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The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners! 
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
There are a lot of movies out there crazier than Wolf of Wall Street and which move at a swifter pace. Scorsese's never been one of my favorite directors, but there are some of his movies I really like. Fifty years from now, I really don't think Wolf is what people are going to remember him for, anymore than Hitchcock is remembered for Frenzy or Howard Hawks for Rio Lobo.

I think it's clear Scorsese did this movie as a favor to...or at least at the behest of Dicaprio. It's Dicaprio's own passion project. And it really does the much more vibrant, personal Goodfellas a disservice to put Wolf on its level. And I seriously doubt Scorsese even wants you to, because I think NotHugh's assessment is spot on. Once the 21st century hit, Scorsese was satisfied with the number of genuine works of art he had made. Everything since then has been for fun. Using Dicaprio's star power to get big budgets to play around in genres that interest him. Wolf is the most carefree of them all. A sort of "brought back by popular demand" for his Goodfellas and Casino fans, which Departed was also to a certain extent. After all is said and done, it should be interesting for hardcore Scorsese auteurists only. It's very much a Kingdom of the Crystal Skull type deal.

I could maybe see artistic goals in Aviator and Hugo...certainly ambition in Gangs of New York. The other three, not really.


Thu May 08, 2014 5:03 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
There's a comment I can't mentally shake about Scorsese becoming a second rate Spielberg at the beginning of this century.

It's not something I believe is wholly true, but it is partly true. The Departed was the closest example to a true Scorsese work in the first decade of the millennia.

And the Wolf of Wall Street is a kind of crazy (but yes, entertaining!) fratboy flick in the vague style of Scorsese.

I remember a few people saying that this was MS back on Goodfellas form etc. I think that was the initial power of WoWS. It was extreme, unapologetic and kind of demanded a level of hyperbole to match it.

I doubt many of the same people would categorize it that highly now, even given just a few months sober reflection.

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Thu May 08, 2014 8:47 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
MGamesCook wrote:
And I think tone actually does matter in consideration of art vs. not art.


I didn't say tone didn't matter. In fact, I said the opposite. My point is that tone alone isn't the sole measure of a work's goals, and that it's a common misconception many people seem to have. It sounded to me like Hughie was making that mistake (i.e. if the tone is serious, it should be taken seriously, and if light, taken lightly), so there you have it.

MGamesCook wrote:
I think Wolf may or may not be a condemnation of its own portrayed activities. Personally, it doesn't strike me as a condemnation so much as just an observation, which is quite a different thing.


I'm aware of you're opinion of the movie, as you've made it crystal clear over the past few months. I'm sure you're aware of mine as well. We'll just have to disagree on the film, as I feel like you've misunderstood the movie completely, and I'm sure you feel I'm giving it too much credit. All of that is fine by me.

NotHughGrant wrote:
Of course he tried to make it the best he could. But he wasn't trying to make another Taxi Driver either


Meaning what, though? I mean, I don't think anyone confused themselves into thinking he was trying to make another Taxi Driver. Clearly this is a different movie with different aims. I don't see why the film can't be taken on its own terms and analyzed without having to endlessly compare it to other, better movies. That's actually my main beef with how a lot of people look at movies in general. Yes, there is value in figuring out how a movie fits into a director's filmography, but saying, "it's no Taxi Driver" isn't doing that. It's just dissmissing the movie because it isn't as good as something else.

And honestly, and I truly don't mean this to be a dick, but this is exactly what you and MGames seem to be doing when discussing the movie. It makes it difficult to find much value in what you say because this kind of logic is always keeping the movie at arm's length. It's not really considering the movie, it's considering how it relates to other movies.

Ken wrote:
I wouldn't characterize his other movies as unartistic, but they definitely have different artistic goals, whereas I find Scorsese at his most interesting when he locks you in with his most tormented characters and refuses to let you leave. Bringing Out The Dead qualifies for sure.


Exactly. Well said, Ken.


Thu May 08, 2014 9:31 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
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And honestly, and I truly don't mean this to be a dick, but this is exactly what you and MGames seem to be doing when discussing the movie. It makes it difficult to find much value in what you say because this kind of logic is always keeping the movie at arm's length. It's not really considering the movie, it's considering how it relates to other movies.


I greatly enjoyed WoWS.

