Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Movie Talk
Reload this Page >

Did anyone read William Goldman's bashing of Martin Scorsese?

Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

Did anyone read William Goldman's bashing of Martin Scorsese?

Old 02-20-03, 12:18 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1,571
Did anyone read William Goldman's bashing of Martin Scorsese?

He wrote something in Variety (?) where he called Gangs of NY a mess and said that Scorsese shouldn't win the oscar for best director.

Did anyone read it?
Kube is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 12:21 PM
  #2  
Banned
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: "Sitting on a beach, earning 20%"
Posts: 6,154
I don't know if he'll win the oscar or not, but he doesn't deserve to. GONY was a mess.

On the other hand, Goldman is far from infallible himself. Marathon Man has got to be the worst script ever.

Have you got a link to the story?
Pants is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 12:25 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1,571
I don't have a link hope some one has....

ANd I read that Speilberg was working behind the scenes to help Scorsese get one...
Kube is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 12:57 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 3,324
I love William Goldman. He's one of the few people who tell it like it is. His deconstruction of Saving Private Ryan in Premiere was one of the best pieces of writing on that film I've ever read. He put into words all of the problems I felt with that film and had trouble expressing. I'd love to read his opinion on GONY as I also felt that film was a total mess and have trouble expressing exactly why. I'm Goldman pinpointed it.
sherm42 is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 01:02 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Hokeyboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 18,986
I haven't forgiven Goldman since his 1988 hatchet-job bio of John Lennon. He can rot.
Hokeyboy is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 01:03 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 3,324
Here it is:

Crashing the party for poor Marty

by William Goldman

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am sick unto death of feeling guilty about Martin Scorsese.
Here are the names of five great directors: Charlie Chaplin, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles. What do they have in common? For all their fame and brilliance, none has won the Oscar for best direction.

Neither has Scorsese.

Should the five have won? Absolutely. But it's not a mortal sin they didn't. Should Scorsese? You bet. A couple of times. ("Taxi Driver," obviously, "Raging Bull," obviously. But I fell in love with his talent earlier on, with "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.")

This year, more than ever, it's like there's a Byzantine plot to get Scorsese the honor. As if the phonier critics all dropped to their knees and looked up at the Hollywood Gods, going in unison, "Oh pwease, we twied so hard wif 'Kundun,' we even twied wif 'Bwing Out the Dead,' so pwease pwease wet Marty win this year, he wants it sooooo bad."

That he does. The Hollywood parties he is attending must make him want to barf, but there is, glad-handing anyone in the vicinity who is an Academy member who might throw him a vote.

Miramax, the greatest movie company of the era (and the most brutal -- and maybe they have to go together) is so all-out for Scorsese it's heart-stopping. They do a brilliant job and I honor that -- but I will never forgive them for hyping the Oscar to Roberto Benigni, the scummiest award in the Academy's history. And I suspect Scorsese will win, too.

But he sure doesn't deserve it, not this year -- "Gangs of New York" is a mess.

Please do not sputter on about some of the visuals -- my God, bring Ed Wood back from the dead, give him a hundred mil-plus to play with, he'd give you some visuals, too.

No, the problem with "Gangs of New York" is nothing new in Scorsese's work -- he has never been secure with a story. No one's much better with actors or look or camera placement. It's that most crucial director's tool that haunts him. The reason his movies do not make much, if any, money is not because he is dealing with esoteric subjects that are above the average moviegoer's head. It's the clumsy storytelling that frustrates us, sending us out of the theater dissatisfied.

"Gangs" is in trouble from the outset. In the opening scene Leo, at about age 10, is watching his daddy shave. There is a cut. The razor is given to the kid and then the father intones the following: "The blood stays on the blade."

I have a friend who is so giddy with the sheer pretentiousness of that line that he says it to everyone. You say "Good morning." He answers, "Yes, and the blood stays on the blade."

And please do not blame the screenwriter for that. Because when you are dealing with a giant ape director, they get what they want. And Scorsese chose to open the story that way.

