Latest Movie News Headlines

C'mon, Hollywood: Let's give Robert De Niro some better material!

Jan. 7, 2014by:

With GRUDGE MATCH being released and met with such lukewarm reception, it only reminds me that the once great Robert De Niro hasn't had the hottest track record of late. Now, every actor has his or her string of substandard films, but the amount that has plagued him lately is straight up unfortunate. There was a time when one thought of De Niro, films like CASINO, GOODFELLAS and HEAT came to mind. While those will never be crossed off his resume, movies like LITTLE FOCKERS, RIGHTEOUS KILL and KILLING SEASON are all recent critical flops he's headlined and there is something seriously wrong with this picture. 

That's not at all to say that the guy has completely lost his punch. I'm sure given the chance, De Niro could prove once again why he's considered one of the absolute greats. Provided with the right material, he can still knock it out of the park. Just look at his performance in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. It was awesome (he even kinda cried in that one part!). Why he's been starring in such lackluster films lately is anybody's guess, but with that performance, it showed us all that De Niro still has it in him. It even got him nominated for a Best Supporting Actor award at the Oscars and if he kept that stride, not only would he fix his reputation, but he'd be able to end his career on a strong note instead of fizzling out in a string of substandard films. So, where did it all go wrong? 

The film MEET THE PARENTS played with the concept of De Niro's hard ass attitude and reputation and brought it to the comedy scene. It wasn't the first film to do this, but I do feel it was the most dangerous. While I love this movie, it directly led to MEET THE FOCKERS and the atrocious LITTLE FOCKERS to be released. I feel like this is around the time De Niro's career took a turn for the worst, with head scratchers like SHOWTIME, GODSEND and HIDE AND SEEK coming out and putting a permanent stain on De Niro's once glowing filmography. Seeing him embarrass himself by starring in third-rate movies that belong on daytime cable television is, well, embarrassing and it's still continuing. 

I suppose something that isn't helping De Niro's situation is his age. The guy's already 70 years old, which might be forcing him to take the backseat to younger, fresher stars or to accept roles that are limited to the part any other older actor could pull off easily. Even if we can't have him in a leading role where he can deliver an intense, physical performance a la RAGING BULL or TAXI DRIVER, surely we can have him play a strong supporting role. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK proved that, but when most of the titles on his filmography of late include THE FAMILY and LAST VEGAS, it's almost as if De Niro is content in accepting roles that basically say, "Hey! I'm an old person! Ha-HA!" It's not like I'm saying De Niro shouldn't be in anything comedic; it's always cool to see a hard-ass poke fun at himself, but it'd be a hell of a lot easier to swallow if it were at least a little bit charming. 

It's never too late to have a savory role that an older actor can sink his or her teeth into, though. Hell, just look at how badass Clint Eastwood made himself in MILLION DOLLAR BABY or even GRAN TORINO. Yes, he directed himself in those pictures, but what's keeping De Niro from doing that? I'd be interested as hell to see him give directing another shot (he did a fairly competent job with 2006's THE GOOD SHEPHERD). Of course, the most ideal situation would be to see De Niro and Martin Scorsese collaborate (at least) one more time. THE IRISHMAN would take care of that desire and with Joe Pesci said to be co-starring, this would be quite the movie event, but with it being teased and talked about for years now, who knows when or even if it will get made. I don't want to sound too harsh. I still love the guy, but if he doesn't shape up fast, we could see something along the lines of an Al Pacino like disaster, but we'll save that matter for another time. 

So, C'mon, Hollywood! Let's give Robert De Niro some better material to work with. He's one of the greatest actors of our time and seeing him fizzle out is not an ideal way to see him continue into the golden stages of his career. I'm not saying that every movie he lands in from here on out has to be absolute gold, but when the guy's been in such consistent mediocrity (and, in some cases, complete shit) of late, it's an extremely disheartening thing to witness. There are some actors that can get away with this because they aren't that good to be called one of the greatest actors ever, but De Niro was that good. He's still that good. And we deserve to see his acting talents in something a lot better. "You talkin' to me?" Yes, De Niro. I'm talking to you. I hope you're listening. 

