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.
HOLLYWOOD – Robert De Niro is so especially fantastic that in order to celebrate his 70th birthday 5 FACTS didn’t seem enough.
So before you can say ‘Are you talking to me?’ here are 5 more FACTS about Uncle Bobby.
1. No one has ever seen Jack Knife, except you.
2. In The Deer Hunter, De Niro was actually supposed to be hunting boar but shot a deer by accident. Michael Cimino changed the title of the film and used the footage.
3. When filming Angel Heart De Niro got very jealous of young actor Mickey Rourke and so when Rourke asked him for advice De Niro told him to take up boxing and plastic surgery.
4. To play Noodles, the Jewish gangster in Once Upon a Time in America, De Niro got his little fellow clipped. Director Sergio Leone found it hilarious and shot a scene of De Niro’s circumcised penis but unfortunately and ironically that scene also had to be cut.
5. Taxi Driver is often cited as Robert De Niro’s most autobiographical film. De Niro was a taxi driver when he was looking for a break as a young man. He also rescued a prostitute from gangsters and shot them up, becoming a local hero. Paul Schrader – the script writer – denies any knowledge of this and said he was freaked out by the coincidence, so much so that he hasn’t written another film since.
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