In Which The Streets Are Just Mean

Our celebration of a great Italian-American continues tomorrow. Be sure to stay to the end of this presentation for a special dance video in honor of Mean Streets.

Molly Lambert on The King of Comedy

Molly Young on The Age of Innocence

Alex Carnevale on Casino

Benjamin Mercer on Bringing Out the Dead

Jacob Sugarman on The Color of Money

Scorsese on L’Avventura

A Matter of Self Restraint

by Will Hubbard

Mean Streets

1973, 112 min.

dir. Martin Scorcese

Here is a movie to which one can refer over and over again in the company of strangers.

While this may or may not be the case, I will refer to it now as a great movie while maintaining no overt opinion on its greatness.

Last night I listened to Anne Carson speak of having no opinion on a great painting in a statement commissioned by Artforum.

There was no denying the allure of staying in the amorphous (and pleasant?) place that precedes opinion.

It is even possible to imagine that place as a place of healing and little regret.

Robert De Niro is an actor in this movie, but he is more than an actor and more than Robert De Niro.

Robert De Niro wears a hat that any young man would be happy to wear.

I find it difficult to deny the allure of a man slipping both into manhood and unspeakable and crippling debt.

The borrow is life-giving, as paying back an older and suaver man has killed a genius or two over the years.

A moment when two just-grown men lie together in a small bed in the dawn can come off tender.

Harvey Keitel is that other man in the bed, the burden of a budding but doomed mentorship heavy on his fingers and chest.

Harvey Keitel makes it clear to everyone that being cool will one day be a matter of self-restraint if it is not already.

There are a great deal of reasons why in the final scene of this movie he is maimed but not killed, crying into the street under the JMZ.

He is in love with a woman but is embarrassed by her, preferring an image of man to that of love.

Harvey does not love men, but he is in love with what men can do when they get out of town in time.

When a young man has his first earned money stolen from him, the first thought is to get a gun and fire it.

When a party elapses in celebration of a birthday everyone gets drunk and passes out with a camera strapped to his chest.

Great filmmaking occurs in the moment that precedes thinking violent death can be made reasonable.

Martin Scorsese sat many hours on his parents’ small couch and talked with them about his life and loves.

Within the mind of the parent lies the answer to all permutations of tragic action the son or daughter can enact.

Will Hubbard is the contributing editor to This Recording.


“Thug Love (remix)” – Eminem (mp3)

“Young Prayer, Track One” – Panda Bear (mp3)

young prayer wiki

“It’s Been a Great 3 or 4 Years” – My Morning Jacket (mp3)

portrait of the author’s roommate as a young De Niro:

“Jerk” – Muscles (mp3)

“Little Red Rooster” – The Rolling Stones (mp3)


Molly felt up a manatee cat.

Danish entered the celebrity phase of his music career by settling his feud with ‘Ye.

Friday Owen Wilson Links were the cherry on top.

3 thoughts on “In Which The Streets Are Just Mean

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