Jump to content
Eric Riley

THE MARTIN SCORSESE COUNTDOWN | List complete! Check out how your fave did!

Recommended Posts

mean-streets-mean-streets1973.gif

 

giphy.gif

 

Sorry for the delay, but we're finally kicking off the Scorsese countdown properly. Keitel, De Niro, and DiCaprio will all get their fair dues and we get to look over a man with a varied, complex, and engaging filmography unlike anything else. But before we begin, here's just a few fun statistics for you guys.

 

-25 people sent in a list. A bit lower than the Spielberg countdown, though it's understandable since the latter's films have bigger box office numbers to them.

 

-Nobody submitted a list that featured every single movie. Which makes sense because, again, a lot of these were obscure documentaries that won't be the most exciting viewing options.

 

-In contrast, 5 people submitted a list that contained all 25 narrative Scorsese features. Shout outs to them for going above and beyond.

 

-Only two of his narrative films failed to rank on anybody's top 10. So there was solid support for just about every film.

 

-In fact, 10 different movies got ranked #1. By comparison, Spielberg had six different movies rank #1. That kind of goes to show how interesting these lists are, as well as Martin's work as a director, because not everybody will agree on what's his best movie.

 

-#1 and #2, without spoilers, was a tough call. Both films flipped positions every time some new lists came in, and the winner won it all just by one single point. If one more list was added in, things probably would have changed dramatically.

 

-"This movie I hate ranked higher than a movie I like? I lost all my respect for this list!" Yes, believe it or not, the general consensus of the forums will not automatically fit your tastes and sensibilities. All I ask is to please try to be respectful and courteous during the duration of this countdown, both to myself and to fellow BOT members. You don't have to agree with this, but you can act like a gentleman.

 

-If you are going to complain about something, and you didn't submit a list, just know that it's on you. Much like with government elections, you can't complain about something if you didn't vote in the first place.

 

The first batch of rankings should be up in a little bit, so cheers!

  • Like 11
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

So before we actually begin this list, I do wanna give out some important honorable mentions. The following films were movies that only appeared on 1-2 lists, so I feel there's not too much to say, and honestly I think most people here wouldn't read up on what I said for these movies anyways. I’m sure some will be disappointed, but I also have to do write-ups for 27 other movies, so understand that things are pretty busy for me.

 

A Personal Journey Through Movies with Martin Scorsese - 9 pts, 2 lists

No Direction Home: Bob Dylan - 8 pts, 2 lists

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese - 7 pts, 2 lists

Shine a Light - 6 pts, 2 lists

My Voyage to Italy - 5 pts, 1 list

American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince - 3 pts, 1 list

George Harrison: Living in the Material World - 3 pts, 1 list

Public Speaking - 2 points, 1 list

 

Thank you so very much to both @BestPicturePlutoNash and @Fancyarcher for going above and beyond the call of duty and adding these obscure titles to your list. You didn't have to, but you felt your list was incomplete without them and I truly appreciate that.

 

The first real ranking will be up in a wee bit.

  • Like 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

#27

Boxcar Bertha (1972)

16 pts, 7 lists

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

MV5BMjA0NzczOTMwMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDY4

 

 

Box Office: N/A

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%

Metacritic: 61

Awards: N/A

 

Roger Ebert’s Review: Scorsese remains one of the bright young hopes of American movies. His brilliant first film won the 1968 Chicago Film Festival as "I Call First" and later played as "Who's That Knocking at My Door?" He was an assistant editor and director of "Woodstock," and now, many frustrated projects later, here is his first conventional feature. He is good with actors, good with his camera and determined to take the grade-zilch exploitation film and bend it to his own vision. Within the limits of the film's possibilities, he has succeeded.

 

BOT User Review: N/A

 

Its Legacy: Scorsese's first and last attempt of an exploitation piece. Continued Roger Corman's dominance as a producer in the genre. Inspired John Cassavetes to push Scorsese away from these films and to make better, more personal films. Gave David Carradine a paycheck.

