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#369 December 10, 2019

Matt writes: With Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" being named the best film of 2019 by the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle soon after its Netflix debut over Thanksgiving weekend, let us take a closer look at this masterwork.

Features

Thumbnails 4/27/15

Frank Mosley on "Her Wilderness"; "Goodfellas" is the perfect gangster film; "Ex Machina" and feminism; Amy Schumer on confidence; PTA's 5 types of father figures.

Features

Thumbnails 11/21/2013

Scorsese, De Niro reuniting on a new gangster film; Zadie Smith on life, death, Warhol; Spike Lee speaks; our ancestors didn't sleep like us; Van Sant to headline a LGBT film fest in St. Petersburg.

Far Flungers

The odds are with the house

I'm fairly certain most Martin Scorsese fans prefer his Robert DeNiro period to the current one with Leonardo DiCaprio. The later entries may include the film that won him the Academy Award for Best Picture ("The Departed") and they've surely displayed signs of greatness, but I don't think any of them can be discussed as pinnacle achievements like his earlier ones.

Scanners

Goodfellas & badfellas: Scorsese and morality

[This was originally published at MSN Movies in 2006, but MSN has taken down their archives.]

"You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit, and you know it." -- Charlie (voiceover by Martin Scorsese) in "Mean Streets" (1973)

If I do bad things, am I a bad person? Can I be a good person despite the bad things I've done? Can I compensate for the sins I commit in one part of my life by doing good works in another? Is forgiveness possible? Is redemption achievable? Or does it even matter if there's not really anyone, or anything, watching over us and keeping track?

Those are some of the Catholic concerns that have preoccupied filmmaker Martin Scorsese throughout his career. His latest film [circa 2006], "The Departed," is based on "Infernal Affairs," a 2002 Hong Kong thriller directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, about two moles: an undercover cop who has infiltrated a criminal gang, and a crook who is embedded in the police department. So, who's the good guy and who's the bad guy? Frank Costello, the gangster kingpin played by Jack Nicholson, says: "Cops or criminals: When you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?" And what about when you're pointing one? In the cosmic sense, we're all facing that loaded gun, and brandishing one, every day. And the difference -- if there is any -- is what Scorsese makes his movies about.

Watching certain Scorsese pictures today ("Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "GoodFellas," "Casino" and others), you can appreciate the ways they both reflect and question the prevailing moral climate in early 21st-century America. It's a topsy-turvy universe in which the President of the United States himself insists that judgments about "goodness" and "badness" are not to be based upon actions, but are simply pre-existing existential conditions. Good or bad, right or wrong -- it just depends on which side you're on.

Scanners

Will "Mean Girl" Palin herself appear on SNL?

And, if she does, how many viewers will be able to tell the difference? Is this gonna be the talent portion?

Bill Zwecker reports in the Chicago Sun-Times:

It's looking more and more likely that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will appear on ''Saturday Night Live'' -- to have some fun with Tina Fey.

As the comedian's impressions of the GOP vice presidential candidate draw laughs from Republicans and Democrats alike, a top honcho from the John McCain campaign tells me there's a debate going on about how to respond.