Med City Movie Guy: For critic, chatting with Scorsese the right Choice

Chris Miksanek, who writes the Med-City Movie Guy column for the Post-Bulletin and the Center Stage blog on, poses with movie director Martin Scorsese at the 19th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards.

I'd like to thank all of the people that made this possible. My kids for not checking the balance on their college fund; my travel agent for finding me affordable airfare (the layover in Beirut, not too bad). But most of all I want to thank Ah Hoon.

Ah Hoon was a Chinese stand-up comedian shot in 1909 in New York's Lower East Side in the infamous Tong Wars. To avoid detection, his assassin was lowered from the roof in a chair.

That vignette was on my mind as I crept behind Martin Scorsese at last week's 19th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards. That Scorsese had kept very much to himself established a force field that few had dared to penetrate.

"'Gangs of New York' was one of my favorite films," I opened, tapping his shoulder. As he turned I added, "There are probably five more movies in the Asbury book." With that, he literally lit up, agreeing in his trademark rapid diction, "I would love to do a film on the Tong Wars."

And so it went as I flitted around the room during commercial breaks, chatting up everyone about everything other than what they were there for. After all, more than enough publicists and media types were lavishing praise on their latest, and, in some cases, overrated, films. My brief conversations, I gathered, were a respite.


Terence Winter, there for his adaptation of Jordan Belfort's "The Wolf of Wall Street," enjoyed chatting about "The Honeymooners" and one of the episodes of "The Sopranos" he penned.

Tom Hanks seemed more pleased to chat with me about a futon he bought early in his career than "Captain Phillips," the film for which he was nominated Best Actor.

Oprah Winfrey … well, I couldn't even get close to her.

And Cuba Gooding Jr., for some strange reason, thought I appeared with him in "Rat Race."

The swath of stars there with whom I didn't get to speak — from Sophie Nélisse ("The Book Thief") to Meryl Streep ("August: Osage County") to Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave") — was as broad as the films they represented, none of which swept the evening.

Aside from a few guaranteed bests (actor and actress went to Matthew McConaughey for "Dallas Buyers Club" and Cate Blanchett for "Blue Jasmine," respectively) there were lots of surprises, with most of the heralded films getting at least a nod.

The Best Picture went to "12 Years a Slave." Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón ("Gravity"). Best Comedy "American Hustle." And the Best Action Movie was "Lone Survivor." (The complete list is available at ).

The Critics' Choice Movie Awards are generally considered a bellwether for the Oscars, but with no clear front-runner and our diverse categories, just who might take home the gold on March 2 is anyone's guess.


And guess is the right word, because notwithstanding the glitzy back-patting and subjective accolades, moviegoers know what they like. And this year, there are a lot of things to like.

Chris Miksanek is a Rochester freelance writer. Follow him on the Center Stage blog at

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