 

Commentary: There’s a good reason why this is all the way at the bottom. Simply put, Boxcar Bertha, an already obscure picture, is mainly known as the black sheep of Martin's filmography. The reason is because the movie, simply put...doesn’t feel at all like a Scorsese picture. This was produced by independent film trailblazer Roger Corman and this has his fingerprints all over it. Corman is far from a bad filmmaker or even a producer, but this low-budget piece, full of gratuitous and unnecessary sex and violence, is just not something Martin would have made, especially when his career truly took off one year later with Mean Streets.

 

This was Scorsese’s first and last exploitation film, serving as a low-budget attempt to capitalize on the massive success of Bonnie and Clyde. Yet it failed to engage many, with many citing that despite all the sex and violence, it’s a largely dull affair. A film for Scorsese completists and die-hards, but very few else. But like I always say, even failures have value. And with the advice of John Cassavetes, Scorsese would focus on making films personal to him and his interests. This would lead to Mean Streets the following year, and the rest is basically history.

 

It makes sense why this is at the bottom, but this doesn’t make it all bad. If anything, it paved the way for something greater.

 

 

  • Like 11
Link to post
Share on other sites

#26

Italianamerican (1974)

18 pts, 5 lists

"I'll murder you. You won't get out of this house alive!"

MV5BYmU0ZWNkZjctMjdmYi00MTM0LWEwMjMtMTMz

 

Top 10 placements: 1

Box Office: N/A

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

Metacritic: N/A

Awards:

 

Critic Review: "Martin Scorsese’s 1974 documentary, arriving a year after Mean Streets, is an unfussy, unfiltered document, mostly consisting of his mother Catherine and father Charles sitting in their New York City apartment, cooking and eating a meal, and sharing memories as children of Italian immigrants. The delight is in the couple’s particular dynamic—the playful, blunt Catherine eager to be the star and Charles’ eagerness to let her have the spotlight—as well as the way it works as a time capsule of interior design." - Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm

 

BOT User Review: N/A

 

Its Legacy: A unique time capsule of Martin Scorsese's family and home life. Joined the Criterion Collection in 2020. Spawned The Scorsese Family Cookbook in 1996.

 

Commentary: This is a fairly obscure film in the Scorsese canon, even compared to his other documentaries. You can only find the film (legally that is) on the Criterion Channel and the Criterion Collection title “Scorsese Shorts”. So it says a lot that, while low on the list, it still managed to beat out Boxcar Bertha despite being on fewer lists.

 

This 49-minute doc is nothing more than a home movie, with Scorsese interviewing and chatting with his parents Catherine and Charles and their lives growing up as Italian immigrants. Scorsese’s Italian heritage has always been a presence in many of his movies. Hell, his parents frequently appeared in his movies up until both of them passed away. But this is the film that’s all about what his family went through. The struggles Italy had after the war, the poverty and hardships Italian immigrants faced when moving to America. It’s still relevant and relatable for many viewers, Italian or not. But even then, it’s also a movie about how cool and awesome your parents are, a theme/concept I’ve always held close to my heart.

 

And most important of all, you get to learn how Catherine Scorsese makes meatballs, with the recipe featured in the end credits. If that doesn’t excite you, I don’t think anything will.

 

 

  • Like 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

#25

Who’s That Knocking At My Door (1967)

21 pts, 7 lists

" Everybody should like westerns"

Who's_That_Knocking_at_My_Door_film_post

 

 

Box Office: $16,085

Rotten Tomatoes: 70%

Metacritic: 63

Awards: N/A

 

Roger Ebert’s Review: To be sure, Scorsese was occasionally too obvious, and the film has serious structural flaws, but nobody who loves movies believes a perfect one will ever be made. What we hope for instead are small gains on the fronts of hope, love, comedy and tragedy. It is possible that with more experience and maturity Scorsese will direct more polished, finished films--but this work, completed when he was 25, contains a frankness he may have diluted by then.

