HBO’s “Mob Stories” is an offer few viewers will wanna refuse.
These gruesome, funny, riveting true-life tales are like “Cops” to Coppola’s Corleones. In the latest installment of cable web’s “America Undercover” docu series, exec producer Nicholas Gage gives the mike to four ex-wiseguys and lets them talk up their fantastic stories.
All have either gone to the slammer, scammed witness protection or — in one case — found religion. And all seem recruited from Central Casting: characters better than any screenwriter could dream up.
Dominick (Big Dom) Lofaro lived on dope and “broads” until the cops nailed him and he offered to “cooperate,” donning a wire and ratting out John Gotti.
Joseph (Joe Dogs) Ianuzzi ran Gambino family business in Florida until he incurred the wrath of a family hothead, sang for the FBI and set off a chain reaction that led to the whacking of godfather Paul Castellano.
Not all of them are canaries. Giacomo (Fat Jackie) DiNorsico defended himself in court and got the jury to let him go by mixing comedy and pathos in the courtroom, but never broke his Sicilian vow of silence, or omerta.
Weirdest of the lot is Brother Frank Minucci, a former enforcer whose trademark was tying victims to his bumper and dragging them through the streets. He is now an evangelical preacher.
Gage wisely lets his subjects do most of the talking. Alan Levin’s script sounds dumb by comparison: “When the boss made up his mind, the course was set in concrete.”
Tapped phone calls and secret videotape of unsuspecting bad guys are great, though.