Martin Scorsese interviews his mother and father about their life in New York City and the family history back in Sicily. These are two people who have lived together for a long time and ... See full summary »
The day WWII ends, Jimmy, a selfish and smooth-talking musician, meets Francine, a lounge singer. From that moment on, their relationship grows into love as they struggle with their careers and aim for the top. Written by
Steve Richer <email@example.com>
During the VJ dance sequence when Jimmy (DeNiro) is initially trying to pick up Francine (Minnelli), the cherry in her drink disappears (when she eats it in one shot) but then reappears in her drink only to disappear in subsequent shots. See more »
Do I look like a gentleman to you in this shirt and these pants?
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Scorsese's flop musical (it opened against Star Wars), starring Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli. It's getting more respect nowadays (actually that began in 1981, when a longer version, the version I watched, was released), but it's mostly considered one of his least good movies. I'd definitely agree with that, but it is interesting. The film has two major faults: first, De Niro is simply despicable. I mean, he is in Raging Bull, too, but you always know you aren't supposed to like Jake La Motta. Jimmy Doyle, on the other hand, I think we're supposed to kind of like and sympathize with. But from his first appearance, where he pesters Liza Minnelli to a degree that would even make Gene Kelly in An American in Paris think he's a possible rapist, I just couldn't tolerate him. I kept thinking, "Girl, get away from this guy. He's dangerous. At the very least, he's going to beat you silly." We never quite understand Doyle like we do La Motta or even Travis Bickle. He just comes off as a baby, not as a pathetic schlub. The second flaw is in the film's basic gimmick: the art design is artificial in a way that recalls the classic Hollywood musicals of the '40s and '50s, but the acting and level of realism is much more in line with the gritty films of the time. That in itself is fine, but I kept thinking Scorsese was trying to say something with that. Yet it never comes through what that is. The only answer I can think of is that he was trying to criticize Hollywood in its Golden Age. That's fine by me, but he never brings that argument up in the text. Personally, I think he just wanted to do it and had no deeper reason. So what's good about the film? Well, I do like the art design, even if it never really makes any sense. Liza Minnelli is quite good. The music is pretty good, too. I especially liked the half hour or so that works up to the climax. And that scene in the hospital is exceptional, and the only time where De Niro rises to the talent he normally displays.
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