s hanging out with other wiseguys and yells at him. The guys love this and roar with laughter. Karen doesn’t realize it, but she has successfully broken Henry’s balls — hence she’s funny, lively and interesting. She promises to keep the party going."
And don't get us started on what he thinks the "Goodfellas" synopsis would look read like if it were "told by a woman," which would be something totally weepy and boring, obviously!
"'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.'"
You're too much, Kyle Smith.
"...it’s not like 'Goodfellas' introduces Lorraine Bracco’s character Karen 30 minutes in and arguably makes the film about her," writes Huffington Post contributor Sasha Bronner in a sarcastic rebuttal post entitled "Women, Please Stop Watching 'Goodfellas'." "It’s not like we hear her voiceover throughout the movie time and time again -- literally putting us in her head so that we can hear her thoughts.
"Ladies, don’t focus on that. Don’t pay attention to the power dynamics at play between Ray Liotta's Henry Hill and Karen. Don’t note the ways she flexes her power and the ways that he responds to it. Instead just pin some things on Pinterest and get your Midol in order before your next cycle hits."
In his own rebuttal, Los Angeles Times writer Steven Zeitchik suggests Smith misses the point of the movie entirely:
"It's not just that the piece is offensive to women (which it is, not least because so many women love 'GoodFellas') or men (which it is too — we can't like a movie unless there's a high level of 'ball-busting' and no discussion of feelings?) but that it gets much of the film wrong. Smith presupposes that the whole thing is a fantasy, that its source of greatness is that characters are doing things we want to be doing. That would be a pretty silly reason to think a film is great. (By that logic a porn flick should win the Oscar every year.) But more important, it ignores what's actually happening in the film. These characters are not heroes, they're not people whose lives or moral compasses we're supposed to wish for, or that most people would wish for."
And in a follow-up editorial in the Post, no less an authority than "Mob Wives" star Renee Graziano uses her rapier wit to blast Smith (before inviting him over for dinner):
"...by the way, you men can keep your balls. We have a woman running for president, and you are saying we’re too sensitive for ball-busting? Look at Hillary Clinton. She’s not crying. I admire her.
I guess people would say your column was sexist, but I view it more as ignorant — just plain ignorance — but I am a fair person. So here’s how we can right your wrong: Come hang out with the Mob Wives and binge-watch the five seasons with us. Then, we’ll watch Scorsese’s masterpiece.
This an open invitation for macaroni, meatballs and 'Mob Wives.'
But I have to warn you, Kyle. You’re going to have to write a correction after you spend some time with us. That’s exactly what you’re going to have to do."
Binge-watch all five seasons of "Mob Wives"? I can't think of a worse punishment.
A sampling of other responses on Twitter:
'women don't get goodfellas [proceeds to offer analysis of goodfellas, which is literally several paragraphs about 'ball-busting']— Natalie/Moe (@moeoftoe) June 12, 2015
@andiABCs I comprehend Goodfellas. I don't like Goodfellas. There is a difference.— Amanda Furman (@maestra_amanda) June 12, 2015
Poor Thelma Schoonmaker had to edit Goodfellas despite the fact she didn't understand it AT ALL.— Elliott Gould (@jwattenhofer) June 12, 2015
You hear that, Thelma Schoonmaker, Academy-award winning editor of the movie ‘GoodFellas'? pic.twitter.com/1hednjTAUn— waitwait (@waitwait) June 12, 2015
Hardly needs to be said, but it's not that women don't get Goodfellas, it's that this asshole doesn't get women. http://t.co/AwSnmJUv9e— Eleanor Philips (@ecphilips) June 12, 2015
Happy 25th anniversary!