Opinion piece by Jordan and Eddie on 5/02/2016
With the recent release of the truly awful looking Dirty Grandpa (of which the trailer is more than enough to see) a question was raised between we two film fans as to whether or not Robert De Niro, the once great actor, will ever make a great movie again. Not just an OK forgettable film (here’s looking at you The Intern) but a great one, the likes of which he used to make seemingly back-to-back.
It doesn’t even have to be a classic, just a feature that showcases the legendary actor’s range of talents as a performer, whether it be method acting or comedic timing, so below both Jordan and Eddie consider and ponder what may lay ahead for old Bob who is quickly running out of time to resurrect his image that once shone so brightly in the industry.
Here’s hoping there’s still light waiting at the end of the De Niro tunnel yet.
First of all, after sadly witnessing the Dirty Grandpa trailers and adverts that have scarred my memory for the rest of my years, it bought a true sadness to my inner movie lover as to just what Robert De Niro has become.
Sure he’s played bit parts in successful (and highly overrated) films like American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook, but within the last decade or so his filmography also includes stains on cinema history like Godsend, Hide and Seek, Righteous Kill, Little Fockers, Ages of Love, Killer Elite, The Big Wedding, Killing Season, The Family, Last Vegas, The Bag Man and of course Dirty Grandpa. If that list of films didn’t showcase a general lack of not caring then I don’t know what does.
Really the rout of bad films littering De Niro’s career started long before the new millennial and personally the only legitimately redeemable films of the 2000’s for De Niro have been The Score and Stardust – but even that film saw old Bob flaunt around in cross dressing apparel, not exactly something to be proud of.
It seems as though the love De Niro once showed towards his craft has long since diminished with more concern for opening restaurants than actually making quality films, and the most frustrating thing about it all is that fact that the type of acting talent De Niro has (or had) doesn’t exactly just disappear overnight.
If De Niro started to actually read his scripts and not look to sign up to just any old comedy then who knows?
Will Robert De Niro ever make another great film? Final verdict – Yes.
I believe deep down that De Niro not only has a great performance left in him but a great film, the only problem is who is there to unlock that now long locked away talent?
More than ever does De Niro need his once great collaborator Martin Scorsese to come to the rescue, or if that dream cannot be realised someone else of stature that feels the pain we feel in seeing De Niro’s twilight years being sullied by cheap, nasty and downright unredeemable ventures that are nothing more than cash grabbing sore points on an otherwise fantastic career. Really it’s their civic duty as fellow movie lovers to do this.
Is it really fair to be so critical of an actor who has provided film lovers with so many unforgettable moments and powered films he’s been in to be among the greatest of all made in America? After all, he’s not the first actor to have an elongated creative slump, nor the only one at the moment.
His contribution to cinema is immense. His dramatic descent into the seemingly inescapable territory of embarrassing and shameful roles is undeniable. Reflecting on what his name once meant on a poster, in a trailer or even in conversation: yes, its fair.
It’s fair and it’s essential; through either poor judgement or a lack of successful director relationship, Robert De Niro has split his career in two. It’s upsetting to think that the opinion some younger viewers would have of him would be based on such insulting, bottom-of-the-barrel titles as Dirty Grandpa, without having any knowledge of what he achieved in the ’70’s, ’80’s and even ’90’s.
Will Robert De Niro ever make another great film. Final verdict – No
His collaborations with Scorsese are of course renowned above all else, with Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas among others representing a powerful partnership, but it’s when you look at his work outside of this that you see the scope of his talents. He announced himself to a wide audience in Coppola’s The Godfather: Part II, brought vulnerability in Michael Cimino’s devastating The Deer Hunter, commanded the screen for nearly 4hrs in Sergio Leonie’s final film Once Upon a Time in America and faced off in an iconic fashion with his peer Al Pacino in Heat.
This catalogue of films is incredible, but from a different time, with the most recent example released over 20 years ago. There are two chapters in the career of an actor I once had no hesitation in calling the finest of all time, unfortunately it appears that the first one has been completed, and the author of the second has a very sick sense of humour indeed.