Every now and then we have to remind ourselves how far everything has fallen. Indeed, collapsed. How no one is even attempting this kind of thing in mainstream cinema — how completely shut down things are now. (Obviously not in cable/streaming but theatrically.) This scene was written and shot 42 or 43 years ago, but listen to it…feel it. Nobody’s even trying to deliver this kind of middle-class angsty stuff now, in large part because dramas about wealthy suffering white people are verboten.
Yes, yes…I agree that Raging Bull should have won the 1980 Best Picture Oscar, but if Robert Redford’s 1980 drama had never happened 42 years ago and was made and released sometime in 2021, are you telling me it wouldn’t be the far-and-away favorite to win Best Picture? Because it totally kicks CODA‘s ass. Don’t even mention CODA in the same sentence.
Originally posted on 5.10.19: The late Alvin Sargent was one of Hollywood’s finest and classiest 20th Century screenwriters, especially in the realm of adult relationship dramas. On the same level as Bo Goldman, William Goldman, Ben Hecht, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, David Rayfiel, Paul Schrader, Robert Towne, etc. Ordinary People was the peak, but the runners-up were The Sterile Cuckoo (’69), Paper Moon (’73), Julia (’77), Straight Time (’78, w/ Jeffrey Boam), Dominick and Eugene (’88), Hero (’92 w/ Laura Ziskin and David Webb Peoples) and Unfaithful (w/ William Broyles Jr. — ’02).
Toward the end of his career Sargent wrote or co-wrote three or four Spider Man scripts. Alas, his kind of movie had fallen out of favor and paychecks were there for the taking.