“It is a day late and there is only one movie being reviewed!?!?”

The Couch Potato Report – May 25th, 2005
This week The Couch Potato Report features the film that was supposed to win Martin Scorsese an Oscar.
Some of the greatest directors of all time have never won an Academy Award for BEST DIRECTOR.
The list includes Charlie Chaplin, Howard Hawks, D. W. Griffith, Brian De Palma, Cecil B. DeMille, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Terrence Malick, Robert Altman, Spike Lee, Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton, Tim Burton, Blake Edwards, Arthur Penn, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, David Lynch, Peter Weir, Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Sam Peckinpah, and Martin Scorsese.
The last name on the list had been nominated in 1980 for RAGING BULL and again in 1991 for GOODFELLAS and Martin Scorsese should have won both times.
Earlier this year many thought that Scorsese’s fifth nomination for his work on the film THE AVIATOR would finally bring him Oscar gold.
At the end of the night THE AVIATOR went away with five Oscars, but Scorsese went home empty handed and is now 0-for-5 in the directing category.
Even though I regard Scorsese as one of the greatest directors of my generation, I am not that upset that he lost the Oscar this year. Clint Eastwood’s MILLION DOLLAR BABY is just a better film than THE AVIATOR.
And there is no shame in losing to something – or someone – who’s work is better.
Since Eastwood’s MILLION DOLLAR BABY doesn’t debut on video and DVD until July 12th, and THE AVIATOR is in store now, let me focus on Scorsese’s work.
THE AVIATOR is the story of Howard Hughes, the eccentric billionaire aviation pioneer, industrialist and Hollywood film mogul.
In his day and age Hughes was famous for romancing some of the world’s most beautiful women, including Ava Gardner and Katharine Hepburn.
In this day and age Hughes is just as well known because by the time of his death in 1976 he had become a mentally ill recluse.
His mental illness is touched upon in THE AVIATOR, but the film primarily recounts the years of Hughes life from the late 1920s through the 1940s. This was a time when Hughes was directing and producing Hollywood movies and test flying innovative aircrafts he designed and created.
Leonardo DiCaprio does a great job playing Hughes and his superb supporting cast includes Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale and Cate Blanchett, who won an Oscar for her work in the picture as Katharine Hepburn.
The film has a great cast, but that cast is the second best thing in THE AVIATOR.
It is Scorsese’s work that allows us to actually feel as if we are back in Hollywood’s legendary heyday, and in the experimental test planes as Hughes attempts to tame the skies.
Now even with all that praise, and everything the film has going for it, ultimately THE AVIATOR is only a good film. It is very good, but it isn’t great.
I know this film is from a different Scorsese that made RAGING BULL, TAXI DRIVER and GOODFELLAS, but it is just missing that little extra bit of flair that he used to bring to his films. I suppose that we can’t expect a masterpiece every time from him, but I thought there would be more than just a few flashed of Scorsese’s brilliance.
Don’t misunderstand me, THE AVIATOR comes highly recommended, especially to those who are curious about Howard Hughes or the era in which he lived and worked.
But if you are looking for the movie to be something special simply because of Scorsese’s involvement, you will probably also arrive at the resolution that I did: THE AVIATOR is good, but not great.
However, Scorsese’s good is often much better than some other director’s best
THE AVIATOR might now have won Scorsese an Oscar for best director, but it is available now on video and DVD.
The first seasons from three popular 1980s TV series are now available on DVD, and so is season one of a popular show that is still on the air right now .
Bruce Willis and Cybil Sheppard starred in MOONLIGHTING. This series is debuting on DVD with a six-disc box set that includes Seasons 1 and 2.
Tom Selleck is MAGNUM, P.I. and THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON of his show has all 18 episodes from the 1980-81 season plus four bonus episodes – the two “Simon & Simon” crossover shows and two 1984 episodes guest starring Sharon Stone.
And KNIGHT RIDER – SEASON ONE is a four-disc box set with all 22 episodes from the 1982-83 season.
Those shows are all from the 1980s, but LAS VEGAS is the show that is currently on TV. If you are a fan, for whatever the reason, the three-disc SEASON ONE UNCUT AND UNCENSORED DVD set features all 23 episodes from the 2003-04 season, several with unseen footage.
I’m Dan Reynish and I will have more on LAS VEGAS, KNIGHT RIDER, MAGNUM, P.I., MOONLIGHTING, and some other releases in seven days.
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next week on The Couch!