The Five: Ryan Stanisz Picks The 5 Movies You Need to Watch If You’re Training to Be in The Mafia

Comedian, producer and director Ryan Stanisz founded the sketch troupe, Clip Show, a group made up of stand-up comics and improvisers. He directs and produces each performance and collaborates with other writers on crafting a monthly show at The People’s Improv Theater in New York City. Combining theatrical revue with a surrealism, the live show is silly, shocking and sincere– the live comedy version of an unlabeled VHS tape your friend tells you to watch because “you just gotta see it.” The group’s digital shorts have appeared on the Huffington Post and Funny or Die, and the group’s writers have been featured on McSweeney’s, The Yale Record, and Clip Show is a four-time winner of UCB’s Backyard Brawl sketch comedy competition and one of their digital shorts received the Judges’ Award at the Iron Mule Short Comedy Film Festival. Ryan put together this week’s edition of The 5 for us, choosing the films you really need to watch if you’re planning to be in the mob. For more info go to Get tickets at

I’m a Polish American who does sketch comedy – but don’t let that fool you, I would love to be in the mafia. It’s not the crime that draws me in – it’s the lifestyle (the endless pasta dinners, the poker games, the veal). And luckily – there are plenty of movies out there to help guide you along the way. So read this list and I promise, you’ll be saying bada-bing bada-boom to a room full of strangers in no time!

#1 Casino. This is an obvious choice, I know – but you’ve got to start here to get your bearings straight. Robert De Niro’s flashy suits aside, you’ll learn a lot about what you don’t want to do from watching this movie. For instance, everything that Joe Pesci does – DON’T DO THAT.

#2 The Sandlot. Not so obvious, but hear me out. What’s the one thing these kids playing baseball had that no on one could take from them? Their devotion to each other. Also, a fear of James Earl Jones and his dog. If you’re going to be in the mafia, you got to have your friend’s back – which means no snitching! Also important: an unfounded fear in things you don’t know or understand – it’s better to be safe, than sorry and DEAD.

#3 The Patriot. Mel Gibson wears a ponytail and talks like Mad Max. You think I’d stop there, but there’s a ton you can learn here about leading your friends into battle – and chief among them is: you’ve got to do it with a vision in mind. The mafia always has its eye on the prize – sustaining and maintaining the enterprise, just as Mel Gibson was focused on that young start-up, America. Know what you’re fighting for before you fight or stay home and don’t join the mafia.

#4 SAW V. This movie is important for all the reasons you think, and more. But the one you may be missing is this: Be Creative. No one wants a guy who’s going to do it like Tony – that’s why we got Tony! Need to get rid of a body? Maybe don’t! That’s the kind of creative mind that will constantly keep people on their toes.

#5 The Brave Little Toaster. This movie is TOY STORY without the jokes, and it follows a bunch of household items trying to find their owner. It’s Homeward Bound with desk lamps, and it packs an emotional punch with an important lesson to boot: you got to know when it’s time to go. Once you finally get into the mafia, which you will if you watch the movies listed above, what’s just as important is knowing when it’s time to leave the mafia. I get it – hanging out in a deli all day may sound like a lot of fun, but when you get to a certain age, you don’t want someone to have to tell you to take your capicola to go – you want to be the one to make the decision. Maintaining your image and going out on a high note is important. The toaster in this movie is a putz – he gets abandoned and then comes crawling back to the owner whose negligence nearly brought about his demise. You think anyone respects the toaster? I sure as hell don’t.

Well there you have it – five movies guaranteed to save you time and energy as you train up for the mafia. And while at first it may seem difficult – the prospect of entering a crime family with no connections is always tough – rest easy knowing that you’re not alone and that there’s a gangster inside all of us.

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