Today, May 11, is “Goodfellas Day." Happy Goodfellas Day! What, you might be asking, is “Goodfellas Day”? It commemorates arguably the best section of Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film “Goodfellas” — the stretch towards the end otherwise known as “Last Day as a Wiseguy.” It runs about 11 minutes, and it’s a fast-paced, song-packed, coke-fueled monster of a sequence that details Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day that ended with him busted by the feds.
It's also a long day, so you have plenty of time to celebrate. You could do this by watching “Goodfellas.” It’s only 2 ½ hours long — shorter than that second “Sex and the City” movie. You could ring it in by debating (not with us) whether it is indeed the best sequence in “Goodfellas,” which it might not be. There are scores of contenders. The cooking in prison scene. The second-half-of-“Layla” montage where they find the gangsters Jimmy (Robert De Niro) whacked. The entrance-to-the-restaurant long take. The part where Jimmy and Tommy (Joe Pesci) try to beat Billy Batts to death to the strains of Donovan, go to Tommy’s mother’s to get a shovel and wind up having late-night pasta with Scorsese's mom, then have to kill Billy when they realize he’s not dead. Oh, and god, there’s the “You think I’m funny?” scene. There are a lot of great scenes.
Or you could play it cool and listen to the “Last Day as a Wiseguy” playlist. It’s a rockin' one. Here are all the songs that play while Henry (or, as Tommy calls him, “Hendry”) is running around town, sure that that’s a real helicopter following him and he’s not just coked out of his mind:
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“Jump in the Fire,” Harry Nilsson
“Memo from Turner,” The Rolling Stones
“Magic Bus” (“Live at Leeds” version), The Who
“Monkey Man,” The Rolling Stones
“What is Life,” George Harrison
“Mannish Boy,” Muddy Waters
Or you could mourn the recent passing of Michael Ballhaus, "Goodfellas"' legendary director of cinematography. Some of his most incredible, flexible, kinetic camerawork can be found in this sequence' 11-some minutes.
Happy Goodfellas Day! Now [sips whiskey shot] go home and get your f—in' shinebox.
Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge