My “Five Movie Characters Men Wish They Were” series began with Ferris Bueller in the “cool guy” slot. Today, we’re going to go with the criminal. Because, no matter how good your life is, henchmen and the freedom to murder your foes would make it that much better. I considered a few options for the slot: Marlon Brando as Don Corleone was tempting, though I’d like to be a gangster and be able to view my penis while urinating. DeNiro as Neil McCauley in Heat was a top choice, but I’m convinced only myself and a few of my friends properly worship that movie as the masterpiece it is, with everyone else knowing it only through the bit that late-term-abortion-turned-stand-up Dane Cook did about it. And we all want to be Ray Liotta in Goodfellas…it’s just that we don’t want to be Ray Liotta in anything he did afterward. Poor guy. Whoever managed that career should be brought up on war crimes charges.
Tony Montana is my choice for criminal I most wish I were for two reasons: The first is that no crook had a better time of it while he was on top. Tony wasn’t just a drug kingpin: He was a drug kingpin during the 1980s, when capitalist excess was the law and 20 percent of the American population woke up in the morning and brushed its teeth with cocaine. His finances must have made the Godfather’s ledger read like that of a Depression-era farmer. And, despite Detective Bernstein claiming to the contrary, Tony did enjoy his life. Who can forget the image of him up to his hairy Cuban nips in bubbles, smoking a cigar and screaming, “Fly, pelican!,” at the nature programming he was watching? Or the complete silverback domination he must have felt gazing out the window of his massive new home to see a Pan-Am blimp read, “The world is yours.” To top it all off, he got the girl he always wanted. Hey, even if she was a a bony, 80s white bitch with a scowl that could melt a hardon like a popsicle in a microwave, she was Tony’s top choice, and he landed her. Have you ever bedded your all-time top seed? It’s okay to be honest, guys; your ghoul of a wife isn’t reading this over your shoulder.
The second reason Tony is my criminal of choice? Because there has never been a cooler death in cinema and, hey, we all gotta go sometime. Do you know how the other gangsters I might have gone with in lieu of Tony checked out? Marlon Brando croaked with an orange wedge in his mouth. That’s how an autistic kindergartener dies, not a Mafia don. And Al Pacino as the younger Don Corleone? He keeled over while alone in a grove, approximately 143 years old, in The Godfather: Part III. Even being associated with that movie is enough to make me no longer envy you, but to perish in it? It’d have been more respectable had Pacino died at the end of The Godfather:Part II due to toxic shock syndrome from a bad tampon.
Tony’s final battle involved him taking out dozens of would-be assassins with a cannon the size of Willow that had a grenade launcher strapped to it just in case. On top of that, every guy Tony shot made a satisfying “Aiyeeee!” sound when biting the dust, giving the affair a familiar, video game feel. And, once riddled with bullets to fell an elephant, did Tony give up the ghost? Is Kobe Bryant into consensual sex? He kept on going, taking out further swaths of South American thugs, proving conclusively that cocaine is a performance enhancing drug. It wasn’t until an assassin so badass that he was simply referred to as “The Skull” put two barrels of buckshot through Tony’s spine that our hero finally toppled over into the fountain at the center of his mansion, turning its water red with his blood. Rumor has it that, upon watching the scene, SEAL Team Six collectively made the sign of the cross and thanked God they had never been pitted against so brutal an opponent.
And that’s why every man wishes he were Tony Montana. Loving TM and the urge to throat-fuck Beyoncé’s tonsils out the back of her cranium are the only two subjects that men of all races can agree upon. If that question ever comes up on a game show, now you know the answer.