Friday, April 18, 2008


If you like vicious movie reviews, check out the critical reception to the new Al Pacino vehicle: What a disaster! Most every critic comments on how terrible Pacino looks (e.g., "a suburnt corpse").

Why does Al Pacino look so ridiculous? I've mentioned this a few times to various folks on this list, but if you look back at some of his work in the 70s (Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico), you're not inclined to say "oh, look at how young Al Pacino looks," but, "wow, who's that good-looking, young Italian fella doing a slow-burn? did he die in a plane crash before i was born or something?"

Not to mention his well-documented change from an understated actor who emoted when the character called for it to a tic-affected screamer. As much as Godfathers I and II have been coopted into pop culture as "the ultimate guys' movie," I still think Al Pacino's performance is mesmerizing. When he's on screen, he's never doing anything more than dragging on cigarrette or sipping tonic water. And you can't take your eyes off of him.

Now go watch Heat, specifically that scene where he starts screaming at Hank Azaria completely out of the blue in a police interrogation room. Screaming about how nice it'd be to crawl up a woman's ass or something. It's incoherent, and, unfortunately, emblematic of the gum-popping, wild-eyed "Al Pacino" character that's been around since the early 90s.


Blogger hostage crisis said...

btw, my new name is "hostage crisis"

4/18/2008 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, but what's happened to Pacino's career in the last ten years isn't nearly as depressing as what's happened to DeNiro's during the same time span.


4/18/2008 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's a double-dose:

from the director of 88 mins.

4/18/2008 1:31 PM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

i like heat a lot, but you're right on. it's like he fell in love with the scent of a woman persona and never looked back.

i dispute the de niro contention. this decade has been rough, but he did some decent flicks in the 90s (ronin, heat, sleepers, a bronx tale, jackie brown).

4/19/2008 12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scent of a Woman for Pacino was like Everybody Hurts for Michael Stipe--both were universally beloved, neither age real well, and both served to encourage self indulgent tendencies in their future works.


4/19/2008 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Keene,

I agree w/ you that all those 90s DeNiro performances are all right (esp. his role as the stoner in "Jackie Brown"), but I specifically said the last decade. All the movies you named are 1998 or earlier. It was with "Analyze This" in 1999 that DeNiro's career began its long, sad, precipitous decline, from which awful slough it may never recover. Some director, throw this man a bone! Someone, force him to work with Scorsese again! Someone, make him stop doing comedies...


4/21/2008 12:24 AM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

a trip to de niro's imdb page ( shows that later this year he and pacino are going to team up for cop drama called "righteous kill". assuming pacino tones it down a bit, could be solid. he's also staring in a michael mann film set for release in 2009. so hope for the best.

i chalk the last decade up to doing movies your grandkids can enjoy. also the dude got paid $20M for analyze that and meet the fockers. i find it hard to fault him.

4/21/2008 9:08 AM  

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