 

BOT User Review: N/A

 

Its Legacy: The one that started it all. Harvey Keitel's acting debut. Appeared at the 1967 Chicago Film Festival. Gave Harry Northup a paycheck.

 

Commentary: It’s the one that started it all. Unfortunately, this is still very much a Scorsese film from his peach fuzz era, where he didn't know what he really wanted to do. A combination of several student shorts, the film was criticized for its lack of cohesion and a sloppy, slapdash structure. At the same time however, what makes the film so compelling today is how so many of the film’s ideas and characters would be constants in future Scorsese titles. Our hero J.R., portrayed by Harvey Keitel in his first ever film role, is struggling with Catholic guilt, a topic everybody who likes Martin’s work is familiar with. J.R. is also unique as a complex, confusing figure. He doesn’t have strong values, nor is he vicious. He’s a complex, confusing figure, somebody you’re not supposed to sympathize with, but still find engaging and relatable. That's the Scorsese protagonist blueprint.

 

But with that said...yes, there are better films from Martin that do these topics and characters much, much better. So while there isn’t merit to the film, it makes sense why this ranks so low. Even so, it is fascinating to see that this man, while far from the auteur he would soon become, did have his own vision and ideas about what movies he wanted to make. And that has to count for something.

 

 

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

#24

The Last Waltz (1978)

24 pts, 5 lists

"'"Well, son, you won't make much money, but you'll get more pussy than Frank Sinatra.'"

LastWaltzMoviePoster.jpg

 

 

Top 10 placements: 1

Box Office: $340,687

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Metacritic: 88

Awards: In New York Times' Best 1000 Movies Ever Made (2003), 3X Platinum for the album

 

Roger Ebert’s Review: Watching this film, the viewer with mercy will be content to allow the musicians to embrace closure, and will not demand an encore. Yet I give it three stars? Yes, because the film is such a revealing document of a time.

 

BOT User Review: N/A

 

Its Legacy: Hailed as one of the greatest concert movies ever made. Serves as the send-off for The Band. A showcase of iconic rock talent. Joined the National Film Registry in 2019. Gave Rick Danko a paycheck.

 

Commentary: This is the last non-narrative film on the countdown, and I think this is a good note to end things on...no pun intended. This details the farewell concert for The Band, alongside other rock icons like Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. I’ll admit that I’m not very familiar with The Band, apart from that one joke from Animaniacs (real ones know what I'm talking about), but I get the appeal here as an outsider. Seeing some of the greatest musicians of the sixties and seventies perform some of their most noteworthy tunes to a giant adoring crowd? How can you not love this stuff?

 

And at the same time, the film is interspersed with interview segments from Scorsese with The Band’s members, as they reminisce about days gone by. And not in the best light, as the rock and roll lifestyle is finally having its negative impacts. The road and being a musician isn’t as glamorous as people think it is, and these interviews allow The Last Waltz to serve two distinct purposes. It’s a thrilling concert with iconic numbers, as well as a melancholy time capsule at the beginning of the end for The Band and their compatriots. Harrowing, but still electric. Makes perfect sense this is considered one of the greatest concert films in history.

 

 

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

#23

New York, New York (1977)

38 pts, 9 lists

"Do I look like a gentleman to you in this shirt and these pants?"

MV5BYzZjM2RlZWMtZjVhNC00ODAyLTg0MDEtZDNm

 

 

Top 10 placements: 3

Box Office: $16.4 million

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%

Metacritic: 64

Awards: 4 Golden Globe nominations, #31 on AFI's Top 100 Songs (2004)

 

Roger Ebert’s Review: "Martin Scorcese's "New York, New York" never pulls itself together into a coherent whole, but if we forgive the movie its confusions we're left with a good time. In other words: Abandon your expectations of an orderly plot, and you'll end up humming the title song. The movie's a vast, rambling, nostalgic expedition back into the big band era, and a celebration of the considerable talents of Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro."

