View Full Version : Your MOST INFLUENTIAL Screen Characters

04-13-2009, 05:42 PM
Both TV and the movies have had their fair share of unforgettable / iconic / legendary / generation-defining / influential characters.

These are the characters that made us feel the extremes of humanity and emotion, and they stuck with us long after they were retired, killed off or the movie simply ended.

Who for you guys are the most influential TV / Movie characters and why?

Let me start.

My generation grew up knowing only one movie certainty: Sci Fi = Star Wars. Any other film with robots, spaceships and ray guns would only be compared to Star Wars and forever come up short. While Luke Skywalker and Han Solo may be go down as two of the most adored good guys in cinema of all time, it was definitely the Sith Lord, Darth Vader, who was the most unforgettable character of that franchise.

Think about it: whenever people think of pure evil or badness whether in teachers, bosses, coworkers, school mates, neighbors and whatnot, they will most likely think of folks like those as "the Darth Vader of --- " The dark side apparently had no trouble crossing over into mainstream society.

That Darth eventually turned out to be Luke's daddy was also one of the most kick-ass twists in all filmdom. "Luke, I am your father!" Shit, that line still chills me to the bone. :-X

11-12-2010, 12:53 PM
On TV, David Hasselholf playing the role of Michael Knight in Knight Rider was so influential to me, he's like a hero on TV screen driving that Car, that I often hallucinate as a kid having that famous car with a turbo boost.

I would feel bad in those Goliath episodes were Kit got destroyed and turned turtle.

Sam Miguel
12-02-2010, 11:58 AM
"Twilight Zone" spawned a whole generation of fanatics of the sci-fi genre who otherwise probably would not have given much thought to aliens, time travel, alternate histories, etc-etc. Truly the creator, writers and directors of the original "Twilight Zone" were people way ahead of their times. Not to mention that also gave a break to many famous celebrities such as Charles Bronson and William Shatner. Ironically Shatner would go on to immortalize another famous sci-fi icon in Capt James Tiberius Kirk of the USS Enterprise.

12-02-2010, 02:31 PM
I was a very young kid then in 1968 when my elder brothers took me to Nation Cinerama Theatre in Cubao to watch the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was the height of the US-USSR Space Race (The Eagle won’t land yet on the moon until 1969), and anything that touched on the space travel genre then was red-hot. It was truly a work of cinematic art, with dazzling special effects that would be surpassed in quantity and innovation only by the next big sci-fi movie that would be shown a decade later, Star Wars. In fact, 2001 was the benchmark for cinematic special effects for the said genre.

Some of the scenes were intensely detailed and psychedelic and remained vivid in my memory for years. Yet the only dialogue that I remember was that of the supercomputer Hal9000 pleading to astronaut David Bowman who was lobotomizing him:

“Please stop, Dave. Stop, Dave. I’m…afraid.”

I would only be able to obtain the DVD copy of it in 2003.

However, events in the next 30-50 years would overtake this movie and render it as a futuristic prediction that was not fulfilled, with the supposed Jupiter Mission to have happened in 2001 and the return trip happening ten years later in the sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact, which was shown in the mid-1980s.

The other legacy this movie left was its theme song, which was adopted later in other diverse fields as radio, advertising, pop music(Eumir Deodato’s version comes to mind), TV and other cinema genre (comedy, etc.), and is still in use today.

