It’s the 89th reel of COL Movies, where the boys go back in time to revisit Martin Scorsese’s “epic” “Raging Bull”. Did the combo of DeNiro and Pesci hold our interest for 2 and a half hours? In the theater, they head to check out Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire”. Can Crush from the American Gladiators carry a big budget movie? And in trailers, they check out “A Cabin In the Woods” from Cloverfield’s writing team of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. Will they pack the theater with another “young adults in peril” flick? All this and our thoughts on the 2012 Oscar Nominations. It’s the 89th reel of COL Movies…”Give the boo-boo a kiss and make it better.”
The Past: Raging Bull (1980)
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Fresh, 92% Audience
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty and Joe Pesci
- When Paul Schrader was working on the script, he put in numerous shocking moments such as Jake LaMotta masturbating and dipping his penis into a bucket of ice. Schrader later admitted that the film held less personal significance to him than it did for Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese and he added the shocking material just to see what he could get past the studio. Ultimately, the masturbation was cut and, instead of putting his penis into the ice, La Motta pours the ice down his underwear.
- Mardik Martin wrote the most traditional, linear script for the film (more of a traditional Jake La Motta biography), but backed off on the project due to exhaustion after months of research. Paul Schrader made several changes to the script, including making, Joey La Motta, Jake’s brother, the second most prominent character (by combining his actions with that of Jake’s friend, ‘Peter Savage’) and starting the story in the middle of La Motta’s career rather than at the beginning. Although they kept Schrader’s overall structure, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro spent 5 weeks rewriting his version of the script until they had exactly the film they wanted (Scorsese and De Niro are uncredited as screenwriters for the film).
- Robert De Niro read the autobiography of Jake LaMotta while filming The Godfather: Part II in 1974 and immediately saw the potential for a film to make with his collaborator, Martin Scorsese. It took over four years for De Niro to convince everyone, including Scorsese, to get on board for this film.
- Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci are really punching each other in the famous “hit me” scene.
- To achieve the feeling of brotherhood between the two lead actors, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci actually lived and trained with each other for some time before filming began. Ever since then, the two have been very close friends.
- Sound effects for punches landing were made by squashing melons and tomatoes. Sound effects for camera flashes going off were sounds of gunshots. The original tapes were deliberately destroyed by the sound technicians, to prevent then being used again.
- Robert De Niro accidentally broke Joe Pesci’s rib in a sparring scene. This shot appears in the film: De Niro hits Pesci in the side, Pesci groans, and there is a quick cut to another angle. See also Casino.
- Jake (Robert De Niro) asks Joey (Joe Pesci) “Did you fuck my wife?”. Director Martin Scorsese didn’t think that Pesci’s reaction was strong enough, so he asked De Niro to say “Did you fuck your mother?”. Scorsese also did not tell Pesci that the script called for him to be attacked.
- To visually achieve Jake’s growing desperation and diminishing stature, Martin Scorseseshot the later boxing scenes in a larger ring.
- Robert De Niro gained a record 60 pounds to play the older ‘Jake La Motta’, and Joe Pesci lost weight for the same scene (De Niro’s movie weight-gain record was subsequently broken by ‘Vincent D’Onofrio (I)’, who gained 70 pounds for his role as Pvt. Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket).
- In preparation for his role, Robert De Niro went through extensive physical training, then entered in three genuine Brooklyn boxing matches and won two of them.
- To show up better on black-and-white film, Hershey’s chocolate was used for blood.
- The original script was vetoed by producer Steven Bach after he told Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro that Jake LaMotta was “a cockroach”. De Niro and Scorsese took a few weeks in Italy to do an uncredited rewrite of the script, during which time the two found some sympathetic aspects of La Motta, which eventually satisfied the producers.
- According to Martin Scorsese, the script took only two weeks to write on the island of St Martin in the Caribbean.
- Was voted the third greatest sports movie of all time after Rocky and Bull Durham by ESPN.
- Although only a few minutes of boxing appear in the movie, they were so precisely choreographed that they took six weeks to film.
- Joe Pesci, at the time a frustrated, struggling actor, had to be persuaded to make the film rather than return to the musical act he shared with fellow actor Frank Vincent.
- Martin Scorsese’s father Charles Scorsese is one of the mob wiseguys crowding the LaMotta brothers at a Copa nightclub table.
- While preparing to play Jake LaMotta, Robert De Niro actually met with La Motta and became very well acquainted with him. They spent the entire shoot together so De Niro could portray his character accurately. La Motta said that De Niro has the ability to be a contender, and that he would have been happy to be his manager and trainer.