 

BOT User Review:

 

Its Legacy: The final appearance of Jack Haley. Spawned the iconic Frank Sinatra cover of the title theme. Said theme now synonymous with New York City, sadly led to Martin Scorsese going into a downward spiral and depression. Gave Liza Minnelli a paycheck.

 

Commentary: Weird to think that Martin Scorsese once made a musical. This was essentially a blank check moment for Scorsese. An attempt to experiment and try something new, fresh off his big break with Taxi Driver. The film tried to go against the typical grit and realism Martin was famous for, in favor of a Classical Hollywood homage. And ultimately, the film is considered a bit of a hodgepodge. It tries to be a 40s musical tribute, yet also blends itself with Scorsese’s dirt and grime, a blend that didn’t get many invested and bombed in theaters. In fact, the film’s failures sadly led to Scorsese going down a dark path in depression and drugs.

 

There’s been reappraisal since then, and many entries here put the film up solidly high on their list. And it’s understandable why, with a compelling romance as its focus, and absolute icon Liza Minelli front and center. If anything, the fact this is considered one of the weaker Scorsese pictures despite having so much that works well says a lot about how good Martin is as a filmmaker.

 

 

  • Like 9
  • Astonished 1
  • Disbelief 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Think that's enough, at least for right now. I'll see if I'll do more tonight, especially because we're soon getting into the Scorsese movies some of you likely would love to hear me talk about. Still, I hope you're enjoying my writing so far and hopefully you'll be intrigued to check out some of these more obscure titles.

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Cap said:

Happy Endings is just fifteen minutes of Holy shit this woman looks and sounds exactly like her mother. 

This was literally me. Also me in the bit before that, where she is singing The World Goes Around. Just how much she reminded me of Garland gave me goosebumps.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

#22

Kundun (1997)

42 pts, 9 lists

"I see a safe journey, I see a safe return."

MV5BMDY5NWI3YWMtODdjZC00YmQ0LTgyNDctYTQ1

 

 

Top 5 placements: 1

Top 10 placements: 3

Box Office: $5.7 million

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

Metacritic: 74

Awards: Four Academy Award nominations, One Golden Globe nomination, Best Cinematographer by New York Film Critics Circle and National Society of Film Critics

 

Roger Ebert’s Review:  "I admire "Kundun" for being so unreservedly committed to its vision, for being willing to cut loose from audience expectations and follow its heart. I admire it for its visual elegance. And yet this is the first Scorsese film that, to be honest, I would not want to see again and again."

 

BOT User Review: N/A

 

Its Legacy: Caused Martin Scorsese to be banned in China. Ensured Disney would never try to anger Chinese government again. Was referenced in The Sopranos. Gave Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong a paycheck.

 

Commentary: Once in a while, there’s always some jackass on Twitter or YouTube complaining about how certain movies “would never get made today”. And nine times out of ten, that’s just not true.

 

However, Kundun is one of the few films that definitely falls into “would never be made today”, and it’s sadly not for anything offensive or dated. The film’s depiction of the 14th Dalai Lama, a pariah to the Communist Chinese Party, from a major studio like Disney was one that led to heavy controversy. China’s government banned the film and Scorsese himself from ever entering the country, and China threatened to ban all future Disney films and television productions for a brief while. Michael Eisner had to badmouth the film as a mistake, purposely limited the film’s distribution to make the film seem like a failure that nobody watched, and even today the film is impossible to find. 

 

It’s not available on any streaming services or digital stores, and while DVDs and Blu-Rays exist, they aren’t the easiest to find. It’s a film that quite literally was forced to bomb and hide away just so Disney could put a theme park in Shanghai about 20 years later. And while the future of Hollywood movies in China is on shaky grounds at the moment, garbage capitalism will ensure that a movie like Kundun will never be made again to appease the almighty market.