12-02-2010, 03:23 PM
Mine would be Michael Corleone of the Godfather series. It helped that I was really really taken by the novel and the film adaptation was one of the best. There was a time when I fancied myself as more-cerebral-less-brawn kinda guy (less brawn yes. cerebral? I thought so... until I got my class cards). I thought all the well known guys are the Sonny Corleones of the world. I would snicker in the sidelines while they make their move. "Bah, sige mauna na kayo... pag tapos ng ti-par (para napapanahon :D) I'm sure she's gonna be all over me". I guess I waited too much in the sidelines hehehe... or was it huhuhu? And it just was natural for me to abandon my Godfather persona and moved on to being John Rambo... Yari silang lahat ng mga nangagaw sa mga dapat na akin! But I never developed enough beef in my scrawny frame. Instead, I developed a paunch while tryng to carbo-load. That's when I became Obelix :D

12-02-2010, 05:20 PM
Mine would be Michael Corleone of the Godfather series. It helped that I was really really taken by the novel and the film adaptation was one of the best. There was a time when I fancied myself as more-cerebral-less-brawn kinda guy (less brawn yes. cerebral? I thought so... until I got my class cards). I thought all the well known guys are the Sonny Corleones of the world. I would snicker in the sidelines while they make their move. "Bah, sige mauna na kayo... pag tapos ng ti-par (para napapanahon :D) I'm sure she's gonna be all over me". I guess I waited too much in the sidelines hehehe... or was it huhuhu? And it just was natural for me to abandon my Godfather persona and moved on to being John Rambo... Yari silang lahat ng mga nangagaw sa mga dapat na akin! But I never developed enough beef in my scrawny frame. Instead, I developed a paunch while tryng to carbo-load. That's when I became Obelix :D

Same here pare ko. Michael Corleone. Of all the Corleone sons, he wasn't expected to take over his father's throne. He proved to be the cunning and brave one. And to think that Michael even went to Darthmouth College to run away from the Corleone empire.

Everytime I have enough time to kill, I always watch the Godfather series, and until now, I can't help but be mesmerized by the life of Don Vito and Michael Corleone.

Sam Miguel
12-03-2010, 08:16 AM
^^^ Bchoter, Lion, what did you guys think of "Good Fellas" or "Scarface"? Supposedly those were the films that made finally got the gangster/mafia movie genre full circle. Al Pacino did a wonderful job as Michael in the Godfather series. What did you think of him as Scarface? Or for that matter, how did the Michael character stack up to Ray Liotta's character in Good Fellas?

Sam Miguel
12-03-2010, 08:17 AM
^^^ MonL, did you like any of the other TV sci fi shows like "Battlestar Galactica" and "Logan's Run"?

12-03-2010, 09:14 AM
^^^ Bchoter, Lion, what did you guys think of "Good Fellas" or "Scarface"? Supposedly those were the films that made finally got the gangster/mafia movie genre full circle. Al Pacino did a wonderful job as Michael in the Godfather series. What did you think of him as Scarface? Or for that matter, how did the Michael character stack up to Ray Liotta's character in Good Fellas?

Goodfellas is one heck of a violent movie. I loved Joe Pesci's character in that movie as Tommy DeVito. He'd shoot people at the slightest provocation. Joe Pesci won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor. The story was narrated from the point of view of Ray Liotta's character as Henry Hill, a young lad who was charmed by the gangsters' way of life and eventually became one because of the money and the lifestyle. Three lines I remember in this movie:

1. Never rat on your friends.
2. Keep your mouth shut.
3. F _ _ k!

In the end, Henry ratted on his friends because they were also going to hit him.

Michael Corleone vs. Henry Hill? Michael was a dignified gangster. Smart, cunning, brave, a real don. Henry Hill was third rate. Never was a leader. Just a goffer for the mob bosses. His downfall started when he became a drug addict and eventually a drug dealer.

As for Scarface, it's typical Al Pacino. This film is really violent and full of gratuitous graphic language. It's the story of a Cuban (Pacino as Tony Montana) who rose from the ranks as a gangster. Tony Montana is just a gangster who never aimed for redemption. He did all the wrong things that led to his downfall. Like Henry Hill, Tony Montana became addicted to cocaine, which led to paranoia, and which further led to his death in the hands of his enemies.

