Monday, June 4, 2012

Show Me De Niro

Robert De Niro is personally redefining “jumping the shark.” If you didn’t know, the phrase that was born from the “Happy Days.” A now infamous episode where the Fonz, literally, jumped over a shark. To most it represented the exact moment the show took a turn for the worse. I’m not yet sure what we should call it, but whatever “it” is, Al Pacino is doing his own version.

Take a look at this amazing list of movies De Niro appeared in between 1968 and 1997:
·         Mean Streets
·         Bang The Drum Slowly
·         The Godfather: Part II
·         Taxi Driver
·         The Deer Hunter
·         Raging Bull
·         Once Upon a Time in America
·         The Untouchables
·         Midnight Run
·         Goodfellas
·         A Bronx Tale
·         Heat
·         Casino
·         Jackie Brown

Those are just the highlights, in my opinion.  De Niro appeared in 53 movies over those 29 years. If you even purchase a movie occasionally, you probably own no less than five of them. Then after ’97 made a very noticeable shift and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to enjoying Analyze This and Meet the Parents. Those were a couple of fun comedies, and it was entertaining to see him make fun of his on screen persona.  

Things steam rolled out of control. The quality didn’t just drop off, it has vanished. The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, really? I’m convinced he has simply stopped reading scripts. There’s no other way the young Don Corleone agrees to Showtime or 15 Minutes. How he and Pacino agreed to do a movie with 50 Cent is beyond me. Still, Righteous Kill was so bad that 50 wasn’t even the weak spot. See: Pacino jumps a banister and runs off like he’s Carl Lewis.
What’s troubling me most right now is, the pace he’s turning out crap. Post 1997, and including movies currently filming, in pre-production, or post-production (according to my bible, De Niro has worked on 40 movies. That’s 40 forgettable roles. How does this happen? Can Congress look into this?
It’s not that there aren’t any good roles for men in their 60s. Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones have done some of their most memorable roles in the last seven or eight years.  What they haven’t done? New Years Eve.
I’m calling it: De Niro’s career has Bullwinkled.

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