What story though? The lack of an answer is what demolishes the movie. Is it about gang warfare? Family revenge? Irish immigration? The Civil War? The draft? Political corruption? Prejudice? These subjects and more, all of them valid enough alone, flicker in and out, never accumulating or connecting one to the other.

One example to indicate the problem: Two hours and seven minutes into the film, folks, there is a scene between Leo and the political boss of New York -- and they are discussing a subject never mentioned before in the movie and which you could not guess if I gave you the rest of my lifetime: who is going to run for Sheriff.

For 10 minutes, an amazing wasted length of movie time, and especially damaging this late into a pic, we deal with the election of the sheriff and his subsequent murder and Leo eventually challenging Daniel Day-Lewis to combat.

But we knew from the first sequence that this would happen because Day-Lewis killed Leo's pop.

So now the fight, yes? Nope. Not in this baby. Ten additional minutes drudge on before they get to it.

OK, a word about fights in the 2002 films: It's the worst year ever. I thought nothing would ever beat "Insomnia" with Pacino in climactic combat vs. that tower of power, Robin Williams,. Eleven feet tall, the two of them together, tops.

But this fight was worse -- because you couldn't see it. Scorsese has hidden it behind the smoke of cannon fire. Nothing to make John Wayne worry.

But the battle is still better than the way the movie ends, with a disgraceful shot of the World Trade Center.

I guess if you can't move people legitimately, you do what you have to do…

Last edited by sherm42; 02-20-03 at 01:14 PM.
sherm42 is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 01:39 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 1,502
I love Martin Scorsese and agree with every word in that article.
pjflyer is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 01:41 PM
  #8  
Moderator
 
Geofferson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: The Village Green
Posts: 39,176
Good article. Goldman has some valid points.
Geofferson is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 01:43 PM
  #9  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 784
I too agree with Goldman's criticisms on the film.

Also, there's no need for people to get defensive on the film and start to bash Goldman.. At least he is giving reasons why he didn't like the film, as opposed to some people who just say "Gangs of New York sux."
CitizenKaneRBud is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 01:55 PM
  #10  
Banned
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: "Sitting on a beach, earning 20%"
Posts: 6,154
Originally posted by CitizenKaneRBud
as opposed to some people who just say "Gangs of New York sux."
I hope that's not directed at me. While I said simply "GONY was a mess" I've stated elsewhere in detail why I didn't like it.
Pants is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 02:51 PM
  #11  
MrN
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: B.W.I.
Posts: 3,699
I think Scorsese is one of the best directors still making movies, and he also is one of the biggest film fans out there. But, GONY was a mess.
MrN is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 03:12 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Jaymole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: N.Y, N.Y
Posts: 9,198
I haven't forgiven Goldman since his 1988 hatchet-job bio of John Lennon. He can rot.
I'm not sure if you were joking or not, but if you're not, it was Albert Goldman who wrote that book.
Jaymole is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 07:42 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New Jersey, where the state motto should be Leave No Tree Standing
Posts: 2,073
I love Scorsese and liked Gangs of New York, but I agree with that article. When my friends asked me what I thought of the film, the only thing I could think of was "messily brilliant". He reached for the fences, to use a cliche, and fell short.

As for Goldman, my favorite article of his was his justification for why Titanic was the only legitimate choice of the five nominees for Best Picture in 1997. I completely agreed with his assessment of the ending of L.A. Confidential as a copout, and as much as I loved the film, that ending bothered me to no end.

Inconceivable!
RevLiver is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 07:56 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Texas! Damn right.
Posts: 11,089
Dude, Marathon Man rocks!
Mutley Hyde is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 08:41 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 16,666
He's bashing "The Gangs of New York", not Martin Scorsese.
LBPound is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 09:28 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: NYC
Posts: 480
Originally posted by sherm42
I love William Goldman. He's one of the few people who tell it like it is. His deconstruction of Saving Private Ryan in Premiere was one of the best pieces of writing on that film I've ever read. He put into words all of the problems I felt with that film and had trouble expressing. I'd love to read his opinion on GONY as I also felt that film was a total mess and have trouble expressing exactly why. I'm Goldman pinpointed it.

