Last time I was in DC I walked around one of the suburbs, pretty upscale, where old imperialists go to retire. It was during the summer and it was a trip to see these old men – old white men – with their old white wives, walking around going to the markets and taverns dressed in shorts and golf shirts.
They could have passed for retired professors, but I knew better. In their prime, these men were stone cold killers. I knew one of them. He’s pushing 70 now, but back in the 70s and 80s he would hop on a plane to some banana republic, spend a month or so doing god-knows-what, then just as his plane touched down in Dulles the TV would report some coup, some “regime change” or something far darker.
You’d ask him what he did on his “vacation” and he’d say, “oh the beaches were fantastic. I got a great tan.”
One of the reasons we like mafia movies so much is because it’s where white men are allowed to be “masculine prime” – violent, racist, promiscuous – while maintaining their civilized side: traditional, devout, with a family life.
Because men have both of these sides.
I can’t recommend enough an Australian series, Underbelly. The characters and plots are real. Season one and three are about the Australian organized crime of the 1980s and 1990s: drug dealing, especially MDMA and party drugs.
Carl Williams, a fat slob, basically a bogan, gets ambitious and murders the Moran brothers he was a driver for and muscles in on their ecstasy trade. It’s a wild ride watching this bogan go from a timid dork into a kingpin all while giving humorous interviews with the radio DJs pleading his complete innocence.
Brian Alexander is a quasi-lawyer who acts as a go between for the heroin dealers and the crooked cops – and Australia had a LOT of crooked cops on the take. When a Royal Commission is held to investigate police corruption and the government is closing in, the crooked cops decide Brian is a liability – he’s a “piss-pot with a big mouth” and his presumed murder (he simply disappeared and his body was never found) is dramatized as well as any Hollywood mafia murder:
Season two is a prequel about the Mr. Asia heroin syndicate run by an ambitious kiwi, Terry Clark and his hot, model girlfriends that smuggled the heroin for him. George Freeman, who was a famous “celebrity gambler” who owned a piece of every illegal casino in the 70s and 80s and was probably the closest to an “Australian Godfather” hires Chris Flannery, “Mr. Rent-a-Kill” to off all of his enemies, eventually having his partner, Lennie McPherson, killing Flannery before his can become a liability.
Season 4, “Razor” is set in the 1920 and features two women rivals, Tilly Devine who runs the prostitutes and Kate Leigh who runs the “sly grog” – illegal liquor during Prohibition – and their constant gang warfare and hilarious bitching at each other in the newspapers, a rivalry the newspapermen were more than happy to turn into a celebrity feud for the reading public.
The entire series has great writing, great acting, and great cinematography – all while staying very close to historical fact. Especially in the first season, the actors that play Carl Williams, George Freeman and Lennie McPherson are spitting images of their historical counterparts.
Also lots of spanking, so you know it’s good.