Does It Matter Who's Boss in Philly?


Gorgeous George walks out of jail after 13 years. It wasn't a total waste of time
as the hottie on his arm married him while he was in the clink.

George Borgesi, 50, is trying to take the big seat, a source told Cosa Nostra News, but he is facing pressure from allies of Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino.

Borgesi ain't no Joe Ligambi would be an understatement; the two (Uncle Joe really is Borgesi's uncle) don't like each other. Skinny Joey doesn't like Borgesi, either.

And as the troubled, fracture Philly mob prepares to evolve (likely not for the better), other ethnic crime groups, including one considered a threat to national security, are vying for power.

"Georgie Boy" has nevertheless been trying to assert himself -- and one person telling him to stop is Skinny Joey, through his viceroys on the street: Stevie Mazzone and John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini, both of whom are from the tough South Philadelphia faction.

Borgesi, Merlino, Mazzone and Ciancaglini were all convicted of racketeering in 2001. They all recently got out, as well, Borgesi last because of the Ligambi trials.

Merlino, 51, has been living in Florida since his release from prison three years ago and insists he has no desire to return to South Philadelphia.

Mazzone and Ciancaglini, are back in the old neighborhood. Law enforcement and underworld sources allege Ciancaglini controls mob gambling and loan-sharking in Delaware County, an area where Borgesi once held sway.

Apparently, Borgesi has been acting like the boss, and he may well be a boss -- but not anywhere near Delaware County. In fact, Borgesi was told in no uncertain terms to stay out of Delaware County.

In the Delaware area, the Mafia once influenced at least four labor unions and ran the city’s largest illegal gambling operations; it also was the "bank" for smaller gambling syndicates from the black, Greek and Irish communities and for numerous gambling operators throughout the area, but that was during the golden years of the Angelo Bruno era. As profitable as the areas is for the mob, it's certainly not worth as much as it once was.

It seems a question worth asking is how much of a Mafia is there in Philly these days anyway, if they're fighting over a single piece of turf. It is difficult to resist comparing what the Philly mob has today versus in those years when Angelo Bruno was boss.

A July 2001 story from Philadelphia City Paper titled "Not For Nuthin'" noted that Merlino's Mafia is nowhere near what it had been thirty years ago:
Consider that when Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno was gunned down in 1980, his criminal empire was vast. [Aside from operations in the Delaware Valley, the Bruno family had much more going on.] Two outlaw motorcycle gangs were subservient to the Mafia. The Philadelphia mob had pieces of restaurants, casinos, banks and companies in New England; Las Vegas; Florida; the Poconos; the Philly suburbs of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and northern Delaware; Newark; New York; and overseas, in London and in the Caribbean. 
Angelo Bruno didn’t allow his men to deal drugs, but his connections to the Gambino crime family and the Sicilian Mafia enabled him to "tax" millions of dollars worth of the profits from narcotics moved by the Sicilian mob and its network of American distributors. In the local underworld, rival gangs and criminals sought out Bruno or his men as mediators, business partners and protectors. South Philadelphia was one of the safest areas in the city — there were no street crimes to speak of because petty criminals feared the wise guys who ran their neighborhoods.
And Angelo Bruno was friends with mob bosses across the country, allowing him to work with other crime families when it suited him. Angelo Bruno had a piece of everything — illegal or legitimate. Through his union connections, Bruno and his mob had access to politicians and even some judges. And Bruno kept a low profile.
Merlino’s so-called Mafia allegedly extorted some small-time crooks, dealt in stolen goods, ran a moderately sized gambling syndicate and some video poker machines and may have been involved in two or three mid-level cocaine deals in Boston. Yet the U.S. government seemed to spare no expense in surveilling, wiretapping and infiltrating the Philadelphia Mafia. Their argument was that the mob in Philly may have been weak, but they had to knock it out completely. But does the trial of these reputed organized crime figures mean organized crime has come to a halt? ...Does organized crime have much to do with Italian-Americans from the narrow streets of South Philadelphia anymore?"

According to FBI and DEA reports international Dominican drug syndicates were operating in the area back in 2001, "so powerful they represent a threat to national security." Dominican drug money from Philly was used to influence two presidential elections in the Dominican Republic, these reports warned, adding that alleged Dominican drug traffickers and money launderers contributed money to the Democratic Party and to presidential candidates here in the U.S.

In the mid-1990s, the FBI discovered that an international company in Bucks County was actually a front for the Russian Mafia. In 2001, law enforcement sources claimed Russian and Eastern European underworld gangs were flourishing in the Delaware Valley.


