Number 5 – “The King of Comedy” (1982)
I can honestly say that “The King of Comedy” was the first Scorsese film that I fell in love with. The characters are charming yet gloriously over the top, the story makes great work about celebrity worship and what the culture of media does to entertainers without ever taking itself too seriously, and the chemistry between Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis is like a bad married couple where one of them doesn’t see anything wrong. While Scorsese is wonderful at comedy, this is certainly his best black comedy.
Number 4 – “Raging Bull” (1980)
Certainly Scorsese’s best looking movie. I’ve never seen boxing sequences that feel as authentic and visceral as “Raging Bull,” to the point that it feels like I’m the one getting punched. While I’ve only seen this film once years ago, everything in the ring has left a massive impression on how I look at cinematography.
Number 3 – “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)
Never had I ever seen a bigger collection of charming scumbags than in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The way Leonardo DiCaprio sells this little greedy world he lives in is so uproariously loving that its hard not to like all of these despicable pleasure seekers. And that’s the true strength of this film – the love-hate relationship between Leonardo and the audience. We don’t want to root for this self-absorbed creep but his belief in himself and his company is so strong that you kinda want to. Like another film later on this countdown, the film makes a doomed life almost worth living.
Link to original review of “The Wolf of Wall Street” – http://gotengoxgodzilla.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-hopper-7.html
Number 2 – “Taxi Driver” (1976)
Scorsese’s strength has always been taking these loathsome characters that want to be bigger than themselves and make them into strong, relatable people, and it has never been done better than with Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver.” This is a man seeking redemption and purpose without a clue to lead his lonely path, complimented by Robert De Niro’s greatest performance. It is a disturbingly intimate look at a life that most people would want to look away from, yet we can’t turn away from it.
Number 1 – “Goodfellas” (1990)
Not only my favorite Scorsese film, but my pick for the greatest gangster film of all time. The film proudly proclaims the power and attraction of being a gangster, saying that it’s better than being the President, all while showing the greed that comes with that same power as we watch that beautiful attraction turn ugly. There is a love for the gangster in this film, stronger than any other I’ve seen, but never quite to the point of making them into heroes, but more like modern cowboys. “Goodfellas” is Scorsese at his most passionate, and I love it for that.
Link to my original review of “Goodfellas” – http://gotengoxgodzilla.blogspot.com/2015/06/pauls-favorite-films-number-21.html