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The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

Cale’s Cinema Corner: Joe Russo needs to be stopped

Gage Skidmore
Joe Russo

In last week’s issue, I said I could not wait to write about Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” at length. And I cannot. But I have not had a chance to see it again, and I want to do Scorsese, and the film, justice by taking my time with the film, and by extension, my writing about it.


Scorsese is still in the news, thanks to fellow filmmaker Joe Russo. 


Scorsese has been periodically appearing in his daughter, Francesca’s, TikToks over the past couple of months, and everyone on “film Twitter,” loves it — or seems to love it. Until now, Scorsese has not been active online, which is fitting, as he is the “grandfather” of modern moviemaking. But he is one of the best personalities in Hollywood. 


In one of his daughter’s recent posts, he reminisces on his muses over the years — most notably Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio — before revealing his “new” source of inspiration: his schnauzer, Oscar. He asks his dog to show him different emotions — fear, sadness, love — before deciding he is worthy for “the part.”


Russo posted a response video, in which he sarcastically calls Scorsese’s schnauzer cute before showing his own, who he says he calls “box office.”


For context, Scorsese has won an Oscar, and many of Russo’s films — and many of which exist inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU — have been box-office sensations.

The irony is, while Scorsese certainly is not known for his films’ box-office numbers, he has put out more than enough “hits.” Eight of his films have made over $100 million, and three of his films have made over $250 million. Ironically, “Wolf of Wall Street,” a movie about the corrosiveness of greed, is the highest grossing film in his filmography.


Of course, Oscar is a common name; Box Office is not. And chances are, Scorsese did not even name his dog after his — one — Academy Award. Despite being maybe the greatest living filmmaker, he is not an overwhelming favorite among Oscar voters.


And even if he was, he has done it all and earned the right to be; he has made crowd-pleasers, “Oscar movies” and, above all else, films which will stand the test of time, something Russo has not. Sure, “Avengers: Endgame” — James Cameron’s “Avatar” notwithstanding — is the “biggest” movie of all time, but its chances of becoming an all-time classic are thin. It was the end, or what appeared to be the end, of a decade-long franchise, and I doubt future generations will sit through dozens of hours of MCU movies before making it to Russo’s crowning achievement.


Let me be clear: I am not saying superhero movies are inherently bad or unworthy of retrospection. Scorsese’s frustration with their chokehold on Hollywood is well-known, but it is a frustration I have always sympathized, rather than empathized, with. 


Maybe it is because my cinematic palette is thin, or maybe it is because I am young and grew up in a time where Marvel and DC posters lined the walls of my favorite theaters. It is probably a combination of the two. But I am not above a superhero movie — a good superhero movie. There are plenty that I do not just like but love: Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2”; Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther”; most recently, Matt Reeves’s “The Batman.” 


But they are in a bit of a lull. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, is still profitable, but it is not the cultural behemoth it once was. I have not heard many people on campus talking about “Loki” Season 2 or “The Marvels.”


And with the public’s demand for CGI caped crusaders has gone its awareness of Russo. In the afterglow of “Avengers: Endgame,” he might have, briefly, been a household name. But he certainly is not now. You probably have not watched — or even heard of — the movies he has made since: “Cherry” and “The Gray Man.”


Russo going toe-to-toe with Scorsese, who might be the greatest living filmmaker, let alone American filmmaker, is laughable.


Mr. Russo, if you want to be considered one of the greats, you have to make great movies. Scorsese has dozens; you have — at best — two.


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