 

It’s a pity too, because, as the middle film of Scorsese’s unofficial “Faith Trilogy” (sandwiched between Last Temptation and Silence), this has a lot to admire here, especially with an all-star crew behind it. Beautifully shot by Roger Deakins, sharply written by the late great Melissa Mathison, wonderfully edited by Thelma Schoonmaker, and composed by the great Philip Glass, it’s an engaging biopic that showcases the struggles Tenzin Gyatso faced beginning as a young child, though its episodic nature is not for everybody.

 

It’s oft-regarded as the worst of the “Faith Trilogy”, but there’s a reason Christopher Moltisanti likes that movie so much.

 

 

  • Like 7
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

#21

Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

55 pts, 11 lists

"Don't make me take off my sunglasses!"

MV5BMDMyMjEyYzEtODVlZC00OWY0LTkxZjItNjJm

 

 

#3 Placements: 1

Top 5 placements: 3

Top 10 placements: 1

Box Office: $16.8 million

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%

Metacritic: 70

Awards: N/A

 

Roger Ebert’s Review: "To look at "Bringing Out the Dead"--to look, indeed, at almost any Scorsese film--is to be reminded that film can touch us urgently and deeply. Scorsese is never on autopilot, never panders, never sells out, always goes for broke; to watch his films is to see a man risking his talent, not simply exercising it."

 

BOT User Review: "Nicolas Cage is a master at playing men on the edge. Nobody does troubled, unhinged and frustrated quite like him. Bringing Out The Dead, a fucking stunning piece of work in its own right, has Cage giving his most nuanced and desperate performance that, for reasons unknown, didn't receive any award nominations. Damn shame. He's great." - @Jack Nevada

 

Its Legacy: Showcased a rare glimpse into the lives of paramedics. Gave us one of Nicolas Cage's best performances. Showcased the opioid epidemic in all its horror. Was the final film to get a Laserdisc release. Gave Tom Sizemore a paycheck.

 

Commentary: Your mileage will vary, but this is arguably the darkest, most intense film Martin Scorsese ever directed. Detailing 48 hours in the life of a depressed, burned-out hospital paramedic, this film captures the inbetween many deal with, especially in stressful or depressing situations. The sense of exhaustion from work or life, a strange sense of purgatory that isn’t easy to get out of. Guilt or confusion haunts you, and in the case of Frank Pierce, it goes into a dark, cruel place.

 

When you include an all-time performance by Nicolas Cage, it’s a film that is incredibly sad, yet Scorsese has also argued this film as one that is celebratory of the paramedics he grew up around. It’s a tough job that few people give credit for, and one that is full of anguish, in an environment that is cold and unfriendly. It’s an existential rollercoaster that sadly was overlooked when it first came out. The goal of these countdowns is to highlight the underseen works of certain directors and I can only hope my words will entice a viewing from some folks here.

 

 

  • Like 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

#20

Gangs of New York (2002)

69 pts, 17 lists

"If you get all of us together, we ain't got a gang, we've got an army."

MV5BNDg3MmI1ZDYtMDZjYi00ZWRlLTk4NzEtZjY4

 

 

#3 placements: 1

Top 5 placements: 2

Box Office: $193.8 million

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%

Metacritic: 72

Awards: 10 Academy Award nominations, 2 Golden Globes and 3 nominations, 1 BAFTA and 11 nominations, 1 Screen Actors Guild Award, 1 Critics Choice Award and 2 nominations, 1 Writers Guild of America Award nomination

 

Roger Ebert’s Review: "All of this is a triumph for Scorsese, and yet I do not think this film is in the first rank of his masterpieces. It is very good but not great. I wrote recently of "Goodfellas" that "the film has the headlong momentum of a storyteller who knows he has a good one to share." I didn't feel that here."

 

BOT User Review: N/A

 

Its Legacy: A labor of love for Martin, decades in the making. One of two times Martin worked with Miramax (unfortunately). The first collaboration between Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. Known for having one of the worst Irish accents in cinema. Has that one rocking U2 song. Gave John C. Reilly a paycheck.

