Joe Pesci freaks out in Oliver Stone’s JFK (1991)


At some point, I’m going to write a lengthy essay on Oliver Stone’s 1991 conspiracy blockbuster “JFK.” I’m not going to argue what’s true or what’s not in this film. Mainly because I don’t know. I don’t buy everything in this film, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not one of the most brilliantly directed and edited political thrillers of all time.

One of my favorite scenes is when Joe Pesci’s David Ferrie character freaks out when being interrogated by Kevin Costner’s Jim Garrison character and Garrison’s cronies. Yes, it’s over the top and hammy … but I freakin’ love it. The way Stone ratchets up the intensity while that brilliant John Williams’ score ratchets up the tension while Pesci’s character goes increasingly berserk and paranoid is a classic film moment.

“The Bells of St. Mary” – The Drifters

Another great, soulful, holiday classic … this time from the Drifters.  This version of “The Bells of St. Mary” is sublime and was used to chilling effect in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” when Joe Pesci’s character pays Samuel L. Jackson’s character a visit one morning.

7. “Goodfellas” (1991) dir. Martin Scorsese


Number 7 on Dave’s Strange World’s list of all-time favorite films is Martin Scorsese’s vicious, profane, and hilarious gangster classic “Goodfellas.” Since I tried limiting myself to just one film by each director, it was hard picking my favorite Scorsese film. “Taxi Driver” and “Hugo” almost made the cut on all my time Top 10, but “Taxi Driver” is a really heavy, painful film that I don’t watch that often these days and “Hugo,” while being emotionally uplifting, is heavy in its own way too. These aren’t criticisms, it’s just that if I’m picking a Scorsese film to watch at the end of a long, hard day at work, “Goodfellas” never disappoints. Even at 2.5 hours long, it feels like it’s half that length. Everything about this film, from the script to the acting to the editing to the music is a pure adrenalin rush. And while you may feel exhausted at the end of this, it’s a good exhaustion.

The scene I included here is where Liotta’s, DeNiro’s, and Pesci’s characters need to borrow a shovel from Pesci’s mother’s house to bury the body of a gangster they just killed. Playing Pesci’s mother is Scorsese’s mother Catherine, who is totally sweet and funny in this scene. There is some pixelation during the first 11 seconds of this clip, but everything else is fine after that. Favorite line: “Looks like someone we know.”