- Actor John Turturro makes his film debut as the man at table at Webster Hall. Both Turturro and Robert De Niro have played characters named Billy Sunday. De Niro as Master Chief Leslie W. ‘Billy’ Sunday in Men of Honor, and Turturro as Coach Billy Sunday in He Got Game.
- Beverly D’Angelo auditioned for the role of Jake’s wife, Vicki LaMotta. She also auditioned for the role of Patsy Cline in Coal Miner’s Daughter at around the same time.Martin Scorsese chose Cathy Moriarty (whom the producers saw before D’Angelo), freeing D’Angelo to appear in “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.
- The role of Jake’s wife was the last to be cast.
- Sharon Stone also auditioned for the role of Vicki LaMotta.
- Martin Scorsese claims that nothing should be read into his using the On the Waterfront quote. Jake LaMotta, in his declining years, used to appear on stage reciting dialogue from television plays and even reading William Shakespeare. According to Scorsese, he’d planned to use something from “Richard III” (because in the corresponding real-life event LaMotta used it), but director Michael Powell suggested that “Richard III” wouldn’t work in the context of the film because the film in general and LaMotta in particular are inherently American. Scorsese picked the lines from “On the Waterfront”.
- Some scenes and phrases are from On the Waterfront because Jake LaMotta admired Marlon Brando’s character and used to quote the movie in real life.
- Martin Scorsese was worried about the On the Waterfront recitation because he knew he’d be inviting critical comparison between the scene in this film and the original film’s scene. Robert De Niro read it in various ways. Scorsese chose the take in which the recitation is extremely flat specifically to mute the comparison, and to suggest that it is simply a recitation and not indicative of how Jake LaMotta felt about his brother.
- No original music was composed for the film. All of the music was taken from the works of an Italian composer named Pietro Mascagni. Martin Scorsese selected it because it had a quality of sadness to it that he felt fit the mood of the film.
- The biblical quote at the end of the film (“All that I know is that I was blind, and now I can see”) was a reference to Martin Scorsese’s film professor, to whom the film was dedicated. The man died just before the film was released. Scorsese credits his teacher with helping him “to see”.
- The home movie sequences were in color to make them stand out from the rest of the film. Another reason was the feeling of reality, because at the particular time represented by the home movies, 8mm color home movie cameras were very popular.
- The rooftop wedding scene was directed by Martin Scorsese’s father after he fell ill while filming.
- In 1978, when Martin Scorsese was at an all-time low due to a near overdose resulting from an addiction to cocaine, Robert De Niro visited him at the hospital and told him that he had to clean himself up and make this movie about a boxer. At first, Scorsese refused (he didn’t like sports movies anyway), but due to De Niro’s persistence, he eventually gave in. Many claim (including Scorsese) that De Niro saved Scorsese’s life by getting him back into work.
- Was voted the 5th Greatest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
- When the real Jake LaMotta saw the movie, he said it made him realize for the first time what a terrible person he had been. He asked the real Vicki “Was I really like that?”. Vicki replied “You were worse.”
- Martin Scorsese had trouble figuring out how he would cut together the scene when La Motta last fights Robinson (in particular when he is up against the ropes getting beaten). He used the original shot-list from the shower sequence in Psycho to help him figure it out. Scorsese later commented that it helped most in that the scene was the most horrific to him.
- According to Martin Scorsese in the “Raging Bull” DVD, this was going to be one of eight boxing movies to come out in 1980.
- Martin Scorsese shunned the idea of filming the boxing scenes with multiple cameras. Instead, he planned months of carefully choreographed movements with one camera. He wanted the single camera to be like “a third fighter”.
- Robert De Niro’s performance as Jake LaMotta is ranked #10 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
- Neither Director of Photography Michael Chapman nor Martin Scorsese could get the right look for the amateur LaMotta home movies that comprise the only color sequences in “Raging Bull”. Both men gave in to their natural instincts for camera placement and framing, which was the antithesis of what they wanted to achieve. They solved the problem by asking Teamsters working on the set to handle the camera in order to give the 16mm film the appropriate feel of amateur home movies.
- Jake LaMotta’s autobiography, co-written with friend ‘Peter Savage’, omitted mention of his brother, as did Mardik Martin’s original screenplay. Unhappy with the result, the producers hired Paul Schrader to restructure it, and in the course of doing research on La Motta, the writer came across an article on the relationship between Jake and his brother Joey LaMotta. Schrader incorporated the relationship into the revised screenplay, co-opting the Savage character and creating a composite of the two men in the person of Joey La Motta. That relationship became the central plot theme in the revised screenplay and one of the primary reasons for the film’s success.
