PBMC: Gangs of New York

Proud Boy Movie Club

Certain Movies every man should see, some he should know by heart.  These are the movies we’ll be featuring in the Proud Boy Movie Club.  Some films will be new to some of us, some we’ve seen a dozen times.  Either way you’re encouraged to watch or take the opportunity to re-watch these films every man should know.  All Proud Boys can follow the films week to week here and discus and post thoughts, questions and comments in the Proud Boys Magazine Facebook Group.

This week’s Movie Club: GANGS OF NEW YORK

Rating: R (for intense strong violence, sexuality/nudity and language)

 

 

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

 

 

In Theaters:  wide

 

Runtime:

Gangs of New York is a must see film for any patriot, that got it right for all the wrong reasons.  Yes, you get violence, and drama tossed it with some untold New York Americana.  You’re going to get to watch world class performances under the wing of a phenom of a director in Martin Scorsese.  Gangs of New York is a window into a forgotten world with forgotten rules that we have since been living on top of.  This film successfully captures the toughness it took to build America one scene at a time

Gangs of New York takes place in the “5 Points” during a clash of culture and territory in the early 1860s.  The 5 Points is a slum in downtown New York City run by Bill “the Butcher” Cutting (played by Daniel Day Lewis) as the head of the nationalistic gangs.  Bill vanquishes “Priest Vallon” (Liam Neeson” to control the 5 Points territory, but 10 years later the Priest’s son Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) returns to get revenge on the Butcher.  In the process, Amsterdam becomes Bill’s apprentice and becomes even more conflicted when he gets involved with a young thief who has a history with the butcher named Jenny (Cameron Diaz).  This all leads up to Amsterdam ultimately betraying Bill and failing.  Amsterdam then rally’s his father’s old gang “The Dead Rabbits” to challenge Bill the Butcher to one final battle in the open streets.

The key to this film is perspective.  Depending on how you look at it, the film may or may not qualify as a proud boy movie.  The way the Scorsese wants us to watch it is from the prospective of the Irish immigrants. “Those poor people, just want a better life and those mean natives won’t cut them any slack…. plus look how hot Leo is!”

In fact the biggest issue with this film is it feels like Leo & Diaz are in a different movie.  Keep in mind, this isn’t “Departed” Leo or “Wolf of Wall Street” Leo…. it’s basically “Titanic” Leo.  Cameron Diaz is as unsuited to be in this cast as you could imagine and dutifully takes you out of the movie every time she’s on screen.  But then there’s Daniel Day Lewis working over time carrying this film on his back, chewing, CHEWING every bit on scenery.

What was supposed to come off as an evil anti-immigration villain, ends up coming off as a bad ass hard nosed New Yorker, jealously defending the land his father died for from a culture he saw as invasive and incompatible at the time.

Gavin McInnes has mentioned “You have to watch Gangs of New York like Bill the Butcher is the good guy”.  Daniel Day Lewis’s butcher is so complex we don’t see him as an intolerant bigot who just “can’t understand” why the Irish are so “cool”.  And there was no way of getting around the violent Irish nightmare that was early immigration.

We begin to see Bill as pretty fair.  He’s a crook but he’s not a liar.  He’s loyal to his men even to a fault, not seeing Leo’s character’s intention to kill him.  When Leo takes his shot, no one in that theater was ready to see Bill go.  Leo looks like a scumbag.

It isn’t until they fight face to face “by the ancient laws of combat” that Bill gives his PERMISSION to be killed and utters the phase “Thank God I die a true American” just like Bill Poole, the historical Bill the Butcher.

So the million dollar question is “Does sympathizing with a nationalistic street fighting thug like Bill the Butcher make you a bigot?”

No.  Watch the film.  Bill fights the Irish at the beginning, and once he wins, HE SURROUNDED BY NOTHING BUT IRISH PEOPLE.  He gives them jobs.  He takes Amsterdam under his wing.  He cares for Jenny. He gives a monologue wrapped it the American flag about how much respect he had for the Priest and he wasn’t talking shit, he cut his own eye out to prove it.

It seems that his biggest gripe is he wants to be respected, and revered by the new comers to this country so he can show them how to live in the country his father died for while making a little money.  Ok, he’s corrupt, but no ones hands were clean in this world.

Looking at it through 2017 glasses, Catholics and Protestant english speaking poor white people don’t seem to have much to fight about, but the characters in this film live in a world where culture was precious.  In this world, someone would cut out their eye to demonstrate respect.  These people would meet in the open streets, talk trash, and AGREE to strike each other down till the one culture dominated.  We love this movie because it reminds us we are made out of the same stuff as those people, and the culture people would fight in the open streets for is still worth persevering.

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Written by PawL BaZiLe

PawL BaZiLe

Pawl is a film director and journalist living in New Jersey. Pawl is a fan of history and avid reader with a background in theater. He has used his debate skills to win over 30 Internet arguments. Pawl Bazile directed a punk rock documentary called “Living the American Nightmare” and is currently working on a motorcycle film called “Savage”. For Proud Boy Magazine, Pawl is in charge of digital media, new programming, and talent relations. He takes his coffee black. Follow him on Twitter @PawLBAZiLe.

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