Mine is a simple observation on Scorsese's change since 2000. I don't know how you can't notice it

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Thu May 08, 2014 6:04 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Considered on their own terms, any of the 23 Bond movies can be really good, except perhaps two or three. But judging them against each other is, frankly, the more instinctive and honest approach. I think the same goes for Scorsese.

As Nothugh implies, if anyone is keeping "an arm's length" with these movies I think it's Scorsese himself. His 21st century works have an extremely detached tone and they feel like they have no center, no core. A lot of ideas propped up around each other, but with no true central focus.

I think Scorsese fans essentially work the same as Bond fans. I'm a HUGE fanatic of Bond, so I'll be more prone to liking even the weaker entries, like Diamonds Are Forever and Live and Let Die. But I also can't complain if someone calls me out on them not being very good movies. And if you're really into Scorsese, I can see why his 21st century stuff would be appealing. And sure, they have their merits if you want to take them completely on their own terms, but you also can't blame others for not caring enough to do that. Not everyone is a Scorsese enthusiast.


Thu May 08, 2014 9:28 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Scorsese was (predictably) the first Director I really got into as a teenager.

Raging Bull
Goodfellas
Casino
Bringing out the Dead (which for a time I considered a kind of superior update of Taxi Driver)
Taxi Driver I got to love a bit later

I worshipped these films. Probably watched each one 20 times.

Then just as I started growing up and appreciating the likes of Taxi Driver more, Scorsese's films started dumbing down. Here's the 21st century films I've seen -

Gangs of New York - seriously flawed
Aviator - entertaining but overlong fluff
The Departed - a brief return to form
Shutter Island - why on earth did Scorsese make this?
The Wolf of Wall St - a fun fratboy flick. Hot in the moment, but will fade pretty fast

I haven't seen Hugo, so will naturally reserve judgement on that, but what does the second list above have in common with the first? Hardly anything at all.

I still get a buzz of excitement when I hear about a new project, but he's not the Director he was. That's just my opinion.

I have a theory that perhaps he got sick of the torment of the characters in his earlier films. Perhaps now in his later years, he just wants to have a bit of fun. And as mentioned above, annexing himself seemingly permanently to Di Caprio guarantees the interest of producers and bums on theatre seats.

So there we go.

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Fri May 09, 2014 4:12 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
I kind of agree with NotHugh here, I felt Scorcese's films got gradually less interesting after Casino(his best film IMO), with The Aviator being the absolute worst, for me that film was a total borefest that felt like it could've been directed by anyone, none of Scorcese's trademark fingerprints appeared on it, making it seem like he was a director for hire with that film, same with Shutter Island, which had an utterly ridiculous and laughable twist ending that made about as much sense as any of M Night Shyamalan's infamous "twists".

Departed was somewhat of a return to form, though I still found it to be an inferior remake compared to the original film.

Wolf Of Wall Street had some good parts, but for me I would've much prefered if the film was a serious take on Jordan Belfort and not a comedic one, as I feel comedy is not one Scorcese's strong points. I found the comedy bits to be largely hit and miss, with more misses then hits overall, and I have to say i'm not particularly upset about Leo not winning an Oscar, as I did not find his portrayal of Belfort particularly impressive. For me he just was not an interesting or compelling enough character to warrant the film being nearly three hours long, far too long if you ask me, I would've definitely trimmed at least half an hour from the film's running time.


Fri May 09, 2014 4:54 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Fecking hell, Vex. I agree with much of that.

One of us is obviously unwell ;)

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Fri May 09, 2014 4:57 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Yeah nobody has a real reason why Wolf had to be 3 hours. We can't forget, Scorsese was once a tormented man himself, and that comes out in Taxi Driver. But in this century it doesn't seem like he's ever been tormented by anything. The blood in the veins of his filmmaking dried up, imo. All of his movies of the last 12 years felt like they could have been better done by some other director. Spectacle, lavish bio-pic, Hong Kong action flick, Shyamalan thriller, and Narnia-esque fantasy?

No director is THAT versatile. The more exciting directors, for me, are the niche specialists. I wouldn't want to see Walter Hill or Brian De Palma directing Hugo anymore than Scorsese.


