Saturday, February 20, 2010

#55 Raging Bull: He ain't pretty no more.

1980. dir. Martin Scorsese, starring Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty, Frank Vincent.

Seen it before? No.

This was funny: I turned on this movie, and a couple minutes in, my wife says "Why are they boxing? I thought this was a baseball movie." Uhh, no. That's Bull Durham.

(an aside: No movies about baseball on the list. Probably because so many of them are sappy or boring or ridiculous or just plain terrible. I think the best movie about baseball ever made is Major League but I think this is a minority view.)

And but so anyway. Robert DeNiro plays Jake LaMotta, a middleweight boxer with some pretty serious rage issues. He has a brother played by Joe Pesci and a wife, whom he conveniently discards for a better-looking and nicer woman (Cathy Moriarty). He wins a bunch of fights, but drives everyone away due to his insane jealousy. Oh and he throws a fight because the Mob makes him. (Hey! It's Billy Batts! Now go home and get your fuckin' shinebox.) The movie is (mostly) in black and white for some reason.

Movies like this are why I generally don't like biopics - it's just one thing happening after another, with no real overall story linking them. To quote Jerry Seinfeld, "If I wanted a long boring story with no point to it, I have my life." It is still worth seeing for Robert DeNiro's performance, and the meticulously re-created boxing matches, which are all based on real fights. The guy who plays Sugar Ray Robinson looks like he could mess you up pretty bad. The way the fights are shot are intense and visceral. Oh and apparently Scorsese stole Alfred Hitchcock's idea from Psycho and used Hershey's Syrup for blood.

Position on the list: 72
Movie that ripped off this movie's ending: Boogie Nights. Dirk in front of the mirror reciting his dialogue. But don't worry, there's no giant schlong in this movie.

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