With the holiday season just around the corner, I might just watch again Goodfellas, The Godfather series and Scarface. Guess it's time to buy that Samsung "46 LCD being sold at a discount now in Abensons. ;D

12-03-2010, 09:33 AM
The Battlestar Galactica series in the new millenium is somewhat a darker version compared to the original TV series that was spun off the "Sensurround" movie. I haven't seen a lot of episodes of the new series, but I like them better due to the unpredictability of the plots and continuity i.e.: conflicts would continue over the course of several episodes, whereas in the old series, conflicts were solved by the end of an episode, and every one went away happy as they continued on their journey to a planet called.. (dramatic pause)....Earth. :D

I liked the Logan's Run movie which starred Michael York as it was one of those themed on futuristic societies that lived on a lie, and eventually broke down when the truth came out. The TV series, though was forgettable and IIRC was canned shortly.

I also liked "Westworld" a movie about a theme park full of androids where guests can live out their fantasies (Western, Roman, Medieval, etc) and they would always win gunfights, jousts, etc., against these robots until they mysteriously malfuctioned and turned against their human masters.
Like 2001, it was themed on advanced technology which went awry.

Sam, what's your take on the U.F.O. TV series by the British ITC?

Sam Miguel
12-03-2010, 09:49 AM
^^^ Sorry MonL, wasn't able to catch that show.

Although my favorite aliens on TV were the characters of Robin Williams (from Mork and Mindy), John Lithgow (from Third Rock From The Sun) and that mouse-eating foxy lady in the V Series (forgot her name, also was in the second generation version of Mission: Impossible)

I loved Williams and Lithgow because of their innate and sometimes edgy humor, which of course made sense for their characters being aliens and such.

12-03-2010, 10:13 AM
^Nanoo-nanoo, ah yes. :D But they did touch up on serious issues like racism at one time, with Mindy telling Mork "It starts with jokes like 'Did you hear that one about the two Jews?' Pretty soon they were almost the only ones left."

12-03-2010, 10:27 AM
^^^ I great list of gangster movie Sam. If The Godfather wasn't in the top 3 favrite movies (and book) of all time, Tony Montana would have been my most influential guy. To an ipressionable provinciano, it's easy to relate to a Tony Montana. New kid in town who made it to the top with a great looking girl on the side. Who doesn't wanna be like Tony? Although Goodfellas is another great adaptation (Pillegi's Wiseguys), I find the lead character too opportunistic and lacking in reedeming qualities to want to be like him.

12-03-2010, 10:39 AM
Nanooo Nanoo with the hand signal! Brings back memories.... of my uncles hehehe.

Sam, ranks among the top most underrated sci-fi TV series (maybe because it was a mini-series) for me. It has a plausible plot and good enough effects.

How about another sci-fi series the Greatest American Hero (whose soundtrack is more famous than the show)?

The 80s was an underrated era for sitcoms. Before US sitcomes became hip in the Philippines there was Mork and MIndy, Golden Girls, Alf (another alien), etc. Even the series were top rate like Depp's 21 Jumpstreet.

12-03-2010, 10:53 AM
Same here pare ko. Michael Corleone. Of all the Corleone sons, he wasn't expected to take over his father's throne. He proved to be the cunning and brave one. And to think that Michael even went to Darthmouth College to run away from the Corleone empire.

Everytime I have enough time to kill, I always watch the Godfather series, and until now, I can't help but be mesmerized by the life of Don Vito and Michael Corleone.

Mad Magazine had a spoof on the Godfather called "The Oddfather." ;D
Micrin (Michael) was described as: "An All-American college boy, a decorated war hero...and a disgrace to the Family Name." :D

12-03-2010, 10:56 AM
^ MAD was funnier back then! Stupid answer to stupid questions! Spy vs. Spy. Of course the spoofs...

12-03-2010, 11:09 AM
Ni walang nagsabi na idol nila si FPJ a bwahhahaha.

Yung isa dyan obviously si George Estregan ang all-time idol nya bwahahahaha!

