Tag Archives: Martin Scorsese

The Set of 400: #31 – My Favorite Dog Painting (Modern)

Today! Because as far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster –

Goodfellas (1990)

Directed by Martin Scorsese (x5)

Starring Ray Liotta (x3), Robert De Niro (x6), Joe Pesci (x3), Lorraine Bracco (x3), Paul Sorvino (x3), Frank Vincent, Mike Starr, Tony Darrow (x2), Frank Sivero, Chuck Low, Gina Mastrogiacomo, Catherine Scorsese, Samuel L. Jackson (x12), Suzanne Shepherd, Debi Mazar (x2), Michael Imperioli, Kevin Corrigan (x3), Tony Sirico (x2), Illeana Douglas (x2), Paul Herman, Tony Lip, Vincent Pastore, Tobin Bell (x2), Vito Antuofermo, Frank Albanese, Johnny Williams, Elaine Kagan, Beau Starr, Welker White, Henny Youngman (x2), Jerry Vale, Isiah Whitlock Jr. (x2)

In the annals of great Oscar crimes, people are quick to jump on 1998, as I guess they feel Shakespeare in Love too frothy and inconsequential to beat the likes of Elizabeth, Life is Beautiful, and Terrence Malick’s epic comeback to prominence, The Thin Red Line. I’m sure I’ve brought up Saving Private Ryan before, so I won’t get back into that again. But I think there’s a case that can be made for Shakespeare in Love – maybe not in that deep a year, but in some year. However, the great Oscar robbery of the ’90s and of all times isn’t that – hell, I could come up with a bunch of years more egregious than ’98. No, the worst hit job ever done was Dances With Wolves somehow beating Goodfellas for Best Picture/Director in 1990.

This boring goddamn thing

You can say that maybe the Academy didn’t want to go with the violent gangster film – even though they’d handed Best Picture to both the Godfathers by this point – but then the option became the pastoral white savior Native American movie? You’re telling me they didn’t realize how rough they’d snubbed Martin Scorsese all those years and couldn’t recognize his (ever so slightly) waning greatness, and figure maybe it was time to reward him when a truly, truly great film came along, instead of waiting for the next convenient time, which wouldn’t arrive for over a decade and a half? Plus, what, they had to give Kevin Costner an Oscar?? The 1990 Academy Awards make no sense whatsoever, so stuff your Saving Private Ryan griping. That 45 great minutes wrapped around two hours of next to nothing isn’t in the same ballpark.

Remember how Captain Miller’s last words basically show how meaningless his life was and he only existed to teach Ryan a lesson? Remember that? Remember how you think the old guy at the beginning is Miller (because of the whole eye-jump though time) but it’s not Miller, because of how lazy the device was? Ugh, Saving Private Ryan, I swear to God

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The Set of 400: #80 – My Favorite Balcony Rat

Today! Because I’m the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy –

The Departed (2006)

Directed by Martin Scorsese (x4)

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (x5), Jack Nicholson (x6), Matt Damon (x8), Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin (x3), Martin Sheen (x2), James Badge Dale (x2), Anthony Anderson (x2), Ray Winstone, Kevin Corrigan (x2), David O’Hara, Mark Rolston (x3), Kristen Dalton

One would think that a person committed to living in apartments for as long as humanly possible would at least be in their largest one as years and successes accrue. But considering the square foot-to-penny ratio in Chicago compared to North Scranton, it is unlikely I will ever live as vastly as I did from the fall of 2005 to the summer of 2008. It wasn’t the world’s nicest apartment, but it was huge, featuring this giant open staircase area, which afforded me the opportunity of displaying wall decor far larger than I possibly could before or since. Thus, I procured the biggest movie theater poster I could find – the six-foot-by-four-foot Departed canvas, seen above. Man, whatever happened to that poster? I didn’t bring it to Chicago, because come on, the only place that would’ve fit in apartment #1 here was a ceiling.

I’ll admit, the rat is a little on the nose

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The Set of 400: #167 – My Favorite Glass Eye

Today! Because the appearance of law must be upheld, especially while it’s being broken –

Gangs of New York (2002)

Directed by Martin Scorsese (x3)

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis (x2), Leonardo DiCaprio (x3), Cameron Diaz (x3), Brendan Gleeson, John C. Reilly (x6), Jim Broadbent (x2), Henry Thomas, Liam Neeson (x2), Eddie Marsan (x3), Stephen Graham, Gary Lewis, Lawrence Gillard Jr., Cara Seymour (x2), Tim Pigott-Smith (x2)

This movie was so close to being an unmitigated masterpiece that we as a people can only lament the missteps made in dragging it to completion. You have a terrific cast, a marvelous adaptation of a book without a real narrative, and Scorsese hell bent on winning an Oscar, in a year that wasn’t super competitive. Daniel Day-Lewis, not one to slum it, gives 110% percent and dominates the film as Bill the Butcher – a film, again, loaded with talent. He’s a colossus, an unholy terror, and while the film purports to be about the Vallons – father Priest and son Amsterdam – it ends up totally the story of the vicious Five Points ganglord. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #360 – My Favorite Movie Theater Cigar

Today! Because granddaddy used to handle snakes in church, Granny drank strychnine –

Cape Fear (1991)

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Starring Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Joe Don Baker, Fred Thompson, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Illeana Douglas, Martin Balsam (x2)

A terrifically tense, harrowing suspense thriller, for about an hour and a half, before collapsing into ludicrously violent madness. Sure, there were certain things Scorsese was locked into doing with Cape Fear, considering it’s a remake and all, but man, some of the choices made are…well, extreme. I think it comes at an interesting point in his career, and De Niro’s too. Figure, both were coming off of Goodfellas, which should’ve finally been the movie Marty won all the Oscars for, but instead it got screwed royally (I’m never forgiving anyone for Dances With Wolves), and through some manner of lashing out, we got Cape Fear. The directing is so intense it borders on intrusive, especially in the first half hour, but it does make for some pretty artsy handling of an otherwise straightforward crime thriller.

De Niro’s tattoos alone are so over-the-top as to question the sanity of everyone involved

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The Set of 400: #388 – My Favorite Paper Cut Riddled Sex Scene

Today! Because it was like mainlining adrenaline –

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Shea Wiggam, Christine Ebersole, Cristin Milioti, Joanna Lumley, Ethan Suplee, Thomas Middleditch, Kenneth Choi, Katarina Cas, P.J. Byrne, Brian Sacca, Henry Zebrowski

My third favorite Scorsese/DiCaprio outing felt like a glorious return to vulgar form for Marty, following the excellent kid-centric Hugo in 2011. He never stopped making good-to-great movies, but Wolf so revels in the obscene decadence of unabashed douchebag Jordan Belfort’s life that it is more reminiscent of Goodfellas than anything Scorsese has made since. It is also by far his funniest movie, whether that was the original intention when rights were purchased or not. The excellent, epic screenplay by Sopranos/Boardwalk Empire helmer Terence Winter turns what could’ve been a harrowing, drug-fueled Wall Street knock-off into a hilarious Scarface/Bachelor Party hybrid. DiCaprio was never better, and was roundly robbed of the Oscar by co-star McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, thus enabling him to later win for the lesser work in The Revenant (I know this the second post already where I take swipes at Revenant, which isn’t a movie I realized I didn’t care for until this month). Also, if Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie don’t win Oscars in the next decade, I’ll be surprised – put me on record saying it! Continue reading

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