For some shadowy reason The Ankler‘s Richard Rushfield is flirting with a cynical, pissy mood about Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman. Or, you know, trying it on for size. What follows are portions of the riff (“Luck of The Irishman“) intercut with HE commentary:

Rushfield #1: “This fall, The App That Ate Hollywood will release what in any other company could be either its greatest triumph or the catastrophe that pushes them off the edge. In the storied history of the Netflix’s Drunken Sailor Era (NDSE), the company hasn’t stepped to the table with a bet like this before, the most expensive production in its history. For all we know, it could be the most expensive production in Hollywood history.”

HE response #1: The Irishman is believed to have cost in the vicinity of $159 million. Other films have cost more, but The Irishman‘s tab is arguably the highest ever for a moralistic, character-driven, dialogue-heavy film aimed at the 35-plus, inside-the-beltway “subset of a subset,” as Rushfield puts it.

And yet if there’s any seasoned director in the film realm who has repeatedly proved beyond a whisper of a shadow of a doubt that he’s craftily, creatively, spiritually and physiologically incapable of making a “catastrophe”, it’s Martin Scorsese. Has Rushfield heard something or what? If he had wouldn’t he be obliged to post a (blind) item to that effect?

Rushfield #2: “After the near-miss of the Roma Oscar campaign, the Scorsese bet represents a go-for-broke, everything-for-the-gold, desperate lunge for the trophy hunters…perhaps its last chance in the NDSE. So you would think with [all this] on the line, it would be some sort of major cliffhanger to see how this turns out? But we know exactly how this will go.”

HE response #2: I realize that many people believe that the Best Picture Oscar is Once Upon A Time in Hollywood‘s to lose, but all kinds of tectonic opinion-shiftings are about to kick in. The next three months will be quite the show.

Rushfield #3: “The Irishman will be released on its handful of screens in two cities, where the crowds will flock and sitting through three-plus hours will become a momentary happening for a certain subset of a subset. We’ll have no clue of box office or what that adds up to. The critics will give Marty his de rigueur 98% RT score. Two weeks later, it will play on The App and the following Monday, the App will duly announce it has smashed every record in existence. The parade will march on down to nightly q & a’s at the Egyptian, while neither shareholders nor the Academy nor the entertainment community will have any clue whether this is a ‘success’ by anything recognizable in the catalog of earthbound benchmarks.”

HE response #3 (and originally posted on 8.25.19): “The Irishman will be processed as some kind of ultimate statement about the criminal ethos or community by the undisputed king of gangster flicks…a world-renowned maestro who’s made four great ones (Mean Streets, Goodfellas, The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street) and will soon deliver what I have reason to suspect** could be (and perhaps will be…who knows?) his crowning, crashing, balls-to-the-wall crescendo, albeit in a somewhat sadder or more forlorn emotional key.”

** having read an early draft of Steve Zallian‘s screenplay.