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I think (at least I hope) that the Mean Streets scenario you talk about was more prevalent back in the 90s when every young filmmaker wanted to show their film at Sundance and sign a deal with Miramax. I distinctly remember reading an interview with Kevin Smith where he said that he didn't feel it was at all necessary for him to go back and watch films of the old masters because he got their influence vicariously through the next wave of filmmakers, i.e., he got Godard through Hal Hartley, Ozu through Jarmusch, etc.

However, it seems like more and more young filmmakers nowadays are acknowledging (both in their work and their interviews) filmmakers like Cassavetes and Nick Ray, and even formerly "uncool" directors like Billy Wilder and Charlie Chaplin.

Also, you would like to think that it is the job of film schools, like the ridiculously expensive one you mention (which I'm guessing shares its name with a South American country), to provide students with an extensive cinematic history and not just show films which most students have probably already seen half a dozen times.


Yes, without everybody else, EVERYBODY, there would be no Martin Scorcese. For me, Mean Streets is one of the first academically informed pictures - it's not surprising film school students would think it was the year one. As good as they are, film school-educated directors (and MBAs) have destroyed the Sam Fullers, and that is just too bad.

That being said, I will never forget seeing Mean Streets. I was like 11, and my father and I (Italian-Americans) went to a little semi-art house in Brooklyn the year it came out. We knew nothing about it - only that it was 1/2 of a double billing for $1.00.

When it was over, we walked out and just looked at each other. My father was stunned at the accuracy of its I Vitelloni-like depiction of young New York Italian-American men (of which he had been one). I was just astonished at how different it was than anything I had ever seen before (and by that time my movie vocabulary was fairly broad). Usually when we walked home the 10 blocks lively discussion ensued - the 12 Chairs and Fireman's Ball come to mind. This day we were silent only occasionally shaking our heads. 10 years of discussion about this movie subsequently ensued.

Speaking of Brooklyn, is that the Oriental? I wonder if Tina couldn't be a live show. Lots of theaters in Bklyn in the 70s did that to supplement. Also, they'd abbreviate if they ran out of letters.


Ah not the Oriental, but close. Ha. I should call my biography, Everything I Know I Learned in a Movie Theater. It's kind of true.


As a fairly recent graduate of both the university that's a homophone of the S.A. country and of NYU, I find the scenario discussed above to be a lot more typical of the downtown institution than of the uptown one. Regardless, film studies undergrads and grads are for the most part just beginning their film education and you can't expect them all to be that well versed in the subtleties of US film from before their lifetimes. I do however cosign the repetitiveness of those expensive ass film curriculums.
What a bore a party full of film students must've been.

c mason wells

If it was a porno, shouldn't it read THE BIG THING IN TINA? I kid, I kid.

Good seeing you this afternoon.


Hey, since those students were annoying pricks, you should have just replied:

"The first truly important American film?

The one I, not you, am going to make."

or conversely:

"The first truly important American film?

Made in USA, of course"


As an undergraduate at one of those evil New York universities, I encountered a girl who sneered (when informed that I'd never seen Richard Linklater's Tape), "And you call yourself a film student?!" From that point on (if not earlier) I learned to pretty much disregard any value placed on film students as "knowledgeable" (myself accepted of course).

And you know what? I still haven't seen Tape.

(By the way, I'm glad I guessed Mean Streets despite my doubts...would really be cursng myself out now if I hadn't).

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