Donnie Brasco: Forget Aboud’ It!

I’ve watched gangster films before: The Godfather, of course, the biggie, The Untouchables, Public Enemies, American Gangster, for the most part, I don’t find this film genre especially riveting, except for some shining gems. When I say gems I mean The Godfather. Donnie Brasco is by no means a bad film. But it is not The Godfather. Then again, so few films are.

Donnie Brasco came out in 1997, and stars a young Johnny Depp and an aging Al Pacino. An FBI agent, Joseph Pistone,(Depp) who uses the alias Donnie Brasco, goes undercover to crack open the New York Italian mafia. Eventually, the middle manager, Lefty (Pacino) takes him under his wing. But the closer Joseph gets into the mob, the more he begins to identify with it, and even become the very same people he is trying to expose.

I enjoyed this film more than most gangster movies I’ve watched, and others have agreed. Donnie Brasco is considered as one of the iconic gangster movies in film history. It is based on a popular novel by Richard Woodley, is based on a true story, and was nominated for best writing and best screenplay based on material previously produced or published at the 1997 Oscars. The film does have some definite strengths.

The beginning is set up in total en medias res. For a while the audience really has no idea what is going on, which I think is meant to make viewers have a similar experience to Joseph as he’s absorbed into the mafia, a world so different from anything he’s ever known. It also creates the needed feel of tension and excitement. The character of Joseph is fleshed out in a very interesting way. The audience learns just enough about Joseph to barely understand him, so when he begins to be lost in the mafia world, we really start questioning him. The ending was blunt and powerful.

 

The only critique I have of this film is that I got quite bored for a good hour in the middle. It just didn’t hold my interest enough. And perhaps that is not a bad thing. Perhaps it just says I am just not quite so interested in most gangster films.

I feel like I want to give this film a 6, but it does have some really big strengths, but I don’t think it deserves a 7, so I will settle with a 6.5. It deserves that extra .5 if only because in the film Lefty forces Joseph to shave off his god-awful mustache. Let’s all thank him for keeping up Johnny Depp’s appearances.

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Top Ten Actors Who Are So Good at Being So Bad

Dear Squids,

I have no idea how I did this, but even though I originally created this post over two weeks ago, last night I was trying to go to sleep and I realized, holy crap, I totally forgot one of my favorite villainous roles! so I’ve done some doctoring. Sorry Dustin Hoffman. I still love you. Let me kow what you think of my change.

10. Jeremy Irons: the voice of Scar in The Lion King

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Jeremy Irons’s role as Scar is an animated role, but it definitely deserves to be here. Jeremy Irons has a lovely velvety voice, but if he wants it to, it can sound so vile and full of hatred that it’s awesome. It’s kind of easy to forget that Scar is a talking lion because it has such a powerful performance behind it. And Scar is pretty much as evil as they come. He kills his brother and convinces the adorable Simba that he’s the one who killed Mufasa. And the way the song Be Prepared makes Scar kind of look like Hitler really makes it easy to loath this lowly lion. Yay alliteration.

9. Jason Isaacs: Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies

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I’m not actually a very big fan of the Harry Potter movies (or the books for that matter, go ahead, stone me now) but even I had to admit that these movies have many great villains to offer. Others included Alan Rickman as Snape and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, but I only wanted one on this list, so when I asked myself who of this three really made me despise him, the answer was very clear: Jason Isaacs playing the intimidating Lucius Malfoy. Everything about this character makes you hate him, from his icy hair and regard, to his elitist manners. Isaacs just has that something that allows him to naturally purvey this attitude of “I’m the shit and you aren’t and never will be.” And this isn’t Isaacs’s only role as a villain, He was also a deranged British officer in the Patriot and killed Heath Ledger. How dare he?

