Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Somehow Martin Scorsese Made a Great Movie (Vinyl) While He Was Making Another Movie (Silence)


OK, so I guess Marty Scorsese never sleeps! He somehow made “Vinyl,” a movie– I thought it was going to be a TV pilot, but it’s a feature film– while he was making “Silence” halfway around the world.

HBO knows they have a hit in “Vinyl,” which is also a 10 part series following the premiere movie. So last night, accommodating executive producer Mick Jagger’s Rolling Stones tour schedule, they held a rare A list event at the Ziegfeld and Cipriani to celebrate the show. “Vinyl” launches on Sunday, February 14th.

In a week when David Bowie died, “Vinyl” recaptures the Bowie heyday of glam rock and a bankrupt New York circa 1973. Scorsese and writer Terence Winter, I am happy to say, have nailed it. All the grit of the city and the dirty record business come alive in “Vinyl,” which feels like a story that falls in the Scorsese timeline between “GoodFellas” and “After Hours.”

Bobby Cannavale finally gets his Best Actor role, his Don Draper part, called Richie Finestra. Cannavale will waltz away with an Emmy next fall for playing Richie, owner of a struggling, failing small record company trying to stay afloat by selling itself to Polydor in Germany for millions. It’s a scam– his American Century Records is worth nothing– but the sale will make him and his execs rich and change their lives.

“Vinyl” is incredibly well cast, from Juno Temple as a label assistant on the fast track to Ray Romano (hilarious) as one of Richie’s guys. James Jagger, Mick’s son with Jerry Hall, makes an outstanding impression as a rocker snatched up by American Century. Bo Dietl, the retired New York cop who sometimes acts, also makes a big hit as Joe Corso, the radio guy who makes things “right.” Ditto Andrew Dice Clay, who’s sensational, and Max Casella.

I’ll tell you more about “Vinyl” and its incredible detail– someone did a lot of research because this thing reads with great verisimilitude– closer to its premiere.

At the party, loving every minute: “Sopranos” creator David Chase, “Sopranos” actors Vince Curatola, John Ventimiglia, Tony Sirico, and Lorraine Bracco; Steve Buscemi, of “Boardwalk Empire” fame, Marisa Tomei, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jason Sudeikis (his wife Olivia Wilde, plays Richie’s wife). as well as Bobby C’s ready to give birth girlfriend Rose Byrne. I also saw Valerie Simpson, Glenn Close, Maureen (Mrs. Steve) Van Zandt, New York radio legend Dennis Elsas, Atlantic Records chief Craig Kallman, May Pang, and the mighty Patti Smith, among others.

Scorsese told me he credits his cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Wolf of Wall Street, etc) for the look of “Vinyl,” but fans of this incredible director will see that “Vinyl” is sort of an instant mini-classic for him. The feel of it is quite unlike anything on television or any of its new ancillaries. It’s really brilliant movie making. I can’t wait to watch the 10 regular episodes, which, by the way, Scorsese oversaw.

Many “insider” laughs for local New Yorkers, too– about mayor Abe Beame, who nearly destroyed the city; and references to local Long Island rock band The Good Rats made me guffaw.  Scorsese also restaged the entire 1973 Mercer Arts Center collapse–quite an accomplishment.

PS Kudos to Jill Larson of “All My Children” fame. She was in Scorsese’s “Shutter Island” and is back as Juno Temple’s aunt here. Plus, our pal Radio Man appears in the opening scene. He was also in “Shutter Island.” Funny that “inmates” from that insane asylum now populate 1973 New York!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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