Source: www.JoBlo.com

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

6:58PM on 01/08/2014

Cut the man some slack.

Deniro was fantastic in The Family and in Red lights. Though yes some roles he's picked in past years haven't been up to par with what he's capable of, he still manages to take good roles in there. The two mentioned as well as Silver Linings Playbook.

I have yet to see Being Flynn though I've heard nothing but good things.

As for Killing Season and Grudge Match? Can't speak haven't seen them though I was not a fan of.

People give Deniro too much flack. Maybe he legitimately see's
Deniro was fantastic in The Family and in Red lights. Though yes some roles he's picked in past years haven't been up to par with what he's capable of, he still manages to take good roles in there. The two mentioned as well as Silver Linings Playbook.

I have yet to see Being Flynn though I've heard nothing but good things.

As for Killing Season and Grudge Match? Can't speak haven't seen them though I was not a fan of.

People give Deniro too much flack. Maybe he legitimately see's something in the roles he's taken in films like The Big Wedding or Last Vegas. Freelancers was bad no excuse for that, but that's one DTV title, it's not like he's churning out Kilmer, Snipes, Liotta flicks.

Stone was alright and the worst part of the film definitely wasn't Deniro.

I definitely want to see him do a role where he reaches lengths he is capable of but to call him lazy is wrong, yes out of the last 15 films he's done, 3 were throwaway roles (Limitless, The Big Wedding, Machete, and New Years Eve) . Everybody's fine and What Just Happened were good films. I liked them myself at least. I'm not the hugest fan of the Fockers films but it's nice to see Deniro in comedies because the man is funny.

People are too harsh, but he does need better film roles.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:11PM on 01/07/2014

Agree

While it is perfectly okay for a good actor to be in a bad movie (last minute rewritres, major delays forcing rushed production, etc), within the last ten years De Niro's good to bad ratio has been 1 to 10, which screams desperation, laziness, or something of that nature. Yes, he does occasionally put in a great effort (his performance in 'Red Lights' springs to mind), but more often it seems he isn't all that discerning and will take anything thrown his way. He should be seeking out people he
While it is perfectly okay for a good actor to be in a bad movie (last minute rewritres, major delays forcing rushed production, etc), within the last ten years De Niro's good to bad ratio has been 1 to 10, which screams desperation, laziness, or something of that nature. Yes, he does occasionally put in a great effort (his performance in 'Red Lights' springs to mind), but more often it seems he isn't all that discerning and will take anything thrown his way. He should be seeking out people he wants to work with, etc. It's not too late for him, but it's getting there.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+7
1:42PM on 01/07/2014

he still does

get good roles and produce great performances and have good movies... most of them go totally unnoticed though and everyone focuses on the abomination of Little Fockers (and I loved the first two movies).

The Family was great, way better than I was expecting and he delivered an Oscar worthy supporting performance in the same year that Silver Linings Playbook was lighting the world on fire... but his award worthy performance wasn't in that movie. He was great in that movie yes, but he
get good roles and produce great performances and have good movies... most of them go totally unnoticed though and everyone focuses on the abomination of Little Fockers (and I loved the first two movies).

The Family was great, way better than I was expecting and he delivered an Oscar worthy supporting performance in the same year that Silver Linings Playbook was lighting the world on fire... but his award worthy performance wasn't in that movie. He was great in that movie yes, but he deserved an award (and never even got a nomination) for his work in that same year's highly underseen and underrated Being Flynn, as did Paul Dano in the lead. He's also been in other noteworthy movies with noteworthy performances that people seem to overlook as of late, like Everybody's Fine or a movie he starred in and directed The Good Shephard (speaking of which I'd like to see him direct again).

