Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It ain't so, Joe

This is a pretty gruesome pic, of Joe Pesci's desert demise in Martin Scorsese's Casino--but if you come across the film on the USA Network, don't worry, you'll be spared the gory details. I had to laugh today at the gym, where a fellow patron had the "Cardio Theater" unit mounted on his step machine turned to the channel's telecast of the film this afternoon. (The theory being that if you got fat watching TV, you can get thin watching it, too.) Pesci's horrific demise at the hands of Frank Vincent was edited in such a way to minimize bloodshed and suffering, with Vincent and crew's baseball bats landing acceptably in Joe and his brother's midriffs (rather than over the head)--and the broken bodies being tossed in the holes with their underwear still on, as if the Mafia were that dainty. Left out completely was the agonizing realization that the dying mobsters were still breathing as the earth was shoveled over them. Just as Vincent's dispatch of Pesci can be seen as payback for Pesci's ballpoint butchering of Vincent in Goodfellas, so, too, does this read as the censor's final say on the picture, which had ratings skirmishes in 1995 for its violent content. Seeing this cut, though, made me want to watch the whole, unexpurgated, underrated film again. (Coincidentally, it bows on Blu-Ray today.)

Speaking of Casino Joe, don't you want this in your home? I can't believe it's still available. I know what someone's getting for her birthday...

Oct. 19 update: Tommy/Tony/Joe is long gone, but word has just come in that Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, the inspiration for the De Niro character, has died, in Miami Beach, where he resettled. (I didn't know that his lawyer is today Miami's mayor.) Rosenthal was part of an A&E special about the case that aired in conjunction with the release of the movie. At about the same time, on a flight from Kansas City (the epicenter of the trials), my seatmate was a mob lawyer whose clients were some of the guys involved.

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