May 1, 2008

Catching Up

Some time ago I had written here how Robert De Niro and Al Pacino were doing really bad work. The blog was about the two of the greatest actors we have ever seen seem to have lost the plot. Now Patrick Goldstein, a columnist of the Los Angels Times, seems to have noticed the same things.

The blog and the article are separated by a month but the similarities in the two are mind boggling!

Here is what Patrick Goldstein writes about De Niro:

The e-mail makes a subtler point about De Niro's career choices, pointing out that he could've "gone the [Jack] Nicholson route -- very selective, very particular, protect the brand -- or go out sending himself up in tripe like 'Analyze This,' which made money but turned him into that 'old psycho guy.' "

Not every aging actor in Hollywood has to embarrass himself. While Pacino and De Niro grab the dough, working for hacks and nonentities, Nicholson, with rare exception, has picked his spots, doing movies with Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne and Sean Penn. Clint Eastwood, who's even older than Nicholson, has remained an iconic figure by working with the best director of all -- himself. (It's been almost 20 years since he acted in a movie he didn't direct.)

Sample what I had to say about the same thing:

Someone like Jack Nicholson or Clint Eastwood seems like a better option. An overnight star after working for fifteen years, Jack Nicholson's resume might not boast of 'great' films but his oeuvre looks far more exciting than De Niro, Hoffman and Pacino's put together. Always considered a bigger star than actor, Nicholson's just done 11 films in the last 13 years but all the films are 'his' films.

Goldstein goes on to write:

I don't envy Pacino or De Niro. They're in a bind, having come of age at a time when actors could still get provocative dramas made without everyone having to work for peanuts. Today they're grumpy old men, relegated to raking in loot from cartoonish comedy and generic thrillers.

And I felt that...

The kind of work that a Robert De Niro or an Al Pacino do today is hardly a pale reflection of the kind of work these two did in the '70's? Taxi Driver, Godfather, Godfather -II, Mean Streets, The Deer Hunter, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarecrow, Panic in the Needle Park are some of the best films if you look at acting. Al Pacino's last decent film before he hit a rough patch in the 1980's would be ...And Justice For All whereas De Niro started the 1980's on a high note with Raging Bull but it was all downhill for him after that! De Niro had it better in the '80's where he worked mostly as a character actor and it wasn't until Casino (1995) and Analyze This (1999) that he briefly returned as a leading man. Every day can't be a Sunday and even when these two play smaller parts, they usually end up looking like fools (Pacino in Gigli) or cheating us (De Niro in Jackie Brown).

This catch up business is fun if you are being chased!

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