Opinion Piece – Will Robert De Niro Ever Make Another Great Film?

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No doubt one of just many high brow moments found in Dirty Grandpa

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.

Eddie’s Thoughts

Last Vegas - feature

De Niro and his wolfpack in the very un-funny Last Vegas

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.

Bull

Remember this guy? De Niro delivered a knockout turn in Scorsese’s Raging Bull

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.

Jordan’s Thoughts

Rightous

The dream team of Pacino and De Niro, to bad Righteous Kill was a non-event

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

mission

De Niro in the oft-forgotten The Mission, one of many of his classic films

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.

Dirty Grandpa is now showing at a cinema near you (enter the cinema at your own peril!)

Think De Niro’s best days are behind him? Or optimistic of his upcoming releases? Let us know in the comments below!

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34 responses to “Opinion Piece – Will Robert De Niro Ever Make Another Great Film?

  1. I read an interview the other day in which he said that he simply likes to work. I suppose you could go the Leonardo DiCaprio or Daniel Day-Lewis route, and be extremely picky with your movies. De Niro must really love to work I guess.

      • I don’t think he’s tarnished his legacy in any way, but I do think he’s chances with viewers who were familiar with his work.
        You see his name on a movie poster now, and is “wow this could be a great movie” the first thought that pops up in your head?
        No, it’s probably something along the lines “oh boy, this might be crap”.
        That’s what sucks. Not for us, but for him.

      • Yeh agreed man although the more crud he puts out like Bad Grandpa the more likely we are to feel like his legacy is lessoned with each passing failure.
        E

      • Even though you might think Silver Lining Playbooks (the film itself) was overrated, it’s hard to argue that Robert De Niro’s performance in it wasn’t great.

      • That’s understandable. I myself think he’s still got one in him too. He does run a whole festival in NYC so that’s probably keeping him from getting large/demanding roles too.

  2. It pains me that DeNiro is involved in so much nonsense these days. He’s my favourite actor and remained so ever since I was a teenager and that a long time ago. There simply isn’t another actor that has ye magnetism and screen presence that DeNiro has. Does he have another good film in him? I think he does. I just don’t know where that’s coming from these days. To be honest, I think he needs to stop going through the motions and actually invest himself again. If he does, then no one can touch him.

  3. It started to go wrong with Meet the Parents. I think it’s unfortunate that there are fewer great films now. So much is concentrated on churning out films without looking into whether they should. Just because a film doesn’t make a lot of money doesn’t mean it isn’t good. I liked the new Star Wars, but it’s not the greatest film of all time. I think this is why actors like Deniro do not get the parts they deserve. Very few actors over 60 get great scripts to read and therefore can’t be so choosy. Al Pacino has also had to slow down. Michael Caine is a rarity in being able to continue in good films. I think the film industry lets these great stars down. I think Deniro would rarely work if he was more choosey. I also think he is having fun. Does he owe anyone anything?

    • I think Meet The Parents was actually one of his last great roles. I personally think it’s a pretty solid comedy, maybe not a great movie, but he definitely brought Jack Burns to life and gave a great performance. However, by Little Fockers he seemed like he couldn’t care less about being entertaining.

  4. It’s frightening to think that he might not have another great film in him, but deep down I really think he has a final couple of top drawer performances left to give. Although he seems to be pre-occupied with silly old man roles since Meet the Parents I think he’ll try to do a few legacy-saving (AKA HOLY: SHIT HE’S STILL GREAT) pieces before he retires.

  5. He’s done. He has looked back on his life’s work and concluded (rightfully) that he did some sick acting back in the day, and now can get away with literally doing whatever he likes. Al Pacino too. Or should that be Dunk-Paccino? Jack and Jill, anyone?

  6. I just caught the ‘Deer Hunter’ on TCM a few nights ago last week. It holds so strong even in 2016. An astonishingly epic piece of film making, not to mention Vilmos Zsigmond’s beautiful cinematography.
    It’s sad to see him making Hollywood crap nowadays. Its true what others are saying, “he loves to work”. He’s like Samuel Jackson, who’s been in practically any and every movie in the past decade.
    Here’s hoping some miracle will happen (sooner rather then later) and I’ll stop seeing DeNiro in comedy trailers on TV saying “What are you? Vagina repellent?” to Zac Efron.

    • Perhaps De Niro and Jackson should team up with Scorsese and play the old guys going after the young hoods/drug dealers from their old NY neighbourhood!
      Nicholson and DiCaprio could play father/son multi millionaire drug lords! Wow……..what a film that could be……………I’ll start writing it now!
      “The Deerhunter” is a work of art…….to me, probably the greatest film ever made! The Russian Roulette scenes are beyond harrowing!

  7. I think he still makes pretty enjoyable films, but as you said of the Intern, mostly forgettable. I recently watched What Just Happened?, Killer Elite, and Everybody’s Fine. His performances are still good, or at least acceptable, but he’s become more of a supporting actor than that guy who would carry whole films. If he does ever make another great movie I predict it will be as a supporting actor or as a part in an ensemble cast. This left me to wonder, since let’s say Heat, what roles in other movies do people think would’ve been elevated if they’d been played by Deniro instead? Thinking about recent older male Oscar nominees, the only one I can really think of off-hand is Clint Eastwood, so maybe there aren’t a lot of scripts coming out with well-written, older characters.

  8. Pingback: Will Robert De Niro ever make a decent film again? | Admit One Film Addict·

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