Fri May 09, 2014 6:28 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
NotHughGrant wrote:
Mine is a simple observation on Scorsese's change since 2000. I don't know how you can't notice it


It's not that I don't see what your observation is, it's that it means very little to me. You keep insisting Scorsese's newer movies are inferior because they're different from his older movies. It's fine to say they aren't as good and give reasons why, but artists change over time and their work should reflect that. You're penalizing Scorsese for doing what any human being does over their lifetime - change. You're attempting to force him to be something he no longer is, and then penalizing him for that.

Basically, take the work at face value and let it speak for itself. All these assumptions of what Scorsese is doing or thinking (by you and MGames) hold zero value and are just the ramblings of people who, frankly, don't know what they're talking about. I'm not saying I do, but I'm also not trying to predict how his mind works. Analyzing the work is more rewarding because there isn't any of that nonsense.

MGamesCook wrote:
Considered on their own terms, any of the 23 Bond movies can be really good, except perhaps two or three. But judging them against each other is, frankly, the more instinctive and honest approach. I think the same goes for Scorsese.


No, not at all. That actually makes no sense at all. If you don't see the difference between comparing 23 movies with the same central character, that all operate in the same genre, and that are all fairly similar to one another to a director with a diverse filmography then I don't really know what to tell you. Comparing Dr. No and Moonraker isn't the same as comparing The Last Temptation of Christ and Hugo. That's so plainly evident that it shouldn't need stating.

NotHughGrant wrote:
I haven't seen Hugo, so will naturally reserve judgement on that, but what does the second list above have in common with the first? Hardly anything at all.


Why does the second list need to have anything in common with the first? Look, I'm not saying the second list is better, or that I don't like the movies in the first list, or anything like that. That first list is a better compilation than almost any director could dream of having. And that second list leaves a little to be desired. So yeah, Scorsese's movies have mellowed some in his later years. The thing is, that's perfectly alright. If you accept that as a fairly universal thing that happens with people, you can still appreciate some of his later stuff. That doesn't mean you blindly accept all things Scorsese, but if you're able to take the work for being the work, there's still value there. Clearly, I think that applies to WOWS. You guys don't, and that's fine, but using that to write off all of his "recent" movies is entirely too dissmissive. It's a poor way to approach any artist.


Fri May 09, 2014 9:40 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
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It's not that I don't see what your observation is, it's that it means very little to me.


And this means what to me?

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You keep insisting Scorsese's newer movies are inferior because they're different from his older movies.


No, they're inferior because they're inferior

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It's fine to say they aren't as good and give reasons why, but artists change over time and their work should reflect that. You're penalizing Scorsese for doing what any human being does over their lifetime - change.


No again. I'm making a judgement based on my POV. It have no problem with change per se. But reserve the right to comment either way.

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You're attempting to force him to be something he no longer is, and then penalizing him for that.


I'm not forcing him to be anything. I'm commenting on how his films have changed in the last 15 years. Perhaps he's a happier man now, and good for him. But sometimes miserable bastards make great artists.

Quote:
Basically, take the work at face value and let it speak for itself. All these assumptions of what Scorsese is doing or thinking (by you and MGames) hold zero value and are just the ramblings of people who, frankly, don't know what they're talking about.


I don't know much about food either. But if a chef who once served me steak started making me hamburgers, I'd reserve the right to comment.

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I'm not saying I do, but I'm also not trying to predict how his mind works. Analyzing the work is more rewarding because there isn't any of that nonsense.


Analyse away then. Tell us why Shutter Island is where you see the Director of Raging Bull in 30 years time.

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Why does the second list need to have anything in common with the first? Look, I'm not saying the second list is better, or that I don't like the movies in the first list, or anything like that. That first list is a better compilation than almost any director could dream of having. And that second list leaves a little to be desired. So yeah, Scorsese's movies have mellowed some in his later years. The thing is, that's perfectly alright.


And it's perfectly alright for you to hold that view. But not everything and everyone ages like wine. And there'll always be bastards like me to occasionally point that out.

Quote:
If you accept that as a fairly universal thing that happens with people, you can still appreciate some of his later stuff. That doesn't mean you blindly accept all things Scorsese, but if you're able to take the work for being the work, there's still value there. Clearly, I think that applies to WOWS. You guys don't,


How many times do I have to say I enjoyed it?? I even VOTED for it on this thread.

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Fri May 09, 2014 11:22 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
NotHughGrant wrote:
No, they're inferior because they're inferior


That actually isn't a defense of your stance at all. It's just restating what you think. If this is the kind of debate you want to have, you can have it with someone else.

