Congrats to Scorcese

Congrats to Martin Scorcese.

It is strange to me that he is finally recognized as the Best Directror for a film that, while entertaining, was not his best work.

It is not unlike the recently departed Anna Nicole Smith, who received wide acclaim for Playboy spreads, but whose genius in Skyscraper is often overlooked.

Consider this an open thread.






56 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    User Comments: Die Hard meets Barb Wire

    *snicker* Because, anything that gets compared to Barb Wire absolutely must have been a smash hit. But thank you, John. I was really worried I’d get through a full day without seeing that name.

  2. 2
    Fargus says:

    If I can go a whole day without seeing the words “Scorcese” followed by “not his best” or “Goodfellas,” I’ll count myself a lucky man.

    Chances are I won’t be able to count myself a lucky man.

  3. 3
    Punchy says:

    It is not unlike the recently departed Anna Nicole Smith, who received wide acclaim for Playboy spreads

    Several overlapping puns intended.

  4. 4
    demimondian says:

    Ignoring the creative orthography implicit in the word “Directror”, which makes me think of the name of the megalomaniac computer in some second- or third-rate sci fi flick, Scorese won his Oscar for The Departed for exactly the same reason that Einstein won his Nobel for the photoelectric effect.

  5. 5
    demimondian says:

    *Sigh* Scorcese. Not Scorese.

    Et tuo quoque, demimondian.

  6. 6
    Halffasthero says:

    I don’t now for sure what “his best” was, but I can say that this movie was excellent. Right afterr watching it, I wanted to sit through it and watch it again. There wasn’t another movie he made that did that for me. I thought the choices they made last night were right on. Definitely saw Arkin’s role as more worthy than Walberg’s but not by much.

    Anyway, I had written off the Oscars after Shakespear in Love beat out Saving Private Ryan but they have redeemed themselves since then.

  7. 7
    jg says:

    Watching Goodfellas makes me hungary. There’s a meal being cooked or served in almost every scene.

    Wahlberg was up for an Oscar? Why? He wasn’t acting. He really is a foul mouth jerk likely to attack you for talking back to him. Call him Marky Mark and watch what happens. I bet that’s what Damon did off camera so Marky would have some motivation for his anger.

  8. 8
    Rome Again says:

    It is strange to me that he is finally recognized as the Best Director for a film that, while entertaining, was not his best work.

    Isn’t that the way it always goes?

  9. 9
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    I had written off the Oscars after Shakespear in Love beat out Saving Private Ryan

    Shakespeare in Love was the better film.

  10. 10
    Andrew says:

    Shakespeare in Love was the better film.

    Maybe if you don’t care about cinematography, sound, special effects, directing, editing, etc. The acting was similarly pretentious in both, and the story was largely a matter of opinion.

  11. 11
    Steve says:

    Shakespeare in Love was a fantastic movie. What’s more, since it was a movie about acting, it started with a bit of an inside advantage.

    There was a scene in which someone asks the big guy who plays the “nurse” what this “Romeo and Juliet” play is all about, and he says “Well, there’s this nurse…” It’s a perfect riff on the tendency of every actor’s ego to see the entire production as revolving around their character. Small wonder the Academy ate it up.

  12. 12
    Krista says:

    Can I just say how phenomenal Helen Mirren looked?

  13. 13
    Jake says:

    If I can go a whole day without seeing the words “Scorcese” followed by “not his best” or “Goodfellas,” Anna Nicole Smith I’ll count myself a lucky man.

    Altered to reflect my reality.

  14. 14
    Vlad says:

    “It is strange to me that he is finally recognized as the Best Director for a film that, while entertaining, was not his best work.”

    I’m just glad to see Marty get one. If having the best movie in a down year is what it takes for that to happen, so be it.

  15. 15
    yet another jeff says:

    Skyscraper did have its brilliant moments, but To The Limit was a true ensemble piece and a much better story.

  16. 16
    Kirk Spencer says:

    It took you that long to write off the Oscars?

    I’m entertained by them, but haven’t given them any weight to my opinion since Marisa Tormei won hers in 1992.

