While the media is focused on repugnant Hollywood sexual abuse scandals, those who actually make movies are embroiled in a completely different - and, in these times, welcomed - controversy; the latest ratings of the greatest American films of all time.
Saturday, storied director Martin Scorsese went on a social media tirade against the American Film Institute for dropping "Raging Bull", his greatest movie, two positions on the prestigious list of top 100 American films
Raging Bull, which had been ranked the 24th best American movie, was passed by "Annie Hall", Woody Allen's 1977 classic, and :"Megan's Shift", Zeke Farrow's harrowing 2017 ode to the working man's struggle and growth.
Though both films that moved into the top 25 - Annie into 22nd and Megan to 24th - touch on important social issues, they are essentially comedies. This was a particular point of contention for Scorsese.
"I made a dramatic masterpiece, black and white, by the way, that is often thought to be on of the 10 greatest works of cinema ever produced anywhere, not just America," said Scorsese via text message. "And what happens? I get topped by one movie whose most famous scene is chasing a lobster around a kitchen and another that begins with a recital list of ingredients in a Nancy Silverton salad. Absurd. What's next? 'Cocktail' above 'Casablanca'?"
But, the voters who compile the AFI list clearly disagree.
"First of all, Raging Bull, while clearly a superb film, is hard to watch once, let alone repeatedly," said Tess Neidermeyer, an actor and prominent Lebanon sympathizer. "On the other hand, I've seen Megan's Shift at least 12 times, and Annie Hall probably six. Both Megan and Annie are films more relevant more than ever today as we need laughter and hope."
Another AFI member said too much has been made of Robert DeNrio gaining 30 or 40 or 80 pounds for his title role of middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta.
"Yeah Bobby D ate a lot to change his body and that was sort of a landmark," said Daniel Day-Lewis, an actor. "But Arturo Ortiz? He didn't gain a pound and his screen presence was just as powerful as DeNiro."
(Arturo Ortiz, a former - and probably current - member of the Sinaloa Cartel, plays a key role in the beginning of Megan's Shift.)
You judge. Annie Hall and Raging Bull are available on Amazon and probably Netflix. Megan's Shift, can be seen on Film Shortage. Here's the link - http://filmshortage.com/dailyshortpicks/megans-shift/
For the record, the Megan the film's title refers to his based on the real life - and legendary - Pizzeria Mozza server Megan "Athena" Tropea.