Monday, January 02, 2006

Raging Bull

Raging Bull was one of the most amazing theatrical experiences I've ever had. The sound design was awe-inspiring, the editing was astonishing and the acting was second-to-none. It's no wonder that Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty all got nominations for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Sadly, only DeNiro won. Thelma Schoonmaker won the only other award for the film in the category of Best Editing. It saddens me that what has been widely regarded as "the best movie of the 80's" has been languishing in obscurity. I find myself introducing this film to so many people. I feel like they should know it without any help from me.

It's a hard thing, trying to stay sharp about film for would-be filmmakers in my generation. Especially when you're geographically handicapped and don't go to film school. I have to discover films by myself, and what I get ahold of is limited to what I can find on DVD (I don't own a VHS player.) There are no revival houses. There is one art house within driving distance. There is a lack of quality at the local multi-plexes. (Lack of quality doesn't manage to stop me from going to the multi-plexes anyhow.) I watch a movie (or two) almost every day. Once a week my brother and I drive the 45 miles to the Broadway. Another day a week I go to the first-run multiplex and see almost anything that has come out out. Yet another day a week I find myself at the discount theatre seeing all the drek I managed to miss at the first run theatres. Another couple of times a month, I'm at Elias' house watching movies with him. Any night I'm home alone I'm watching movies. (Kurosawa and other foreign fare, as long as the missus isn't around.)

I love film. I love everything about Cinema. When I see something perfect on screen, I'm filled to the brim with joy. It fills me with tremendous exhileration to see cinema done right. As I watched Raging Bull, I found myself laughing with it, with it's perfection. Not because it was cheesy or bad, I wasn't laughing at it, I was so overjoyed with it's un-erring perfection that I had to express it somehow and it invariably comes out in awe-struck gasps and laughter.

I don't know how this post turned into a rant about my love for film, but I guess that's okay.

The ending to Raging Bull was literally breathtaking. It ended with that self-reflective etcetera that my favrotie stories always end with. (Kurt Vonnegut novels mainly (more recently, Neal Shaffer has taken to mastering the technique.)) And DeNiro was such a loose cannon as LaMotta...

I could rant like this for days about the film like this, but instead of me doing that let's do this: Please, leave me a suggestion for an obscure film I should seek out.

So in the comments, leave the title of your favorite obscure film and I'll try to get my hands on it.

(Just for clarification, Raging Bull isn't obscure, it just seems like it sometimes.)


Anonymous said...


you should check out a british crime movie called 'Face', it's directed by Antonia Bird and Stars Robert Carlye. and i think it's absorbing, thorght provoking and exhilarating.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of movies...someone on this sight listed Dark City as one of their favorites which prompted me to watch it again.

I saw it in the movies...liked it alot...and never thought about it again.

On re-watching it occurs to me that the Wachowski brothers owe alot to Dark City.

What do you think?

~Foo Fighter~

Bryan said...

I think the Wachowski brothers should get down on their knees and kiss Alex Proyas' feet.

And then commit seppuku.

I think they owe more than a lot to Dark City.

Anonymous said...

1. 12 angry men (henry fonda - amazing)

2. strangers on a train (conceptually incredible) - not obscure it has be be said!

Bryan said...

Those movies are great. I love Hitchcock and Sidney Lumet.

spanky said...

I know it has been years since this post, but here goes:

"A Chinese Ghost Story" - a hong ong gem that has some of the most visually poetic scenes I have seen, mixed with a delightful comedy.

Of course, I also love "The Magnificent Seven" - those actors are at the height of their testosterone, and the score by Elmer Bernstein makes me want to cry at times. SO evocative of the end of the cowboy era that we thought we were inventing in the 90's/2K's.