The King of Comedy
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Rupert Pupkin (De Niro) is a dejected stand-up comedian with a psychotic edge who begs his talk-show host idol Jerry Langford (Lewis) to let him perform on his late night show. When Langford gives him the brush-off, Pupkin takes matters into his own hands and decides he'll do whatever it takes to become the new King of Comedy.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro both have a gift of always being able to make characters so ambiguous that they can make you laugh and scare the pants of you within a matter of seconds and De Niro, once again, makes that happen with Rupert Pupkin. This dude gave me the shivers a couple of times, made me feel sorry for him, made me downright uncomfortable during some scenes and cracked me up during others. There's something about crazed losers and misfits that these two seem able to always portray in the most effective and disturbing light. This story of a failed comic who decides that he deserves an appearance in front of a whole nation is a tale about just such a misfit, but the real show-stopper in this film was the grizzled veteran Jerry Lewis, whose performance as the smug host will blow you away and leave you wondering whether he was right or wrong or whether De Niro's nut did have a point. We all know what Lewis looks like when he's bursting out in hearty laughter, but the look on his face here when he gets pissed off at Pupkin is priceless. I wouldn't want to ruin this man's telethon; he looks like he can kick some ass when he needs to.
Overall, the movie wasn't necessarily hilarious, but it was very good nonetheless and definitely makes you realize that the line between those big stars and the everyday guy is sometimes a lot thinner than you would think and that you never know who the next big thing is or what he did to get there. You should definitely not go in there thinking you'll be rolling in the aisles though. One thing that did surprise me was the fact that, for once, I didn't find Sandra Bernhard extremely annoying. If I had to draw a list of people I would like to eradicate from Hollywood, she would definitely figure on it, but I have to give credit where it's due and not only was she not annoying, she was downright great and very entertaining as Masha, Rupert's inept sidekick who causes the poor jerk more trouble than help. Scorsese is, as usual, masterful at getting into his characters' heads and giving us the true impression that they really believe they live in the worlds they create for themselves and for exploiting every possible exaggeration of the horrible style of the 80's as far as clothes and decoration are involved.
Not much here except for a 20-minute documentary entitled "A Shot at the Top: The Making of The King of Comedy". It features insight from Scorsese and Bernhard on the shoot and the story, as well as some of the development of the production. Nothing special but pretty interesting if you like the film. There are also two deleted scenes including a comedy monologue by Lewis, a stills gallery, the theatrical trailer and a TV Spot.
Not much to offer on the DVD and with the quality of the transfer, you can probably do just as well with a cheaper VHS tape. But it's definitely worth a rental and I could probably watch it again in a little while, so buying it wouldn't be a waste either.