    Though I admit that if I’d been paying attention earlier, there were plenty more examples from years before that.

  17. 17
    Face says:

    It’s a perfect riff on the tendency of every actor’s ego to see the entire production as revolving around their character.

    Uh………..what? Anything with “Shakespere” and “Love” in the title has double-whammied itself into the Not A Chance In Hell wing of Movies to Be Considered.

  18. 18
    Nikki says:

    Wahlberg was up for an Oscar? Why? He wasn’t acting. He really is a foul mouth jerk likely to attack you for talking back to him.

    I found him to be a very nice guy when I met him a few years ago during the filming of The Perfect Storm. Much nicer than George Clooney. I still don’t care for him.

  19. 19
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    Maybe if you don’t care about cinematography, sound, special effects, directing, editing, etc.

    Did it win for cinematography? Sound? Special effects? Directing? Editing? If I’m not mistaken each and every one of those things has a statue all its own, and I’m pretty sure Saving Private Ryan won a couple or three of those. Sound editing almost always goes to high-end war movies (i.e. Iwo Jima this year) because the the technical skill required to make the “bullets and bombs in canyons” thing work. Cinematography usually goes to the guy with the big sweeping vista pans too. Direction has it’s own category and should not be confused with best film.

    Arguing that SPR has better special effects than SiL is akin to arguing that SiL has better costume design. Victorian or Elizabethan period pieces will win the costume designs every time (see also Marie Antionette) and war flicks with body parts flying will win special effects (unless a Lucas or Peter Jackson film sneaks in.)

    None of which says which is the best film, the best combination of all of the parts you mentioned along with the performances of the entire cast, the plot, the writing, the production — everything. And in this case, Saving Private Ryan is a fine, gritty, realistic war movie, but Shakespeare in Love is of a higher order of film altogether. Which isn’t to say you have to enjoy SiL more than nostalgic war porn, only that your assertion that SPR was _obviously_ superior is suspect at best.

  20. 20
    Andrew says:

    So, Sam, you’re saying that awesome costumes and “art direction” are more important that all of the areas where SPR was far superior?

    Neither the acting and story of either film was so far superior so as to overwhelm the technical and directing superiority of SPR. I agree with the wide consensus that Paltrow was one of (if not) the worst award winner.

    What the academy did, and what you seem to believe, is that once an award is given for a particular category, such as cinematography, those virtues are subtracted from consideration as part of best picture.

    Now, I don’t actually think that SPR is such a great film, but I think it is clearly superior to SiL if you’re judging them as movies. The Thin Red Line, also a nominee from that year, is a far superior film to both.

  21. 21
    Joel says:

    The Departed isn’t his best, but it is his best film in quite some time. I’m glad he won for something of its quality rather than the bloated Oscar fodder he’s been churning out for the past several years. Second tier Scorcese is still better than most (first tier: Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, King of Comedy, Goodfellas).

    And Helen Mirren did indeed look stunning. Still have no interest in The Queen though…

  22. 22
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    So, Sam, you’re saying that awesome costumes and “art direction” are more important that all of the areas where SPR was far superior?

    I’m saying that “all the areas where SPR was far superior” are pretty evenly counter-balanced by “all the areas where SiL was far superior.” Furthermore, I don’t give you the massive directorial advantage for SPR, and when I factor in the writing I find SiL to be the superior film. It’s just not that big of a shock that the better written, better acted film with equal but different technical merits won.

    SPR gets all of the woe-begones because it was Tom Hanks in a WW II war movie.

    I never did get around to watching Thin Red Line. Perhaps I’ll Netflix it.

  23. 23
    CaseyL says:

    Now, I don’t actually think that SPR is such a great film, but I think it is clearly superior to SiL if you’re judging them as movies.

    I don’t agree at all, unless you automatically disqualify SiL because it was lighthearted and not-about-manly-themes.

    SiL imagined an entirely fictional part of Shaekespeare’s life, peopled it with his actual contemporaries behaving and speaking in character, and included sparking dialog with a sly topical spin. SiL managed to combine period piece with modern-day humor and cultural references and made it work.

