Welcome once again to Out of the Past. The column written by me, or aka "Image Coming Soon". If there's actually anyone out there who wants to see me I'm working on getting a picture to the people here at Matchflick.com, but it's been on the back burner for the last little while. Having a week long flu sets you back I'm telling you. Anyway, enough with me, let's talk about who, in my opinion, is the greatest living director. In case you haven't read my last column(Top 10 Love Stories of All time) I'm talking about Martin Scorsese.
Martin Scorsese(or Marty as I will refer to him), has been quoted as saying that he believes that Heat and Collateral director Michael Mann occupies the title I'm placing on him. There's no doubt Michael Mann is an excellent director. He's one of the few directors out there that I will go see whatever he puts out, but when you look at the two directors list of films next to each other it's a little one sided. Michael Mann has some good movies, and a couple of great ones. Martin Scorsese has a lot of great movies, and a couple of good ones. There's a difference there if you can read. So, as the title suggests, here's a guide to Martin Scorsese's great movies.
The movie that started it all. Means Streets marks the first collaboration of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro. Maybe the most revered director/actor relationship in movie history. Mean Streets also marks Scorsese's first great gangster movie. While his later films would focus on the larger side of organized crime, Means Streets is about a small time hood(De Niro) and the friend that tries to keep him out of trouble(Harvey Keitel). Not as solid as some of his later works in the genre, but Mean Streets was the first movie, at least in America, to display such extreme violence with style. Mean Streets is not Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, but it is the movie that started what would become his niche.
Okay, this probably the one that's going to have people yelling at the screen the most. Well, if you if don't like, get your own column. As like most males after watching Leonardo DiCaprio in 1997's Titanic I kind of had the Orlando Bloom affect. You know, the guy who is just so romantic and attractive that women swoon, and us guys are going "I'd kick his ass!". Slowly, but surely my opinion of Leo started to change the more I saw of him. He totally kicked my ass with his performance in this movie. I could see what Marty had seen in this kid. Despite his earlier
teen idol turn he has edge. I think that's what makes this biopic about Howard Hughes so remarkable. The Aviator has the enderingness(is that a word?) that all biographies must have. Despite how Hughes treats people as objects, you see his soul. You see that he's a man with problems, but he becomes our man with problems. Marty keeps the movie from going too sentimental with showing Hughes' mistakes and breakdowns so brutally. Martin Scorsese doesn't pull punches.
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator
I have an idea for a future column. The idea is a list of the greatest performances in movie history. No doubt if and when I write that column Robert De Niro's performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver will be one of them. While this movie is a hallmark of Marty's career, it's the Robert De Niro show. Taxi Driver is a one man movie. Credit has to be given though to the brilliant rawness that Scorsese brings to this movie. De Niro is the show with his brutal and creepy performance of man who is drowning in the world of inner city sleaze, but Martin gives him the ultimate stage. I don't think any director in history could've done it better.
Alright, this is not a quintessential Scorsese movie, but I just love it. It's a crazy movie about a guy and his misadventures one night in New York. It's so odd and hilarious. I doubt you can find this to rent at Blockbuster, but if you have Netflix I recommend placing it at the top of your list. It's just a fun and crazy ride.
My movie of the hour! The Departed is the best movie I've seen since Saving Private Ryan. That almost 10 years! Leonardo DiCaprio gives one of the rawest and in an odd way endearing performances I've ever seen. While the film is a remake of a film named Infernal Affairs(that is great in it's own right), Scorsese takes it to another level. In The Departed you see the much more tragic side of the road the characters are on. Marty's astounding direction creates a world where each character is damned. I guess Leo is your hero, but when you see the movie you would never believe it. He's just a kid who was searching for some purpose. When he accepts the job of being a mole in the mob he becomes consumed with the realization that any minute he could die if he's discovered. I feel I was touched by Leo's performance as just about any I've ever witnessed. Martin Scorsese moves all these pieces together until it's a more than a movie, it's an experience. The Departed is such a great story of tragic loss that
it's as if it was written by Shakespear.
Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
Where do you start? Martin Scorsese's ability to show a character with warts and all but still have the audience feel for that character may be unmatched with Raging Bull. Raging Bull is a biopic about a boxer named Jake La Motta. I remember hearing once that the real La Motta was thought to have fought as if he didn't think he deserved to live. That's a very strong statement. Scorsese brings us a man who is as tortured as can be. Jake La Motta is a man who has an unbelievable will to be the best boxer in the world, but when life doesn't allow for that to be possible his drive leads to the destruction of his life. It's a vicious journey to watch.
Goodfellas is Martin Scorsese's ultimate masterpiece. This is a movie that no doubt rivals The Godfather as the greatest mob movie ever made. We are brought into the world of the mafia by Henry Hill(Ray Liotta). We see his character grow up with organized crime. The narration from Hill's character is the tightest I've ever seen. The key to the film's greatness is the complete focus of Martin Scorsese's direction. Nothing is shallow. Every character is more than one dimensional. It's as if you're not just seeing a story unfold, but that you are peering into the character's world. There is not one director in history that I believe could have made Goodfellas better than Martin Scorsese. Often described as perfectionist, Marty creates characters and a story with life. Has it ever been done any better?
Along with Michael Mann, there's plenty of great directors still alive(Ingmar Bergman doesn't count). Steven Spielberg can be as good as anyone when he has the right script. Clint Eastwood is proving to be a better director than he was an actor. There's probably a few others I could name, but none have both the catalog of great films and consistency of Martin Scorsese. The man is a living legend in film and rightfully so. If you were to make a list of the defining films of the last 30 years at least 5 on the list would be from Marty. Writing this column has been truly awe inspiring. Looking at Scorsese's career as a whole leaves you extremely impressed. Compared to the era of movies I will normally write about, today we lack the sheer amount of genius directors that we saw in the past. Yet, despite the current movie landscape there's still one name out there that I would put along side the likes of Ford, Wilder, Kurosawa, Lean etc. That name is Martin Scorsese.
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Discussing classic films from City Lights to Apocalypse
Now and everything in between and beyond.
Andy is a life long movie fanatic. The first movie he saw in the theater was Back to the Future, Part 2 at the age of 3 and he has loved movies ever since.|
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