Got an online link? I want to read that.
Phyre is offline  
Old 02-20-03, 10:29 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1,571
Thanks for posting the article.

Goldman has interesting points BUT

that's why they are talking about giving him the Best Director Aware and NOT the best picture award. That's why there are separate categories for different disciplines.

They want to reward his overall vision of NY and his ability to capture the environment, the culture etc..
Kube is offline  
Old 02-21-03, 12:38 AM
  #18  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,303
What that arrogant bag of wind fails to do in HIS article, is name a subtable candidate other than Scorsese for the 2002 year. The prospects and suspects(I have yet to see the Pianist, so I have no opinion to offer on Polanski):

Rob Marshall: Tough to give it to him, considering he's done relatively minor and benign adaptation to preexisting stage material. Not a knock by any means, just not Best Director work, especially over Scorsese

Stephen Daldry: Workman like work, and I'm not on the anti-Hours Bandwagon, but it didn't overwhelm me personally. But I put as much stock in the writing and editing of this film, as his direction, but he did lead some fine performances. Doesn't overwhelm Scorsese

Pedro Almodovar: This was a job I'd consider to Scorsese's. Simply a great film, should have been nominated for best pic over the Two Towers. Possibly the best work from one of the great directors of the last decade or so. But I can't see the Acadmey voting him, and he's not a total slam dunk, but if I had a vote, it'd go here. Terrifically paced and nuanced drama, with lovely performances from all. He should get his reward in the Screenplay category, and if there's any justice, he'll take some gold home one way or the other.

Peter Jackson: Legitimate contender, had much of the same epic obstacles as Scorsese in dreaming big. Hard to give it to him considering he wasn't nominated, and should probably win next year, but I'd say his work was every bit as good as Marty's.

PT Anderson: Too polarizing a filmmaker thus far. Folks tend to love or hate his work, and that will make garnering as much as a nomination a chore.

Todd Haynes: Interesting choice, had a real plan going into this modest film, and may have exectued better than any director other than Marshall, based on getting concept to screen. But much like Marshall, he seemed to very generously borrow from the Douglas Sirk films, and while a very intriguing choice, I don't think it was better work than Scorsese.

I mean, next to this list, it's not like anyone's getting shafted by a Scorsese Oscar here. I'd love to see Aldmovar, but I'm realistic and realize he's not going to win. Not a film is nominated, nor has been produced in this or any year that doesn't have flaws. GONY is no different. But he needs to clarify who's getting shafted by the legend getting his gold.
The Nature Boy is offline  
Old 02-21-03, 12:57 AM
  #19  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 2,515
Originally posted by Jaymole
I'm not sure if you were joking or not, but if you're not, it was Albert Goldman who wrote that book.


Just the mere possibility that he's been holding a grudge since '88 due to a misremembered name... Delicious.
ipkevin is offline  
Old 02-21-03, 04:38 AM
  #20  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 3,807
Maybe I am alone, but I loved Gangs of New York and strangely enough, I am NOT a big Scorsese fan. In fact, I tend to think he's a little overrated. But those two combos probably put me in the very small minority I guess.
badger1997 is offline  
Old 02-21-03, 10:23 AM
  #21  
DVD Talk Hero
 
slop101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: So. Cal.
Posts: 39,857
Was GONY perfect? No. Not even close.

Did it have some good parts? Yes.

I tend to look at the film more like "the glass is half-full" than "half-empty". It had enough good parts to sort of redeem it in my eyes. The bad and messy parts, which it had in spades, weren't numerous enough or bad enough to destroy the whole movie.

But does Scorsese deserve the Oscar for this film? I don't think so.