    SPR? Was a war story about bravery and self-sacrifice. These are worthy things, and SPR protrayed them really, really well – but they’re just not that imaginative or creative in the pure sense of the word.

  24. 24
    Nikki says:

    SiL managed to combine period piece with modern-day humor and cultural references and made it work.

    Plus, Judi Dench totally rocked!

  25. 25
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    SPR? Was a war story about bravery and self-sacrifice. These are worthy things, and SPR protrayed them really, really well – but they’re just not that imaginative or creative in the pure sense of the word.

    Precisely. SPR is notable because of the technical wizardry involved in “getting battle right.” Outside of those technical elements it’s a pretty run-of-the-mill war melodrama, with Tom Hanks Tom Hanking the Tom Hanks. There’s nothing terribly wrong with that but it’s not carte blanche for being the best film of the year. SiL outstrips SPR on the strength of Tom Stoppard’s screenplay almost alone.

    Again, I’m not saying people have to enjoy period piece romantic comedies penned by existential playwrights more than they enjoy Tom Hanks Tom Hanking Tom Hanks in a digitally re-created theatre of war, but it’s far from clear that the latter is superior to the former in terms of pure film value. I would have voted for SiL then. I would vote for SiL now.

  26. 26
    Andrew says:

    I would vote for SiL now.

    Why do you hate America?

    Greatest Generation, bitches!

  27. 27
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    Why do you hate America?

    America started it.

  28. 28
    Andrew says:

    America started it.

    Well, you were the one who was hitting on our girlfriend, Canada.

  29. 29
    DougJ says:

    Wahlberg was up for an Oscar? Why? He wasn’t acting.

    So what? He was still great.

    You know, to his immense credit, he’s become an advocate for underage prison inmates, having been one himself. Find a less popular cause for a celebrity to get behind.

  30. 30
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    Well, you were the one who was hitting on our girlfriend, Canada.

    Dude, if Canada wants to go home with me that’s your problem, not mine or Canada’s. If you have a problem with losing her, make Canada happy yourself. Else, I’m gonna discover the joys of Montreal and there ain’t nothing you can do about it but cry.

  31. 31
    Krista says:

    Dude, if Canada wants to go home with me that’s your problem, not mine or Canada’s. If you have a problem with losing her, make Canada happy yourself. Else, I’m gonna discover the joys of Montreal and there ain’t nothing you can do about it but cry.

    That tramp…

  32. 32
    Andrew says:

    You can have her. She’s been cavorting with France, so who knows what sort of diseases she has contracted.

    It’s time for America to hit on someone hot and sassy like Costa Rica.

  33. 33
    Krista says:

    Dude, if Canada wants to go home with me that’s your problem, not mine or Canada’s. If you have a problem with losing her, make Canada happy yourself. Else, I’m gonna discover the joys of Montreal and there ain’t nothing you can do about it but cry.

    There IS a place in Ontario called Snug Harbour, which would make a very apt replacement for Montreal in that sentence.

  34. 34
    DoubtingThomas says:

    Everyone’s right and everyone’s wrong. That the nature of the movies after all. One man’s Saving Private Ryan is another man’s Heaven’s Gate. We all will never agree on “who deserves it” as everyone deserves it or no one deserves. it It’s the nature of the beast and why its so much fun—after all, you can argue all day with your friends and in the end there is no right or wrong answer. It’s why the movies mean so much to us. So now let me get my dig in:

    Lay off Mark Wahlberg! He’s a good actor. Actually, everyone in “The Departed” gave superior performances. Agree or not, this was a good year for movies.

  35. 35
    Mr Furious says:

    I never did get around to watching Thin Red Line. Perhaps I’ll Netflix it.

    Here here! After watching “The New World” last year, i meant to make a point to seek out Terrence Malick’s other films, “Thin Red Line” first among them. Haven’t seen it yet simply because I never have time.

    “The New World” was perhaps the most stunningly beautiful and well-shot film I’ve seen in years, if not ever. As a pure visual spectacle it was fantastic.

  36. 36
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    You can have her. She’s been cavorting with France.

    Maybe we’ll give France a call and see if she wants to tour Toronto while Canada and I explore gay Paris.

