1030 Scorsese Shorts

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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aox
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
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Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#51 Post by aox » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:53 pm

Why is American Boy not found on the MS Director section on IMDB?

I realize IMDB can be incomplete but this is Scorsese.

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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
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Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#52 Post by swo17 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:59 pm

It's there, between Last Waltz and Raging Bull

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barryconvex
billy..biff..scooter....tommy
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:08 pm
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Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#53 Post by barryconvex » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:56 am

Wow, I never thought this would ever actually materialize. I haven't seen American Boy in at least 15+ years when I rented the VHS (which I think was recorded from a tv broadcast) from the St. Mark's Kim's. Scorsese never talks about it, at least not in the handful of books of interviews I've read, and I feared he might've disowned it. I knew Prince was cast in his part in Taxi Driver because he was Scorsese's dealer but I didn't know American Boy was made as some sort of attempt (if that's the correct word) to procure coke more easily, which I'm guessing means it was made in exchange for Prince delivering to Scorsese when he was out of town or in LA, or that the film was intended as payment in advance for future accommodations or maybe made specifically to settle a debt. I don't know much about Scorsese's personal life during the mid to late 70s and all I've ever read of his drug problem starts and ends with him landing in the hospital after overdosing and being visited by DeNiro, who came to pitch him Raging Bull. I'd be fascinated to hear in more detail about his day to day existence during this period, how cocaine affected his work and relationships and/or how long he was actively using but I'm not holding out much hope for that. Italianamerican struck me as a film made by someone a little too close to his subjects. It's fine but iirc his parents aren't especially interesting and their son isn't about to rake them over the coals in any event but I haven't seen it in years and years either. I'm not familiar with any of his shorts and although I wish Criterion could've found a way to include the Michael Jackson music video, this is still a release I'm very much looking forward to.

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:21 pm

Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#54 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:06 am

I (sadly?) don't have any info regarding Scorsese's drug habits, but in regards to Italianamerican, while it's absolutely true it's obviously made by someone close to his subjects, I disagree about their interest level: I watched it for the first time last November and adored it. It's nice and sweet and short, and maybe I respond well to the temperament of Scorsese's parents, being of Italian descent myself, but they crack me up, and the stories and details they share are great pleasures from an anthropological point of view, and Scorsese's smart enough to not try to do anything too formally tricky with it. And the recipe in the end credits––a wonderful final touch!

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#55 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:16 am

barryconvex wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:56 am
I'd be fascinated to hear in more detail about his day to day existence during this period, how cocaine affected his work and relationships and/or how long he was actively using but I'm not holding out much hope for that.
Yeah this film came out right around his rock bottom and I'm sure it isn't a warm memory. As far as I'm concerned, aside from Scorsese's open comments about his addiction with an understandable restraint (I believe he and Ebert have gone into it a bit in various documented conversations, as friends with that commonality of addiction history), he's tackled his own awareness of the common denominators through his work while indirectly using his own experience enough so to make up for that blind spot of details in his personal life. The Wolf of Wall Street's blend of humor and horror in many scenes, but especially that 'ludes crawl to the car one, hit that sweet spot of objective and subjective agony, destruction, and absurdity, while validating the escapist, compulsive, elevating, and even fun elements. I can't think of many filmmakers who have chosen such a complicated and creative way to approach the subject when there's a clear personal relationship there.

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#56 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:27 am

If you want a glance at the shorts, clips of Italianamerican and The Big Shave turn up in Scorsese's Scene By Scene interview with Mark Cousins from the late 90s.

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#57 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:54 pm

italianamerican, at least, can be seen in full on youtube.

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Close The Door, Raymond
Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 11:33 pm

Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#58 Post by Close The Door, Raymond » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:20 pm

I remember borrowing a double feature of ItalianAmerican and The Big Shave on VHS from the library. It was released by Home Vision/Janus Films.

I first heard about American Boy shortly after I saw Pulp Fiction and read about the injection in the heart scene.

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barryconvex
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Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#59 Post by barryconvex » Sun Feb 16, 2020 4:07 am

I can't think of many filmmakers who have chosen such a complicated and creative way to approach the subject when there's a clear personal relationship there.
I can't think of any off the top of my head. I would think he finds it therapeutic on some level, to examine his own issues with drugs through the eyes of his characters.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#60 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Feb 16, 2020 4:27 am

Perhaps, though of all the filmmakers who tackle substance use, he seems to be the least therapeutic. I don’t believe he identifies as a person in recovery, not that that necessarily matters but Scorsese strikes me as someone who has worked through his own issues with substances and yet is more interested in exploring the idea of perspective. He’s spoken a lot about using objective and subjective camerawork to convey this idea and I think as someone who lived in that deeply subjective destructive space unaware of the consequences of his actions, playing with that subjectivity/objectivity around that topic is a perfect fit for him because the disease of addiction includes such processes that he knows only too well, plus on a less personal level they are a great subject to express his broader interest in the medium and perspective, by way of his prime interest of spirituality- which while seemingly unrelated is absolutely the guiding principle for his obsession with the spectrum of perspective.

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pianocrash
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Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#61 Post by pianocrash » Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:47 am

Italianamerican and American Boy were presented on TCM a few years ago with a lengthy Scorsese intro that I absolutely cannot remember a single second of, so a new interview seems about right (edit: it's on YT in front of American Boy).

And I feel like the last word re: Scorsese's coke years were adequately addressed via Goodfellas' Henry's-last-day-as-a-wiseguy sequence, but I am probably alone with that sentiment.

This set was in the pipeline for what feels like too many years, so I'm glad it's finally happening, especially for American Boy.

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dwk
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Re: 1030 Scorsese Shorts

#62 Post by dwk » Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:09 pm

The "More" has been dropped and the following has been added to the special features:
"Public-radio interview from 1970 with Scorsese"

and the booklet info has been changed to " A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Bilge Ebiri and storyboards, treatments, and correspondence from Scorsese’s archive."

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