Goodfellas : Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

I know there is an argument to be made for films still being good even if you don't enjoy or relate to the lead protagonist, and Goodfellas is certainly well-acted and directed, but if I'm not invested in the main character, then I simply can't enjoy the film or care for its message.

You can have a protagonist that is a criminal or a scumbag of sorts, but still give them or their journey a relatable element, even if unpleasant. In fact, that would arguably be better because it can get you to reflect on some of your own flaws and issues. Goodfellas isn't a film that entertains me. It isn't a film that makes me think either. I couldn't care less about Ray Liotta's character. I had a similar issue with Raging Bull. The Irishman was much better in this sense. Alongside Taxi Driver and Silence, The Irishman is easily one of my favourite Scorsese films.

But obviously a lot of people love Goodfellas and Raging Bull. So, if you're one of those people, why do you like it? Is it just because you enjoy the aesthetic of "mob" movies, or you enjoy boxing, respectively? Did you grow up hearing about the real people that the films are based on? I'm just curious.

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

A good point, but I LOVED Goodfellas!



😺 Schrodinger's Cat walks into a bar, and doesn't. 😠 Let's go, Brandon! 🤨 Slava Ukraini

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

What did you like about it? That's what I'm trying to figure out.

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

Everything basically. I think it's one of the best mafia movies of all time, and I especially loved Joe Pesci's performance. He seemed like a real gangster, and was frightening.



😺 Schrodinger's Cat walks into a bar, and doesn't. 😠 Let's go, Brandon! 🤨 Slava Ukraini

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

Pesci is definitely the best element of the film.

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

Definitely!







😺 Schrodinger's Cat walks into a bar, and doesn't. 😠 Let's go, Brandon! 🤨 Slava Ukraini

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

What I enjoy about Goodfellas is the fascinating exploration of the criminal underworld that the characters are all part of. Granted, said characters may not be sympathetic or likeable (they are hoodlums after all), but they at least are interesting and their antics often entertaining to watch.

Yes, this is really me.

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

There's definitely some entertaining scenes. The film has "classics" status that nobody can deny. I just think there are better films that give us that same exploration into the criminal underworld, with better characters.
Joe Pesci has great charisma. De Niro did pretty good considering he's mostly sidelined for the duration. It's really Liotta and his character that brings the film down, for me. Too bad the film follows his story.

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

I didn't think The Irishman was any more interesting than Goodfellas. The characters in The Irishman were boring by comparison. De Niro and Pesci's were bland, almost without personality. Al Pacino is the only one that may be remembered.

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

I can see why someone would think they were boring. Their characters were subtle and restrained. But I don't think they were lacking personality at all.

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

Goodfellas is one of my favorite films. Ray Liotta's character is important because he's sort of the everyman which you can follow along with while thinking the other mobsters are detestable. Liotta is a good guy stuck in a precarious world where he probably doesn't belong.

It's just a pefectly crafted film. I also think the female supporting characters with the big hair are all priceless and so much like everyday women you know in real life.

And lets not forget Joe Pesci's character. His comic wit adds so much to the film. If it was De Niro alone the whole story would not be as great. Liotta and Pesci's characters really make that film.

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Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

Joe Pesci's great. But I disagree about Liotta's character being the everyman. He's just as detestable as the other characters, if not more. Not only did he willingly commit all those crimes, but he cheats on his wife and ends up ratting out his only friends. Sure, it's somewhat understandable because it was probably life or death, but he's never painted as a good guy in a bad guy's world, at least from my point of view.

Re: Unlikeable, unrelatable protagonists & why people enjoy them.

Of course Liotta commits acts which are not admirable. But unlike the others he doesn't callously kill people.

And you're right. He's a snitch. I hate snitches.

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