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The King of Comedy

This will be my final entry for today as I have already gotten off to a great start. Expect a few more every day for the next week or so.


The King of Comedy: 1983 (PG) -10
USA / 20th Century Fox
93% (CF)

I first saw this movie towards the end of what I like to call “The Scorsese Binge.” A period of time after I joined this site where I resolved to watch the rest of Scorsese’s impressive feature filmography. Which amounted to a total of fifteen films. During which time I saw many films that were good like Kundun, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, and Cape Fear (which was on my last Top 50); plus some bad ones (New York New York). But the real stars were quite a few under appreciated gems like After Hours and Bringing Out the Dead. But this movie was my favorite film I saw during this period and most certainly is Scorsese’s most under appreciated work. When most people think of Robert De Niro in a Martin Scorsese movie, usually they think of films like Raging Bull or Goodfellas. These are movies where De Niro plays a very macho character in a film with themes of urban crime and grit; generally also accompanied by an endless stream profanity. This film in many regards is the anti Scorsese / De Niro movie, and for that reason a lot of people stayed away from this movie at the theater. But it is because of these same reasons, why it is also so brilliant. De Niro is not some tough guy, he is a nerd in this film. Urban crime is not discussed, this is not a gangster picture, and the movie is rated PG with very little if any profanity. And while it does have a protagonist who is probably more mentally disturbed then Travis Bickle (let that sink in); he is nowhere near as violent. It does make for some very awkward and creepy moments, but the movie does touch on subject matter that was ahead of its time. Here we have a guy who will do ANYTHING to get his fifteen minutes of fame and the film highlights the part of our culture OBSESSED with celebrities. Dear Lord, Scorsese practically predicted the Octo Mom's, Kardashians, and the like who will go to extreme lengths to get famous. And the lengths Rupert Pupkin went to get his slot in the spot light resemble it more then a little. And credit to Sandra Bernhard for putting on one heck of a performance. A pity she did not do more movies (although I am sure Hudson Hawk helped with that). Either way this is a brilliant and criminally under discussed movie when compared to the rest of Scorsese’s work.