Directors Who Dominate: Martin Scorsese

Jandy Hardesty

Jandy is a film buff, music fan, internet addict, and gamer girl. That’s the overview, anyway. She’s drawn to classic, off-beat, and foreign film, but loves a good blockbuster action sequence, too. Hailing from the midwest originally, she now resides in Los Angeles. You know, for the great cost of living to be had there. Or not. At least there’s a great music scene and a lot of repertory cinemas. At one point, academia seemed in the cards, but now she’s left that world. Maybe for good, but who really knows? In any case, two years of an M.A. in literature have left their mark, for good or ill. You can find her on Flickchart as faithx5, and elsewhere at The Frame, and sometimes at Row Three.

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6 Responses

  1. Travis McClain says:

    I loved Bringing Out the Dead, as did my wife. She was actually working EMS when I showed it to her, and it rang so true to her that she insisted we buy a second copy of it on DVD just to ensure that we’d have a backup!

    As for Gangs of New York, I loved it when I saw it Christmas Day 2002 on the big screen. I know Cameron Diaz has her detractors, but I didn’t have a problem with her performance. The little post-9/11 inspired tag felt artificial to me, and I could have done without that, but that was hardly enough to sour me on the film.

    Incidentally, Warner included a wonderful, full length documentary (Scorsese on Scorsese) as a bonus feature on the 2-disc Special Edition DVD release of The Departed. For some reason, they did not port it over to the Blu-ray release, though. As a consequence, it’s one of the few DVDs I’ve kept despite upgrading the feature to its Blu-ray counterpart. Anyway, the doc features Scorsese discussing his films to that point, and sharing some of his life along the way largely in providing context for the perspective he had at the time of production. I highly recommend it.

    Scorsese is one of those rare people whose enthusiasm for the medium is unquestioned. I would love to have taken a film class taught by him, even without any intention of ever being more than a viewer. I think what really comes across in his storytelling is an unerring capacity for reducing large stories to the most basic human interest level. The environments in his productions are rich and intricate, but never do they distract us from the underlying question: “Why do we care about these people?”

  2. Jandy Stone says:

    Gangs of New York was probably one of the first Scorsese films I saw, actually (I’ve been doing a lot of catch-up lately), and I thought it was pretty uneven. And yeah, I’m not at all a Cameron Diaz fan, so that probably added to it. I’m actually not that big a Day-Lewis fan, either, so maybe the cards were stacked against me liking Gangs of New York – I respect what DDL does, but i don’t really get caught up in it.

    And you’re exactly right on Scorsese’s enthusiasm. I love watching him talk about films and filmmaking – it would make me excited about it even if I weren’t already. His level of passion for the art, craft, and history of film is almost unmatched among popular filmmakers.

  3. Travis McClain says:

    There was an American Express commercial with Scorsese that I think offered the perfect distillation of his storytelling sensibilities. Addressing someone off screen, not quite looking into the camera, he dismisses some images he’s been shown by asking, “Where’s the drama?” It’s as profound as it is simple.

  4. Nigel Druitt says:

    I think the first Scorsese I saw was Cape Fear. Maybe Gangs. Either way, the only Scorsese film I’ve seen that I’ve genuinely loved is The Departed. I think it’s fantastic. I kind of dig The Aviator, but after that, what I’ve seen doesn’t do much for me. Not even GoodFellas (though there are aspects of that film that I liked).

    I always feel funny when I say that I’m not a big fan of Martin Scorsese. Like I should be, but I just can’t get into his work. (I’m that way with Tarantino, too…) But looking at the rest of the titles there, I think I’d really like to see Bringing Out the Dead. I remember being interested in that one years ago…

    Anyway, nice article, Jandy. An interesting read.

  5. Tom Clift says:

    Really interesting piece Jandy! I haven’t seen a lot of Scorsese’s “lesser” works, but I’m really interested in checking out THE KING OF COMEDY and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST especially.

  6. Tsokolo says:

    I just love the directors from New York. Their work is authentic and honest. Though their non-compromising stand when exploring issues and making films has always landed them in trouble. I suppose that’s why Hollywood is reluctant to honor their work. If it took Hollywood +/- 30 years to present Scorsese with an oscar, how long will Spike Lee have to wait?