Kyle Smith is not here to f------ amuse you. The New York Post critic responded to detractors Thursday amid growing backlash to his article “Women Are Not Capable of Understanding ‘GoodFellas,’ "which social media users are calling clueless, moronic and downright sexist.
Reached by email for comment, Smith said the idea that women can’t appreciate the classic gangster film wasn’t meant to be taken at absolute face value. “People are being a bit boringly literal,” he told International Business Times. “If I say, ‘Guys don’t get "Sex and the City," I don't mean not a single guy in the history of the world doesn’t like it. Broadly speaking, women like the film more than men do.”
The piece, published Wednesday, sparked a groundswell of criticism on social media, including from countless women Twitter users who affirmed that they do, in fact, understand -- and love -- the Martin Scorsese crime drama. “Yet another sexist moron voices his clueless opinion,” one person tweeted.
Smith stood by his contention that the 1990 film, which recently turned 25, is an essentially male fantasy brought to life on celluloid. “A lot of guys are dazzled by ‘Goodfellas,’ women maybe not so much,” he said. “But that wouldn’t make a very strong headline. Even Pauline Kael said, ‘It’s about being a guy, and getting high on being a guy.' ”
In the article, Smith frames his thesis around an experience in 1991 in which he and his then-girlfriend rented the movie from Blockbuster. After watching the film, he was transfixed, but she wrote it off as a “boy movie.”
Smith concludes the article with a tongue-and-cheek rendering of what “Goodfellas” would be like if the story were told by a women, recasting mobster Henry Hill (Ray Ray Liotta’s character) as an “at-risk youth” who turns to the mafia as a “cry for help.” The attempt at humor backfired, however, when readers pointed out that “Goodfellas” was edited by the legendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker, a frequent Scorsese collaborator.
Smith had an answer for that, too. “I have read the script, and I do not see how Schoonmaker’s editing, brilliant though it is, alters the storytelling or changes the dialogue,” he said. “She is a Scorsese employee on this film. It’s his vision. Not hers.”