It feels like just yesterday that I first watched The Departed. I remember it as if it were yesterday, at least, and it was a day just like yesterday: a weekday on which school was cancelled. I even remember that it was November 8th of 2011 (yes, my review was written during a time as an early blogger, and it appears to have gone up that same day). Election day (which wasn’t yesterday, but whatever).
I know that it, in fact, wasn’t yesterday, because I have now seen an estimated forty-nine-and-a-half hours of Martin Scorsese’s directed work. The estimate is based on the assumption that the average Scorsese movie is two hours, fifteen minutes long–yeah, he has some pretty long ones. If you do the math, that means that I’ve seen twenty-two of his movies. All twenty-two of ’em, plus an extra documentary about the Rolling Stones, though I’m not counting that as a bonus, because the fact that I’m writing this post while his upcoming movie The Wolf of Wall Street is in post-production is kind of cheating. (It’s not my fault I haven’t seen it!)
The film I finished off with (Bringing Out the Dead) was rather weak, but I still feel the need to celebrate. Below is part one of a “worst to best” list on Scorsese’s directorial achievements. Please feel free to leave any and all comments about where we agree or disagree.
22. Boxcar Bertha
Released June 14, 1972. Starring Barbara Hershey, David Carradine, and Barry Primus. Runs 1 hour, 28 minutes. Rated R by the MPAA – nudity, strong sexual content, violence.
Released December 25, 1997. Starring Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong, Gyurme Tethong, Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin, and Tenzin Yeshi Paichang. Runs 2 hours, 14 minutes. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA, “for violent images.”
Nominated for four Academy Awards – Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo), Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins), Best Costume Design (Dante Ferretti), and Best Original Dramatic Score (Philip Glass).
20. Bringing Out the Dead
Released October 22, 1999. Starring Nicolas Cage, John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Tom Sizemore, Patricia Arquette, and Marc Antony. Runs 2 hours, 1 minute. Rated R by the MPAA, “for gritty violent content, drug use and language.”
19. The Color of Money
Released October 17, 1986. Starring Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Runs 2 hours. Rated R by the MPAA – nudity, profanity, violence.
Won an Academy Award – Best Actor (Paul Newman). Nominated for three others – Best Supporting Actress (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Boris Levin, Karen O’Hara), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Richard Price).
18. Mean Streets
Released October 2, 1973. Starring Robert de Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, and Cesare Danova. Runs 1 hour, 52 minutes. Rated R by the MPAA – graphic violence.
Released November 23, 2011. Starring Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths, and Jude Law. Runs 2 hours, 8 minutes. Rated PG by the MPAA, “for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking.”
Won five Academy Awards – Best Art Direction (Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo), Best Cinematography (Robert Richardson), Best Sound Editing (Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty), Best Sound Mixing (Tom Fleischman, John Midgley), and Best Visual Effects (Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning). Nominated for six others – Best Costume Design (Sandy Powell), Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker), Best Original Score (Howard Shore), Best Picture (Graham King, Martin Scorsese), and Best Adapted Screenplay (John Logan).
16. New York, New York
Released June 21, 1977. Starring Liza Minnelli and Robert de Niro. Runs 2 hours, 35 minutes. Other available cuts run 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 2 hours, 43 minutes. Rated PG by the MPAA – mild language.
15. Taxi Driver
Released February 8, 1976. Starring Robert de Niro, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle, and Cybill Shepherd. Runs 1 hour, 53 minutes. Rated R by the MPAA – graphic violence, profanity, sexual situations.
Nominated for four Academy Awards – Best Actor (Robert de Niro), Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster), Best Original Score (Bernard Herrmann), and Best Picture (Michael Phillips, Julia Phillips).
14. Cape Fear
Released November 13, 1991. Starring Robert de Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Joe Don Baker, Robert Mitchum, and Gregory Peck. Runs 2 hours, 7 minutes. Rated R by the MPAA, “for strong violence, and for language.”
Nominated for two Academy Awards – Best Actor (Robert de Niro) and Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Lewis).
13. Shutter Island
Released February 19, 2010. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson, and Max von Sydow. Runs 2 hours, 18 minutes. Rated R by the MPAA, “for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity.”
Released November 22, 1995. Starring Robert de Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci. Runs 2 hours, 58 minutes. Rated R by the MPAA (initially given NC-17), “for strong brutal violence, pervasive strong language, drug use and some sexuality.”
Nominated for an Academy Award – Best Actress (Sharon Stone).