I was excitedly sitting on my deck awaiting a weekend of White Sox baseball (which hasn’t been great lately) when the crushing news came through the twitter machines…
We are only about 6 weeks in the rearview of Ray Liotta’s death and earlier this week, we lost James Caan. With Tony Sirico’s passing the mob movie / television genre is taking a monster hit of generational talent.
I personally go back and forth between which television show I adore most, the Sopranos or the Wire. I’m also on record as saying that the best individual television character of all time is Tony Soprano, but number 2 has to be Paulie Walnuts and there just isn’t anyone walking the earth that could’ve made that character come to life like Sirico.
This news left me legitimately sad yesterday, thinking about all the joy I have gotten from watching his performances in Sopranos over the years, so I figure I owe him a proper 108 send off. This is the 5, my favorite Paulie Walnuts performances.
5 – Christopher’s Intervention
This is my favorite 5 minutes of Sopranos for pure action and comedy. Sirico is great and delivers the most memeable line in the entire scene.
4 – My Mother’s a Whore
One of the weirdest side plots in the show and one that showed how real the Sopranos could be was the wild reveal that Paulie’s Mom was actually his aunt and his aunt who was a nun was actually his mom. For a guy who was in constant personal crisis despite his tough and intimidating exterior, this was a real trip.
3 – Paulie Robs and Kills Mom’s Friend Minn
The mob genre of movie and television definitely takes you down a path to really know the characters. In that journey you sometimes forget what horrible scoundrels they actually are when plying their trade. This scene is a stark reminder that you give these dudes even a bit of information, even a bit of a chance to take advantage of you, they will.
2 – Paulie going to a Psychic
Paulie is fucked up in many ways, but this scene always has me belly laughing at the various reactions of disbelief, weird coincidences and then lashing out in violence. It encapsulates what Paulie Walnuts was, in 3 minutes. *chef’s kiss*
1 – Pine Barrens
Widely considered the best Sopranos episode and it’s materially just Sirico and Michael Imperioli. It will never not be funny thinking of two tough guys eating ketchup packets in an abandoned van when they have only been out there for one night. Ridiculous!
Rest well Paulie Walnuts, your work brought me and many others a lot of joy over the years….
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