    It’s time for America to hit on someone hot and sassy like Costa Rica.

    Yeah, you run along and see if how your action fares down south of the border. I hear tell that the Central American House girls still remember America’s boorish behavior from the ’70s and ’80s. But hey, maybe Costa Rica is young enough to not know about you already.

    Lay off Mark Wahlberg! He’s a good actor. Actually, everyone in “The Departed” gave superior performances.

    See, here’s the problem. If I am in a movie and people believe me as a 16th century Aquinas acolyte with a burning passion for Church doctrine I’ve given a superior performance. If I’m in a movie and play a snarky, full-of-himself liberal arts major from Georgia I have simply stood in front of an operating camera. I think Wahlberg as an obnoxious Southie falls under the latter category more than the former.

  37. 37
    John Cole says:

    I happen to like Wahlberg. I don’t know about his technical proficiency as an actor, and I really don’t care. Watching him act (even if others thinks he is doing a poor job) makes me happy.

    And Boomtown is still one of my all-time favorites, although that is a different Wahlberg (and a far better actor, I think). Every time I think about Boomtown getting cancelled and Las vegas running for multiple seasons I get pissed off.

    At least there is still Medium, which is an excellent show.

  38. 38
    Bas-O-Matic says:

    “The New World” was perhaps the most stunningly beautiful and well-shot film I’ve seen in years, if not ever. As a pure visual spectacle it was fantastic.

    It does look fantastic.

    But g*d d@^^!t Malick, stop having your characters tell me what’s happening through inner dialogue set to really pretty pictures and actually show me what’s happening.

  39. 39
    Pan Pan says:

    Everyone knows that the Oscars haven’t mattered since 1993, when Addams Family Values was robbed of its Best Art Direction/Set Direction Oscar by that insidious zionist melodrama, Schindler’s List.

  40. 40
    Andrew says:

    The Thin Red Line was much better than the New World. The Malick-ism is overwhelming in both, but TTRL somehow works much better.

  41. 41

    Wahlberg is good.

    I’m waiting for Brazilian Job, which is supposed to come out in 2008.

    Speaking of sequels… Oceans Thirteen should be out this year.

    And Damon is working on Bourne Ultimatum for next year. I wonder if it’s going to resemble the book at all.

  42. 42

    Now, I don’t actually think that SPR is such a great film, but I think it is clearly superior to SiL if you’re judging them as movies. The Thin Red Line, also a nominee from that year, is a far superior film to both.

    The Thin Red Line is just about the worst film made in the last 20 years.

    They tried to sell it by casting a bunch of big named stars like Clooney, Harrelson, Penn, Nolte, Travolta, Cusack and so forth. They mostly get killed off in the first scene, and then the rest of it is some moron hallucinating to drugs.

    We saw it back on VHS. I remember sitting through 60 minutes of that shit and then looking at the cover of the tape and announcing to my friends that we still had another two hours to go.

    Everybody groaned.

    Let me repeat. The Thin Red Line is by far the most overrated film ever promoted by the Oscars. It’s another example of, well because of some good stuff in the past, we should give this Director some credit.

  43. 43

    Saving Private Ryan is four times the movie that Thin Red Line is. I’m sure Thin Red Line made a good book, no question there. But as a movie it fails.

    Seriously, it was that bad.

    If you rent it, bring a book to read so you have something to do for the three mind-numbing hours.

    Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun was a better film, if you are looking for philosophical introspection and wonderful cimeatography. Empire at least had character development.

  44. 44
    Jimmmm says:

    SPR was Typical Spielberg ™: great filmmaking, shite storytelling. The guy simply cannot help himself. SiL was a good film for its details. It was more a writers’s flick. That the Academy could distinguish between a technically impressive blockbuster like SPR and a little movie like SiL and choose the latter as the better film was, in my estimation, quite reassuring. I’ve heard and read many arguments why SPR was the greater accomplishment. Most hinge on the irrelevant argument that it was a more serious movie about a more serious topic. So what.

    Wahlberg was surprisingly good in Departed. So was Leo, who typically has a weak presence, especially when next to strong physical actors (e.g., Daniel Day Lewis in GONY).

