Movie Monday: The Irishman
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have each been involved in some of the greatest films to ever grace the cinematic screen. De Niro made crowds fall in love with the dapper, handsome and slightly murderous Vito Corleone in The Godfather Pt. II just as much as he made them hate the low life Louis Gara in Jackie Brown.
Scorsese has films like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Departed under his belt, the first of which inspired half of America to search for cocaine and quaaludes, the latter of which won him an Oscar for best director. By themselves alone, they land damn near the top of my list for the greatest actors and directors ever, but together they make up the greatest film making duo of all time.
Starting with Mean Streets in 1973 and ending with Casino in 1995, the two have paired up as director and star in eight feature films. Now, 24 years later, the two are set to meet again in the Netflix original, The Irishman, which is directed by Scorsese and starring De Niro as Irish hitman Frank Sheeran.
Here’s everything we know about the upcoming crime drama along with a list of Scorcese/De Niro masterpieces you should binge before the release.
What We Know
Based on the book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” by Charles Brandt, The Irishman will bring to life the true story of the Irish mob hitman Frank Sheeran, who claims to be involved in the notorious (and still unsolved) disappearance of Union boss Jimmy Hoffa.
Netflix released a teaser trailer which gave us our first glimpse at the star studded cast on July 31st. The notable names include De Niro, whom will be starring as Frank Sheeran, Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa, Joe Pesci as mob boss Russell Bufalino, and Anna Paquin as Sheeran’s daughter Peggy.
As much as it makes my heart fucking pound to see gangster movie greats De Niro, Pacino, Pesci and Scorsese link up for the first time, the discussion following the trailer has mostly been focused on the de-aging technology teased in the final shot.
The budget for The Irishman is a whopping 160 Million bones, the most expensive film Scorsese has ever made, and a large chunk of that is dedicated to the de-aging of De Niro, Pacino and Pesci.
The film is reported to take place over multiple decades, using visual technology to make the three main actors look up to 30 years younger. While the use of this technology has recently become more popular throughout the last several years (for example: Samuel L. Jackson being de-aged for the entirety of Captain Marvel), it still hasn’t been perfected. De-aging all three actors for a significant part of the movie is a risk, and if the technology ends up making them look like creepy Botox guzzling assholes, the highly anticipated film could be a disappointing flop.
The film is set to premiere on September 27th at the opening night of The New York Film Festival. Netflix hasn’t announced a specific date for general release, only that it will be coming to their streaming platform and “select theaters” later this fall. Here's a list of Scorsese/De Niro classics to study up on before the release.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, and Albert Brooks
If you’re going to dive into Scorcese and De Niro’s extensive filmography, there’s no better place to start than Taxi Driver. This legendary film follows the unhinged, ex-military cabbie Travis Bickle as he navigates the dark and complicated world of 1970’s New York.
Beautifully shot and set to an incredible score, Taxi Driver presents Scorcese at peak creativity and De Niro with one of his best performances of all time (landing him a best actor nomination), which still has fans (or maybe just me) yelling “You talkin’ to me?” into their mirrors 31 years later.
Raging Bull (1980)
Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, and Nicholas Colasanto
Raging Bull follows the true story of Italian-American Boxer Jake LaMotta, played by Robert De Niro, but if you think you’re about to see a Rocky copycat, think again. Filled with rage, sex, and violence, Raging Bull may be Scorcese and De Niro’s darkest movie, but also considered by many to be their best. De Niro’s terrifying performance as the jealous and violent LaMotta won him an Oscar for best actor, and in 2007 the American Film Institute named it the fourth best movie of all time.
Starring: Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Braco, and Paul Sorvino
After Martin Scorcese read the non-fiction book "Wise Guys," by Nicholas Pileggi, he called the author and said, "I've been waiting for this book my entire life." In 1990, Scorcese released Goodfellas which is a film based on Pileggi’s book. The movie follows the come up of Ray Liotta's character, Henry Hill, through the ranks of the Italian Mafia, and eventually tracks his downfall after he suffers troubles both legally and personally.
Once I initially watched Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci fight, fuck and snort their way through the New York underworld for 145 minutes, I realized that I had been waiting for this movie my entire life much like Scorcese had been waiting for Pileggi's scripture.
Overall, the film is a gangster-movie lover’s paradise, and is definitively a must watch before you see The Irishman, or even if you don't intend on watching it at all.
Starring: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, James Woods, and Don Rickles
Although Casino may not be considered Scorcese’s best movie, it is still a must see in the iconic duo’s catalog. The film follows sports handicapper Sam Rothstein and Mafioso Nicky Santoro (played by De Niro and Pesci), and paints a picture of the lavish 1970’s gambling lifestyle, as well as the hard knocks that come with it.
As usual, De Niro and Pesci’s on screen chemistry is incredible, and it’s impossible to tear your eyes away as the two win big, then lose hard.
If you're not going to watch this movie for the genius plot line, brilliant direction, and mind rattling acting, then at least check it out for how super swaggered up De Niro's suit game is throughout the entirety of the film.