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calendar   Sunday - November 24, 2019

Best Scorsese Film Ever?

I haven’t been inside a movie theater in close to 20 years. I think Return of the King was the last thing we went to see. We haven’t rented a DVD in at least 8 years. So much of what gets made these days is just total crap, and we might watch a few minutes of it when it goes to cable TV a few months later. And I have a particular resentment against all of these comic book movies (aside from the very first Spider-man with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst) and all the rest of them featuring indestructible teens and young adults with magical super powers ... the whole genre, from Hairy Pothead to Ironman to Fantastic Four to Batman Part 814 to Fast & Infuriating. They all suck chunks and make zillions. They may be entertainment, but they aren’t art. Maybe Bruce Willis in Sin City approaches the line in a film noir way, but such films are pretty rare.

Once in a while we find a beautiful gem of film. Moonrise Kingdom was one; it’s a quirky, surreal, not-quite-connected story about young love and being different. But it shines with an inner light, and is a charming thing to watch time and again. The Shipping News is another art film, but of a far different nature. They’re out there, and you’ve never heard of most of them

We found Hugo tonight, and it was glorious.
I live under a rock, so I had never heard of this 2011 two hour film.

It’s a gentle, loving story about two young preteens having an adventure in Paris in the early 1930s. It is very French, but in the best way. It’s also a film about film, so of course I was instantly hooked. See, I was “poisoned” by a couple cinema classes I took in college, which were given by the outre avant-garde experimental director/producer/writer Ken Jacobs. We saw some seriously strange flicks in his classes, some marvelous and ancient films, and a whole lot of gay stuff. Too much gay stuff, but in those days it was dark and daring. Our weekend homework assignments was to go to the local art house theater or the campus art movie night and see whatever was playing, and then write a couple paragraphs. That’s where I found gems like Like Water For Chocolate, My Father The Hero, The Secret of Roan Innish, Daughters Of The Dust and many others. I learned to love film as art; movies made to move you, not to churn out billions. And Ken was all about the anti-narrative, and film about film. We used to argue a lot, but some of his outlook stuck. And my GPA improved a bit, as his classes were guaranteed A’s.

We watched Hugo tonight, and there were some bits in it that looked quite 3D, but not artificially so. And we got to the end of it and the credits rolled, and it was directed by Martin Scorsese. And instantly I said “of course” and she didn’t understand why. Why? Jean Cocteau. Stan Brakhage. The Lumiere brothers. Because the guy has roots in the art, not just in the shoot ‘em up special effects cash machines. And it tasted like Scorsese, but gently. And that’s about as good as I can explain it.

Hugo hardly turned a profit, relatively. It is not Pulp Fiction by any stretch of the imagination. And it turns out that it was actually shot in 3D, so there.

If you like beautiful art film that the whole family can watch, here you are. Oh, and it features a very young teenaged Chloë Grace Moretz, all innocent and wholesome, who grew up to be a really beautiful woman. 

Here’s a link to Roger Ebert’s review.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/24/2019 at 11:48 PM   
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