‘Pretend It’s a City’ review: Martin Scorsese takes a long, long look at Fran Lebowitz in this Netflix docuseries
Mainly, this most current version of “The world according to Fran” acts as an ode to New york city City, drawing from a personal chat with Lebowitz and a series of public ones, consisted of one moderated by Scorsese himself. (The 2 are pals and he’s her most pleased audience, releasing an Ed McMahon laugh to nearly whatever she states.)
“New York is never boring,” Lebowitz observes, and neither is she. However, there’s a type of approximate repeating to her easily associated ideas, grievances and complaints, parrying with audience members, remembering her early days in Manhattan and talking about things like the reality that she dislikes cash however requires it due to the fact that “I love things.”
Roaming through town, and sometimes shot standing beside a massive design of New york city simply to differ the landscapes, Lebowitz thinks about splitting the job of mayor with someone. She volunteers to take the night shift, noting that her anger regarding the way the world operates stems from the fact that “I have no power, but I’m filled with opinions.”
Those opinions are always quotable, and Lebowitz’s commentary ranges from the broadly amusing to the provocative. In the latter category, her discussion of the #MeToo movement exhibits less sympathy for actors, given what everyone knows about Hollywood.
— to her rejection of “guilty pleasures” as a concept. Pleasures, she suggests, shouldn’t be guilty as long as no one gets hurt by them.
A separate dissertation involves the elusive nature of true talent, and her belief — articulated during a stage appearance with Spike Lee — that musicians inspire more passion from their fans than any other arena.
In a subsequent episode, she rejects the notion of ceasing to read writers who are (or were) horrible people, adopting the position that it’s possible to separate the artist from their work. She’s equally dismissive of the concept of “guilty pleasures,” suggesting pleasures shouldn’t evoke guilt as long as no one gets hurt by them.
Scorsese obviously has enough clout that Netflix will give the green light to just about whatever he wants to do, and this exercise — which functions as both a showcase for Lebowitz and a valentine to the New York that was after its hellish run-in with Covid-19 — screams “vanity project” more loudly than most.
“Pretend It’s a City” certainly yields its share of amusing ideas and wry observations, much of which deserve tape-recording for posterity. However it would take a terrific pretender to imitate it deserves the time dedicated to them.
“Pretend It’s a City” premieres Jan. 8 on Netflix.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.