Politics

08.03.12

Confession: I Never Liked Raging Bull

Here's an interesting little list for you: the favorite all-time films of Woody Allen, Francis For Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, and Quentin Tarantino.

I would say that I'm most closely aligned with FFC, chiefly because of his inclusions of The Best Years of Our Lives (my all-time number three) and Singin' in the Rain (my number six). I am least aligned with Tarantino's weird but unsurprising choices like The Great Escape, which is pretty so-so in my view, from that era of bloated big-cast war movies, and The Bad News Bears.

Oddly no one--no one!--lists Casablanca. What? Also, funnily, no one lists The Godfather. Lots of Citizen Kane, plenty of Kurosawa and Fellini, not quite as much French New Wave as you might think.

Coppola and Tarantino both name Raging Bull. Can I admit it? I just never liked this movie. It didn't interest me in the least. I was 19 or 20. I've tried twice since then. Fell asleep both times after about 20 minutes. Maybe one of you can splain me what's so great about it. I loved Taxi Driver. That was just strange enough to be surprising. Raging Bull seemed to me too straightforward, uncomplicated, one-dimensional, and dare I say it but sentimental a portrait of its protagonist. Of course I haven't seen it for 30 years.

Also interesting: Of the 50 films named, just two are from the last 30 years. FFC named King of Comedy (1983), and Tarantino selected Dazed and Confused. I agree with this general thrust--the older movies are mostly far superior. But I do have Blue Velvet and The Big Lebowski ranked up there, and I can see a case for a Spielberg or two and a few others.

A perhaps more interesting category is Movies That Are Hardly Great But You Loved Anyway and Thought Were Kinda Great in their way. My #1 choice in this market: Executive Decision. That was AWESOME! Fantastic cast, from the uber-manly Steven Segal right on down to Oliver Platt, with even Marla Maples thrown in. I watch that every time I see that it's on cable.

Also pretty good in that genre: Sleeping With the Enemy. That scene toward the end where she's in her kitchen and she opens the cupboard and, holy %&@$!, all the canned goods are perfectly aligned again! Brrrrrrrr.

Okay. You? Good weekend.