Some of you around here may remember that Vin and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, per se. It’s not that we don’t like things like love and flowers and romance. We just like the mob more. Therefore, we like to celebrate the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Our favorite way to celebrate is by watching mob movies.
So, in honor of the most romantic day of the year, here are our favorites. If you happen to be as twisted and warped as we are, this is the perfect way to in the romantic spirit! If not, ignore this post and come back Friday.
Any list of mob movies is obligated to include The Godfather and I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that it’s one of my favorites series. I fell in love with Michael Corleone in college. When I took a film history class for my minor, we watched Part I and II. On a big screen. In one sitting. It was intense.
I’m not lying when I tell you that when we all stumbled out of that theater and into the blinding afternoon sun, every person in class was incredibly paranoid. We walked across the quad as though someone had a hit out on us. It’s an obsession that led me to perform a scene from Part II for my film acting final (which I aced, thankyouverymuch) and endlessly quote the movie to this day. These movies are perfect for a Valentine’s celebration because they’re super-romantic (Italy, duh).
2.) Mystic River
Okay, so this one is a favorite, but promise me you won’t watch it if you’re feeling especially sensitive. There’s some heavy stuff in this movie. Heavy stuff like child abuse and parents dealing with the death of their child. Heavy.
But, guys. Sean Penn is the best crier of all time. Plus you get fantastic performances by Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon. This is seriously one of the best and most interesting explorations of guilt, innocence, criminal motivation, and the evolution of friendship. This is definitely a good pick if you’re down for a serious time.
3.) The Departed
Leonardo DiCaprio. I’ve been obsessed with him since forever and he’s fantastic in this one. Also, there’s Matt Damon, who is, well, Matt Damon. They play guys working undercover for the state police and Irish mob, respectively. There’s a great story line here that involves both men fraternizing with the enemy, forging relationships they know they’ll have to betray, and the question of whether they’ll be able to betray them when the time comes.
There’s also Jack Nicholson as the mob boss. He generally creeps me out, but that’s absolutely perfect for his role in this film. I just love the idea that you never really know who’s on who’s side in this movie. Definitely a tense movie, which is what you want on Valentine’s, right?
Don’t tell Michael Coreleone, but this one might be my favorite. I know I said they were all favorites, but this one is more favorite. As Vin says, this is more your average blue collar, working man’s mob movie. I believe his direct statement was, “When I watch The Godfather I feel like I’ve got to put on a shirt and tie.” So, I guess if you’re wanting your Valentine’s affair to be a classy one, go Godfather. If you’d like to keep things more casual, then Gangs of New York is for you.
So, we’ve got kind of a similar story line as The Departed, in that there’s Leonardo DiCaprio playing a guy trying to infiltrate the mob. This time he’s in Civil War era New York trying to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Bill the Butcher (best name everrrr and played by Daniel Day Lewis). This movie has it all. The juxtaposition of a personal vendetta and the climatically violent war over control of the Five Points in New York is just wonderful.
The gang names are phenomenal, too. I mean, how can you go wrong with the Natives vs the Dead Rabbits vs the Bowery Boys? You can’t, especially when the gangs include guys named Happy Jack Mulraney, Priest Vallon, and Hell Cat Maggie. The cast is excellent; DiCaprio and Day-Lewis are joined by Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, and on and on. The weak link, if there is one, is the inclusion of Cameron Diaz who isn’t my favorite actress. She’s decent enough and I guess you have to have some sort of a love interest…and since this is for Valentine’s Day, I’ll let it slide. Plus, there are top hats. Lots and lots of top hats and fantastic plaid pants. Overall, this is one of my favorite movies ever, so go watch it.
If you’ve already made plans for Valentine’s, I seriously suggest you scrap them. I mean, who wants hand holding and roses when you can have the severed heads of horses, knife fights, and blood baths? Not this girl, that’s fo’ sho’.