  45. 45
    John Cole says:

    All of you defending the choice of Shakespeare over Ryan are missing the point. I would have preferred SPR won, but that is not the real injustice at the Oscars over the past two decades.

    Prancing with Wolves or Dancing with Elk or whatever the fuck that Costner flick was beat Goodfellas.

    Defend that nonsense.

  46. 46
    Joel says:

    As for Malick, best place to start is Badlands. Apparently Thin Red Line was changed rather dramatically due to studio request for massive changes. From what I’ve read the original was almost totally different, and the ponderous narration that (to my mind) ultimately sinks the film was a product of this massive change.

    But if you want to see an astounding war film, I cannot recommend more highly Come and See. For me, nothing else comes close. It’s that good.

  47. 47
    Krista says:

    Prancing with Wolves or Dancing with Elk or whatever the fuck that Costner flick was beat Goodfellas.

    Defend that nonsense.

    Well, it did have Mary McDonnell and Graham Greene. That’s gotta count for something.

  48. 48
    Vlad says:

    Thin Red Line was ghastly. I used to have a job as a projectionist, and I fell asleep every time I tried to show it. I nearly got fired because of that damn movie. You want to see a movie in the Thin…Line genre, go find a copy of The Thin Blue Line and enjoy yourself a good old documentary.

    My ex was a big fan of Shakespeare in Love, so I’m going to have to give the nod to SPR here.

    “first tier: Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, King of Comedy, Goodfellas”

    What, no After Hours? I realize that a comedy isn’t allowed to be Serious Cinema, but that movie was all kinds of funny.

  49. 49
    jg says:

    I think Wahlberg as an obnoxious Southie falls under the latter category more than the former.

    WAHLBERG IS NOT FROM SOUTHIE! He is an obnoxious Dot Rat (someone from Dorchester, which borders Southie, and is our main rival) who use to dump his stolen cars in Southie.

    And Boomtown is still one of my all-time favorites, although that is a different Wahlberg (and a far better actor, I think).

    Donnie also had some musical talent.

  50. 50
    BarneyG2000 says:

    Wahlberg was surprisingly good in Departed.

    Yes, it such a demanding role. The multiple levels of his character was fascinating.

  51. 51

    Thin Red Line was ghastly. I used to have a job as a projectionist, and I fell asleep every time I tried to show it. I nearly got fired because of that damn movie.

    I feel for ya… That’s a movie incredibly deserving of a Fight Club splice. Would help keep the audience awake.

  52. 52
    jg says:

    Put a Fight Club splice in that movie and it’ll end up as the number rental of the Victory Cock-us crowd.

  53. 53
    Sam Hutcheson says:

    Prancing with Wolves or Dancing with Elk or whatever the fuck that Costner flick was beat Goodfellas. Defend that nonsense

    Um…… No.

    Dancing With Extraordinarily Tame Alaskan Huskies was overrated by the Academy and thus jobbed Goodfellas for precisely the same reasons Saving Private Ryan is overrated and erroneously suggested to be a better film than Shakespeare In Love. Big sweeping cinematography pans, honorable warrior themes, plus it had the doe-eyed Costner emoting with Native Americans, so it even gets the girly play.

    No, I will not defend that, even though I think (heretically here, apparently) that Goodfellas is a good deal of overrated pap as well. Then again, I’m no big fan of the mobster genre really. Really, I prefer Millers Crossing if I’m gonna watch gangsters. Go fig. Still, Goodfellas should have beat DWW. SiL rightfully beat SPR.

  54. 54
    Pan Pan says:

    But if you want to see an astounding war film, I cannot recommend more highly Come and See. For me, nothing else comes close. It’s that good.

    Agreed. Spielberg has acknowledge the influence of this film on his own World War II films. Come and See is a gutwrenching, hallucinatory experience like few other films, and its technical virtuosity is very much on par with SPR. However, unlike SPR, it’s not just a vehicle for million-dollar technical sequences and an otherwise bland story.

  55. 55

    Saving Private Ryan is an awesome movie.

  56. 56
    Zifnab says:

    hehe. Saving Ryan’s Privates.

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