Watch Now: FAMILY ENFORCER aka THE DEATH COLLECTOR
Sometimes Rotten Tomatoes can be dead wrong. Family Enforcer aka The Death Collector, a gem from one-and-done writer/director Ralph De Vito, has every right to be talked about in the same breath as Mean Streets when discussing the birth of the modern American gangster film. Starring the perennial mobster you-know-you've-seen-but-can't remember where, Joe Cortese, as a street hustler with balls of steel, the film is blend of filmmaking 101 and inspired New York/New Jersey Italian-American casting, that set the stage for every east cost mob movie that followed.
Its blend of gallows humor and violence can't help but ask how many times Quentin Tarantino let this one roll and just soaked in the genius plotting, characterizations and marveled at the dialog.
Just look at whose film careers began here:
Frank Vincent as Bernie Feldshuh
Joe Pesci as Joey "Boombats"
It even managed to grab a few quotable moments from the genius of Richard Ward in his portrayal of The Gunsmith.
This is the film that allegedly De Niro watched and urged Scorsese to see. And four years later both Pesci and Vincent are in Raging Bull. So, pretty damn safe to say that if it weren't for this film -- for Ralph De Vito's vision and his balls to bring to life a working-class New Jersey story about a low-tier hustler with balls enough to take it to the bosses he was told to fear -- there may never have been GoodFellas.