US film critic Kyle Smith provoked widespread controversy when he marked the 25th anniversary celebration of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas by publishing an article in the New York Post claiming that women didn't "get" the film.
In the piece entitled Women Are Not Capable Of Understanding GoodFellas, the writer claimed that the 1990 gangster classic was "male fantasy picture" and woman were too sensitive to appreciate the "ball-busting" and the unconventional heroes at the heart of the film.
"The wiseguys never have to work (the three friends never exert themselves except occasionally to do something fun, like steal a tractor-trailer truck) which frees them up to spend the days and nights doing what guys love above all else: sitting around with the gang, busting each other's balls," he writes: "To a woman, the GoodFellas are lowlifes. To guys, they're hilarious, they're heroes. They rule the roost."
Goodfellas, which starred Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta, made US$6.3 million on its opening weekend and earned multiple awards. Smith claims should there have been a female-focused version of the film, the outcome would have been less entertaining.
"When the Sex and the City girls sit around at brunch, they're a tightly knit clique – but their rule is to always be sympathetic and supportive as each describes her problems, usually revolving around the men in her life," he explained.
"As GoodFellas shows us, guys hanging out together don't really like to talk about the women in their lives because that's too real. What we'd much rather do than discuss problems and 'be supportive' is to keep the laughs coming – to endlessly bust each other's balls."
Nicholas Pileggi, the author of the Wiseguy the book on which the film is based, as well as the film's co-screenwriter, couldn't disagree more.
"I was very flattered," Pileggi told Metro.us. "I don't know what the validity of it is. A lot of women like the movie. The women I know, from my wife on down, got a kick out of it.
"To say '"Goodfellas" is a guy's movie' — it's funny. He's a good writer, so it's a lark and advantageous to the movie," he adds. "But it's like those jokey lines: 'There are no women comedians, feminism has no comedians, ha ha.' I mean, just look at the list."