12-03-2010, 11:36 AM
HEHEHEHEHEHE in classic papa goerge ngising aso :D

12-05-2010, 03:56 AM
Documentary films that shaped my current point of view would include the following:

1. Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky
2. The Corporation
3. Food Inc.
4. The Fogs of War
5. The World According to Monsanto
6. Enron
7. The Ascent of Money

...to name a few.

Just search for these films and watch them online. No explanation needed. Just an open mind.

The characters would be "The Powers That Be" .

12-05-2010, 03:59 AM
For pop culture, that would be Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. ;D

12-07-2010, 01:20 AM
I was a very young kid then in 1968 when my elder brothers took me to Nation Cinerama Theatre in Cubao to watch the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was the height of the US-USSR Space Race (The Eagle won’t land yet on the moon until 1969), and anything that touched on the space travel genre then was red-hot. It was truly a work of cinematic art, with dazzling special effects that would be surpassed in quantity and innovation only by the next big sci-fi movie that would be shown a decade later, Star Wars. In fact, 2001 was the benchmark for cinematic special effects for the said genre.

Some of the scenes were intensely detailed and psychedelic and remained vivid in my memory for years. Yet the only dialogue that I remember was that of the supercomputer Hal9000 pleading to astronaut David Bowman who was lobotomizing him:

“Please stop, Dave. Stop, Dave. I’m…afraid.”

I would only be able to obtain the DVD copy of it in 2003.

However, events in the next 30-50 years would overtake this movie and render it as a futuristic prediction that was not fulfilled, with the supposed Jupiter Mission to have happened in 2001 and the return trip happening ten years later in the sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact, which was shown in the mid-1980s.

The other legacy this movie left was its theme song, which was adopted later in other diverse fields as radio, advertising, pop music(Eumir Deodato’s version comes to mind), TV and other cinema genre (comedy, etc.), and is still in use today.

This film by Kubrik was speculating on the possibility that a machine will leapfrog and try to gain humanity, feelings and all. The scene when Hal9000 pleaded for "life" can be compared to the part when the humanoids learned how to use a weapon for self defense and aggression. From bones used for war to orbital satellites in Kubriks vision. Reagan's "Star Wars Program" anyone? Well the militarization of Space is now complete and AI is part of the war in Afghanistan.

Still, that realization of the humanoids together with the accompanying musical score made a huge impression on me. I watched this when I was young in a Betamax. No impact, just another sci-fi.

It gave me a different perspective though when I watched it on DVD. Darn, so that's what this movie is all about. Wow!

Tannnnn.....tannnnnn...tannnnnnn.... tannnnaaannnnn.... dum dum... dum dum... dum dum.

12-07-2010, 04:34 AM
Ferris Beuller. He defined the preppy side of Generation X. ;D

12-10-2010, 08:14 AM
^^^ Danny, I'm torn between Ferris Bueller and Tom Cruise's character in "Risky Business"... ;D Those two characters practically defined the 80's generation.

12-10-2010, 08:17 AM
How influential was the Michael Douglas character Gordon Gecko in the real Wall Street? I think every young and ambitious banker / stockbroker / corporate lawyer / con man of that era made Gecko their personal idol. Of course having the slicked back hair and the sharp Italian (or was it Savile Row) suits also influenced how corporate comers and up-and-comers of the age dressed. "Get yourself some new suits..." best advice Gecko gave in that movie, and it felt like he was speaking to the the world at large and not just to Charlie Sheen's character.

12-10-2010, 08:19 AM
Did Rod Tidwell really steal the thunder from Jerry Maguire...? 8)

10-28-2016, 02:33 PM

The two Toms.

10-07-2019, 11:00 AM
From Esquire ...

Joker Explores Mental Illness and Abuse, Delusion and Violent Behavior

The film is a condemnation of a system that reinforces and widens the divide between rich and poor, explaining but never exonerating the turn to anarchy.

By Hugo Zacarias Yonzon IV | 3 days ago

“Comedy,” the late, great George Carlin once told Larry King, “has traditionally picked on people in power, people who abuse that power.” Few people utilized comedy as effectively as a means of social commentary than Carlin, and he understood that for comedy to be truly meaningful, it needs to punch up, not down.