- Frank Vincent also plays a character named Batts in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.
- According to Martin Scorsese on the DVD, when first screening some test 8mm footage of Robert De Niro sparring in a ring, he felt that something was off about the image. Michael Powell, who at that time had become something of a mentor and good friend to Scorsese, suggested that it was the color of the gloves that was throwing them off. Realizing this was true, Scorsese then decided the movie had to be filmed in black and white.
- The word “fuck” is used 114 times in this film.
- In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #4 Greatest Movie of All Time.
- Ranked #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Sports” in June 2008.
- Was voted the 4th best film of all time in AFI’s 10th anniversary of the 100 Years… 100 Movies series.
- ‘Nicholas Colasonto”s character, Tommy Como, is based on the real-life mobster Frankie Carbo, who basically ran all boxing in New York City during the 1940s and ’50s. He eventually was sent to prison for conspiracy and extortion after being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy.
- Cathy Moriarty’s film debut.
- When Martin Scorsese visited some boxing matches he was immediately struck by two images: the blood-soaked sponge wiped across the fighter’s back, and the pendulous drops of blood hanging off the ropes.
- Cinematographer Michael Chapman drew inspiration for his monochrome camerawork from the famous Weegee snapshots of 50s New York.
- The boxing scenes amount to barely 10 minutes of the film’s running time.
- Executives at United Artists were very reluctant to finance the film as they were perturbed by the extreme profanity and violence in the screenplay. With some justification, as it transpired: at one point it was doubtful whether the film would be released in the UK at all due to its extreme nature.
- The majority of the film with La Motta as a younger man – including the boxing scenes – were shot first. Then production shut down for several months, giving de Niro enough time to bulk up for his role as the older and much fatter La Motta. In those months, de Niro gained 60 pounds. It was de Niro’s idea to do it this way.
- The later scenes with a more weightier La Motta were generally shot with the minimum of takes as ‘Robert de Niro’ would become exhausted much more quickly.
- The reasons why the film was made in black and white were mainly to differentiate it from Rocky as well as for period authenticity. Another reason was that Martin Scorsesedidn’t want to depict all that blood in a color picture.
- The film was edited in Scorsese’s New York apartment every night after filming for the day had finished.
- United Artists were very frustrated by the amount of time Scorsese took during post-production, thinking he was unnecessarily slow. Scorsese took unusual care as he genuinely believed that “Raging Bull” would be his last film and so he didn’t want to compromise his vision. Conversely, as he neared completion, he also felt that the film was a form of cinematic rebirth for him. For this reason, he dedicates the film to his college film professor Haig Manoogian “with love and resolution”. Manoogian had helped Scorsese get his first film produced.
- United Artists were unable to actively promote the film for awards consideration as it was then embroiled in serious financial trouble following the _Heaven’s Gate (1981)_ debacle.
- This marked the first time since his first film “Who’s That Knocking on My Door?” thatMartin Scorsese was able to work with his film school friend Thelma Schoonmaker due to her having been denied membership in the then all-male Motion Picture Editors Guild.
- The cross that once hung over Martin Scorsese’s parents’ bed can be seen hanging over Jake and Vicky’s bed.
- Most of the fight scenes are shot through an intense light source to obtain a slight mirage within the image.
- La Motta’s color family home movie sequence was personally scraped by Martin Scorsese with a coat-hanger to ensure a rough, naturalistic feeling.
- Paul Schrader was directing Hardcore when ‘Robert de Niro’ talked to him about needing help with a script. The first thing Schrader did was drive down to Key West and check the archives of a local newspaper. It was there that he learned that there were two La Mottas, something which is not referenced in Jake’s autobiography. That was when Schrader knew he had found the hook for the screenplay.
- Martin Scorsese was at one stage so startled by ‘Robert de Niro”s weight gain that he shut down production, fearing for the actor’s health.
- A rarity at the Academy Awards, when Robert De Niro won the Best Actor Oscar for playing the fighter Jake LaMotta, the real-life Jake LaMotta was in the audience.
- The scene where Vickie is first introduced to Jake by the chain-linked fence was completely improvised by Cathy Moriarty and Robert De Niro.
- (March 31, 1981) Robert De Niro’s Best Actor Oscar win created a rarity in the Academy’s history, in that the real-life Jake LaMotta was in the audience witnessing the victory. That same evening Sissy Spacek won her first Best Actress Oscar for playing singer Loretta Lynn who was also in the pavilion audience, making the gala event unique.
