Course Blog

It’s coming along now!

There won’t be much about comics for a week or two, and I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me–adding links/written material to the various course-material posts…but the foundations have been laid!

Meanwhile, I want to know–why on earth did Martin Scorsese go on making a film about Howard Hughes when he could have been making a film about Katharine Hepburn? And anyway–doesn’t Milos Forman handle all of the “crazy asshole bucks the system and accomplishes nothing but his own self-aggrandizement” biopics?
(Perhaps Milos ought to get to work on securing the rights to Dave Sim’s life right now, before Scorsese steals that one too! Frankly, Cerebus is a lot more impressive than the “Spruce Goose”–and I predict that it will eventually come to be regarded as one of the great works of the twentieth century…despite, or perhaps because of, its author’s insanity!)

Good Night Friends!




  1. no no Matt! The reverse!

    it’s just that I saw The Aviator–and Blanchett is so good as Hepburn that it seemed like kind of a waste to strand the performance in someone else’s biopic…plus, you know, I actually care about her life!


  2. Oh, I haven’t seen it, so I had no idea Katherine Hepburn played any sort of role in it. Considering he died as some kind of avatar of hubris, I know shockingly little about Howard Hughes.

    I’d probably be more interested in a Katherine Hepburn biopic if it was about the making of ‘African Queen’

    – Matt Rossi

  3. Because Howard Hughes was capable of a range of emotions beyond A and B? Because his monstrous self-involvement was filmable (unlike Hepburn’s?)

  4. I thought DiCaprio made a great Hughes. It’s easy to overlook his accomplishment relative to the flashier role of Blanchett’s Hepburn, but (I’m surprised to be saying this) DiCaprio stood eye-to-eye, toe-to-toe with her. This is only the 2nd role that I’ve really enjoyed him in, the other being that Spielberg film, the name of which I can’t remember right now. AVIATOR doesn’t add up to much, but its parts make it worth seeing.


  5. Hughes was indeed a crazy asshole, but he accomplished more than his own self-agrandizement — he made planes, and lowered the cost of air travel. These are real accomplishments, and valuable ones, and the world is a better place for him having done this. That’s an effective way to find stories, after all — there’s a kind of fracture line when you have someone who no one would want to be does something everyone would want to do. Naive storybook moralities (whether Romantic or Marxist) don’t know how to handle and break down there, which is why it’s interesting to an artist.

  6. I agree Charles–the film was worth the price of admission… but still, I don’t know, the tribulations of the Randean Genius is not my favourite subject…and you have to admit, the movie is at its best when Blanchett is on screen (the scenes at the Hepburn homestead in Connecticut are by far the best–and I agree that DiCaprio acquits himself rather well opposite Blanchett)

    And what’s that down there? Is that the voice of Dorothy Parker tsking Ms. Hepburn’s lack of range from beyond the grave?


  7. Yeah, your probably right about DiCaprio being best when Blanchet is on screen, but I was really surprised with his ability in this one.

    You’ve the skepticism of this film’s subject that I had since I first heard about it, and unlike with KANE, Scorsese sets it up as all Hughes failings are external to who he fundamentally was. Randean hero-worship is right, but I was really in the mood for an old-fashioned Hollywood epic, and Scorsese more or less delivered.



  8. The problem with making a Hepburn biopic is that it would be utterly boring unless her character was portrayed similar to Hughes was in The Aviator. What did Hepburn do besides movies? On the other hand Hughes made movies, airplanes, casinos, airlines, spy satellites, drill bits, and played politics. Just his political shenanigans alone would have a made an entertaining movie. In fact you could make a half dozen movies involving each facet of Hughes. With Hepburn there is no aura. She was only a good actress. On the other hand Hughes was so mystical you see him portrayed in several other movies that have nothing to do with him.


  9. I don’t know Al–I think Hepburn is a far more significant figure in the twentieth century than Hughes (even if “all she did” was act!)…

    Back to Howard–the movie I would’ve liked to have seen would have focused upon the wanton destruction he wrought upon my favourite studio of the late forties, RKO…the man cost us a lot of great movies, and no amount of planes can make up for that!


  10. Can you really claim without laughing that Kate’s significance was greater than Hughes ? Any discussion about her revolves around her good acting and that’s it. With Hughes you can talk till the cows come home about his entire life and all the pies he had his hand in, all of which were important for good or bad. Even running RKO badly was more significant than anything Hepburn ever did. And if it wasn’t for Hughes influence on her acting career, it would have ended in 1938 when she was “box office poison”.


  11. This is, I think, only the second Scorsese movie in the history of Scorsese movies that I’m uninterested in seeing (the other one being BRINING OUT THE DEAD or whatever it was called, the Nic Cage one). And this from a guy who loved loved loved GANGS OF NEW YORK, so it’s not just that I’m a DiCapriophobe. I think it’s because it’s such transparent Oscar bait–“Hey, Academy, it’s my fuckin’ turn already!”


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