Film-Flam

Another day passes, and another person weighs in on this increasingly dumb Marvel-vs-Martin-Scorsese nonsense. I’m pretty tired of hearing about it, and I’ll bet you the only person more tired than I of the whole thing is Martin Scorsese. Mostly I’m tired because what difference does it make? There’s nobody who has ever said, “I was going to rent Ant Man & the Wasp, but Martin Scorsese said they’re not cinema, so I should watch Casino instead.” And when I hear about an out-of-touch Baby Boomer who has been living in Hollywood half of his life who is telling us that an enormously popular genre of movie that he’s probably never seen aren’t cinema, my first thought is, “Well, he’s not wrong.” 

Marvel movies are about a lot of things, like honor, sacrifice, duty, personal responsibility, loss, family, and grief, but mostly they’re about a guy who dresses in red, white, and blue and calls himself Captain America hitting a large purple man with a hammer. They’re not high art. But perhaps Martin Scorsese or his sidekick Francis Ford Coppola (the director of Godfather Part Three and Bram Stoker’s Dracula who has a lot of nerve passing judgement over what counts as overwrought, pointless spectacle) would answer a question for me: What have gangster movies ever done for the world? Has society grown or become better because Joe Pesci flipped out and shanked a guy to death for making fun of his shine box? Has Marlon Brando sticking cotton balls in his mouth improved humanity in any way?  

Don’t get me wrong, The Godfather and Goodfellas and all of these movies are really good. My senior year in high school I saw Apocalypse Now five times, and it holds up today. I went into The Departed with a bad attitude because I’d seen Internal Affairs, and how dare these Americans think they can remake a—okay, it was actually amazing. These movies are art, I won’t dispute that. But they’re movies, i.e. moving pictures. Yes, these two men and the filmmakers agreeing with them have come up with the most interesting ways to manipulate light against a screen, but that’s all they’re doing. And if you’re one of the people thinking that making yet another gangster movie starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro makes Martin Scorsese a better person than anyone, you need to get your perspective checked right away. 

I love movies, but they’re movies. There’s plenty of things to get furious about right now, but one of them shouldn’t be an old man stating his opinion. 

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