Is Bobby D destroying his reputation?

dineroIs it possible the same, world-class actor who wowed audiences in such classics as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The Godfather: Part II is now routinely showing up in such tripe as Dirty Grandpa, The Intern and Grudge Match?

I’m referring to Robert De Niro who, if he passed away today, would be remembered as one of the greatest actors of his generation.

In addition to winning Oscars for best actor in Raging Bull and best supporting actor in The Godfather: Part II, De Niro also received best actor nominations for his roles in Cape Fear and The Deer Hunter, respectively.

And, yet, he pops up almost every month in yet another piece of dreck: Killer Elite, Machete and Righteous Kill to cite three others.

Is Bobby D Hollywood’s answer to Muhammad Ali? Has he become so enamored of the silver screen that he’ll grab any role available? Lord knows he has more money than God. And, were he trying to continually perfect his craft, De Niro would turn to the stage.

Searching for an answer, I asked Hollywood trivia expert par excellence, Thomas J. Powers, Jr., to answer two simple questions:

1.) Why is De Niro seemingly prostituting himself?

“I don’t think De Niro is prostituting himself at all. I’ve seen a few of his lesser movies…he has done a very professional job. He is good. Acting is work. “Bobby Milk” has earned his right to work.”

2.) Will it impact his long-term reputation?

“No. If he was an athlete doing sub par stuff it would probably impact his long-term reputation. But Bobby De Niro is an actor. He does good professional work. His reputation remains stellar. He is a Hall of Famer for all time.”

Agree or disagree with Tommy’s views, Bobby D has clearly not guarded his reputation over the years. Nor has he been selective in choosing titles that would afford him the opportunity to both stretch his talents and display his craft.

I find it both puzzling and depressing. Fade to black.

2 thoughts on “Is Bobby D destroying his reputation?

  1. Great post, Repman. I’ve thought about this a bit. In general, I agree with Powers. Yes, DeNiro has done a lot of crap ever since he starting going for box office gold with “Midnight Run” back in 1988. But I don’t think his ability as an actor is diminished. For example, his work in “Silver Linings Playbook” shows a professional who can deliver.

    Another point you could have brought up is that producers and Hollywood types pay for a “Robert DeNiro Performance” or the “Robert DeNiro Persona,” which leads to 8 sequels involving Ben Stiller and the Focker family.

    I also don’t think he has enough money. Actors have complicated personal lives. Many ex- and current spouses, children, residences and staff to support. The smart ones keep it simple, make their money and get out before the public demands it. Gene Hackman, Sean Connery and apparently Jack Nicholson are examples of those who quit while they’re ahead. From what I know of DeNiro, he doesn’t enjoy the same freedom.

    Which brings me to Al Pacino. I think you might have picked the wrong example. DeNiro may do a lot of mediocre stuff for money, but Pacino has become an outright hack. He works with inferior people now, and almost deliberately does bad movies for the money. I think those that hire him put money in a slot, tell him to say “Hoo-ah” like in “Scent of a Woman,” and wait for the money. I do know Pacino needs money to support both a complicated personal life and an ongoing Jones for Broadway, particularly the works of David Mamet and William Shakespeare. While that may be noble, reviews I’ve read of the last several Pacino movies indicate his days as a viable film actor are truly over.

  2. Here is one answer Repman. There are very few roles written for great sexagenarian actors (or older). How many great silver screen roles have been presented recently featuring Hoffman, Pacino, Redford, Hopkins, or Irons? Michael Douglas’ most iconic recent role was Gordon Gekko. And Harrison Ford is either Han or Indy or bust. Otherwise multiplex goers will have to put up with the Avengers and Channing Tatum. There is a reason why Gene Hackman and Sean Connery formally retired. The roles are weak and most movies are too. Michael Caine (a two time Oscar winner) was once asked how he can take on such great films while at the same time agree to be in Jaws 3D. His answer was that this is his profession, and he believes in working hard on what you love to do, and when he is asked to perform he does so with the best of intentions and the greatest of effort. Some movies win, others lose.