Hi students! One of your first assignments is to write about your favorite director. The following is a comment on mine. Notice that I’ve been specific about what I like, I’ve provided titles for films, and dates. You might need to research a bit before you write. The Internet Movie Database http://www.imdb.com is an excellent source of information. Your comment should be about the length of mine to be able to get the full 25 points.
Four years ago, Martin Scorcese, one of the greatest American film directors, finally received an Oscar for The Departed. He had waited patiently and graciously for the Academy to recognize his life-long achievements as a director. I do accept that The Aviator and Gangs of New York were not his best films, but they were very well-made and well-acted. Clint Eastwood , who received the Oscar for Million Dollar Baby the year The Aviator lost, had already received an Oscar for directing. Though Million Dollar Baby is an excellent film, the movie is full of clichés and not very original. Eastwood, much like Robert Redford, makes interesting low-budget films-but not films that will last forever.
Scorcese’s body of work is much more engaging and varied. His films are studied at colleges and universities all over the world, but the Academy had failed to acknowledge his talent. I guess they were waiting to give him a Life Achievement Award, after all Scorcese is sixty-five. His best work, in my opinion, is Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Casino, and of course The Departed. These films span almost four decades of significant films that have impacted and enriched our lives. My favorite film, however, was not critically acclaimed in any way. But, it’s a film that I love and have watched many, many times- The Age of Innocence (1993). Because it is a period piece, very different from the topics Scorcese usually works with, it wasn’t well received. This film, based on the novel of the same name by Edith Wharton-one of my favorite authors, recreates the Gilded Age wonderfully. The main characters played by Michelle Pfeiffer, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Winona Ryder are outstanding. This, of course, is not an action film-and there are no gangsters around. Nevertheless, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable film for those who enjoy classic tales of love. Scorcese also made a film in 1988 about the life of Christ, The Last Temptation of Christ, which was panned-basically because this Jesus got married to Mary Magdelene. This is one movie I disliked-not because of Jesus and Mary Magdalene-but because it seemed artificial and contrived.
In 2005 Scorcese was awarded the French Legion of Honor for his contribution to cinema and in 2007 he was honored by the Kennedy Center. So, after The Departed, the Academy HAD to award him the best director Oscar-one he has deserved for a long long time. So who’s your favorite director?