The more Martin Scorsese‘s stock as a great American auteur has plummeted, the more he’s focused his energies on celebrating cinema culture by doing interviews and providing commentaries for DVDs. I realize, of course, that Marty is one of this country’s most devoted, impassioned and knowledgable cineastes, and that he’s probably done more than any other working director to preserve and restore great films and hail to that…seriously.
But deep down I think he’s investing in his cinematic-historian thing as compensation for the lack of genuine electric current in his strivings as a narrative filmmaker.
Let’s face it — the two best films Scorsese has made since Goodfellas have been docs — My Voyage in Italy and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan. When I think these days of the Marty I love and truly respect, I think of the guy who directed the great old ’70s and ’80s stuff (i.e., Goodfellas being the last high-water mark), and who edited and assembled these two fine docs. And I certainly don’t think of the guy who directed The Aviator and Gangs of New York and The Age of Innocence and the godawful Kundun.
It’s therefore all part of a downward-spiralling career trend that Scorsese has been hired as a Direct TV film critic “after complaining about Direct TV’s movie review system,” according to this story. This is strictly an elder-statesman emeritus busywork activity. The Departed director will write a monthly column for On DirecTV, a magazine and program guide for people who subscribe to the service. Scorsese’s focus will be on overlooked films (i.e., get ready for torrents of prose about Samuel Fuller, Budd Boetticher, Nicholas Ray, etc.).