In the run-up to the movie's 25th anniversary, New York Post film critic Kyle Smith on Wednesday wrote an article entitled, "Women are not capable of understanding Goodfellas." You can probably guess what it's about.
In the anniversary review, Smith argues "women don't get Goodfellas" because it's a film about "about a small group of guys who will always have your back. Women sense that they are irrelevant to this fantasy, and it bothers them."
By Smith's logic, women can only identify with entertainment such as Sex and the City, which is much more in line with the female psyche. "When the Sex and the City girls sit around at brunch, they're a tightly knit clique — but their rule is to always be sympathetic and supportive as each describes her problems, usually revolving around the men in her life." Conversely, Goodfellas is about, not mutual support and compassion, but "ball-busting etiquette," leaving half of the world incapable of understanding the Scorsese classic.
As is usually the case with outrageous public statements, it took only a few moments before the Twitter frenzy began.
Goodfellas is about so much more than "ball-busting etiquette." The movie has become part of the Western canon of cinema precisely because it is so complex. It uses the veneer of machismo to distract the audience while deftly exploring existential insecurities, loyalty and the resistance to our inescapable mortality, among many other major themes. Note that these motifs are part of the universal experience of being human, not just "man."
As most of these Tweets point out, Smith is deeply misguided in his understanding of the film and women. Both are far more sophisticated then he gives them credit for.