erik lundegaard

A Personal Journey Through Martin Scorsese's Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert

It was fun comparing and contrasting Siskel and Ebert's top 10 love for Woody Allen recently, so I thought I'd try it with other directors. 

One of the most startling revelations in the documentary “Life Itself,” about the life and times and films of Roger Ebert, comes from Martin Scorsese. He admits he was depressed in the 1980s, but we all knew that. He also admits he was suicidal, and what helped bring him back from the edge was an award he won at the Toronto Film Festival, instigated by Siskel and Ebert. He basically says they helped save his life. Pretty cool. Then they panned “The Color of Money,” which is even cooler.

That said, how much top 10 love did Marty get from S&E? 

A lot. Here's a list of all of Marty's movies from 1973 to 1999, when Gene died.

Scorsese's Movies Siskel  Ebert
Mean Streets (1973) #5 #8
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)   #3
Taxi Driver (1976) #7 #2
New York, New York (1977)    
The Last Waltz (1978)    
Raging Bull (1980) #1 #2
The King of Comedy (1982)    
After Hours (1985)   #2
The Color of Money (1986)    
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) #1  
Goodfellas (1990) #1 #1
Cape Fear (1991)    
The Age of Innocence (1993) #7 #2
Casino (1995)   #5
Kundun (1997)    

He got more love from Roger (8-6) but ... a higher degree of it from Gene? In an 11-year period, 1980 to 1990, Scorsese directed Siskel's #1 movie of the year three times. He also directed one of Siskel's top 10 movies of the 1970s (“Mean Streets”) and his top movie of the 1980s (“Raging Bull”). “Goodfellas” probably wouldn't have been Gene's top film of the 1990s, not with “Fargo” and “Hoop Dreams” around, but it would've made the cut. Third or fourth, I'd guess.

Interesting that Roger has “Alice” in there at #3 for 1974, then “Age of Innocence” at #2 in 1993. These are the more womencentric Scorsese flicks, which tend to get dismissed. Certainly not rewatched. Maybe I should rewatch them.

I also like their big, mid-1980s Scorsese battle. Roger chose “After Hours” as his #2 movie of 1985 while it didn't make Gene's list; Gene chose “Last Temptation” as his #1 movie of 1988 while it didn't make Roger's list. I think the former has the bigger cult following, but “Last Temptation” got lost amid all the fundamentalist handwringing. Another movie worth revisiting. 

Which of Marty's movies would have made my top 10 list? I don't know. All I know is the greatest double feature I've ever seen happened at the Neptune Theater in 1992, when I saw—both for the first time—“Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas.” Doesn't get much better than that.

Raging Bull

They didn't agree in 1980, when it was Gene's #1 and Roger's #2 movie of the year, but by 1990 they both agreed “Raging Bull” was the #1 movie of the decade.

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Posted at 12:21 PM on Wed. Sep 03, 2014 in category Movie Reviews  
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