Far more transcendent on concept than Forrest Gump and it's patriotism, "The King of Comedy" is «a good, old-fashioned, all-American fun» story about an autist who fantasizes with the admired and beloved comedy icon. He talks between him and his imaginative friends and conversations with fake people posters to experience the dream of being on stage but everyone confuses his name and only his silliness is noted.
William Deresiewics says that visibility grounds the contemporary self. It is validated, becomes real to itself, by being recognized, connected, seen by others. By getting attention. People are usually accepted, affirmed, vouched for, in groups, by a network of others, an institution for example. Without that, there's a world of desperate individuals. Fremdschämen. Because we partially identify, the characters repel.
I'd put this in Scorsese's Top 5. De Niro is absolutely brilliant, playing everything with a tinge of sadness to it that hits us hard. A dark twisted, painful portrayal of fame, celebrity, and dreams. One of the best films of the 80's. (4th or 5th viewing)
I just wanted to punch Rupert in the face. Very hard! I didn't like DeNiro's character in RAGING BULL either, but I absolutely love the movie. This guy is soooo grating ... soooo irritating ... that it actually ruined the movie for me. I wanted him to get hit by a truck. Maybe because he reminds me of a couple of people I know. Scorsese's message is a strong one though ... especially in these Reality-TV days!
The King of Comedy is harshly divided in two. The first half is a funny, but fundamentally painful portrait of a sad man striving for recognition. The second half consists mostly of almost cartoonish, but very dark satire. I loved it, but couldn't help feeling a bit disappointed when Scorsese's irony devours the story. Rupert Pupkin's destiny feels slightly contrived considering the narrative's initial seriousness.