- Robert De Niro did as many as 1000 rounds when training with the real Jake La Motta. He thought De Niro had what it took to become a professional contender.
- In each Scorsese movie featuring either of them, Frank Vincent and Joe Pesci beat one another. In Raging Bull and Goodfellas, Pesci’s character beats Vincent. Vincent finally gets revenge by beating Pesci in Casino.
- Language! Accents and Subtitles oh my
- anyone else think De Niro looked like Kramer?
- Best Sports movies?
What We’ve Learned:
- An overcooked steak, defeats its own purpose
- You can’t fight Joe Lewis if you have small hands
- Madison Square Garden seemed a whole lot smaller in the 1940’s
- Always check for ID!
Jeff: If I need a movie to fall asleep to, I’ve found the perfect one. The excessive New Jersey accents annoyed me to no end. The dialog was terrible and get made me disinterested in everything in this film. Sure, the technical film making aspects were good but I felt no sympathy for any of these character. Again, it’s a good movie to put you to sleep.
Ray: Not sure the film deserves all of its accolades, but De Niro definitely deserves props for his amazing performance.
Steve: DeNiro and Pesci made this movie for me. But otherwise, I was just bored for 2:30…sorry.
The Present: Haywire
Rotten Tomatoes: 81% Fresh, 51% Audience
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender
- Dennis Quaid was cast but dropped out due to a scheduling conflict with Soul Surfer. Bill Paxton replaced him.
- Gina Carano’s voice was altered for the film, giving her character a deeper-sounding voice.
- The film was first announced in September 2009 originally under the title of Knockout, which was later changed to Haywire, before production began.
- The film’s screenplay was written specifically to be shot in Dublin. The film was shot mostly in Ireland, filming began from 2 February 2010 to 25 March 2010 on a budget of around $25 million. Production of the film created over one-hundred jobs in the area where it was filmed.
- The Music
- Incredibly long shots in a otherwise short movie.
- Carino’s performance
What We Learned:
- Don’t piss off Crush from the American Gladiators.
- Watch out for Deer
Jeff: The movie was slow and the fight sequences seemed dull without any music. I feel like the movie had some potential but it just felt disjointed and awkward. The title doesn’t make sense to me at all.
Ray: Ugh. I sooo wanted to walk out of this movie. I thought it was incredibly boring, and a perfect example of “you can’t always trust what you see in the trailer”
Steve: I liked it. Didn’t love it, but I liked it. I thought Gina Carano was great and the cast had so much potential…but it didn’t all come together. Pace was slow for such an “exciting” movie…but the fight scenes were awesome. I give Crush all the props in the world for doing her own stunts!
The Future: The Cabin In The Woods
Release: April 13, 2012
Director: Drew Goddard
Starring: Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Chris Hemsworth
Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.
- Shot in 2009, but not released until 2012
- Written by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
- Amy Acker and Fran Kranz both had roles on Joss Whedon’s latest television series Dollhouse. Tom Lenk had a recurring role on Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as appearing on the spin-off series, Angel, in which Acker also had a regular role.
- The project began filming in March 2009 and completed on May 29, 2009 shooting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Joss Whedon co-wrote the script with Cloverfield screenwriter Drew Goddard, who also directed the film, marking his directorial debut. Goddard previously worked with Whedon on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as a writer.
- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on November 3, 2010, but the movie will still be released as one of MGM’s last pre-Spyglass films in development; the film will be released in April 2012.
- It was slated for wide release on February 5, 2010 and then delayed until January 14, 2011 so the film could be converted to 3D. However, on June 17, 2010, MGM announced that the film would be delayed indefinitely due to ongoing financial difficulties at the studio.
- On March 16, 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported the following: “New (MGM) chief executives Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum are seeking to sell both (a) Red Dawn (remake) and the horror film The Cabin in the Woods, the last two pictures produced under a previous regime, as they try to reshape the 87-year-old company.”
- On July 20, 2011, Lionsgate announced that they had acquired the distribution rights to the film and set a release date of April 13, 2012.
- What do you think from seeing the trailer?
- Is Joss the draw?
- Why the release delay?
Jeff: Yeah, I’ll pass.
Ray: I’m there… I love that the trailer straight up calls out the fact that you think you’ve seen this movie..and then slaps you in the face with something unexpected.
Steve: Looks like it’s going to be just like Friday the 13th, then takes an updated spin. I love Joss Whedon, so I am clearly going to be there!
The Past: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
The Present: Underworld Awakening
The Future: ParaNorman