i went to see the epic, new film by martin scorcese the other day, gangs of new york. i love movies where you learn something about events in history. while undoubtedly dramatized, the film covers the little known (at least by me) riots in new york during the civil war draft and the birth of the mafia type of underworld organizations. it’s a very raw depiction of the problems caused by the cultural mix of immigrants and so-called “natives” in the five points section of lower manhattan. it’s truly an epic in length as well….almost three hours long….but every time you feel yourself start to drift off (like whenever leo dicapprio is on the screen….i think that was a bad casting decision….he’s the most overrated actor of his generation), ‘bill the butcher’ appears on screen. eyes are glued. played by daniel day-lewis, this character sets a new standard for ruthlessness in a movie villain. it’s funny that although the guy is stupendously evil, he still has a measure of moral virtue in the way he admires and celebrates his fallen enemy (‘priest’ vallon, played briefly by liam neeson). lewis is the odds on favorite for best actor oscar. hell, just give it to him now.

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