FEB. 25–MARCH 22

I was but 12 years old at the time of its release, so perhaps I wasn’t ready to fully appreciate the masterful directing, energetic pacing, or time-capsule soundtracking of Martin Scorsese’s (pictured, left, with Joe Pesci) 1990 mobster epic, Goodfellas. What did grab my attention, however, was Pesci’s Academy Award–winning performance as psychotic hitman Tommy DeVito—or, more specifically, all the fucking cussing. (Oh, the horror in my parents’ eyes during Pesci’s “I amuse you? I make you laugh?” rant as we sat together on the family couch. Ah, the deep sighs of resignation that escaped their lips the following morning when I came to breakfast as a foul-mouthed, quote-spouting miscreant.) Yet profanity is but one of the things I’ve learned from Marty’s films. For instance, upon returning home from Vietnam, I felt a certain disconnection from what my armchair-psychiatrist pals call “reality.” But after watching 1976’s Taxi Driver, I realized that such frustrations can be easily vented by gunning down both politicians and pimps. And had it not been for his 1993 adaptation of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, I would have almost assuredly lost my standing among New York’s social elite after engaging in an illicit romance with my wife’s cousin. The life-lesson value of Scorsese’s work over the past decade may be debatable, but everything you need to know to function as a member of our not-so-well-adjusted society can be gleaned from his best films, which are screening as part of this retrospective. The series starts Friday, Feb. 25, and runs through Tuesday, March 22 (see Showtimes for a weekly schedule), at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. (301) 495-6700. (Matthew Borlik)