Gotti & Travolta (NY Daily News)
|Written by Administrator on February,10,2011|
Gotti and Travolta, best of friends:
The sordid love affair between Hollywood and the mob
It'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.