I kind of hope he doesn't get it for this, but instead for a better film that he'll do later on. He's not going anywhere - he'll keep making more films - they should wait until he makes another one that actually deserves the award, instead of giving him a consolation prize this year.
slop101 is offline  
Old 02-21-03, 10:35 AM
  #22  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 3,324
Originally posted by Phyre
Got an online link? I want to read that.
I wish. I looked all over the internet for it and couldn't find it. It was reprinted in one of his books though.
sherm42 is offline  
Old 02-21-03, 10:43 AM
  #23  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Matt925's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 1,811
I thought Gangs of New York was easily one of the five worst movies I saw all year, but I don't know about this comment:

"The reason his movies do not make much, if any, money is not because he is dealing with esoteric subjects that are above the average moviegoer's head. It's the clumsy storytelling that frustrates us, sending us out of the theater dissatisfied."

So all of his movies feature "clumsy storytelling"? Casino is "clumsy storytelling"? I'm sure that's not what he meant, but that is pretty poor writing.

Originally posted by The Nature Boy
What that arrogant bag of wind fails to do in HIS article, is name a subtable candidate other than Scorsese for the 2002 year.
The article wasn't about who the best director of the year was, it was about how ridiculous the critical masturbation over Scorsese was.

Originally posted by Kube
that's why they are talking about giving him the Best Director Aware and NOT the best picture award. That's why there are separate categories for different disciplines.

They want to reward his overall vision of NY and his ability to capture the environment, the culture etc..
I don't see how someone could be "Best Director" if the movie isn't any good. Reward the production designer and historical consultants for the environment and everything.
Matt925 is offline  
Old 02-21-03, 11:06 AM
  #24  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,000
Originally posted by Kube
Thanks for posting the article.

Goldman has interesting points BUT

that's why they are talking about giving him the Best Director Aware and NOT the best picture award. That's why there are separate categories for different disciplines.

They want to reward his overall vision of NY and his ability to capture the environment, the culture etc..

Uh, no. The knocks against GONY, and specifically Goldman's criticisms of the films, are all areas that the director is responsible for. That was his point, and you failed utterly to comprehend it. As he said, if you resurrected Ed Wood and gave him $100 million, he'd be able to deliver some pretty snazzy visuals and costumes. The director's job is to tell the story. A movie can be well directed and not be a great film- that is why there are separate categories for the awards- but GONY is not an example of one.

Goldman is saying that GONY is neither a great film, nor a particularly well-directed film. He says that it is nominated for best director not because "They want to reward his overall vision of NY and his ability to capture the environment, the culture etc.. ". According to Goldman, Scorcese has been nominated because people feel bad that he hasn't yet won a best director Oscar. Given the Academy's history, and Miramax's history, this doesn't sound at all far-fetched.
Five Cent Deposit is offline  
Old 02-21-03, 02:01 PM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 573
Although a decent article, I still have to disagree overall.

Ed Wood could not make a Martin Scorsese movie, even with $100 million. Look no further than Joel Schumacher for that proof.

Will he win because of the times he was screwed over? Probably. Should he win because he made an ambitious, flawed, but still brilliant film? I think so. GONY is a classic case of shooting for the moon but still reaching the stars. The only real storytelling flaw of the film is that Scorsese is too passionate about his subject matter and fills the canvas with TOO much story, TOO much action. For me, that's just not really a problem. I was riveted for every moment of this film. Still not as good as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, or GoodFellas, but still better than any neat, clean, formulaic Hollywood product (I wonder when they'll start selling Chicago dolls at Kay Bee).

I'm sorry, I just can't accept a criticism of such a daring, uncompromising filmmaker from a guy who's best work (Butch & Sundance) was still a buddy picture, and who is responsible for such by-the-numbers scripts like The Ghost and The Darkness. Also, the man wrote the book Magic, for God's sake. This is like Salieri carping that Mozart's latest symphony isn't up to his other stuff.
mookyman is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.