And really, at the end of the day even though he is my favourite actor in the world, De Niro is past his prime. I'm not saying talent wise, I certainly don't think he has lost that, but in terms of the 'prime' of most movie actors, the time when they get the most leading roles, the juiciest roles. The age that Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, DiCaprio, Damon, etc. are right now. De Niro's older now, and the majority of the big roles are just not suitable for him at his age anymore. I mean christ the guy is 70, give him a break! He's already a total undisputable legend in the world of film and really has nothing to prove. As said those types of roles just aren't there for 70 year olds, once in a blue moon maybe, and if he prefers to do sillier, lighter roles at this stage in his career -- let him! Let the guy have some fun after getting into SO many insanely dark character throughout his career.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:30AM on 01/07/2014
Ten years ago I was disheartened by the turn De Niro's career had taken. Today, not so much. He's seventy now, so he's going to get old-guy roles. Admittedly some actors have handled getting old better than others (though he's not on the same level as Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, for every two or three paychecks he does, has managed to still squeeze in some quality roles). And as for Grudge Match, that's purely a star-vehicle. No one but De Niro and Stallone could make that work, because
Ten years ago I was disheartened by the turn De Niro's career had taken. Today, not so much. He's seventy now, so he's going to get old-guy roles. Admittedly some actors have handled getting old better than others (though he's not on the same level as Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, for every two or three paychecks he does, has managed to still squeeze in some quality roles). And as for Grudge Match, that's purely a star-vehicle. No one but De Niro and Stallone could make that work, because they're the two most famous actors to portray boxers.

And lay off Al Pacino. He made Jack and Jill, but his work on HBO has given him an outlet to prove he's not all washed-up.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:43AM on 01/07/2014

so don't just sit there....

...and wait for better scripts to fall into your lap, Mr. De Niro.
Talk to the director's you want to work with. Talk to your agent to reach out for the hot talk of the town scripts!

It is completely acceptable that not every role he picks is brillant. I can and will tolerate my favorite actors to take a dumb paycheck movie once in a while. But De Niro seems outright lazy these days. Where is his ambition to do anything more than repeat his same old signature acting thing and take the
...and wait for better scripts to fall into your lap, Mr. De Niro.
Talk to the director's you want to work with. Talk to your agent to reach out for the hot talk of the town scripts!

It is completely acceptable that not every role he picks is brillant. I can and will tolerate my favorite actors to take a dumb paycheck movie once in a while. But De Niro seems outright lazy these days. Where is his ambition to do anything more than repeat his same old signature acting thing and take the check from whoever is willing to pay for it. Why doesn't he work with someone like Jonze, the Coens, Anderson, Aronofski or give his old buddies Tarantino and Scorsese a call. The only outstanding director he is currently working with is O'Russel and even in those films he doesn't seem to look for a new challenge.