Canalichio was picked up on tape complaining about a South Philadelphia lowlife who was showing up at an after-hours club that Canalichio and mobster Marty Angelina owned. 
Canalichio called the guy “a fuckin’ junkie,” which may have been true. But it says a lot about the character and mentality of local mobsters when a guy like Canalichio, who has two prior convictions for dealing cocaine, has the balls to complain about a junkie. 

Confidential informants told the FBI that the Russian Mafia had purchased dozens of million-dollar homes in Bucks County and in central New Jersey for use as safe houses in case some of their corrupt politicos back on Russia needed to flee in a hurry.

From South Philadelphia to South Jersey Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese street gangs were running wild.

African-American crime families have flourished in Philadelphia for generations, largely ignored by the police and the media. These groups got their start running numbers, then amassed enough money to finance major drug deals.

"While the trial of Merlino and his associates is almost over, it appears that organized crime in Philadelphia, is not," City Paper reported back then.

And Ligambi can retire, but he'll still be a target. Why? Thank Anthony Nicodemo, the wheelman involved in what is considered to be one of the dumbest mob hits ever committed; it was done in broad daylight no less.

The City Paper, earlier this year, also noted the case of Damion Canalichio, who was convicted of racketeering conspiracy in the first Ligambi trial. which ended last February...

Canalichio was picked up on tape complaining about a South Philadelphia lowlife who was showing up at an after-hours club that Canalichio and mobster Marty Angelina owned. 
Canalichio called the guy “a fuckin’ junkie,” which may have been true. But it says a lot about the character and mentality of local mobsters when a guy like Canalichio, who has two prior convictions for dealing cocaine, has the balls to complain about a junkie. 
Nicodemo and Canalichio, both in their 40s, are the next generation of the South Philadelphia mob. In many ways they epitomize what has happened to a once secret and supposedly honorable society. 
In another time and place, legendary Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno could have been the CEO of a company, the president of a bank, a titan of industry. But as an Italian immigrant, certain doors were closed to him. He chose organized crime as a way out and rose to the top of his field. That’s not to justify or excuse what he did, but merely to offer an explanation.
Bruno’s murder in March 1980 sent the Philadelphia mob into a tailspin from which it has never recovered. Society was changing. So was life in the Italian-American community. And so was the mob. 
Omerta, the code of silence, is a thing of the past. Starting with Nick Caramandi and Tommy DelGiorno in the late 1980s through mob boss Ralph Natale and burly mob capo Ron Previte at the turn of the century, the Philadelphia crime family has had more members per capita who have become cooperating witnesses than any other Cosa Nostra family in America. 
Add to the mix sophisticated investigative techniques, ever-present electronic surveillance and a multi-pronged RICO law — that allows the feds to prosecute members for their roles in a criminal enterprise rather than for their participation in individual crimes — and you have an idea how the Justice Department has taken the family apart. In many ways, the local mob has been one of the most dysfunctional Mafia families in America. 
Call them the Simpsons of the underworld. 
So, is it any wonder that Ligambi, who has spent more than 12 years of his adult life behind bars, has had enough? He did 10 years for the murder of Frank “Frankie Flowers” D’Alfonso before the conviction was overturned in 1997. After his indictment in May 2011 on racketeering-conspiracy, gambling and loan-sharking charges, Ligambi was held without bail for more than two years while awaiting trial. 
While portrayed in some circles as a thuggish hit man who happened to be in the right place at the right time when he became boss 14 years ago, reality suggests otherwise. Ligambi had a relatively peaceful and, one would assume, lucrative run. He may be smart enough now to just walk away...
As for the situation now, it seems volatile, somewhat.

Borgesi "pretty much put himself in that position when his uncle said he was retiring and going to Florida. Everybody is just waiting for the shoe to drop and see what's left."

"Nobody knows who to trust or who will step up when the dust clears. Scarfo Senior's guys are out but staying under the radar. It's gonna be interesting who steps to the plate."

In January 26, 2014, after 13 years in prison, Borgesi, the Philadelphia mob's former consigliere, walked away from the James A. Byrne federal courthouse holding hands with a woman he married while behind bars.

A jury had acquitted "Georgie Boy" on one count of racketeering conspiracy and said it was hopelessly deadlocked on three of four counts facing his uncle and codefendant, Ligambi. The jury cleared Ligambi of one witness-intimidation count and he was later let go as well when prosecutors decided not to put the boss of the Philly mob on trial for a third time.

Ligambi wasted no time in announcing his plans to retire from the mob, as we noted, in order to "summer in Longport and winter in Florida."