Todd Phillips's impressive filmography, from Old School to the Hangover trilogy, is a testament to his mastery of comedy. He takes that sentiment and holds it up as a broken mirror against today’s broken society and punches all the way up in the decidedly un-comedic, cinematic tour de force Joker.

Based on one of the most iconic comic book villains of all time, Joker reimagines the origin of the Batman’s archnemesis as a product of an increasingly hostile and alienating society where the divide between the rich and poor ever widens. Who needs a vat of toxic chemicals when the city has gotten so toxic, so oppressive it can break men to the point of criminal insanity? In some ways, the fears of Joker inciting or inspiring disaffected, angry white males to violence is valid and real. But Phillips adeptly and deliberately frames Joker’s turn to violence and crime not merely as a result of cruelty, bullying, and social inequity, but as the disproportionate response of a mentally unstable and dangerous man.

Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck may be a white incel, but he’s so incredibly ill that he’s unfit to be emulated. Arthur is a middle-aged male who still lives with his mother and struggles to hold down his job as a clown in unforgiving Gotham City. Arthur is afflicted with Pseudobulbar Affect, which causes him to laugh involuntarily and uncontrollably, making it difficult for him to function normally. His bouts of laughter come at such inopportune times that they hamper even his work as a clown and aspiring stand-up comedian.

The irony of a profoundly unhappy clown whose laughter unsettles rather than cheers is core to the film’s theme. When it comes to Joker, the mantra, “put on a happy face,” is less a positive philosophy than it is an insidious method to mask criminal activity, a means to hide the identity of rioters and anarchists.

The iterations of the Joker, both on the comic page and onscreen, are schizophrenically diverse. The actors who have played the character have each brought his own interpretation of the clown prince of crime, adding even more facets to an already multi-faceted villain. Because the Joker is so complex, there is no definitive origin story or interpretation, with every version of the Joker just as valid as the next. Even Jared Leto’s much-maligned tattooed gangster from Suicide Squad added complexity to an endlessly chimeric figure. With Joker, Phoenix humanizes the villain in a way audiences have never seen before.

Phoenix transformed his body into a disconcerting mass of tired skin and bones for the role, moving his oddly jointed limbs in almost alien movements. It’s an incredible and powerful performance, vacillating between hysteria and a feeling of emptiness and loneliness that barely conceals the incredible violence waiting to be unleashed upon the world.

Joker and the Batman have always been opposite sides of the same coin, both products of a cruel, insensitive world that takes more than it gives. Bruce Wayne is born to privilege, orphaned by crime; Arthur is one of the faceless many who fall through the cracks, lonely even in the company of family, reliant on social services and welfare that can disappear at any moment.

As Arthur meets with his social worker, a sign behind her says, “it’s okay to feel trapped,” a guileful establishment message disguised as a motivational quote. This is how Todd Phillips frames the story. The complacent, disconnected rich against the discontented masses, the forgotten poor. The establishment versus the rabble. Comedy picks on the people in power, except that Joker is anything but comedy.

Joker explores mental illness and abuse, delusion and violent behavior. The Joker is a product of a broken system, where people feel disenfranchised and isolated. In one of the film’s turning points, three young Wall Street brokers pick on a dejected Arthur on the train, privilege and entitlement on display. It’s chillingly familiar because it’s all too common, and Arthur is the anti-establishment underdog audiences will want to root for. But Phillips cleverly derails audience sympathy as Arthur’s psychopathic behavior predictably turns increasingly darker until it reaches the point of no return.

Highlighting contrasts between the haves and have nots is Robert De Niro’s Murray Franklin, Arthur’s rich and popular counterpart, a talk show host who ends each show with the fatalistic, “that’s life!” Murray has the kind of success Arthur aspires to achieve but is simply not equipped for. In fact, Arthur is hardly equipped for anything, a barely functioning member of society who’s invisible despite being in full makeup.