Just take one moment and compare that to Meryl Streep and what she is doing and how much harder it must be to find so many strong roles for a woman of her age compared to the number of male roles out there. That is true dedication to acting and pushing your boundaries over and over again. Compared to that De Niro looks like someone who is just collecting his pension checks.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:56PM on 01/07/2014
Couldn't agree more. It's why this whole article is pointless. Like you said, go meet with other directors! Talk to your agent! I'm sure the Coens, Anderson and others would love to have De Niro in one if their films. BUT they probably can't schedule him because he's so busy taking shit roles in unforgettable movies.
Couldn't agree more. It's why this whole article is pointless. Like you said, go meet with other directors! Talk to your agent! I'm sure the Coens, Anderson and others would love to have De Niro in one if their films. BUT they probably can't schedule him because he's so busy taking shit roles in unforgettable movies.
9:18AM on 01/07/2014
"Why he's been starring in such lackluster films lately is anybody's guess"
Really? Nothing comes to mind? Like maybe, MONEY. It baffles me how people say things like this and forget that this is a business. That's why the call it the Entertainment Business. Now in no way am I justifying his latest acting choices. I'm just merely stating the obvious. Why else would he (or anyone for that matter) do a string of substandard films unless it was for the money. I personally don't like when great
"Why he's been starring in such lackluster films lately is anybody's guess"
Really? Nothing comes to mind? Like maybe, MONEY. It baffles me how people say things like this and forget that this is a business. That's why the call it the Entertainment Business. Now in no way am I justifying his latest acting choices. I'm just merely stating the obvious. Why else would he (or anyone for that matter) do a string of substandard films unless it was for the money. I personally don't like when great actors milk the system dry when they get bored, because I feel like they can make 1 or 2 of these generic films every once in a while if they need money, but to make a string of them is ridiculous. like how much money do you need, and what the fuck are you buying that you need all this money. Like Nicholas Cage.. Somebody needs to put a stop to that guy. He's fucking nuts. Buying castles all over the place, with his straight to ON DEMAND crap. Just my two cents
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:48AM on 01/07/2014
Nic Cage is a great example for that. Once in a while he shows that he still can pick good to great movies and amaze me like he did with Adaptation. But there is sooooo much crap in between those gems that they feel either accidental or just not nearly enough to redeem himself as a serious actor who wants to show a quality body of work
Nic Cage is a great example for that. Once in a while he shows that he still can pick good to great movies and amaze me like he did with Adaptation. But there is sooooo much crap in between those gems that they feel either accidental or just not nearly enough to redeem himself as a serious actor who wants to show a quality body of work
9:52AM on 01/07/2014
Nic Cage also got divorced and in unrelated circumstances, owed millions of dollars to the IRS. So there was a while where Nic Cage accepted everything.
Nic Cage also got divorced and in unrelated circumstances, owed millions of dollars to the IRS. So there was a while where Nic Cage accepted everything.
7:56AM on 01/07/2014

Jon Voight said it

After he won an Oscar, Jon Voight thought he would get offered better roles so he started turning down parts that didn't appeal to him. What happened? He stopped working. He decided that if he kept turning down roles the studios would assume he had retired and stop offering him roles. So he started accepting every role he was offered and ended up in four Baby Geniuses movies. But he's probably right: studios will eventually reward an actor for doing shit by giving them decent roles and
After he won an Oscar, Jon Voight thought he would get offered better roles so he started turning down parts that didn't appeal to him. What happened? He stopped working. He decided that if he kept turning down roles the studios would assume he had retired and stop offering him roles. So he started accepting every role he was offered and ended up in four Baby Geniuses movies. But he's probably right: studios will eventually reward an actor for doing shit by giving them decent roles and they will punish actors who think they are too good for the direct-to-video stuff.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:21AM on 01/07/2014

Still love the Guy

Sure he made some crappy movies (which were not bad because of him). That being said, i thought he was awesome in 'Being Flynn' too...
Maybe he should take the Cameo tour more instead of shady leading roles. e.g. Chris Walken, his Cameos are real scene stealers!!

*****Possible spoiler ahead*****
Like for example
the cameo in

David O Russels last film.

Personally i think that he's trying to try as much different stuff as possible, which is usually a big risk....
I saw an interview
Sure he made some crappy movies (which were not bad because of him). That being said, i thought he was awesome in 'Being Flynn' too...
Maybe he should take the Cameo tour more instead of shady leading roles. e.g. Chris Walken, his Cameos are real scene stealers!!

*****Possible spoiler ahead*****
Like for example
the cameo in

David O Russels last film.

Personally i think that he's trying to try as much different stuff as possible, which is usually a big risk....
I saw an interview the day before in which he said he wants to do at least 2 more movies with Marty, to make it an even 10! So hopefully they start with the irish man very soon....
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:00AM on 01/07/2014
I love DeNiro and it is unfortunate to see him in so many films that flop now these days. The guy is a legend and in the right role he proves that he STILL has it (ie. Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle).

