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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Top 10 Martin Scorsese scenes of all time!


Marcus Leshock


Director Martin Scorsese will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement at the upcoming Golden Globe Awards. It's a no brainer when you look at the man's catalog, starting with "Boxcar Bertha" and "Mean Streets," moving on to "Goodfellas," "Cape Fear," and "Casino," and recently "The Departed."

I've compiled my Top 10 moments in Scorsese movie history. He's known for these scenes, series of events that will be stuck in a movie buff's head for eternity.

Here we go...

Honorable Mention: "The Color Of Money" (1986) Pool Scene

Paul Newman and Tom Cruise finally face off in a big match. Scorsese's camera snaps back and forth between the two players. The game is on, and while they each carefully orchestrate their shots, there is chaos in the air, as seen in the spattering of pool balls smacking all over the table. Masterfully edited by Scorsese regular Thelma Schoonmaker.

10. "Raging Bull" (1980) - A Brutal Beating

In this scene, Jake La Motta confronts his wife about her infidelity. Like a sparring opponent, she eggs him on to the point of explosion. The scene finishes in Joey's living room, where Pesci is thrown to the floor and beaten during family dinner. Scorsese is sure to add a tracking shot under the dining room table. The audience needs to see this from a child's perspective. To cap it off, he concludes with a straight medium shot of both children starring in disbelief.

One of the low angle beating shots would be used again in 1990's "Goodfellas."

9. "The Departed" (2006) - Getting to know Frank Costello

I love the scene where Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) walks into the grocery store and first meets Colin Sullivan. It's definitely a nod to earlier films ("Godfather II" and Don Fanucci come to mind), where Costello's character is set up as he shakes down the clerk. But times have changed since the old days, because Costello also lays claim to the man's daughter.

"You get your period yet Carmen?"

8. "Cape Fear" (1991) - Max Cady Goes To The Theater

Robert De Niro will be a frequent contributor to this list. Here, his Max Cady from the film noir remake of "Cape Fear" confronts the Bowden family at the movies. The most disturbing thing about the scene is the film he's laughing at.

7. "Goodfellas" (1990) - Jimmy Plans The Hit

"Goodfellas" is my favorite Scorsese film, one of my favorite movies ever. Here, Robert De Niro's Jimmy takes a few drags on a cigarette. But really, he's planning a massive hit that will reshape the way the crime family is structured. In just 30 seconds, with a little "Sunshine of your Love" thrown in, Scorsese takes Jimmy from thinking about a crazy idea, to fully committed to whacking the people he once loved. Just watch De Niro's eyes.

6. "Gangs of New York" (2002) - Bill the Butcher shares a moment with Amsterdam Vallon

A great example of doing a lot with a little. Here, Scorsese's hands the film over to Daniel Day-Lewis, draped in a tattered American flag, as he confronts Leonardo DiCaprio.

"Cut off his head. Stick it on a pike. Raise it high up so all in the streets can see. That's what preserves the order of things. Fear."

5. "Taxi Driver" (1976) - The Ending

Talk about not glamorizing violence. Travis Bickle returns to the whorehouse to rescue a teenage hooker. Horrible, horrible things ensue.

4. "Goodfellas" - The Club Scene

In one long shot, Scorsese tells the audience who Henry Hill is. He doesn't wait in line, he knows everybody at the hottest spots in town, and by the time the get their table front and center, he has Karen Hill in his pocket.

3. "Taxi Driver" - You Talkin' to Me?

Legend says that Robert De Niro improvised this scene. When it's finished, we will have watched Travis Bickle go from dreaming of being the anti-hero, to becoming a ready killing machine.

2. "Goodfellas" - Am I Funny?

This scene goes from hilarious to terrifying. Again, another few minutes where we see complete change in a character. We witness Joe Pesci's Tommy turn from charming to menacing on his own friend, foreshadowing events that would take place later in the film.

1. "Raging Bull" - Opening Titles

This is Martin Scorsese's crowning achievement. I know what you're thinking, it's the credits! Are you crazy? Probably. But try to watch this without looking away. As the music swells underneath Jake La Motta dancing in the ring, we see man in his element. The ropes could signify Jake trapped in his own personal jail cell, but these ropes are keeping the other things out. That's where the turmoil will be - outside the ring.

Simple. But maybe the best opening sequence ever put on film.