Brian Volke –
This is easily the hardest list I’ve ever made. I was going to take the easy way out and make it a top 10 but thought, hell, let’s make it challenging and go for a top 5.
Here we go:
- The King of Comedy:
If you’ve never seen this movie, make some room in your schedule. This is a film that is so far ahead of its time in showing the relationship between obsessed fans and the stars they follow. Deniro is typically brilliant as Rupert Pupkin, the deranged follower of Jerry Lewis’ talk show host character. The delusions that he acts out while living in his mother’s basement are both hilarious and disturbing. Sandra Bernhard, as his accomplice, is also amazing and steals every scene she’s in. Look for the scene where Deniro and Bernhard show up to Lewis’ vacation home. It’s probably the most uncomfortable scene in movie history.
4. The Departed:
One of the best films of the last decade. The Departed is a fantastic look at the ins and outs of the Boston underground from both the side of the criminals and the men trying to put them behind bars. This is faced paced film making at its best. The ensemble cast is terrific all around but this is the film that took Dicaprio from being the boyish love interest from Titanic to a full fledged actor capable of being one of the best of his generation. Scorsese is the true star though creating a sense of suspense right from the onset that never lets up. You’ll be on the edge of your seat.
3. Raging Bull:
There’s a scene near the end of the film where we see Jake Lamotta (Deniro, in the best performance of his career) standing in front of a tiny crowd in a crappy bar telling lame jokes. He’s fat, old, and sad. It’s like seeing the long distant shadow of the star he once was and it’s what makes Raging Bull such a special film. He once had the world in the palm of his hands but he neither had the temperament nor the self confidence to realize that he was his own worst enemy. As a character piece, this is about as good as it gets. One of the great gems in cinema history.
2. Taxi Driver:
No film in the history of the cinema has been as capable at showing the world from a lunatic’s perspective than Taxi Driver. This is the story of Travis Bickle (Deniro, yet again) and every camera shot, narration, and story decision is to show how human ugliness can lead a man to lash out violently. The irony in the story is that Travis doesn’t realize that he is part of the same human darkness that he despises. This is one of the most gorgeously shot films ever. Cabs driving at night clouded in steam from the manholes, cameras always catching the action right from the eyes of Travis, and the journeys up and down the streets in the middle of the night are captured with such authenticity that you feel like you’re there. This is the film that put Scorsese on the map and all these years later, it has lost none of its power.
This was a hard pick because any of the top 3 could be sitting at the #1. But, the reason I picked Goodfellas is because this is about as close to a perfect film as I have ever seen. If you’ve never seen it, I can promise you that it is the fastest 2 ½ hours you will ever spend in front of your TV. It’s one of the rare movies that I have not one criticism of. Every single elements is flawless. The acting, directing, screenplay, and editing are absolutely amazing. It also has a pacing that is almost unmatched. This is a film that feels like a true journey. We start with Henry Hill as a young boy and watch him all the way through his life and the awful decisions he makes along the way. This isn’t just Scorsese’s best but it’s also one of the best films ever made.
Vic’s Top Five Marty Films –
5) Cape Fear
4) The Aviator
2) Raging Bull