Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gotti and Travolta, best of friends: The sordid love affair between Hollywood and the mob

Cover of "Gotti: The Rise and Fall of a R...Cover via AmazonIt's official: The mob owns Hollywood. It's nothing new for films and TV shows to glamorize gangsterism: From "The Godfather" to "The Sopranos," we've long had a love affair with the mob. But with the recent news that John Travolta has reportedly agreed to play John (Dapper Don) Gotti Sr. in a film saga about New York's most notorious crime syndicate, it seems like Hollywood itself is seeking to become the sixth Mafia family.
Che disgrazia! Unless we support what the Mafia stands for - murder, corruption, drugs, prostitution - we should boycott this movie (if and when it is released) and doom it to the DVD dustbin of history, where most of Travolta's career belongs.
After all, we'd never stand for a movie that shows how an Islamic suicide bomber is "just one of us." Yet if the accent is Italian, this schlock passes for art. And as the recent federal bust of more than 120 mobsters on the East Coast demonstrated, these creeps are still at work. There's no reason to celebrate them or pretend they're just a thing of the past, like cowboys.
The new film is not just about organized crime; it's being made in part by John (Junior) Gotti Jr., the acknowledged former head of the Gambino crime family. Desperate to whitewash his family's bloody legacy - which includes untold murders and lives ruined - he is peddling his family's story with producer Marc Fiore, a convicted crook who has as much business making movies as James Franco does hosting the Academy Awards.
Speaking of Franco, he supposedly might play Junior himself, for which he better start packing on the pounds. A young man, he has no idea how dangerous the mob once was - and how, despite all the heat from law enforcement, it manages to survive.
No matter how many times Tony Soprano and Paulie Walnuts made you spit up your spaghetti in laughter, the Mafia is not a group of charming, old-fashioned men whose mothers cook for 20 at the drop of a fedora. They're heartless killers, drug peddlers, pimps, cheats and racists. They belong behind bars, not on the silver screen.
Still, nobody in Hollywood - with its freedom-loving altruists - seems to be raising much of a stink about the Gotti film. Maybe the studio bigwigs have forgotten that the mob doesn't allow for much creative license with its story.
When Armand Assante played the elder John Gotti in "Gotti," a 1996 HBO film, Gambino capo Gregory DePalma had this constructive criticism for the actor: "If there's one off-color thing that's a lie, even if it's the truth, about John with any broads, I'm personally going to kill you." In case his point was lost, DePalma added, "I'm not going to kill you, I'm going to f-----g torture you." You don't have to wonder why Assante went out of his way to make Gotti look like Lincoln.
And you better believe that when Travolta decides to use his acting talents to improvise, Junior will yell, "Cut!" faster than "Look Who's Talking Too" went to video. Even though I'll never forgive Sylvester Stallone for the epic bomb "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot," I have to give the tough guy credit for one thing: He was too much of a man to be Junior's lap dog. Travolta, on the other hand, seems to have no problem bending to Gotti's iron will and making the mob look like a charitable society that knows how to make a mean meatball.
It's not only Travolta. Among those seeking to vouch for the fine reputation of Andrew (Mush) Russo, the acting boss of the Colombo family, was James Caan, who played Sonny Corleone in "The Godfather." After Russo was picked up in the recent East Coast sting, Caan wrote a letter to the court in which he called him "as good a friend as any person could ask for." In fact, they're such good friends that Russo served as godfather to Caan's child. Now that's amore.
I've previously been critical of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, but as someone who grew up in Queens just a stone's throw from the Bergin Hunt and Fish (and Kill Human Beings) Club, a notorious Gambino lair, he knows that no matter how charming the mobsters are in movies and shows, in real life they're nothing but bottom-feeding criminals.
I give him kudos for indicting more than 120 of these miscreants. It just such a shame that while the government is busting up the mob, Hollywood is busy glorifying it.
So let's send a message to Travolta and other Hollywood elites about palling around with criminals. And let's hope that if the new Gotti movie ever sees the light of day, it is Travolta's biggest bomb since "Battlefied Earth" - and his career goes to sleep with the fishes.


Post a Comment