Among whatever other rivalries within the Philly mob family, the basic stage includes two generations historically at odds with each other, the old Scarfo gang and the Merlino young turks.

The ability to hold the two groups together was said to be largely due to the finesse of "Uncle Joe," who is credited for keeping the peace.

But with or without him, shifts in power are inevitable as the family's composition changes as some members return to the street, and others head off to prison.

Comments

  1. Interesting role for Sly. DeNiro would be the main (and obvious) main choice, however I was impressed with Michael Shannon's cold performance in 'The Iceman'.

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  2. Stallone is a terrible actor no matter which way you slice it.

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  3. Susan DeSantis FerrittoJul 12, 2014, 7:42:00 AM

    Ridiculous !!!

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  4. I don't think it's going to change the fact that a lot of men would stay away from her because of who her father is. Also telling the world she is a mafia princess. And a psycho ex husband killer would do the trick as well.

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  5. You're crazy just because his uncle hates him don't mean the rest of the guys on the street hate him, him Merlino and mazzone are real close there's no fuckin way he's taking anything away from then he'll take what he's given, whoever this source is is a fuckin jerkoff and don't know shit about Philly

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  6. Who every you're source is he's a fuckin jerkoff he don't know what he's talking about Merlino mazzone and Borgesi are real fuckin close Merlino put those two where they are George ain't taking shit he'll keep the position he's fuckin given, you don't know shit about Philly

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  7. Frank he was told to knock his bull shit off things change deleware county used to be his he.s trying to get it back and threatening people Joey Stevie and Johnny dont need him starting shit he is one of the most hated guys in So philly by regular people and his pals have had about enough too if u are a player like ur making ur self sound u would know this or ur one of BOY GEORGIES CRONIES who.s the jerk off now and im from philly frank have a nice day >philly

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  8. your so right Ed,their are so many interesting stories in the New York Mob that would make great movies,but Hollywood would rather make REBOOTS of garbage movies.So so sad.

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  9. If New York wanted Philly's nickels and dimes they would take whatever they wanted, and the philly "family" wouldn't do shit about it. Period. Philly is weak, dumb and full of rats and the entire underworld knows it.

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  10. I wouldnt sleep with her even if she wad a street hooker NOW DRITA NATALIE AND ALICIA IN A NY MINUTE> philly

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  11. How the fuck is he threatening Johnny and Steve whe he's on parole what's he sending his moron brother to see him that guys a fuckin joke, don't get it wrong buddy I ain't in fuckin George's camp but who ever this so called reporters source is he's full shit this guy don't know what the fuck he's taking about how is he threatening the skinny guy while he's down in Florida Georgie and gonna be anything but the fucking consigliere like I was before and that's it he ain't no fuckin boss

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  12. he.s not threatning skinny johnny or mazzone he or his boys were going around to the people he used to do bussiness in deleware county telling them he.s taking over uj spot so they kick up to him . Them people reached out to Johnny and stevie he was told to knock it off. U know how georgie gets he.s hot tempered words were said he used to have del county them people would rather deal with Johnny and the story goes the only part that was wrong was georgie was boss the shit with him being told knock it off is true. >PHILLY

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  13. At the infamous Nicky Skins luncheon,Joe Ligambi said to reps from another Family "Joey sends word"----take that for what its worth.As for George "The Mannequin" Borgesi....NO WAY !!!

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  14. Perfect butt? I thought that was her face....

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  15. ur so right susan she is a embarasment to young and older Italian American women and her self. She thinks acting this way promotes her book and mobwifes it degrades it . Its a dhame the other girls havent told her to knock it off

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  16. Georgie was blowing his own smoke and it back fired by doing so though he brings more heat to the othet guys and the geds ears perk up some more way to go BOY GEORGE keeping a low profile Now the guy who really stays under the radar and out of Jail is mikey lancelotti Nicodemo partner in crime. >

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  17. We all can make that assumption from a key board but this is 2014 and NY guys going across the bridge to whack a philly guy with out somebody from the crew setting them up isnt gonna work very well u see what happened to those who killed bruno all the familys would have to agree and i dont see that happening in this day and age. U talk about philly those five families are chasing the same nickle for eighty yrs money is money no matter how small and somebody with enough balls will protect there interest from outsiders NY boys protect there corner every day only here they have there own rules and in ur back yard u do what u want unlike five families who have more politics and bullshit to deal with.> philly

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  18. You are so right! And they need outsiders who can be objective.

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  19. This article was edited from what it originally said.