NotHughGrant wrote:
I'm not forcing him to be anything. I'm commenting on how his films have changed in the last 15 years. Perhaps he's a happier man now, and good for him. But sometimes miserable bastards make great artists.


Don't be so disingenuous. You aren't just commenting on how his films have changed. You're using that as a way to say he's a worse movie maker (which is fine) and to write off the entirety of what he's made (which I have a problem with). You can believe that, and I can point out that I think it's a silly way to approach an artist. I mean, your main point is "he's worse now." Ok. Great. No one is arguing that point. Maybe some of his movies still have something to say in spite of that? Is that something you've actually considered? It sure doesn't sound like it.

NotHughGrant wrote:
I don't know much about food either. But if a chef who once served me steak started making me hamburgers, I'd reserve the right to comment.


You said twice in your post that you reserve the right to comment, which implies I'm somehow trying to take away that right, which is completely untrue. No need for that.

As for your analogy, sure. You'd be pointing out that steak and hamburgers are not the same thing, something I think most people know. If you then tried to give us personal reasons why this chef, who you didn't know at all except through tasting his food, made this change, you probably wouldn't be taken very seriously. That's what you're doing with Scorsese, not just pointing out his movies have changed. You can do it, and I can tell you how ridiculous I find it. I don't see the point of your (or anyone's) armchair psychology of Martin Scorsese.

NotHughGrant wrote:
Analyse away then. Tell us why Shutter Island is where you see the Director of Raging Bull in 30 years time.


Come on. That's not the point of what I was saying at all. All you're doing it taking a snippet of what I said out of context and trying to paint me as some Scorsese fanboy. That's clearly not the case, especially when in the same post I said:

Me wrote:
I'm not saying the second list is better, or that I don't like the movies in the first list, or anything like that. That first list is a better compilation than almost any director could dream of having. And that second list leaves a little to be desired. So yeah, Scorsese's movies have mellowed some in his later years. The thing is, that's perfectly alright. If you accept that as a fairly universal thing that happens with people, you can still appreciate some of his later stuff. That doesn't mean you blindly accept all things Scorsese, but if you're able to take the work for being the work, there's still value there.


NotHughGrant wrote:
And it's perfectly alright for you to hold that view. But not everything and everyone ages like wine. And there'll always be bastards like me to occasionally point that out.


Seriously, what are you pointing out that I just didn't? I literally said his more recent movies leave a little to be desired and that they've mellowed as he got older. What exactly, does this bastardized version of you feel the need to keep pointing out that I'm disagreeing with?

NotHughGrant wrote:
How many times do I have to say I enjoyed it?? I even VOTED for it on this thread.


I'm not really concerned with how much you like the movie. I want to know why it can't be entertaining and art at the same time? You seem to have written it off as a fun frat boy flick (your words), and I can, again (and for what feels like the ten thousandth time), understand what you mean by that. But how does that eliminate it from being taken seriously for the more artistic ideas it has in mind?

Previously your answer was basically, because it's not Bringing Out the Dead or Taxi Driver, which isn't actually an answer at all.


Fri May 09, 2014 1:28 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Wolf of Wall Street Doesn't necessarily have artistic ambitions in mind. It may or it may not. I'd say Skyfall is more artistically ambitious than Wolf, and there's quite a lot I could back that up with.

But that's not the point of the Bond comparison. I was simply pointing out that because it's Scorsese, these movies do get attention that otherwise they would not. And that similarly, because some movies are Bond, they get far more attention than many more obscure action flicks, even if the latter sometimes happen to be better movies.


Fri May 09, 2014 3:54 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
MGamesCook wrote:
Wolf of Wall Street Doesn't necessarily have artistic ambitions in mind. It may or it may not.


Does it or doesn't it? Why or why not? Take a stance, man.


Fri May 09, 2014 4:03 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Anything Scorsese makes is inevitably criticized for not being as good as his handful of accepted masterworks, even though that's a completely absurd thing to do.

It's almost as if film reporters, buffs, and critics have a questionnaire to fill out anytime they go to a Scorsese movie, and question number one, in big fucking letters, is "Is it the next GoodFellas?"

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Fri May 09, 2014 4:34 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
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That actually isn't a defense of your stance at all. It's just restating what you think. If this is the kind of debate you want to have, you can have it with someone else.


