Thursday, June 7, 2007

Al Pacino, Master Thespian


You've been an actor all your life, devoting yourself to your craft.

If you're lucky, you are revered for your works and accomplishments.

If you're unlucky, some snarky blogger with no business critiquing others will copy and paste your IMDB page and insult your career.

Congratulations, Al Pacino. You have been selected for a Two Buck Schmuck Career Retrospective (tm)!

Deadly Circle of Violence (1968) TV Episode
Didn't see it.

"N.Y.P.D."
Wuzzah? Sorry, didn't see it.

Me, Natalie (1969)
Me, no see it.

Out of It (1969)
Me: Can I see this movie? Them: Sorry, we're out of it.

The Panic in Needle Park (1971)
This is what put the Pachinko Radinko on the map. Didn't see it.

The Godfather (1972)
Hey, I like this movie! Mr. Pacino shoots Sterling Hayden in the neck, speaks Italian and wears a bowler hat. He's good in this.

Scarecrow (1973)
Supposedly a good character study with Pacman and Gene Hackman. Haven't seen it.

Serpico (1973)
I like this movie. Al is good in this, too. He has quirky hippie clothes when he's an underground cop, owns a cute sheepdog and sports a full beard.

I think they should issue plush dolls for this movie. Y'know, for the kids.

The Godfather: Part II (1974)
I haven't seen this in ages, but I liked it when I saw it. A little known fact about the scene between Michael Corleone and Fredo -- they tried different body parts before settling on "Fredo, you broke my heart!" There's an easter egg on the 30th Anniversary DVD edition in which you can see deleted scenes where Michael says "Fredo, you broke my pancreas!" and "Fredo, you broke my uvula!"

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
So starts the scenery chewing. I still like this movie. I like Pacino in this, and I like his interplay between him and John Casale, Chris Sarandon and Charles Durning.

Bobby Deerfield (1977)
Some crappy car racing movie, right? I haven't had the pleasure.

"The Godfather Saga" (1977) (mini)
This doesn't count. Next!

...And Justice for All. (1979)
Saw a little bit of it. It sucked. Pacino wasn't much better.

Cruising (1980)
Haven't seen it, but I've definitely snickered at stills from the movie a few times.

Author! Author! (1982)
Due to the miracles of pay television in the 80's, I probably have seen this movie more than any other Pacino movie. Scary, huh? He's actually not that bad in it. Something in its favor -- Eric Gurry plays one of his kids. Eric G.'s next movie would be the Sean Penn prison movie Bad Boys, where he blows the face off of Carnivale and Highlander bad guy Clancy Brown with a homemade explosive. Was that a tangent I just wandered down?

Scarface (1983)
I dunno, overacting in a Spanish accent is very similar to overacting with a New Yawk accent, isn't it? Still, haveta always catch the chainsaw scene when I come across this movie on TV.

Revolution (1985)
Probably a sucky movie. I saw a clip of Pacino pontificating and that was all I needed to see.

Sea of Love (1989)
Supposedly a bright star in Pacino's 80's repertoire. I --- wait for it --- haven't seen it.

The Godfather: Part III (1990)
Terrible film. Performance not so good, and the crappy old guy makeup they put him in at the end didn't help.

Frankie and Johnny (1991)
I actually saw it at a cheap theater. I guess he was okay, I guess. Skippable movie.

The Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980 (1992) (V)
Didn't I already comment on the Godfather movies?

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Pacino in a David Mamet-written film makes his acting a little less conspicuous. He was fine in this. This whole movie is a little too show-offy for the actors to my taste -- particularly Kevin Spacey and Ed Harris. I liked Jack Lemmon, though.

Scent of a Woman (1992)
I paid to see this in the theater. Why? I have no idea. I think it's like 5 hours long, and Pacino is really, really terrible as a blind a-hole. But, this film did give us the interjection "HOO-ah!"

