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Arbogast1960's Movie Reviews (50)

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King of Comedy, The (1983) 
"Look at you here. Who the hell is watching you?"
3.5/4 stars

Probably Scorsese's most wrongfully overlooked effort (especially with all the praise heaped on middling films like The Aviator and Gangs of New York, not to mention the unrivaled overrating of GoodFellas). Essentially a comedic take on Taxi Driver, featuring a lonely neurotic with delusions of grandeur who becomes increasingly unhinged until, through a flagrantly criminal act, he becomes a hero adored by the masses. Or does he only achieve fame in his mind? No matter--as a commentary on our celebrity-obsessed culture, the film (like Taxi Driver and Network) presages such afflictions as the reality TV craze. Whether the anti-hero's success is seen as just another delusion or one last satirical jab, it highlights the cannibalistic nature of mass-produced entertainment, consuming its audience and then spitting them back out to feed the newest hatchlings. De Niro is wonderful as Rupert Pupkin, the film's protagonist, brilliantly playing against his typical macho persona. Sandra Bernhard is hilarious as his equally deranged "friend," and Jerry Lewis' inherent vileness is exploited to perhaps its only worthwhile effect--a particularly clever ploy which places the audience's sympathy decidedly with the warped Pupkin rather than the "innocent" Jerry. Well worth seeking out, especially for fans of the darkest of dark comedy.


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