I'll be up for debating why his pick of pre-2000 is better than his pick of post-2000, but I doubt it's a debate you want.


Quote:
Don't be so disingenuous. You aren't just commenting on how his films have changed. You're using that as a way to say he's a worse movie maker (which is fine) and to write off the entirety of what he's made (which I have a problem with).


Write off is strong. I like The Departed, and Wolf of Wall Street for that matter. And even now he's still superior to Steve Soderberg, Ron Howard, Ridley Scott and numerous others, IMO


Quote:
As for your analogy, sure. You'd be pointing out that steak and hamburgers are not the same thing, something I think most people know. If you then tried to give us personal reasons why this chef, who you didn't know at all except through tasting his food, made this change, you probably wouldn't be taken very seriously.


As a paying consumer, I'd hazard a few guesses.

1. The restaurant is now owned by someone else
2. He no longer gives a shit
3. His wife has left him and he's living in his car
4. And so on

There's reasons for every change. I'm interested.


Quote:
I'm not really concerned with how much you like the movie. I want to know why it can't be entertaining and art at the same time? You seem to have written it off as a fun frat boy flick (your words), and I can, again (and for what feels like the ten thousandth time), understand what you mean by that. But how does that eliminate it from being taken seriously for the more artistic ideas it has in mind?


Because I don't believe there is a greater purpose in the story being told. Jordon Belfort - no-one cares. His fictionalized story is a convenient vehicle to convey excess on screen, and do you know what? I have no problem with that. Just a bit surprised it's Scorsese that does it. Not disappointed as such, because he brings an element of his own visual flair to it.

ALL, I am saying is that there demonstrates a progressive lowering of expectations over the decades. He's still in the upper tier by everyone else's standards, but not his own.

I know I'm attacking something of a sacred cow here, but where better place to

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Last edited by NotHughGrant on Fri May 09, 2014 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri May 09, 2014 4:39 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Ken wrote:
Anything Scorsese makes is inevitably criticized for not being as good as his handful of accepted masterworks, even though that's a completely absurd thing to do.

It's almost as if film reporters, buffs, and critics have a questionnaire to fill out anytime they go to a Scorsese movie, and question number one, in big fucking letters, is "Is it the next GoodFellas?"


It's not just "not as good as" though.

It's something a bit more than that.

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Fri May 09, 2014 4:40 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Ken wrote:
Anything Scorsese makes is inevitably criticized for not being as good as his handful of accepted masterworks, even though that's a completely absurd thing to do.

It's almost as if film reporters, buffs, and critics have a questionnaire to fill out anytime they go to a Scorsese movie, and question number one, in big fucking letters, is "Is it the next GoodFellas?"


I'm not trying to do that though. I'm thinking more in terms of his films being inferior to their own contemporaries. I think there were just vastly better films in 2002, 04, 06, 10, 11, 13 that were not made by him. I don't think his recent movies are very good simply as movies. Not as Scorsese movies, but just movies. I find Dicaprio often unconvincing, and they're way over budgeted and overproduced. Aside from that, their screenplays tend to lack a central focus and narrative momentum. Actually the Aviator may be my favorite of all these, I find it more interesting and substantial than his other more recent work. But still very flawed, overlong and with wildly overblown production design.

It's not a question of whether they're art. I think they're lacking on more basic levels of craftsmanship.


Fri May 09, 2014 5:03 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
I'm not necessarily trying to make a point about Scorsese with that remark. I'm just making a point about the state of criticism surrounding Scorsese's movies. It's a pet peeve, really.

I want to seize people by the lapels on their way out of a Scorsese movie and say "Tell me what you thought about this movie, and if you compare it to Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, or GoodFellas, even for a second, I will kill your entire family."

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Fri May 09, 2014 5:15 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Ken wrote:
I'm not necessarily trying to make a point about Scorsese with that remark. I'm just making a point about the state of criticism surrounding Scorsese's movies. It's a pet peeve, really.

I want to seize people by the lapels on their way out of a Scorsese movie and say "Tell me what you thought about this movie, and if you compare it to Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, or GoodFellas, even for a second, I will kill your entire family."

Even when comparing his post-Casino movies to other films aside from his own, for the most part they still fall short, there were several films in 2006 that I felt were more deserving to win best picture then The Departed was, and Michael B Jordan deserved an best actor nomination over Di Caprio.


Sat May 10, 2014 12:17 am
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