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Reel Reviews – The King of Comedy

The King of Comedy

Reel Review #17: “Better to be King for a night than schmuck for a lifetime.” This film is a favorite of mine, and one that surprisingly few people have seen. A terrific film that was way ahead of its time in its examination of the cult of celebrity. Once you meet Rupert Pupkin you won’t soon forget him. Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro team up again in The King of Comedy.

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5 Responses to “Reel Reviews – The King of Comedy”


  1. Gravatar Icon 1 Chris in Texas Dec 20th, 2004 at 8:46 am

    Good job with this review, Michael. Likewise, it’s one that got under my skin (in a good way) at an early age.

    I found it interesting that you framed this film as a sort of response by Scorsese to the outcry over his earlier flick, Taxi Driver. In particular, you promoted the idea that celebrity and entertainment producers can’t be held responsible for the whims of their unstable viewing public. Especially in light of the fact that Rupert was REWARDED by that same industry with his own show, at the end of the film.* That’s pretty positive reinforcement from those trying to escape blame, and in my humble opinion, established a kind of “chicken or the egg” scenario for just who might have set this whole Cult of Celebrity thing in motion. Conversely, maybe they’re only giving the public what they want.

    BTW, you mentioned a “cult movie book” in this podcast. Mind giving us the title of it?

    *assuming this wasn’t just some wish-fulfillment dream-sequence on his part.

  2. Gravatar Icon 2 Michael Dec 20th, 2004 at 10:08 am

    Chris, thanks for the comment. You bring up a great point. In the podcast I tried to steer clear of exactly what happened with Rupert at the end. However, this is a great place to discuss it. Obviously, one of the things that set the film apart is that the audience does not get the expected ending

  3. Gravatar Icon 3 MikeC Dec 21st, 2004 at 10:08 pm

    Hey I would like to second that suggestion for Videodrome. I bought a copy on VHS for $0.74 (along with some other, uhh “gems”) and it sat around for quite some time in my personal queue and I didn’t get around to watching it until I saw that there was a Criterion Edition of the DVD coming out that it might actually be a good movie! Well it was VHS so stereo/fullscreen (ugh) and it was intresting and all but I would really like to hear what you have to say about the film.

  4. Gravatar Icon 4 Michael Dec 22nd, 2004 at 7:47 pm

    MikeC, I have the older DVD of Videodrome, but picked the Criterion Collection version today. I’ve had enough requests it is time to take another look. It also looks like there is a lot of great extras including a roundtable discussion with David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, John Landis and Mick Garris. Should be interesting.

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