Would love to see him reteam again with Scorsese, Mann, Russell, Burger,etc since they obviously still know how to use his skills and talents for today's films. And he should also be more selective with his roles. I don't mind if he does a comedy every once in a while like The
I love DeNiro and it is unfortunate to see him in so many films that flop now these days. The guy is a legend and in the right role he proves that he STILL has it (ie. Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle).

Would love to see him reteam again with Scorsese, Mann, Russell, Burger,etc since they obviously still know how to use his skills and talents for today's films. And he should also be more selective with his roles. I don't mind if he does a comedy every once in a while like The Family or Grudge Match, but something like The Killing Season has me scratching my head thinking 'what the hell is your problem'?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:49AM on 01/07/2014
It was great to see his cameo in American Hustle
It was great to see his cameo in American Hustle
5:52AM on 01/07/2014
Why doesn't DeNiro and Scorcese work together anymore? He's not as young as Leonardo DiCaprio but I would've thought he'd at least get smaller roles. He would have been perfect in The Departed in Martin Sheen's role.
Why doesn't DeNiro and Scorcese work together anymore? He's not as young as Leonardo DiCaprio but I would've thought he'd at least get smaller roles. He would have been perfect in The Departed in Martin Sheen's role.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:01AM on 01/07/2014
Or maybe as DiCaprio's father in Wolf of Wall Street.
Or maybe as DiCaprio's father in Wolf of Wall Street.
7:25AM on 01/07/2014
But... but Martin Sheen was ALREADY perfect in that role.
But... but Martin Sheen was ALREADY perfect in that role.
4:23PM on 01/07/2014
I do like Martin Sheen but he seemed a bit stupid for a senior cop. Okay that's a bit harsh, let's say he didn't make much of an impression on me in that movie.
I do like Martin Sheen but he seemed a bit stupid for a senior cop. Okay that's a bit harsh, let's say he didn't make much of an impression on me in that movie.
5:29AM on 01/07/2014
His role choices turned his former awesomeness into a downward spiral
His role choices turned his former awesomeness into a downward spiral
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:17AM on 01/07/2014

If Hollywood offered him better material . . .

would he take it, or would he pass on it for another script that continues his current trend? I refer back to my other comment and those who share that point of view. He has a will of his own. He can choose, and he should be held accountable. Don't blame Hollywood for Robert De Niro's decisions. If he wants to take roles with jokes about his sagging man tits (Grudge Match), that's his prerogative.
would he take it, or would he pass on it for another script that continues his current trend? I refer back to my other comment and those who share that point of view. He has a will of his own. He can choose, and he should be held accountable. Don't blame Hollywood for Robert De Niro's decisions. If he wants to take roles with jokes about his sagging man tits (Grudge Match), that's his prerogative.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+6
5:04AM on 01/07/2014

He chose those roles

I'll say two things. 1st is that DeNiro, just like Pacino, chooses the roles he plays. He reads the script and knows who the director is going to be. He can only blame himself. If he wants better material then that's going to be a waiting game but it seems he doesn't want to wait. Yeah Hollywood is puting out turds left and right but DeNiro has put himself in this situation by picking those turds left and right ever since the first Meet the Parents film. But...and 2nd... he is old and he
I'll say two things. 1st is that DeNiro, just like Pacino, chooses the roles he plays. He reads the script and knows who the director is going to be. He can only blame himself. If he wants better material then that's going to be a waiting game but it seems he doesn't want to wait. Yeah Hollywood is puting out turds left and right but DeNiro has put himself in this situation by picking those turds left and right ever since the first Meet the Parents film. But...and 2nd... he is old and he doesn't deserve any kind of backlash from anyone. He's put in his time as a real A list actor and if he wants to do something different (and shitty) then let him. Pacino though, he should never ever be in a comedy again.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:54AM on 01/07/2014

He should CHOOSE better material

He is the one agreeing to play these roles. He is the one who signs on to a movie based on a script. Did producers force him to take these parts? Do they have something to blackmail him into agreeing to be in these films? As far as I know, he is choosing to perform this material, under his own will.

