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Afrojacks Movie Review: The King of Comedy

31 Mar, 2010 Movie Reviews

To some of you this is old news but I’ve found that most people under the age of 35 have never heard of The King of Comedy, let alone know that its one of Martin Scorsese’s finest films.  Admittedly, this is a little like saying that Ding Dongs are the best Hostess cake, as in Scorsese doesn’t make many bad films but still some (Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino) definitely stand apart from others (Bring Out The Dead, The Last Temptation of Christ, Kundun) as cinematic milestone achievements and this one ranks high on my list of favorites for him.  The King of Comedy has gone somewhat under the radar in terms of Scorsese’s accomplishments, over shadowed by his aforementioned classics but this film under any other director’s list would stand out like De Niro’s jacket in the film’s poster.  So for those of you who have not been acquainted, I introduce to you the comedic stylings of Robert Pupkin.

Pupkin, played by De Niro like you’ve never seen him before: pathetic, delusional and relentless, is an autograph hound and amateur stand up comic who is obsessed with Jerry Langford (think Johnny Carson and played by Jerry Lewis)- the biggest name in late night television.  After he gets a few minutes alone with Jerry to discuss trying out for the show, Jerry brushes him off but a psychotic Pupkin who’s clueless to social cues takes him for his word and relentlessly hounds Jerry not only over the phone but also at his office to the point where he needs to be physically removed from the reception area multiple times.  With the help of a fellow Jerry Langford stalker (Sandrah Burnhardt) they kidnap Jerry and hold him hostage until Pupkin can have his time in the limelight.  This works in his favor and we finally hear his stand up act and it caps off one of the most gut wrenching, cringe worthy squirm in your seat performances I’ve ever seen.

This film is a classic in every way and by one of the best directors ever so I won’t go into detail about every aspect beyond that is amazing and a must see.  The pacing of the film jumps around from reality to scenes that exist solely in Rupert’s imagination which gives a view into just how delusional and sick Pupkin’s psyche really is.  This lends itself to the workings of De Niro who caries the movie on his shoulders, but with ease.  All of the actors are well above average but De Niro really kills it and you wonder why he doesn’t choose these roles anymore, sadly opting for basically playing caricatures of himself now.  I also quickly wished Scorsese would go back to making these “smaller” movies that let the actors really explore their characters rather than epic blockbusters with huge ensemble casts.  His later stuff has always been great but the diference between then and now is stark by comparison.  I guess the 80′s really were just a simpler time, but just because it has been buried in decades worth of great work, The King of Comedy is not to be overlooked.  When it comes to the workings of Scorese no one can agree on what exactly is his best but ff Raging Bull is arguably Scorsese’s best film (thats my vote anyway) than The King of Comedy is right behind it.


1 Comment

  1. If you were familiar with movie like you said you are, you'd know the character's name is "Rupert" Pupkin.

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