Garbage removing empire covering mob ties. Doesn’t the story sound familiar?
No, we’re not talking about Tony Soprano, but his real-life counter-part Jimmy Galante.
Crime and Penalties documentary from the Netlix’s Untold-series tells an outrageous story of mafia boss Jimmy Galante, who makes his 17-year old son AJ an owner of a minor league United Hockey League team Danbury Trashers.
The team was based in family’s hometown Danbury 55 miles from New York City.
AJ had been forced himself to stop playing hockey after being injured. His father Jimmy loved the toughness and physicality in the sport, which supported his values as a mafia boss.
Galante’s values are common from the American-Italian mob-romantics. In his world loyalty and respect matters in everything and he protects his family with any cost.
As Marlon Brando’s character Don Corleone said in the classic The Godfather -film: “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”
A better comparison for the Galante-story would be the early 21th century HBO drama The Sopranos, which pictured the mob family as ordinary people living their normal lives in New Jersey.
Like Galante in Crime and Penalties, the main character Tony Soprano owns a waste management business to wash his earned money as a criminal.
Pictures from The Sopranos are frequently shown during the documentary. HBO show did take inspiration from Galante’s story when building Tony Soprano. Even Tony’s son in the tv-drama is called AJ.
Galante has a photo portraying his fictional counterpart in his bedroom.
Galante’s teenage son AJ is portrayed in the documentary as spoiled boy from rich family expressing his faked tough attitude with earrings and gold chains. He is a masculine man, who enjoys the power being a mob boss’s son.
After AJ becomes a Danbury Thrashers owner the identity of his team is based on his love for wrestling, boxing and hockey violence.
He built the team around physical enforcers, who’s purpose was to punch the crap out of their opponents in every game. As a wrestling fan he loved to create narratives with the players he signed studying lots of statistics moneyball-style.
The recruited players included colourful characters like David “One Eye Willy” Beauregard, Rumun “Nigerian Nightmare Ndur, and for market value NHL-legend Wayne Gretzky’s overshadowed brother Brent.
Beauregard’s other eye was bloody red after he was high sticked in the face in NHL training camp. Enforcer Ndur was known from his powerful punches and violent brawls in the rink.
Then there were the twins Mike and Drew Omicioli, which referenced strongly to 1977 comedy classic Slapshot’s iconic characters the Hanson Brothers (Steve, Jack, Jeff). In the film three oddly looking twins were hired in a hockey club just to cause chaos starting fights and delivering heavy questionable hits on their opponents.
With Danbury Thrashers AJ Galante wanted to create an evil empire, which would build havoc in every game they attended.
Team became a notorious Goon Gang in the UHL, which were feared around the league. Players were paid under the table to start fights and massive brawls in games from the first whistle.
The fans enjoyed the thrill of violence and entertainment the team were providing.
From the character arc you should mention also the cigar smoking bald headed Danbury’s equipment manager and AJ’s former junior coach Tommy “T-Bone” Pomposello. He delivers few of the documentary’s most memorable quotes telling a story checking kids on boards in his coaching career under the influence of cocaine.
Third side of the documentary is told from FBI’s viewpoint, who were trying to expose Jimmy Galante’s connection to organised crime and Genovese crime family.
Galante owned 25 trash companies, which controlled about 80 percent of trash or carting industry in Connecticut and Eastern New York. He was operating with an illegal property rights system, which secured their monopoly over certain stops fixing prices and rigging the contract bids resulting to higher prices for customers and loss of competition.
FBI’s chase to catch Galante chances the documentary’s tone from lightheaded cartoonish sport comedy to a more serious true crime series.
Legal problems surrounding the team are culminated in a scene where furiously angered James Galante punches a match official in the penalty box.
Crime and Penalties provides an entertaining story with a bizarre character arc of persons, you couldn’t make up yourself. The style mixes up slapstick sports comedy to a true crime mob story balancing both sides.
The Documentary’s strengths are in their access to get people from every side to speak with themselves. AJ and James Galante have given lengthy interviews for the film and you can hear comments from the players to the Thrashers fans and FBI agents. Crime and Penalties is a worth to watch for people who don’t like hockey. Its references from the popular culture and comedic tone gives many people lot to enjoy.