Whatever the motivation, it's his decision. I refuse to believe there are no talented writers in Hollywood with scripts to best utilize De Niro's talents. David O. Russell managed to
He is the one agreeing to play these roles. He is the one who signs on to a movie based on a script. Did producers force him to take these parts? Do they have something to blackmail him into agreeing to be in these films? As far as I know, he is choosing to perform this material, under his own will.

Whatever the motivation, it's his decision. I refuse to believe there are no talented writers in Hollywood with scripts to best utilize De Niro's talents. David O. Russell managed to provide a part that earned him another nomination. He should be seeking those scripts.

Why do so many aging celebrities feel they need to take parts that acknowledge they have aged? The Expendables franchise, Grudge Match and Last Vegas are examples of that. Instead of reliving the glory years, try finding a part that represents where you are now. Immerse yourself in a role that fits your age.

The same can be said of Al Pacino. There was no reason he had to be in an Adam Sandler movie, playing himself. You were a great actor, Al, a legend; you must have some more performances in you. Just pick the right script!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:46AM on 01/07/2014
Don't blame Hollywood. Blame DeNiro himself. This geezer has been coasting for years, just picking up paychecks for playing the same character with a diffrerent name. I personally think he lost motivation a long time ago. There are always good roles, and with his name he can pick whatever project he likes. he chooses crap, easy paydays over challenging roles because he just doesn;t care anymore- or his talent is gone. Same thing.

Look at Daniel Day-Lewis as an example of an actor who still
Don't blame Hollywood. Blame DeNiro himself. This geezer has been coasting for years, just picking up paychecks for playing the same character with a diffrerent name. I personally think he lost motivation a long time ago. There are always good roles, and with his name he can pick whatever project he likes. he chooses crap, easy paydays over challenging roles because he just doesn;t care anymore- or his talent is gone. Same thing.

Look at Daniel Day-Lewis as an example of an actor who still picks his parts carefully and takes his work seriously.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:18AM on 01/07/2014

He gets great material now and then

Though the movie overall is cliched and ultimately pointless, What Just Happened from 2008 showcases an mostly unseen DeNiro performance that is fantastic. He's in no way cliched, he's energetic, it was a different role for him, it didn't really play upon his age. In other words- the exact thing you're wishing for. However, the movie flopped. SoNot sure what that says about his options.
Though the movie overall is cliched and ultimately pointless, What Just Happened from 2008 showcases an mostly unseen DeNiro performance that is fantastic. He's in no way cliched, he's energetic, it was a different role for him, it didn't really play upon his age. In other words- the exact thing you're wishing for. However, the movie flopped. SoNot sure what that says about his options.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:05AM on 01/07/2014
Yes, I've ended up always mentioning Al Pacino and Robert De Niro together as examples of how far the mighty have fallen. I think roles that would be very easy and beneficial for De Niro to do would be characters along the lines of his Carlos Van Loon in Limitless - aggressive, ambitious, feared and respected for good reason, sinister air about them but still ready with a smile and a handshake.
Yes, I've ended up always mentioning Al Pacino and Robert De Niro together as examples of how far the mighty have fallen. I think roles that would be very easy and beneficial for De Niro to do would be characters along the lines of his Carlos Van Loon in Limitless - aggressive, ambitious, feared and respected for good reason, sinister air about them but still ready with a smile and a handshake.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:54AM on 01/07/2014
I agree. Let's give Both Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino better material. Better yet, give them something alone the line of Heat - great cat and mouse chase movie.
I agree. Let's give Both Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino better material. Better yet, give them something alone the line of Heat - great cat and mouse chase movie.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:11AM on 01/07/2014
They re-teamed for Righteous Kill. I haven't seen it, but apparently it's not great.
They re-teamed for Righteous Kill. I haven't seen it, but apparently it's not great.
View All Comments

Latest Movie News Headlines


Top
Loading...
JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!