Carlito's Way (1993)
Crappy Brian De Palma movie. Sean Penn is worse in this than Pacino is. The whole movie is cliched, but Pacino isn't awful in it.

Two Bits (1995)
A customer of my Dad's movie auction wrote this. He was the guy who adapted the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho as well. Haven't seen it, though Pacino does look a little silly in his old guy makeup (see Godfather III above).

Heat (1995)
This Michael Mann movie was a little long, but I liked it, mostly for the stuff with Robert DeNiro's gang. Al Pacino is sucky in this as a gum-chewing cop. One of my favorite bad Pacino lines is in here. Pacino's cop is talking to Hank Azaria's character about his girlfriend. I can't do the line justice in print, but he says, "She's got a great Big ASSSSSSS! And you've got your HEAD.... all the WAY... UP IT!!!" Azaria just gives Pacino a "what the f*ck?" kinda expression after this. I read somewhere that this was a line Pacino had improvised, which would explain the genuine confused and disgusted look on Azaria's face.

City Hall (1996)
Probably sucky? Didn't see it.

Donnie Brasco (1997)
I saw this in the theater. I thought Pacino was understated, but not particularly good. This movie was boring.

The Devil's Advocate (1997)
Al Pacino? As the Devil? Should we even ask him to tone it down?

The Insider (1999)
I haven't seen it since its release, but I really liked it. I remember being really impressed with Russell Crowe's performance. Pacino was okay, but the only thing that sticks in my head for him is "ARE YOU A BUSINESSMAN OR ARE YOU A NEWSMAN???!!"

Any Given Sunday (1999)
Al Pacino? As a pro football coach? Should we even ask him to tone it down? To be fair, I have only seen pictures of this movie, not the movie itself.

Chinese Coffee (2000)
Huh? What is this?

Insomnia (2002/I)
Saw it. Blah blah blah.

S1m0ne
Saw 5 minutes of it. BLAH BLAH BLAH.

People I Know (2002)
Didn't see it.

The Recruit (2003)
Boring thriller. At one point, Pacino says "You have to admit, I'm a scary judge of talent." I thought he should shorten it to, "You have to admit, I'm a scary."

Gigli (2003)
I obeyed the hype and shunned this movie. It's probably a diamond in the rough, no?

The Merchant of Venice (2004)
I saw a little of this. It was okay.

Two for the Money (2005)
I stayed away. Did you?

7 comments:

Johnny Yen said...

Sea of Love sucked ass.

Can you believe he won his sole Oscar for Scent of a Woman? Talk about damning with faint praise...

Remember the scene in Heat where he grabs his television, which his wife's new boyfriend is watching? That scene was done before, with Dennis Farina, in another Michael Mann thing, Crime Story. I wonder what the story with that is-- that he keeps telling it in different movies and tv shows.

Splotchy said...

re: Scent -- the Academy loves the physically challenged, don't it?

Bubs said...

One of the best reviews I remember was of "And Justice for All". Of Pacino's performance they said:

"It's like he's trying to play all the parts from Dog Day Afternoon at once."

Johnny Yen said...

Yeah, the physically challenged, and gender-switching. Dustin Hoffman won in 1982 for Tootsie as a guy playing a girl, and the same year, Linda Hunt won as a girl playing a guy in "The Year of Living Dangerously."

Bubs-- that review was dead-on, wasn't it?

I'm reminded of that one Monty Python sketch where they bring John Cleese the hospital for victims of overacting.

Dale said...

I'm happy to say that I've seen even fewer of those than you have but wholeheartedly agree with your assessments. Who will you go up against next? It's captivating reading. Even if I didn't read it.

Splotchy said...

dale, just give me a couple actors that you'd be interested in not reading, and at my earliest convenience I will not post about them.

Reel Fanatic said...

I've gotta say that snarky and short is exactly the way I like it, so this was right up my alley ... I'd agree with you on just about every one of these, but I think I remember vaguely liking City Hall (but clearly not enough to recommend it!)