 

Commentary: A 20-year passion project, Gangs of New York is arguably a bit of an anomaly within the Scorsese discourse. It saw solid box office returns, it earned 10 Oscar nominations, thanks in part to Miramax and H*****, and features a lot of Scorsese’s defining tropes and characteristics. A film based upon his own life experiences and heritage, a look into crime and corruption into New York, a deconstruction on the American Dream. It was even the first of six collaborations with Leonardo DiCaprio.

 

But ultimately, while it has die-hard supporters, the consensus is that the film is good and well-made, but very busy, overstuffed, and featuring characters that are hard to get invested into. And in this countdown, it often appeared near the bottom tier of many lists, with it only propped up by two placements in the top 5. It was very much a film helped by being a consensus pick rather than any strong passion.

 

But that’s not a bad thing. Gangs of New York is still memorable, still gorgeous, and still works as a fascinating history lesson. If anything, the way the film looks at Nativists who go against the immigrants and freed slaves is sadly still a pressing issue and showcases how the American Dream is nothing more than a folly. To say nothing about the incredible acting display of Daniel Day-Lewis, a role he would earn an Oscar nomination for. It’s not considered his best, but it’s hard to imagine Scorsese’s filmography without it.

 

 

  • Like 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

#19

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)

75 pts, 14 lists

"He's even weird for Tucson and Tucson is the weird capital of the world."

916UJ7XGLqL._RI_.jpg

 

Top 10 placements: 7

Box Office: $21 million

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Metacritic: 78

Awards: In Competition for the Palme D'Or at Cannes, 1 Academy Award and 2 nominations, 4 BAFTAs and 3 nominations, 2 Golden Globe Award nominations, 10th Place at the National Board of Review Awards, 1 Writer's Guild of America Award nomination

 

Roger Ebert’s Review: "The movie has been both attacked and defended on feminist grounds, but I think it belongs somewhere outside ideology, maybe in the area of contemporary myth and romance. There are scenes in which we take Alice and her journey perfectly seriously, there are scenes of harrowing reality and then there are other scenes...where Scorsese edges into slight, cheerful exaggeration."

 

BOT User Review: N/A

 

Its Legacy: Continued Ellen Burstyn's

 

Commentary: This is a unique film in the Scorsese canon, specifically because of its perspective. This is one of the very few films Martin directed that’s about a woman, in this case Ellen Burstyn as a single mother named Alice trying to restart her life with her son. And thankfully, this film doesn’t skip a beat. It’s a more sentimental and heartwarming piece, something you don’t often see in his male-centric narratives, and is frequently funny. Yet it also serves as a poignant story on womanhood and how all men are trash.

 

Burstyn’s Alice is consistently controlled by the men around her, in subtle and overt ways. Yet for reasons even Alice can’t explain, she feels like she can’t live without a man. It’s a compelling story for sure and one that Scorsese tackles with ease, helped in part to a great ensemble cast. Martin should do whatever he feels happy to tackle, but I can only hope, before he retires from the business, that he has one more film about womanhood up his sleeves.

 

 

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

#18

After Hours (1985)

91 pts, 15 lists

"What do you want from me? What have I done? I'm just a word processor, for Christ sake!"

p8736_p_v10_aa.jpg

 

 

#2 placements: 1

Top 5 placements: 3

Top 10 placements: 7

Box Office: $10.6 million

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Metacritic: 90

Awards: In Competition for Palme D'Or and Best Director win at Cannes, 1 Golden Globe nomination, 1 BAFTA nomination, 2 Independent Spirit Award wins and 3 nominations

 

Roger Ebert’s Review: ""After Hours" approaches the notion of pure filmmaking; it's a nearly flawless example of -- itself. It lacks, as nearly as I can determine, a lesson or message, and is content to show the hero facing a series of interlocking challenges to his safety and sanity. It is "The Perils of Pauline" told boldly and well."

