Thursday, October 8, 2015

Podcatching: Goodfellas Minute

scorseseEvery year around Christmas, usually the day after, I have a tradition that goes pretty far back. Maybe not as far as I can remember, but probably close to 20 years. It's something I do on my own, because it's my thing but I am looking forward to the day and hoping it works out, that I can share in and pass this tradition on to my daughters. I'm talking, of course, about my yearly Goodfellas re-watch. But the thing is, I skipped it last year. I skipped it and it's been gnawing at me for months. Hanging over my head like a helicopter every time I hear a reference or a direct quote. But I found relief. I found comfort for the next few months in the form of the Goodfellas Minute podcast, where three fellas (also good) go over the film one minute a time, in detail. And what's better, these are guys that I've heard before and kinda missed hearing.

Back when I was more deeply into comics, I used to listen to iFanboy's weekly podcasts every Monday morning, religiously. I was just starting to blog about comics and learned a lot from listening and reading their reviews. This was serious comics journalism that went into story structure and really looked at comics from a more literary point of view, don't let the name fool you, but they still had fun. I joked at the time (to myself and I may have posted it on the iFanboy community at some point) that I came for the comics, but stayed for the Goodfellas references. And it was true.  But also, because the guys, Conor, Ron and Josh, were just fun to listen to, in addition to knowing their shit about comics. They have chemistry that is palpable and infectious. They're just real funny guys, like the way they say things, you know.

laughing henry
What it feels like when you listen to these guys. Minus the impending violence.

Podcasts are a weird thing. You listen to any for a period of time and you start to think you know these people. That doesn't happen when you watch a late night talk show or anything else. It feels very intimate, like you're just hanging out with these people that are talking about this stuff. In your car. Add social media to the mix and I could see how it could get crazy. These guys could be the Beatles in certain circles. The point is, although I don't know these guys, I know them enough that when I heard about this Goodfellas thing I immediately had to listen and when I did, it was like I was still going on those long morning drives to drop off Shayera at my mom's house before work, back when she was just a baby. Which reminds me, I have to catch up with the Filmpsotting crew at some point soon, my other road buddies from that time.

scorsese on set
The Master at Work
Anyway, the Goodfellas Minute is so far on minute 13 as I write this with new episodes coming out every weekday. I caught up with it after finding about it this weekend, so 13 minutes in 4 days. Not bad. The episodes are short, because how much can you say about one minute of film, although they say much more than I thought possible. The format is based on The Star Wars Minute podcast which I've never heard, but might give a shot. But what makes this work so well is that Conor, Ron and Josh all have somewhat personal connections to the material. They all live(d) in New York, but beyond that Josh apparently lived in the neighborhood where they shot the scenes of young Henry Hill. Ron is Italian as fuck and his dad - well, I won't spoil anything, but by episode 5 his dad already emailed the show with some extra information. I'm sure we'll hear from him again. And Connor loves Italian food and once rode an escalator with Scorsese.  So, you know, experts.

This isn't highbrow film criticism, but yet, these are smart, educated dudes who know a few things about story telling and pictures. Plus, the concept of going over a film minute by minute is bound to reveal details both intended and not that add to the overall appreciation and understanding of the film. Already, I can't wait to see the movie again because they've mentioned some things I don't think I've noticed in my countless times watching the movie. Fuck, this might backfire. Is it Christmas yet?

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