John Gotti as Family Guy? So Says Hollywood Reporter in Biopic Pan

 At my first writing gig, my boss told me to research the word hagiography and make sure I never wrote anything that would fall into the category ever again...

John Travolta plays gangster for Junior Gotti's pricey vanity project.

The story he was referring to was about adult filmmaker Andrew Blake, so at least you can understand where I was coming from.... And you probably already understand where this is going ....




Yes, John (Junior) Gotti apparently still worships his father. Michael DiLeonardo, former Gambino capo, detailed for us Junior's bizarre proclivity for calling him chief, etc. 

And trust me: Listening to Mikie Scars tell you the real story would be endlessly preferable to this.

  
From THR: Most mafia movies, whether good or bad (and this one is bad), try to show that power corrupts, crime doesn’t pay and the price of allegiance to the Cosa Nostra is often too high to handle.

Such is not the case of Gotti, an altogether hagiographic — one could even say pro-mob — biopic that had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Starring John Travolta, who executive produced a passion project that took eight years to get off the ground and will be released in theaters next month, it’s not only that the film is pretty terrible: poorly written, devoid of tension, ridiculous in spots and just plain dull in others. But the fact that it mostly portrays John Gotti as a loving family man and altogether likable guy, and his son John Gotti Jr. as a victim of government persecution, may be a first in the history of the genre. Leave it up to “Teflon Don” to get a movie made that seems to clear him of all charges more than 15 years after his death.

Directed by Kevin Connolly of Entourage fame, who filled in after Barry Levinson dropped off the long-gestating movie (which, per IMDb, has 29 credited executive producers, included Travolta), Gotti was presented by Cannes head Thierry Fremaux in a screening held at one of the Palais des Festivals’ smaller venues. It’s a dubious choice, given both the paltry quality of the film and the fact that it offered the rare spectacle of “Junior” Gotti — who was acting boss of the Gambino crime family throughout much of the 1990s — standing onstage in a theater that’s been screening works by the likes of Yasujiro Ozu, Billy Wilder and Jacques Rivette throughout the week. Perhaps that’s the deal you need to make to get John Travolta to give a master class at your festival, but instead of banning selfies on the red carpet, perhaps Fremaux should consider banning guests who have been indicted on racketeering, extortion, kidnapping and murder conspiracy charges.


Gotti Jr. (Spencer Rocco Lofranco) is very much present in a movie whose script, written by Lem Dobbs and Leo Rossi, is based on his autobiographical account Shadow of My Father. The relationship between Gotti Jr. and Gotti Sr. (Travolta) tends to drive most of the plot, which otherwise lazily charts the latter’s rise from ambitious hitman for Carlo Gambino (Michael Cipiti) to capo under the leadership of Paul Castellano (Donald John Volpenhein) to the time he became the big boss after he had Castellano taken out in an infamous shooting outside of a Manhattan steakhouse back in 1985.

In between all the mob business, which is handled in a matter-of-fact and generic manner, Gotti focuses on the close-knit family unit that the gangster created with his wife (Kelly Preston) and five children out in the tree-lined streets of Queens. Shown to be a tough but caring dad, as well as a testy but affectionate hubby, Gotti is a far cry from Henry Hill, Michael Corleone or any other Mafioso depicted on screen. The great tragedy here is not that he was responsible for countless deaths as the head of one of the world’s biggest crime syndicates, but that his 12-year-old son Frank was killed in a car accident in front of his home. (The man behind the accident disappeared a few months later and was never heard from again.)

Gotti spends a long time portraying the emotional aftermath of the death (the film is dedicated to Frank), but very little effort is made to build any sort of suspense around its main characters. As we flashback between Gotti in prison during his last days suffering from cancer and some of the pivotal events in his life, we catch glimpses of partners-in-crime Angelo Ruggiero (Pruitt Taylor Vince), "Willy Boy" Johnson (Chris Kerson) and Sammy “The Bull” Gravano (William DeMeo) — the latter would become the most infamous rat in mob history when he informed on Gotti to the FBI in 1991 — but these men are shown without real flair or distinction, as if they were background extras in an episode of The Sopranos.


The movie centers on one of New York's most notorious organized-crime bosses, his son and their involvement with the Gambino crime family.

Gotti delivers an account of John Gotti’s life, spanning three decades to show how he became the head of the Gambino crime family in New York, earning the nickname "Teflon Don" due to his ability to evade conviction.
The film, which will screen in Cannes on May 15, is a family affair for real-life husband-and-wife John Travolta and Kelly Preston, who plays his wife, as well as their daughter Ella Bleu Travolta, who portrays one of the Gottis' daughters.

The film, which Travolta has long pursued, has had a lengthy and complicated production history, encountering a number of false starts. While in development, Gotti cycled through multiple directors (Nick Cassavetes and Barry Levinson were each attached at one point) and stars (Lindsay Lohan was once reported to be part of the project). Lionsgate Premiere, a day-and-date theatrical and VOD label, had been set to distribute the pic, but, with the help of Sunrider Productions’ Edward Walson, producers bought it back and have arranged for a wider release on June 15 through Vertical Entertainment...


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