January 29, 2007

To Be Good, But Not Great


Over the weekend, Cinecultist finally got around to seeing the Oscar-nominated Martin Scorsese movie, The Departed. It'd been on the list for quite awhile now, especially because we enjoyed the source material Infernal Affairs, but just hadn't made the time for a screening. Now with the end of the year nominations out, CC was certain it would end up a front runner, particularly for best director, and then we'd be unable to really weigh in confidently on its merits. Will this be Marty's year? That's the question on everyone's mind, or at least everyone who has such obsessive Oscar conversations as the Cinecultist or Dave Karger.

While eating dinner at a totally old school "red sauce" Italian joint afterwards (in other words the perfect food to digest Scorsese with), CC came to the following conclusions. The Departed is not a great Scorsese picture, like Goodfellas or Raging Bull, but it's good. More importantly, it's better than some of the very sub-par product he's been giving us in the last few years (yes, Gangs of New York, we're looking at you). Since Oscar likes to reward whole careers rather than a single film (except for in the best supporting actress category, that is), 2006 could be a respectable and reasonable year to reward Scorsese for services rendered. He's made an entertaining thriller which touches upon his signature themes of class and ethnicity, as well as elicited some excellent performances from a rich band of actors. It may not be a truly lasting movie that will be considered cinema art, but CC is fine with that. Good but not great is okay for someone like Marty.

Further side notes: Is there anything Alec Baldwin can do lately that isn't completely wonderful? Okay, maybe Mini's First Time, but that movie was just plain BAD. Most everything is better when he's on screen. Also, the costume designer who could put Vera Farmiga in both those amazing little panties for her make-out with Leo scene and the worst three piece suit ever in two other sequences is both brilliant and a fool.

Posted by karen at January 29, 2007 7:05 PM
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