8. Samuel L Jackson: Jules Winnfeild in Pulp Fiction

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Samuel L Jackson has been a bad ass so may times, he’s basically type casted for his bad ass nature. But I think the role that everyone thinks of is the role that made him the bad ass mother fucker we all know and love. I’m talking about of course his role as a gangster in Pulp Fiction. I don’t think any other actor could have delivered his Biblical soliloquy any better. And doesn’t everyone remember his awesome line, “I’m sorry. Did I break your concentration?” Thank you Jackson for being such a hardcore bad ass.

7. Marlon Brando: Don Corleone in The Godfather

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This choice might be surprising, considering Don Corleone is a protagonist and not the villain in The Godfather. Despite that, the Don is obviously no saint, and he perfected the art of being bad. He’s a mob boss. You don’t get much worse than that. I’m sure I don’t have to say that his performance as the Don has gone down in cinema history. Because of that, he has won a prime spot on this list.

6. Andy Serkis: Golem in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

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Golem is another animated character, but Andy Serkis was much more than the voice. Serkis inspired many decisions about Golem and the way his animation went. And I believe Golem was such a success. He is the most interesting chacter in the trilogy, and he’s animated. And most of that is because of Andy Serkis’s killer performance. Everyone remembers that incredible scene in The Two Towers when Golem is talking to himself. But its also very easy to hate Golem. When he becomes an obstacle first between Sam and Frodo’s friendship and later for the destruction of the Ring, you just want him to die. When I saw the Return of the King in theaters, when Golem fell into the lava, everyone cheered. Okay, so they were probably cheering because the ring was getting destroyed. I was cheering because Golem was finally dead.

5. Malcolm McDowell: Alex Delarge in A Clockwork Orange

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Deciding whether or not to include this actor was not a hard decision at all. Alex Delarge is pretty much a sociopath who doesn’t care about hurting people or even murdering them. And Malcolm McDowell pulls this character off so well. The beginning of A Clockwork Orange, the camera just slowly goes closer and closer on McDowell’s face for 3 minutes, and his face is set in such a way that it is so full of hatred and rage that it makes your skin crawl.

4. Heath Ledger: The Joker in Batman: Dark Knight

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Heath Ledger’s amazing role of the Joker in Batman Dark Knight put him here. Now, I did not think Dark Knight was as incredible as everyone said it was. I my opinion, the best thing about the movie was Heath Ledger’s role. He just exuded evil. He terrified me. Now, terrifying me is a very easy achievement, but still. I feel sorry for anyone who has to play the Joker in the future, because I just can’t see anyone topping his performance. Strangely, I said the same thing about Jack Nicholson’s performance as the Joker. But this one surely can’t be beaten.

3. Anthony Hopkins: Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs

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I’m sure everyone can understand why I put Anthony Hopkins here. His character bit off someone’s freakin nose! But more than that, Once you see Silence of the Lambs, it is so hard to get his performance out of your head. It’s everything. His haunting voice, how he carries himself. He almost pulls you in the way he is able to pull in Clarisse. You can’t say that of many other actors.

2. Joaquin Phoenix: Commodus in Gladiator

Gladiator is one of my favorite movies despite the fact that it is obscenely historically inaccurate. Anyway, one of the main reasons why this movie is so good is because of Joaquin Phoenix’s amazing acting in his villainous role of Commodus, the corrupt Roman emperor who wants to dissolve the senate, steal power from the people (it’s Rome, they don’t have much power anyway!) and have sex with his sister. Pretty twisted stuff. Even when he’s not screaming in his sister’s face, he is just so awesomely bad, especially when he becomes an albino at the end. Phoenix is an incredible actor, even considering that he went crazy and decided to become a rapper, but apparently, that was just for an acting role too. Just shows you how dedicated he is.

 

1. Christoph Waltz: Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds

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Anyone who has seen Inglorious Basterds most likely agrees with my choice. Christoph Waltz is the best evil actor I have ever seen. If I ever meet him in person, I will have to resist the urge to kick him in the balls simply because he is so awesome at being evil  He makes you hate him with every fiber of your being. You hate his role so much, you almost enjoy it, which is something I have never experienced before. It’s quite incredible. Waltz definitely deserved the Oscar he received for his performance.