24Dec2:08 pmEST

Christmas Eve at Market Chess Cinemas

Just a few years after the shopping mall had opened, my father took me to AMC theaters at Newport Centre in Jersey City, New Jersey, right around Christmas of 1990. 

The occasion, that time, was to see the re-release of Goodfellas (1990) which had officially been released on September 19th, 1990. Back in those days, though, the holidays marked a serious push by Academy Award contenders to market themselves. Thus, around Christmas time, the film was back in theaters and had plenty of repeat viewers attending the screenings.

Even though I was young, my father knew I could handle the intense nature of the film.

I vividly remember that the theater was jam-packed and was standing room only. It was a spirited audience, the kind that you remember, filled with plenty of "Jersey guy" stereotypes (about a decade before The Sopranos premiered on HBO). 

But it was also a courteous audience which did not interrupt the film. In fact, it served as a great companion to the viewing, with the belly laughs to each funny moment in the film adding to the poignancy, and the general feeling that every single soul in that movie auditorium was completely immersed in the film for the entire two hour and twenty-eight minute running time. 

Goodfellas remains my favorite film of all-time, but not solely for sentimental purposes--Director Martin Scorsese's use of the "tracking shot" rivals Orson Welles' use of the "long take" in Citizen Kane (1941), in terms of historical technical cinematic achievements.  The memorable lines, scenes, actors, and storylines all have become ubiquitous throughout the years. If you have not seen the film or are not familiar with it, there is, simply put, no substitute for doing some brief google searches on the real-life story behind the film and then actually viewing it. 

However, as technology advances and we can now watch movies on tiny pieces of glass virtually anywhere, alone, the experience itself of viewing Goodfellas back in Christmas of 1990 with my father and a packed house full of enthusiasts grows even more special with each passing year. 

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