Back in the ’70s, when I was a warehouse worker and union shop steward, I remember going to see a double flick at the local second-run movie theater- a double feature for a buck and cheap popcorn. Mostly these were B movies. One of them was a movie I enjoyed, “Boxcar Bertha.” It was set in the great depression, about a young woman on the road and her encounter/relationship with a union organizer, played by David Carradine. Several years later, I learned that the film’s director was Martin Scorsese. That kind of surprised me, because this was a B movie, an exploitation flick. But I wasn’t shocked because it was pretty good.
Scorsese is one of the all-time great directors, no doubt. However, what’s notable for this blog is what he’s accomplished since he turned 62 and became eligible for a reverse mortgage. Since then, he’s won an Oscar and two Golden Globe awards for best director, and his 2006 feature, “The Departed” won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Picture. He was nominated for Best Director for a slew of films he helmed since he turned 62: “The Aviator,” the 2004 sort of bio-pic of Howard Hughes (for which Leonardo Dicaprio won Best Actor); “Hugo” (2011), about an orphan living in a Paris train station (probably the weirdest Scorsese flick); 2012’s “Wolf of Wall Street”; and the 2019 movie “The Irishman” ostensibly about the disappearance and (probable) death of Jimmy Hoffa. The only two films for which he didn’t receive a best director nomination were “Shelter Island” (2010 (based on a Dennis Le Hane novel set in an insane asylum) and “The Silence” (2016). This movie fascinated me-two Portuguese priests journey to 18th century Japan to find and free their mentor, who was imprisoned by the Shogun during a period when Japanese Christians were persecuted.
Given his overall career, it’s no surprise that Scorsese has continued to amass award nominations as an older adult. However, here’s a twist: he won a Grammy in 2006. He won it for “No Direction Home,” his documentary about Bob Dylan’s career early years (1961-1966). I’m a huge Dylan fan, and I loved the movie and the soundtrack. I think I enjoyed it as much as I did because it was both such a well -made a documentary and because of the subject matter. Scorsese has made other music-based documentaries in the years following “No Direction Home.” He won an Emmy in 2012 for a documentary about the late Beatle, George Harrison, “George Harrison: Living In The Material World”; and although it didn’t get nominated for anything, my personal favorite is “The Rolling Thunder Review: A Bob Dylan Story” (2019), which you can watch on Netflix. It’s a mix between documentary (with footage of performances, interviews, and discussions during the tour) and some made-up characters and dialogue, specifically a very pretentious cinematographer who tries to film the tour but is pretty much ignored.
And last but not least, he received another Emmy in 2011 for his work on the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” (starring Steve Buscemi, one of my favorite actors).
Overall, Martin Scorsese’s career has been both prolific and consistently high quality. From “Boxcar Bertha” (and to repeat, I had no idea who directed the movie at the time, I just liked it) to “Raging Bull” (I still don’t get how it didn’t win Best Picture in 1980) to “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” “Gangs of New York” and so many others to the movies he’s directed and produced since he reached age 62, he’s been doing consistently high-quality work. “The Irishman” (and while we’re discussing fluid intelligence continuing into old age, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, each of whom is 75 or older, starred in the movie) is not the end of the line. He’s got more in the works: he’ll be producing and directing “Killers of The Flower Moon” about killing and land grab from Native Americans; “Finding Mike,” a biopic about the boxer, Mike Tyson; and he’ll also be directing the tv series “The Devil In The White City,” based on the true-crime bestseller by Erik Larson. By the time it’s on the air, Martin Scorsese will have turned 80.
Given his body of work, and especially his work since age 62, he has absolutely nothing to prove. Yet he still proves it, and I’m looking forward to what he creates in his 80’s and 90’s.
– Edward from McMinnville, Oregon, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of his life.
Edward writes for FAR and is also a customer. He is 73-year-old, born and raised in and around New York City. After college and a little graduate school, he took Horace Greeley’s advice and went west. Edward lived in several cities throughout California and currently resides in Oregon. He practiced law for a few years as part of a law collective doing what they called “people’s law,” but spent most of his career working as an internal organizer for the unions.
When Edward’s career ended with the unions, he was determined to become an advocate for older adults. He enrolled at Portland Community College studying Gerontology. He learned a lot about aging and how it applied to his own life experiences and my own aging process. Much of Edward’s writing is related to what he learned in his Gerontology studies.
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (FAR) LLC