A volatile saxophonist falls in love with a talented lounge
singer, sparking them on a career upswing and a rocky marriage.
New York, New York (1977)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Earl Mac Rauch and Mardik Martin
Starring Liza Minnelli, Robert De Niro, Lionel Stander,
Barry Primus, Clarence Clemons
The first thing that struck me about New York, New York is how eerily similar Liza Minnelli's voice is to her mother Judy Garland. It's quite spectacular. That's about the only positive I took away from this monumentally long stream of consciousness nightmare. Minnelli and De Niro have no chemistry and their relationship is based on intimidation, fear, and desperation. Love is nowhere to be found. Also, TWO HOURS AND THIRTY-FIVE minutes. What in the actual fuck? This was Scorsese's follow-up to Taxi Driver, considered by many to be his masterpiece. It's hard to believe it's the same filmmaker.
One night, on V-J Day in New York City, young lounger singer Francine Evans (Minnelli) is harassed and threatened by Hawaiian shirt wearing asshole Jimmy Doyle (De Niro). Despite a firm and insistent series of "no's," Jimmy somehow ends up taking Francine on a date, they start seeing each other, they wound up married even though she didn't want to, and they have a kid that he never sees. Along the way, they become a musical act that he is constantly reminding her he is in charge of. The entire movie, Francine is afraid to cross him, yet somehow this film is viewed as a whimsical love story. The only thing that's lasted is the film's theme song, which became a national treasure after Frank Sinatra covered it in 1980.
There is no reason for this weirdly sadistic and co-dependent love story to be nearly three hours long. There's no substance here whatsoever. Liza Minnelli's singing is strong and worth seeing, but De Niro is playing such a wildly over the top piece of shit. There's nothing positive about their relationship, and if there had been, I'm sure this movie would've been much better.