Jump to content
sycasey 2.0

Raging Bull

Should Raging Bull remain on the list?  

9 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Should Raging Bull remain on the list?

    • Didn't get me down, Ray.
      6
    • Ain't pretty no more.
      3


Recommended Posts

Paul & Amy go toe-to-toe with 1980’s Martin Scorcese boxing biopic Raging Bull! They learn how De Niro gained so much weight for his role as Jake Lamotta, wonder why there are so many boxing films on the AFI list, and ask if this is Scorcese’s best examination of toxic masculinity. Plus: Cinematographer Michael Chapman talks about bringing the camera into the ring to film the famous fight scenes.

Next week we begin our Best of The Decade miniseries – call in and tell us about one of your favorite films of the decade! Call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824 with your answer. Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. Photo credit: Kim Troxall

This episode is brought to you by Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, AMEX, and Sonos (www.sonos.com).

Share this post


Link to post

I voted for the movie to stay, but it was a closer call than I expected going in. This movie really is a tough sit, a lot of time spent with very unpleasant characters in a not particularly propulsive narrative. The only reason it works at all is probably the superlative craft at play: the direction, acting, photography, editing, sound design, etc. And I would also argue that the film clearly gives the impression that the filmmakers know it's about unpleasant people and want that to be the point you take away from it, as a way of subverting the usual heroic boxing movie narrative about an underdog coming back to win. Nope, this time the guy reaches the top fairly quickly, then slowly deteriorates because of his own psychological issues. This is usually what a lifetime of punching and getting punched for a living actually results in.

I do agree with Paul & Amy that #4 seems too high a placement. Scorsese's other AFI 100 movies carry a lot more cultural cache and influence than this one IMO, as well-made as it is. I'd bump this one further down.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Unfortunate timing to be quoting Roger Ebert's whining (which it is) about John Simon, who died this week. I vastly preferred Simon's writing on film to Ebert's...even if Simon could be more rude than he needed to be at times...as could Ebert, in that passage. Simon could praise the films (and plays, books, music) he loved in his reviews to the skies, and elegantly and intelligently. 

Share this post


Link to post

I went with "yes" fairly easily (at least in my criteria of, "pick the top 25 of the 100 movies on this list").  While I also didn't feel propelled through the narrative this time through like I did with say, Taxi Driver (which I prefer), the craft is stunning and the character feels more... I don't want to say more complex, because LaMotta in many ways isn't a complex guy, but rather, the failings seem more fleshed out in a way that is more similar to more people.  Which isn't surprising since it's based on a real person rather than Oliver Stone.  Granted, I also might write off some of the lack of narrative propulsion for me this time because I'm old and sometimes can be hard to reserve the mental attention to focus on a movie.

To get something that rings as true to me, you'd need something like Cassavettes' Faces or Husbands (if we want to focus exclusively on male shortcomings.  Granted, I'd be perfectly happy having Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and multiple Cassavettes films on this list.  But hey, that's just me).  Swimming with Sharks (hey, that's a movie I haven't heard in conversation in a loooonnnggg time - that's more dark comedy and based in a fictional hyper-realized world).  Eraserhead (which I'd be happy to see on the list) is... about fears of parenthood, and doesn't really have much in common with Raging Bull other than release date and is in black & white (as Amy seemed to realize as she finished her argument for it).

Keep in mind, barring re-appraisal on rewatch for the podcast, I'd be more than happy to kick off Goodfellas when we get to it, which never did anything for me (admittedly, last viewed probably 20 years ago.  Maybe it's aged well! Though, I'm "eh" on The Departed as well.  I think it's just not my genre).

On 11/28/2019 at 10:20 AM, sycasey 2.0 said:

Next week we begin our Best of The Decade miniseries – call in and tell us about one of your favorite films of the decade

The Act of Killing - after looking at my letterboxd list of films I saw from the decade, I think that'd be my choice as the best movie of the decade.

Rian Johnson's pick of The Master would also rank highly up there for me.

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

The Act of Killing - after looking at my letterboxd list of films I saw from the decade, I think that'd be my choice as the best movie of the decade.

I chose the word, "best", since a documentary about members of a death squad who participated in an ethnic and political purge/mass killings is a weird one to describe as a "favorite" no matter how well structured it is.

The premise of how they got the people to talk (let's make a genre film about your time in the death squad) is just... You have to watch it to get a sense of it.  It seems like a lightning in the bottle type of documentary of who it got access to and how it got access - which in turn caused the interviewees to say more than they probably would have otherwise.  The companion piece, The Look of Silence, that follows someone who lost a family member to those mass purges is also a must-watch.

Share this post


Link to post

On "Best of the Decade," I think I'm with one of the recent guests (was it Rian Johnson?) who said The Social Network is the film of the decade. Hard to argue with that, as it seems to have been stunningly prescient about where society was headed.

Some of my other faves:

Black Swan
Mad Max Fury Road
12 Years a Slave
20th Century Women
Lady Bird

Share this post


Link to post
On 12/2/2019 at 12:28 AM, sycasey 2.0 said:

On "Best of the Decade," I think I'm with one of the recent guests (was it Rian Johnson?) who said The Social Network is the film of the decade. Hard to argue with that, as it seems to have been stunningly prescient about where society was headed.

Some of my other faves:

Black Swan
Mad Max Fury Road
12 Years a Slave
20th Century Women
Lady Bird

I definitely think Social Network is the film that best represents the decade from a societal standpoint. It's definitely a good movie. So, I wouldn't complain if someone called it movie of the decade even if it's not my favorite. 

Share this post


Link to post

Finally got around to watching this as my first movie of 2020. Boy... that sure was a movie...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
23 minutes ago, taylor anne photo said:

Finally got around to watching this as my first movie of 2020. Boy... that sure was a movie...

(I specifically haven’t rewatched it yet because I don’t want to. I’ll get to it...soon.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Just now, Cameron H. said:

(I specifically haven’t rewatched it yet because I don’t want to. I’ll get to it...soon.)

Oof but like... do you have to?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
6 minutes ago, taylor anne photo said:

Oof but like... do you have to?

Oh, I have zero desire. The only reason I am is I feel like it would be disingenuous to rank it on my list without watching it again first.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
5 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Oh, I have zero desire. The only reason I am is I feel like it would be disingenuous to rank it on my list without watching it again first.

Not sure if I totally agree but I do respect your process my friend.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
10 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

Oh, I have zero desire. The only reason I am is I feel like it would be disingenuous to rank it on my list without watching it again first.

Well, we're going at this for different reasons.  For me, the point of watching movies on a list is the idea of being exposed or revisiting movies that I think are worth my time in some way.   Ranking on the movies seen seems more like an afterthought or exercise (technically, the people who voted for the actual list didn't rank most of them either).  I don't get to watch as many movies as I'd like, so I'd rather spend what movie watching time I have to watching movies I want to see, rather than go back and confirm movies I strongly suspected I wouldn't like (or have seen and knew I wouldn't like) that I don't/still don't like them.  But I guess it all comes down to a prioritization of time and what on wants to get by following along with the podcast.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×