“What did I tell you!?”
Although it took great restraint not to opt for the “how the f**k am I funny” scene from my favourite Scorsese picture, I am glad I went for Jimmy’s outburst, as it displays one of the most magic partnerships in De Niro and the great director. Jimmy Conway for me is by far the most interesting character from Goodfellas, and up to this point the viewer is still making their mind up as to where he sits in-between Pesci’s explosive Tommy and Liotta’s fairly quiet and brooding Henry.
Deceivingly, Jimmy is all smiles during the post-heist celebration bash, greeting everyone with hugs and kisses in his usual way. But when one of the crew shows off a new car, Jimmy has questions. The beauty of the scene is that De Niro is actually quite patient and simply wishes an acknowledgement of the wrong doing, even when he only receives excuses. But when he is asked: “what are you getting excited for?”, his face changes in the way only De Niro can, his patience wearing off as he clearly feels insulted by the naivety standing in front of him.
This scene is one of the best De Niro acting sequences in the film, showing patience, emotion and creating offbeat and awkward silences during the dialogue at just the right time to crank up the tension in the room to breaking point. The way he turns away and then looks back with “that” look, makes me smile with admiration every time I watch it. At the end of the scene, when Frankie Carbone’s wife arrives donned in a brand new fur coat, Frankie immediately does the smart thing when Jimmy confronts him and apologies, grabs his wife and leaves.
The combination of possibly Scorsese’s best gangster movie, starring the one and only De Niro losing his rag, makes this classic film the star of my Movie Clip of the Week!