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CST Throwback Thursday – Film of the Week

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Robert De Niro as Rupert Pupkin

By Gilberto Campa

When it comes to famous film directors and their wide variety of movies, there are a few that stand out. Martin Scorsese has a very high placement on that list and for very good reason. Amongst the likes of his classics such as Goodfellas, Casino, Taxi Driver, The Wolf of Wall Street, Mean Streets, and Gangs of New York, there are also some overlooked films from his library that I consider to be hidden gems. One movie of his in particular was released in 1982 when Scorsese and writer Paul D. Zimmerman crafted a small little satirical dark comedy titled, The King of Comedy.

Robert De Niro who has frequently worked with Scorsese really sank his teeth into this role. De Niro is Rupert Pupkin; a mentally ill, aspiring standup comedian who desperately wants his big break. What I really enjoy about the movie is the expression and fun that De Niro presents in this role, as it is different than what he usually does (mobster or tough guy characters). The majority of the time during the story you are not really sure if much of what is happening is real or just something that Pupkin creates in his mind (due to his predicament). Just like other classic Scorsese movies the story is placed in the gritty, yet muted 1980’s New York City which adds to the overall atmosphere.

The rest of the cast includes some other good performances including an almost perfect role for the legendary Jerry Lewis as Jerry Langford. The story also does not go into a direction that is expected as more and more complicated situations surrounding Pupkin occur. That just makes it so much more intriguing as things move along, completely spearheaded by the characterization by De Niro. Even though the movie was a financial loss for Scorsese that does not mean it was horrible by any means. Timing is everything when it comes to audiences and the expectations that they have for certain movies. The King of Comedy is just one of many reasons why Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest directors/storytellers that we will ever see.