Martin Scorsese has done it again, this time with more movies for the big screen. Like other movies of its caliber, it is very good to watch. For all fans of cinema, The Irishman is a triumph of treasures that will be talked about for generations. In fact, my only wish is that I could watch The Irishman for the first time again. If you haven’t seen it yet, I envy you, and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that. In the end, I think the main takeaway for most bigtime movie buffs is the masterful performance of one Joseph “The Spanish Rattlesnake” Pesci. Let’s face it, movie-heads, Joe Pesci has never been more erotic, never more supple in all his 47 years.
Pesci has finally come into his own as a true talking prune of primal desire for all us guilty-pleasure cinema sinners. Like a wine, he has aged seemingly only for my most innate pleasures. In the end, it all comes down to one word: Busty. Need we continue to hide our transgressions, Joe? Or shalt we finally come forth with the true extent of our wanderlust together. Only time will tell. My bags are packed. I will leave at sunrise predicated upon your arrival. Costa Rica awaits.
While I certainly can’t wait for me and Brooklyn Joe’s trip to our Central American hideaway, there is plenty more to enjoy in this bigtime Hollywood hit. Perhaps most glaringly, is the reoccurring theme of Slip N’ Slides throughout the movie. With symbolism abounding, I took this to be yet another reference to the slippery slope of the Korean War. The movie opens in classic Scorsese fashion. Right from the jump, the audience is treated to an acoustic rendition of “Where Is My Mind?” by The Pixies, expertly covered by folk icon Townes Van Zandt. This version was of course made famous in 2007’s Wild Hogs (Tim Allen later plays the love interest of a local dock worker in The Irishman). Thus, the pieces start falling into place.
The credits roll and we see a younger, more zestful 1980’s Joe Pesci opening up a can of Tab Cola before doing a “surfer man” pose while sliding his way down a huge Slip ‘N Slide. The audience waits with bated breath as we hope for the best during Pesci’s daring slip routine, all-the-while remaining pinned to the edge of our seats. Who knew he was part Hawaiian! Luckily, the accompanying Netflix-sponsored pamphlet clears the air and lets you know that he spent many years on The Big Island as a child. With that in mind, it certainly makes sense how he was able to pull off this daring maneuver in one piece!
About halfway through the film, we see an older, wiser Pesci going through a midlife crisis due to his job as a gunsman for the mafia. In a fit of confusion, he jumps out of bed in the middle of the night, startling his pregnant wife, and sets up a massive Slip ‘N Slide in the backyard. He then attempts to pull off the same surfer slide from his youth. He fails miserably, shattering his ankle to the tune of a gruesome compound fracture. The scene acts as a bit of grim realism, signaling the passage of time for our antihero. Someday, we will all slide down the great Slip ‘N Slide in the sky, audiences realize.
Not to be ignored, the post-credits Slip ‘N Slide scene with Harvey Keitel and Ray Romano was both a source of much needed comedic relief and an unexpectedly touching romp. These are the bloopers we buy popcorn for! After all these years, the father-son duo is still doing what they do best: Making us laugh. For all us movie sleuths out there, it was only upon second viewing that I actually realized the slide was an Easter Egg from Avengers: End Game! (Thanos is seen sliding on the Slip ‘N Slide before his big showdown with Flying Michael).
Before we leave this review to go watch The Irishman again, we would be remiss not to mention the special cameo appearance by “The Clown Prince of Funny” Rodney Dangerfield. Frankly, I think this one caught everybody in the theater a little off guard. Tis’ the genius of the “Daft Trickster” Martin Scorsese. We first see Dangerfield during a pivotal scene set in the notorious Copacabana night club. As the boys discuss their next move for their annual Black Friday plans, eagle-eyed viewers will see Dangerfield’s reanimated body performing a set to a sold-out crowd. Seems like his wife is still causing a shit ton of problems.
While one might expect that this scene was done with all the Hollywood magic we’ve come to expect from big studios, a special features vignette reveals that it was actually done by borrowing a trick from none other than The Country Bears, a lifelong muse for Scorsese. While it is visibly clear that his body is propped up with a mechanical, animatronic exoskeleton, it gives us comfort to know that Scorsese took a page from one of America’s most treasured entertainers to recreate the magic of “Daft Dangerfield.”
After all, sometimes to move forward, you need to look to the past for inspiration.
Rating: 5 stars, 2 boarding passes, 9 Slip ‘N Slides, and 1 great time at the movies