Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Three Thumbs Up: A Pacino By Any Other Name

It's been a very long time since I've done one of these posts - wherein I choose three roles I do like from a performer I tend not to like at all - but I tweeted the above the other day after the brouhaha out of the Scarface reunion at Tribeca, and today I see that it's Pacino's 78th birthday... and so let's do this.

First things first: listen, I know people like Al Pacino. He is a living legend who's starred in some of the most important movies ever made. I get it. I am not here to take your precious Pacino away. I just find him... let's just say he is not to my tastes. I mean there exists in this world a Greta Gerwig movie I haven't been able to make myself watch, and it's because it's really an Al Pacino movie. That said if you were holding a gun to my head I could come up with more than three performances from him I do admire. But you're not. My head is gun free. So I'm keeping it to three...

Michael Corleone, The Godfather
What, I'm not insane. (But Part II is overrated.)
Steve Burns, Cruising - He's not actually "good acting" in this, he's ridiculous, but I like the ridiculous and I love the movie and think his strutting nonsense makes this a better movie, so I'll take it.
Sonny, Dog Day Afternoon - Easily far and away by leaps and by bounds my favorite performance of his. It actually might be the only performance of his I actively "like" and don't just admire as "good acting." He's very moving here.
Runners-up: Frankie & Johnny, Dick Tracy

So what are your favorite Pacino performances?


joel65913 said...

I'm a fan, perhaps not as devout as in his younger days before crap and crappy performances like Scent of a Woman dimmed my admiration but when he controls himself he can still turn in fine work.

I'm with you that Dog Day Afternoon is far and away his top performance and for me film (sorry Godfather movies).

My other two are from his early period as well, Serpico and Scarecrow in that order. But he was excellent in Angels in America

Mike Johnson said...

"Devil's Advocate" is easily his best, but it may just be the movie. Charlize is crazy good in a crazy role. Keanu has never been hotter. His scene with Connie Nielsen/Charlize is one of the sexiest straight sex scenes I've seen. Just an over the top hoot. Pacino's trademark scenery chewing works in this delicious nonsense.

Anonymous said...

It's the same way I feel about M Pfeiffer. Serviceable in most movies and maybe one or two great roles like Pacino.

Arun said...

I defo feel the same way about Michelle, but early Pacino I'd argue is pretty great. Panic in Needle Park, The Godfathers, Scarecrow, Serpico and Dog Day are my highlights. I think there's good, if flawed, work in And Justice for All, Glengarry and Angels. The rest is garbage.

Scott said...

Dog Day Afternoon (a great film) features by far my favorite performance of his that I remember clearly (a lot of his 80s/early 90s work I don't remember that clearly), although I've never seen Serpico.

I wonder if Nicholson had won the Oscar for Chinatown, if that would have opened up more space for Pacino to win it for Dog Day Afternoon (instead of Nicholson winning it that year for Cuckoo's Nest).

FoxVerde said...

glengarry glen ross and scent of a woman. his performance in scent is amazing but the movie is 30 minutes too long. jack lemon stole the show in glengarry and gave the best sleazy fake/phony salesman & one of the funniest and heartbreaking roles i've ever seen on film. i live for shelley "the machine" levine. i must watch it twice a year like dolores claiborne...vera donovan is my personal hero!