 

BOT User Review: "A very underrated black comedy. It feels like a thriller at times and it's pretty suspenseful. One of Scorsese's hidden gems." - @acab

 

Its Legacy: One of Martin Scorsese's few forays into comedy. First De Niro-less picture of Scorsese's since Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Features a jamming soundtrack with Joni Mitchell and Robert & Johnny. Later became the title of a Weeknd album. Gave Griffin Dunne a paycheck.

 

Commentary: A Plan B after Last Temptation of Christ failed to get funding for a while, this is perhaps the funniest film Martin Scorsese ever made. This surreal comedy of errors has us looking at a guy trying to go home from a long, boring day at work, only for some pure, unadulterated, madcap insanity to ensue. It effortlessly combines screwball hi-jinx with a grimy New York and a peculiar lead protagonist dealing with emasculation and being a slave to the capitalist systems.

 

The film’s satirical humor and frantic energy might not be for everyone, but the movie has an incredibly strong cult following. If anything, this is the movie people point to as one of Martin’s most overlooked and underappreciated titles. With it earning consistently strong rankings here at BOT, it’s clear this will still be an underrated gem for many.

 

 

  • Like 7
  • Sad 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

#17

The Aviator (2004)

91 pts, 18 lists

"The way of the future..."

MV5BZTYzMjA2M2EtYmY1OC00ZWMxLThlY2YtZGI3

 

 

#1 placement: 1

#3 placement: 1

Top 5 placements: 3

Top 10 placements: 2

Box Office: $213.7 million

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Metacritic: 77

Awards: 5 Academy Awards and 6 nominations, 4 BAFTAs and 10 nominations, 3 Golden Globes and 3 nominations, 1 Grammy Award nomination, 1 SAG Award and 2 nominations, 1 WGA Award nomination

 

Roger Ebert’s Review: "The women in the film are wonderfully well cast. Cate Blanchett has the task of playing Katharine Hepburn, who was herself so close to caricature that to play her accurately involves some risk. Blanchett succeeds in a performance that is delightful and yet touching; mannered and tomboyish, delighting in saying exactly what she means, she shrewdly sizes up Hughes and is quick to be concerned about his eccentricities."

 

BOT User Review: "My favorite Scorsese-DiCaprio collaborations. It has old-fashioned elegance & hyper-kinetic energy. Another fascinating character study." - @bartonfink 

 

Its Legacy: Depicted numerous forms of aircraft. Redefined Howard Hughes for an entire generation. Smartly and sensitively depicts obsessive-compulsive disorder. Got too many accolades to count. Gave Kate Beckinsale a paycheck.

 

Commentary: Like Gangs of New York, this was a film that appeared on a lot of lists and got a lot of awards buzz, but it often didn't rank too highly. However, there were some passionate votes in there, unlike Gangs, including a #1 placement. And unlike Gangs, this is much more highly-regarded and for good reason. As is typical with biopics, the acting is exemplary. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett earned raves for their work here, with Blanchett winning the Oscar.

 

But yes, Scorsese is a key factor for why this film works so well. If anything, there’s a bit of a parallel between Hughes and Martin. Both were highly successful men with a strong legacy behind them when it comes to their crafts. Yet at the same time, that legacy is shrouded by mental health issues, addiction, and personal demons that are hard to get away from. Scorsese dealt with cocaine issues and depression in the 1970s and 1980s, not helped by many box office failures. And while he has sobered up, those memories don’t really go away.

 

The Aviator is one of the most famous and accessible Scorsese films for a good reason and has done plenty in revitalizing the name of Howard Hughes for many, specifically among us youths.

 

 

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

#16

Cape Fear (1991)

93 pts, 19 lists

"It's gonna take a hell of a lot more than that, Counselor, to prove you're better than me!"