    George Borgesi, 50, is said to have taken the big seat, a source told Cosa Nostra News.

    The family's former consiglieri, "Georgie is not liked on the street," said the source. He added that Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, boss of the family who has been claiming he is retired, and Borgesi, who is Uncle Joe's nephew, don't get along.

    "Since Georgie's been back he's had the Salvo brothers who are loyal to him grabbing everything back that was his before he went to jail.

    "Uncle Joe's guys who collected [money for him], you could work with. Georgie is a stone-cold killer and it's only a matter of time before bodies start adding up. [Borgesi's] still on parole, I guess so he's limited as to what he can do [for now]."

    Borgesi "pretty much put himself in that position when his uncle said he was retiring and going to Florida. Everybody is just waiting for the shoe to drop and see what's left."

    "Nobody knows who to trust or who will step up when the dust clears. Scarfo Senior's guys are out but staying under the radar. It's gonna be interesting who steps to the plate."

    In January 26, 2014, after 13 years in prison, Borgesi, the Philadelphia mob's former consigliere, walked away from the James A. Byrne federal courthouse holding hands with a woman he married while behind bars.

    A jury had acquitted "Georgie Boy" on one count of racketeering conspiracy and said it was hopelessly deadlocked on three of four counts facing his uncle and codefendant, Ligambi. The jury cleared Ligambi of one witness-intimidation count and he was later let go as well when prosecutors decided not to put the boss of the Philly mob on trial for a third time.

    Ligambi wasted no time in announcing his plans to retire from the mob, as we noted, in order to "summer in Longport and winter in Florida."

    This has caused speculation about who would take over the mob. According to the source who contacted us, It seems Georgie Boy is making his move, which likely wouldn't happen unless Uncle Joe did indeed "retire."

    But if George is taking the spot, a lot depends on who is backing him. If he's not well liked and still moving to reclaim territory lost during his dozen years of imprisonment, then the volatility for which the Philadelphia crime family was once well-known can return as swiftly as the time it takes to pull a trigger.

    As we noted, among whatever other rivalries within the Philly mob family, the basic stage includes two generations historically at odds with each other, the old Scarfo gang and the Merlino young turks.

    The ability to hold the two groups together was said to be largely due to the finesse of "Uncle Joe," who is credited for keeping the peace.

    But with or without him, shifts in power are inevitable as the family's composition changes (with some members returning to the street, and others heading off to prison).

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  20. Ed, it seems you talk occasionally to Jimmy Calandra. I don't know if you're interested in finding out, but supposedly there was a crew of young turks in the Bath Avenue vicinity in the '89, '90 era, a little before Jimmy's crew took off, I think. I may have the dates wrong. There was a lot of drug dealing going on around this time by young guys, but a particular crew had ripped off an independent drug dealer and also stole his beeper. So, when his customers would call looking to score, this crew would show up and rip them off, all their money and jewelry. Supposedly the ring leader of this crew was nicknamed Craig Luganis (like the swimmer), because he resembled him, but he eventually got locked up. I had tried to intercede on behalf of a distant relative who was ripped off, and about a year later this was the story I was told, but I was never sure if it was legit. The way the mob works is if this was true and they even recovered anything, they would split it amongst themselves anyway and give a B.S. story. Of course, I don't want to impose, just a suggestion.

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  21. well georgie isnt running anything othet than his mouth which he.s been told to close. And it has been confirmed Joey is still boss with stevie and Johnny running things.

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  22. anon. and Frank-There's a discussion about this article here:

    http://www.gangsterbb.net/threads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=788312&page=1

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  23. You're a genius.... didn't you see the word REVISED in the headline??? Or did you think I was trying to sneakily revise?? I wrote one version, which led to the accumulation of more information that made me decide to revise my initial story because I'm concerned about getting the best information I can out there. I never saw such idiocy in my life. That's it, end of comments for this story.

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  24. Well, Johnny Chang took Borgesi's Delaware gambling operation -- which is a goldmine worth killing over. Mazzone and Chang are together. How close could Borghesi and Mazzone be if Mazzone is supporting Chang's move? They all went away together but everyone got out three years ago--except Georgie Boy. Your talking about the story 16 years ago at best.

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  25. Does ring a bell -- there was another crew of kids near the Bath Avenue Boys. Maybe Lucheses... I will look into it, OT!

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  26. On Bath ave you had Anthony Spero from the Bonanno's, you had Georgie Decicco from the Gambino's, and you had Joey "Flowers" Tangora from the Lucheese's all had crews in the area. Each crew had a farm team which consisted of younger kids on a street corner. In this scenerio you had the Bath Ave boys, they hung out on Bay 23rd and Bath Ave.

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  27. Frank "Chestnut" Maresca was from the Bath ave boys, and he was running around with a gun leaving bodies in the street, he was killing kids from other crews in the neighborhood, he killed a kid from Kingshighway West side for no good reason, he then over a beef involving a girl ended up shooting and Killing O.J. on 17th ave in brooklyn, O.J. was on record with the Columbo's, also in the car that night was Dino "Little" Sarisino he lived. A few months later the Columbo's offed Chesnut while he was on his stoop with his girlfriend, Dino "Little" Sariscino along with Tommy "Shots" Gioli and Joey "Caves" Competillo and Thomas Mclaughlin were all charged for the Chestnut murder. So you the Columbo's killing a Bonanno associate.

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  28. How soon is very soon?

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  29. Where in Bensonhurst did these Bath Ave boys live? Paul Gulino's family still there, right? Also what ever happened to Fabrizio? They don't say much about him.

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  30. Just a nasty bitch

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  31. It's almost done but every time I try to finish I get a breaking news story. Like tonight, the damn Marcello story caught my attention.

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  32. He who.s crew that is in charge reaps the benies from envolopes from street tax bookies and other illegal bussinesses if ur hungry u can earn if ur in the right crew

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  33. Joey Leave Ya SlumpedJul 23, 2014, 8:33:00 PM

    Hope you haven't forgot about this one, anticipating a good read . . .

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  34. I like you man! Whoever you are! Comment more, please! No offense to Philly, either!

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  35. Who are you, dude? If you got inside info, contact me, don't post comments. Eddie2843@gmail.com -- please!!

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  36. Hey Ed. Long time no internet. Have you looked into Crimetown USA Volume 1(1933-1963)? It covers my birthplace Youngstown, Ohio which has one of the absolute best, rich and unbelievable LCN story's of all time. Author Allen May is releasing Vol. 2 this year (1963-2000)... allegedly.
    .

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  37. Nick Pileggi is writing it so should be good.

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  38. My only question is how are they going to shrink Stallone the way Scarpa was emaciated when the AIDS came home to roost?

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  39. Hey Deacon, I'm curious to know if there are any more Italian strongholds in Ohio. I don't mean mobbed up, just an Italian neighborhood.

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  40. Hey Old Scool. There's a Little Italy in Cleveland and an Italian Village in Columbus although I don't believe Italians dominate those neighborhoods.(I suppose they are more sort of tourist spots perhaps) Not entirely sure about Cleveland though. My Pops grew up on the eastside of Youngstown which used to be predominantly Italian. The Italians in Yotown kind of spread to the surrounding suburbs for the most part but there's still enough of a community to have a huge Italian Festival every year in downtown Youngstown. A lot of history there.

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  41. Hah. Funzi beat me to it: I would have thought that they would have chosen an actor who can portray a sociopathic egomaniac. A near impossible task for most Hollywood actors. Stallone is like a box a rocks. He will be as bad as William Forsythe portraying Sammy the Bull in Gotti IMHO.

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  42. Thanks for the info

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  43. I got a feeling that Gotti movie was a scam to lure investors. I could be wrong, though. It never really showed any promise in my opinion. Stallone has too big an ego and forgot where he came from. He totally disrespected Joe Spinell (willie cicci from the Godfather 2) the guy who played the loan shark in Rocky 1 and 2, treating him like he never knew him.

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  44. Add a few pounds to Joe Pesci, a mustache, and dye his hair black. His short stocky build and ranting craziness would make a perfect Greg Scarpa.

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  45. I agreed with you but saw a recent film of his, Escape Plan (w/ Ahhnold) and have to say the acting was good and the film surprisingly engaging. I watched some more Stallone films and think he got that reputation because he made so many shitty films....but that has nothing to do with his thespian skills... Copland he was really good in, even the last Rambo film.....he's been humbled. If you focus on his acting skills I say he's as good as the next

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  46. Yes, Ice Man was excellent and I've always thought Shannon was superb. Even in films in which his part is small he makes the entire film better, such as When the Devil Knows You're Dead and even Let's Go To Prison and of course Boardwalk Empire.

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  47. I remember receiving a beautiful leather jacket from a Sicilian friend named george who said Angelo bruno gave it to his dad when I delivered a huge load of qualudes up there in 1980 from Miami haven't seen these people since then but they sure did treat me very well. Wish I had that money now that I made with them back then. Been poor ever since I left the biz.

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