Raging Bull & The Apartment: Both Old And Over-Rated

They’re very different movies from one another, but they’re both highly regarded and they’re both WAY over-rated (and quite frankly a bit boring).

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Why I Saw Them: In this Film Quest, I’ve challenged myself to see certain films throughout the year. In past years I’ve shown that it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see upwards of 150 movies in a given year, but I wanted to start trying to ensure that the list of films I did see were worth seeing. I have quite a few films that are widely considered “classics” that I haven’t seen yet, and these two films are on that list. Both Martin Scorsese’s RAGING BULL and Billy Wilder’s THE APARTMENT get high marks from other reviewers, each getting a BEST PICTURE nomination (THE APARTMENT won, RAGING BULL lost out to ORDINARY PEOPLE).

Rating:

THE APARTMENT – 7.5 out of 10

RAGING BULL – 7 out of 10

Memorable Performances: These films both had quite a few good performances, that’s certainly not something I’d debate. Robert DeNiro does a great job portraying a paranoid boxer who suffers bad luck and makes some bad decisions in RAGING BULL, and both Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty were good in their supporting roles. THE APARTMENT didn’t feature anyone as memorable as what we saw from DeNiro.

Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:  

  • Best Actor – Robert DeNiro

Favorite Parts: The part in RAGING BULL where LaMotta laments how things went down throughout his career and references ON THE WATERFRONT was a strong moment, but otherwise the rest of the movie felt really flat or had lackluster presentation. With THE APARTMENT, the premise was strong, and the way it unfolded to close the second act was decent.

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The Regrettable Aspects: THE APARTMENT was a bit wacky, but not wacky enough to be funny. And we’re really not given a whole lot of reason to understand why Jack Lemon’s character would be SOOO interested in Shirley MacLaine’s character, to the point where it seemed a bit forced. RAGING BULL was a tragic tale, but the main character is so unlikable that it’s hard to feel badly for him. When the boxing scenes in a biopic about a boxer aren’t good, that’s saying something.

Would I watch either of them again? I highly doubt it. RAGING BULL was almost painful to get through the first time, so it would take serious convincing to get me to have a second viewing. THE APARTMENT was a decent story, so if someone I knew wanted to watch it, I’d be in the room and give it half my attention, but it’s not as though there were really any laughs to be had.

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