Different Views of John Gotti Biopic

John Gotti, who died in 2002, lives on. (He obviously lives on in the memories of his loved ones and those who knew him; then there's the friends and loved ones of those no longer here because of Gotti to remember.) The onetime Teflon Don found immortality of a sort in the mass media.

John Gotti in one of his 1980s trials with attorney Bruce Cutler
Gotti with his lawyer, Bruce Cutler. (Cutler looking at anything in particular?)

For decades, his presence has abounded in videos, films, books, magazines, newspapers -- and, yes, blogs. Then there's the work of Jerry Capeci of Gang Land News. Capeci and silent partner Gene Mustain have written the only Gotti books you need to read: Mob Star: The Story of John Gotti and Gotti: Rise and Fall.

John Gotti is an especially hot topic as we transition into 2018. Stimulating some recent discourse is the long-gestating topic of the Gotti biopic starring John Travolta as the Dapper Don. It was close to its theatrical run when it was pulled -- and sold back to the production company, as John Travolta very vociferously declared to the media. Currently, it seems Gotti’s wide release is slated for May 2018, but first, the film needs a new distributor.

The Gotti biopic was in the works for years --- since around the time Cosa Nostra News was launched. (Check out this story, which features an awful lot of pictures of a meeting John (Junior) Gotti had with John Travolta back in January 2011.)

The Gotti biopic is the topic of three articles we're linking to today.

The first story was published on a website called RealClear Life, which I have never heard of. Yet the writer seems to have a better grasp on the Mafia than many mass media journalists do; and he apparently had George Anastasia to serve as his sounding board for the story, titled How John Gotti Whacked the American Mafia. Okay, the headline maybe doesn't get an A for originality, but the story makes interesting points, including the one about the headline not being exactly fair.

To wit, the story notes:

Gotti, whose public flamboyance just dared the government to take him down… was taken down. And he remained down until his death.

Which was par for the course during an era when the mob was bold, aggressive, loud, treacherous, and often staggeringly inept as if watching a season of The Sopranos in which every single character was Paulie Walnuts.

“It’s a dark comedy,” said George Anastasia. Anastasia spent decades documenting the mob in Philadelphia for the Inquirer, but also explored the “big stage” of New York with Gotti’s Rules: The Story of John Alite, Junior Gotti, and the Demise of the American Mafia.

Before we get to Gotti, these are reasons why the American Mafia went into decline—the Dapper Don by no means deserves all the credit. .... 

Read the rest

Next, a New York Daily News opinion piece by Stephen Miller, a professor of English at St. John’s University. The piece also references the Gotti biopic, yet goes above and beyond the rudimentary. It aims to burst bubbles, declaring: "Some New Yorkers find Gotti, the stylish “Dapper Don” and Gambino crime family boss, a fascinating, even likeable (sic), character. Legend has it he respected cops and everyday people. But too often, the media glamorizes these gangsters....."

The story centers on an alleged violent incident involving a police officer friend who had a run-in with the former Gambino boss. The writer doesn't include anything to substantiate his claims. (We don't say it's not true, only that no reference to judge its veracity is included.)

My friend told me how, one more than 30 years ago, his squad car got a radio communication about a three-car collision. At the scene, two of the drivers said the other one was completely uncooperative and staying in his Lincoln Continental.

My cop friend asked him for license and registration. The perp blurted a two-word obscenity at him. Asked to get out of his Lincoln, the perp repeated the curse.

Realizing he was drunk, my friend reached into the car to help get him out — but was met with a kick just missing his groin.

Then, the thug attempted to hit him. My friend blocked the punch, countering his head butt with a right cross and knocking him to the ground, where he was cuffed and arrested for driving intoxicated and resisting arrest.

Only then did my cop friend realize his collar was the fortysomething Teflon Don just then approaching full glory, a few years before feds finally made stick charges of murder, conspiracy to murder, racketeering, extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling and tax evasion — not to mention his narcotics trafficking and related activities.

That wasn’t the end of the story. At the station, the desk officer, a lieutenant, asked Gotti, whose face was bleeding, “How did you get in this condition, sir?”

“I slipped and fell.”

The officer interrupted, “He didn’t slip. He resisted arrest and necessary force was used to affect that arrest.”

Gotti screamed, “What did you tell him that for?! That’s between me and you!”

He was searched. His ID confirmed his identity. The funds in his possession were $2,700. He laughed and said, “That’s chump change. I drop more in a crap game than all of you make in a year.”

“What’s your occupation?” my friend asked.


“What did you have to eat tonight?”

“The usual.”

“What did you drink tonight?”

“The usual.” 

“What’s the usual?”

“You know. Wine, scotch.”

Read rest 

John A Gotti gave the New York Post his review of Gotti biopic
John Junior  Gotti 

The pièce derésistance, a New York Post Page Six story in which John (Junior) Gotti expresses an interesting opinion of the biopic: it's too violent. (Yes, the onetime alleged acting boss of the Gambino crime family thinks the film is too violent.) 

Still, Junior lauds Travolta's performance in the films.

As the story notes:

When Hollywood sees a mob movie it has to be a bucket of blood, not family,” the godfather’s son told The Post. “If Hollywood gets the movie 70 percent correct, I’ll be thrilled.”

Still, the Mafia scion said John Travolta, who stars in “Gotti” as the infamous Gambino crime family boss, “acted the sh-t out of the film.”

While John Gotti Jr. hasn’t seen the final cut of the beleaguered biopic, whose Dec. 15 release was indefinitely postponed last week, he was on the set for nine of the 27 days of shooting.

“The days I was there, John hit the ball out of the park,” Junior said,