Hi everyone, Bryan here….

I’m sure there are going to be a ton of Martin Scorsese directed scenes in this column, but the first one is definitely from Casino, which had Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci come together for a third time to make a film again. With the huge success of Goodfellas, De Niro and Pesci basically play very similar characters to that film, but this one is set in Las Vegas in the Tangiers casino, which is a fake casino, but based off the real life people and Italian mafia they were all connected to. Casino is a fascinating film and one of the better gangster movies of all time.

There are so many scenes in here that are worthy of mentioning for various reasons. Casino showed the rise and fall of a Las Vegas Casino that was under mafia rule from the 70s and 80s. Their main guy was Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein, which was based on the real life Frank Rosenthal, who knew how to run a casino to make the most amount of money and not be taken advantage of by rival crews or cheats. The mafia back home sent Nicky Santoro, a made guy in the mob, based on the real life gangster Anthony Spilotro to make sure Ace was running things smoothly and that the bosses back home got their money every week from the casino. Of course, Nicky did more than just “oversee” things.

Scorsese has even said that Casino has no plot to the film. There are characters, actions, and information in the movie about the characters, but there is no plot to the film that got from point A to point B. This doesn’t make it any less great. In fact, this 178 minute long movie feels like only an hour with the great amount of conflicts and action that happens in the film. Casino is one of those films that I can watch 52 times a year, every year. Maybe even more.

So what scene do I have picked out here? I could go with that famous scene inside the casino where we meet Sharon Stone’s character Ginger, where she throws the chips in the air with an overhead shot in slow-motion, or I can mention that brutal scene where Ace catches to the two cheaters at the poker tables, where someone’s eye pops out over a guy named Charlie M. It’s not any of those, although, they may show up later down the road. This scene comes towards the end of the film where the once-best friends Ace and Nicky (De Niro and Pesci) have a big falling out in the middle of the desert. Ace explains how pissed off Nicky is and instead of having a meeting in town, Nicky wants to meet out in the desert, which Ace gives himself a 50-50 shot of surviving the meet-up.

Right of the bat, things are super tense where Nicky starts yelling at Ace for talking bad about Nicky behind his back, which Nicky has killed for much less. The dialogue is funny-as-hell, yet at the same time – absolutely terrifying as  Nicky threatens Ace several times. It’s been said that Scorsese allowed De Niro and Pesci to improv most of their scenes together where they talk with one another. If that’s indeed the case here, this is some of the best improv I’ve ever seen.




ACE (V.O.)
          Normally, my prospects of comin' 
          back alive from a meeting with Nicky 
          were ninety-nine out of a hundred.  
          But this time, when I heard him say, 
          'A couple a hundred yards down the 
          road', I gave myself fifty-fifty.


ACE still standing in the desert. NICKY's car suddenly appears 
as a reflection in ACE's sunglasses, shaking ACE out of his 
desert-induced reverie. NICKY's car pulls up by ACE. He gets 
out and storms up to him.

          Where the fuck you get off talkin' 
          to people about me behind my back?  
          Goin' over my head?

          What people?

          What people! What'd you think, I 
          wasn't gonna find out?

          I don't even know what you're talkin' 
          about, Nick.

          No? You said I'm bringin' heat on 
          you?! I gotta listen to people because 
          of your fuckin' shit?! You're ordering 
          me out?! You better get your own 
          fuckin' army, pal!

          I didn't do anything. I mean, I didn't 
          order you or anybody...  I only told 
          Andy Stone that you had a lot of 
          heat on you, and that was a problem.

          You want me to get out of my own 
          fuckin' town?!

          Yeah, I said I - let the bullshit 
          blow over for a while so I can run 
          the casino. Anything goes wrong with 
          the casino, it's my ass. It's not 
          yours, it's my ass.

          Oh, I don't know whether you know 
          this or not, but you only have your 
          fuckin' casino because I made that 

          I -

          I'm what counts out here! Not your 
          fuckin' country clubs or your fuckin' 
          TV shows! And what the fuck are you 
          doin' on TV anyhow?!

          What are you -

          You know I get calls from back home 
          every fuckin' day?!  They think you 
          went batshit!

          I'm only on TV because I gotta be 
          able to hang around the casino. You 
          understand that. You know that. Come 

          Your fuckin' ass! You could have had 
          the food and beverage job without 
          goin' on television!  You wanted to 
          go on TV.

          Yeah, I did want to go on TV. That 
          way I have a forum. I can fight back.  
          I'm known. People see me. They know 
          they can't fuck around with me like 
          they could if I was an unknown. That's 

          You're makin' a big fuckin' spectacle 
          of yourself.

          Me?! I wouldn't even be in this 
          situation if it wasn't for you. You 
          brought down so much fuckin' heat on 
          me. I mean, every time I meet somebody 
          here, the big question is do I know 

          Oh, sure. Now you want to blame your 
          fuckin' license on me, is that it?

          No, it - it - Nicky, when you asked 
          me if you could come out here, what 
          did I tell you? I mean, you asked 
          me, and I knew you were going to 
          come out no matter what I said, but 
          what did I tell you? Do you remember 
          what I told...

          Back -

          ...you? Do you remember what I told 

          Back - Back up, back up a fuckin' 
          minute here. One minute. I asked 
          you?! When the fuck did I ever ask 
          you if I could come out here?! Get 
          this through your head, you -

          You never - ?

          Get this through your head, you Jew 
          motherfucker, you. You only exist 
          out here because of me!  That's the 
          only reason!  Without me, you, 
          personally, every fuckin' wiseguy 
          skell [Skell: the lowest form of 
          wiseguy - a drunken bum] around'll 
          take a piece of your fuckin' Jew 
          ass! Then where you gonna go?!  You're 
          fuckin' warned! Don't ever go over 
          my fuckin' head again! You 
          motherfucker, you!

NICKY drives off, leaving an angry and frustrated ACE to 
ponder the desert and the holes.

By Bryan Kluger

Former husky model, real-life Comic Book Guy, genre-bending screenwriter, nude filmmaker, hairy podcaster, pro-wrestling idiot-savant, who has a penchant for solving Rubik's Cubes and rolling candy cigarettes on unreleased bootlegs of Frank Zappa records.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *