Thursday, September 03, 2009

Scorsese and Comics

Scorsese Thursday

So this evening we went to Frank and Angie's for pizza, and Jamie ordered the Scorsese. It's an obscene amount of pepperoni, a meat which I don't eat much anymore. My stomach is killing me.

Also, am watching "Casino", maybe my favorite Scorsese movie. And not just because its got James Woods playing a hapless dope in bad suits. Just a super-tight movie I can't see any other director pulling off. And I can tolerate Sharon Stone for the duration. It's sort of a minor miracle.

Austin Books Sale

So... I read the Superman comics. I'm a fan. And found myself having to check myself last night at the big comic sale at Austin Books, as I rolled my eyes at an "Amazing Spider-Man" collector who would not get out of my way so I could gain access to the specially priced Jimmy Olsen showcase back issues.

When you realize the crazy voice in your head is making fun of a Spider-Man collector because he's not demonstrating your refined and nichey tastes and is putting together a, let's admit it, sort of obvious collection... when its fairly clear that the zen-dimwit adventures of Jimmy Olsen are a more satisfying reading experience... well, you've officially gone nuts and deserve what ever happens to you.

That said, I did find some great Jimmy Olsen comics on sale, from around the mid-50's in numbering, which I figure puts them at around 1961 or so. Most of the comics I picked up were in nice condition, which is a rarity when it comes to Jimmy Olsens.

I also found an issue of DC Comics Presents that I'd been seeking out for four years. It's issue #87, featuring the first appearance of Superboy Prime, now one of the big-gun villains in the DCU (recently transmorgified as a transparent stand-in for internet dwelling whiney fanboys. A villain only a comic nerd could love.).

Now, if I can find the Swamp Thing/ Superman issue of DC Comics Presents, I'll have found all the issues of that series I sort of considered "must-have's". That doesn't mean I'm done with DC Comics Presents, but it'll be less of a "must seek out" sort of collecting.

Now, I COULD just buy comics online. That would be easy. Its just not much fun. I much, much prefer to pursue the "hunt and seek" model. It makes the discovery part of the fun, and makes ownership of said item have value beyond collector pricing or even the content of the story. When you dive into a bin and come up with a comic you weren't even aware existed, that's a pretty good find. And much, much different from Googling "Jimmy Olsen #54" or whatever and using your PayPal account.


Simon MacDonald said...

I agree buying comics on-line is no fun. Part of the collector mentality is the chase. Diving into those $1 bins looking for those missing issues to complete your run on the original Batman and the Outsiders or something similar.

Nathan said...

Casino??? Your favorite Scorsese movie??? I would place all of these above it:

Taxi Driver
The Last Temptation of Christ
The Age of Innocence

The League said...

Wow, that must be a shocker realizing you're wrong four times over.


I kid. I kid.

All are good movies (I was honestly surprised when I saw Last Temptation of Christ that it was that good. Not sure why).

Goodfellas is great, but I think Casino is a tighter movie. The third act of Goodfellas wanders a bit more.

Taxi Driver is absolutely a great movie. But more limited in scope and easier to contain. Scorsese's ability to manage a sprawling story is a rare commodity, and Casino makes me appreciate all the more.

I confess to being a bit non-plussed by Age of the Innocence. It was, no doubt, a good movie, but I think there's a reason it doesn't run endlessly on cable.

At the end of the day, you're talking about what makes this movie or that movie a fraction more enjoyable than the other, but you're still talking about one of the best four or five directors in the US.

Nathan said...

I was ho-hum about The Age of Innocence the first time I saw it. Then I watched it a couple more times, and really got into Newland Archer's tragic yearning, and how the family and society rallies around May, conspiring like a bunch of mob operatives to kill off Newland and Countess Olenska's relationship.

Precisely because Taxi Driver is limited in scope, I love it so. It's so focused on Travis' alienation and loneliness. Few movies have captured that so well.

I thought Casino had some great moments, but I thought it started to drag after a while. Instead of finding the third act of GoodFellas disjointed, I always get so jazzed up by it. The "helicopters/pasta sauce/dope" sequence is incredible, esp. with its use of music even moreso than the famous use of Layla in the film.

Plus, GoodFellas gives you a glimpse at both the allure and brutality of the mob, prob. from the POV of Scorsese as a wide-eyed kid in Little Italy. Whereas there's really not much that's alluring about the lifestyle of the folks in Casino.

The League said...

yeah, well. Like I said, its a matter of degrees. I certainly think all of these are among the best of American movie-making. Its not like I think any are stink on a stick. I just happen to prefer Casino.

Nathan said...

By the way, I love the way MS uses "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" in CASINO.