NEW YORK – With the release of Grudge Match, Robert De Niro will have made 90 films and will also have definitively passed the good crap equinox of his career with 43 great films and 47 films you wish he hadn’t made.
Committed De Niro watcher Jammy LePlush emerges from a cloud of menthol cigarette smoke to jab a finger at me: ‘It began some say with The Fan, some even point at We’re No Angels or Jack Knife but for me it was Rocky and Bullwinkle, that was the tipping point.’
Two fellows actors who have a lot to do with De Niro’s decline in status from the dangerous actor who was willing to push himself to any limit to produce a marvelous performance to the sleepwalking self-parody of today are Ben Stiller and Billy Crystal, who encouraged De Niro to appear in their ‘comedies’. Jammy adds another name:
Leonardo diCaprio. Once he caught Marty Scorsese’s eye, that was it. De Niro was out. You think of the last great performance De Niro gave: Casino back in 1995. Ever since then it’s been a mixture of m’eh and goddam awful.
Also starring Sylvester Stallone, Grudge Match manages the almost unique feat of actually going back to one of De Niro’s finest films Raging Bull and taking a long curly steaming turd on top of it.