MV5BNjdhNzZlYzYtYTBlNS00NTJiLWI2ZWUtMDI2

 

 

#3 placements: 1

Top 5 placements: 3

Top 10 placements: 3

Box Office: $182.3 million

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%

Metacritic: 73

Awards: 2 Academy Award nominations, 2 Golden Globe nominations, 2 BAFTA nominations, 2 Second Places at New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 3 MTV Movie Award nominations

 

Roger Ebert’s Review: "“Cape Fear” is impressive moviemaking, showing Scorsese as a master of a traditional Hollywood genre who is able to mold it to his own themes and obsessions. But as I look at this $35 million movie with big stars, special effects and production values, I wonder whether it represents a good omen from the finest director now at work.

 

BOT User Review: N/A

 

Its Legacy: Continued the Scorsese-De Niro friendship. Consistently parodied on television. Inspired Waylon Mercy in the WWE. Features Gregory Peck in his final film role. Gave Robert Mitchum a paycheck.

 

Commentary: One of the more mainstream titles from the director, Cape Fear is arguably one of the rare remakes that is more iconic and discussed than the original. It’s a twisted, anxiety-ridden piece, anchored by some grueling setpieces and a chilling performance from Robert De Niro. At the same time, Cape Fear is not just a tribute to the 1962 original (right down to Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, and Martin Balsam popping up here), but also a showcase of Scorsese’s love for Old Hollywood. In particular, Alfred Hitchcock.

 

Not just because of the layers of suspense dripping in each scene. Not just because of the impeccable build-up between Robert De Niro’s Max Cady and Nick Nolte’s Sam Bowden, leading to an unbelievable climax. Not just because of an opening title sequence from Saul Bass. Rather, Scorsese’s Cape Fear approaches a classic Hollywood title and formula, while still making it palatable to today’s audiences and fits into Martin’s style of storytelling. Cady is still the equivalent of evil incarnate, but Bowden is far from a good man himself. To say nothing of the rest of his family. All of this adds tension, depth, and intrigue, without ever disparaging the qualities of the original Cape Fear and why it works so well.

 

This is one of Scorsese’s more popular films of the 1990s and it still holds up today, even if it is somewhat under the shadow of more iconic films that we’ll soon get to. And it also gave us one of the best and funniest episodes of The Simpsons, which is more than you can say for most Scorsese movies.

 

 

  • Like 8
  • Disbelief 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Think that's enough for today. We're about to head into the top 15 now, and this is where we get the real heavy-hitters. The ones everybody know and love and are the films you can't wait to hear me talk about. I won't give any specific day just yet, but know that it's coming and I hope you're excited.

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

At one time, Cape Fear was my favourite Scorsese film.  Nolte and Lange are terrific in it.  Lewis is perfect as the daughter who tries to be a Lolita type without realizing how much trouble it's going to get her in and of course DeNiro is so good as the baddie.  The scary thing about him is he went to prison when he shouldn't have, not because he was innocent, but because of shady things that Nolte did as his lawyer.  But that doesn't stop him from getting out and becoming hell bent on revenge.  My favourite shot in the film near the beginning when Cady is leaving the prison the and guard says to him, "What about your books?"  And he replies, whole walking directly into the  camera "Already read em".  He has one mission and one only and that is to hurt and eventually kill Nolte's family.  

 

Spielberg and Amblin produced this and you get the obligatory shooting star but imo, that's as close to Spielbergian that we get.  This is an intense and violent film filled with very bad men, especially Cady.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think had I not watched the original Cape Fear right before, I'd enjoy the Scorsese version more. Marty's is very over the top and silly and quite fun but it lacks the scariness of the original. Robert Mitchum is more subtle as the villain and his leering at the daughter (whose much younger in the original) and family is more grounded in its approach which makes it way more uncomfortable to watch. But the original doesn't have Joe Don Baker so...

 

Also this is my first time participating in one of these and wow I did not expect such detailed and thought out writing per entry, figured it would just be a standard list. Count me impressed!

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.




×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Guidelines. Feel free to read our Privacy Policy as well.