Joker is an excellently crafted film. Lawrence Sher’s cinematography is intense and powerful, the neo-noir imagery haunting and lingers long after the credits roll. Sher is Phillips’ longtime collaborator, and the grit and grime of the Hangover films carry over here. Grating violin solos punctuate the film, complementing the deliberately claustrophobic production design based on vintage elements from the ’80s. Desaturated, grainy images play on CRT televisions, the Energizer bunny juxtaposed against the breaking news of chaos descending upon the city. Zorro the Gay Blade, which came out in 1981, plays in a cinema rather than the canonical Mark of Zorro.

Joker is an homage to and modernization of Taxi Driver. De Niro’s casting as a talk show host is a form of passing the baton to Phoenix as an irredeemable, deranged Travis Bickle. Like Travis, Arthur also keeps a journal where he jots down his thoughts and comedic material, which are anything but funny. With lines like, “I hope my death makes more cents than my life,” Arthur’s nihilism is an updated contrast to Travis’ self-centeredness and conceit.

This is a cautionary tale, albeit not without its flaws. Films are always important in context, and the increasing rise of real-life Travis Bickles in today’s world leaves Joker’s context open to criticism. But Phillips is careful to not romanticize the violence; as it escalates, it twists from being cathartic to deplorable.

Joker is a condemnation of a system that reinforces and widens the divide between rich and poor, explaining but never exonerating the turn to anarchy. It is masterful, powerful, and in the context of today’s society where the people in power brazenly, unapologetically abuse their power, a tragedy—not comedy—that is arguably even necessary.

10-15-2019, 03:47 PM
From GQ online ...

Every Keanu Reeves Movie, Ranked

Swallow this red pill: the indisputable ranking of the actor’s extensive filmography.

By Iana Murray

July 17, 2019

To call this era of peak Keanu saturation the Keanussaince would be a disservice to a decades-long career featuring quiet, powerhouse performances. To clarify: a lot of the films in this list are… not good, but even in the dredges of his filmography, Reeves remains committed to giving his everything. He’s also incredibly prolific, regularly churning out multiple films a year (to the detriment of this writer who had to watch them all).

Reeves has captured audiences for so long because he’s a singular kind of movie star. He’s chameleonic, and yet, he’s always, firmly himself. His mode of acting is unlike anyone else—and it’s the reason why he is such a formidable force on screen. There are the instantly recognizable films are what launched him to stratospheric heights—testosterone-fueled action flicks like The Matrix and Speed—but the real gems in his repertoire are formed when he’s allowed to be sensitive, empathetic, wounded and open. This is Keanu Reeves’s world, and we’re just living in it.

53. Replicas
No one deserves to be subjected to this.

52. Generation Um…
A mumblecore wannabe with the astute observation that millennials are superficial—never heard that one before.

51. The Night Before
It’s fun to see Reeves play against type as a high school nerd who traverses Los Angeles to figure out what happened on a wild prom night, but its appalling use of racist stereotypes explains why this John Hughes-esque comedy has mostly been forgotten.

50. The Watcher
This thriller is one of the biggest misfires for Reeves, who gets a rare villain role as a sadistic serial killer, but it wasn’t a job he took willingly—he was reportedly forced to star in the film after a friend forged his signature on the contract.

49. Little Buddha
The abhorrent casting of Reeves as Buddha (complete with brownface and an Indian accent) makes Bernardo Bertolucci’s spiritual epic unbearable to watch.

48. 47 Ronin
Keanu Reeves loves a good martial arts movie (see: Man of Tai Chi), but this isn’t one of them.

47. Exposed
There are traces of what Exposed was envisioned to be: an intimate Dominican drama that confronts issues of police brutality and mass incarceration.But after aggressive studio interference (the film was refashioned into a by-the-numbers thriller with Reeves’s small role upgraded to a lead), director Gee Malik Linton sued to have his name removed.

46. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Gus Van Sant’s follow-up to My Own Private Idaho is as big of a mess as Uma Thurman’s giant fake thumbs.

45. Knock Knock
At one point, Reeves exasperatedly yells “what the fuck?” to himself. Me too.

44. The Replacements
This sports comedy with a penchant for misogyny has not aged well.

43. Johnny Mnemonic
So quintessentially ‘90s in that no one understands how the Internet works.

42. Feeling Minnesota
With a little bit of True Romance, and a little bit of early Tarantino, this dark gangster romance is wholly derivative.

41. Street Kings
A thriller by David Ayer about corruption in the LAPD? Groundbreaking.

40. Much Ado About Nothing
Reeves is horrifically miscast in Kenneth Branagh’s dull Shakespeare adaptation.

39. Flying
There’s a scene in this gymnastics movie with the aesthetic of Jane Fonda’s workout videos in which a 21-year-old Keanu Reeves rap-sings and I screamed.

38. The Last Time I Committed Suicide
Reeves has a small role as the buddy to Beat Generation author and poet Neal Cassady, and that’s all I can tell you because I forgot this movie five minutes after I watched it.

37. The Prince of Pennsylvania
Reeves’s early career is largely defined by punky bad boy type roles that are indistinguishable from one another, with the exception of The Prince of Pennsylvania, in which he rocks the most outrageous do: flowing shoulder-length locks with one side shaved and dyed silver. SILVER.

36. Chain Reaction
Come for the impressive cast and intriguing premise, feel yourself wanting to quit, then end up staying for Rachel Weisz and Reeves acting like an old married couple.

35. Siberia
Just watch John Wick.

34. Youngblood
In this hockey comedy starring Rob Lowe, keep your eyes peeled for a baby-faced Keanu Reeves and his French-Canadian accent.

33. Hardball
Hardball is the other generic, but slightly better, sports comedy in Reeves’s oeuvre, but a lovely highlight is a pre-teen Michael B. Jordan.

32. Sweet November
This is a John Green novel before John Green novels existed.

31. The Gift
This supernatural thriller from Sam Raimi never quite takes off, but it’s always exciting to see Reeves explore new roles. Here, he’s an abusive husband accused of murder.

30. To The Bone
As a therapist helping a young woman suffering from anorexia, Reeves doesn’t have much to do and he’s done this role before in a better movie.

29. The Bad Batch
Reeves, sporting an impressive ‘70s stache, plays a charismatic cult leader called The Dream, and well, yeah, fair enough.

28. The Neon Demon
With the rare chance to be a massive sleaze, Reeves chews up every brief moment he has in Nicolas Winding Refn’s divisive take on the L.A. modelling scene.

27. A Walk in the Clouds
Strangers pretending to be married only to fall in love with each other is one of the dumbest romantic tropes. Inject it into my veins.

26. The Day the Earth Stood Still
Sure, this sci-fi remake has lived on in infamy, but no one can question the casting of Reeves as a mysterious extraterrestrial.

10-15-2019, 03:48 PM
^ (Continued from above)

25. The Lake House
Try not to question the logic of this high concept romance which reunites Reeves with his Speed co-star Sandra Bullock.

24. The Whole Truth
It’s pretty admirable that a film that takes place almost entirely in a courtroom doesn’t get boring.

23. Henry’s Crime
Mmm, yes Keanu, read Chekhov to me.

22. I Love You to Death
In what is perhaps the perfect antithesis to John Wick, Reeves plays a stoner hitman too incompetent to complete the job in Lawrence Kasdan’s slapstick farce.

21. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Francis Ford Coppola’s period horror is infamous for Reeves’s British accent (which is really not as bad as everyone makes it out to be), but it gets bonus points for technically being Reeves and Winona Ryder’s wedding video.

20. The Devil’s Advocate
Al Pacino is Satan—what else is there to say?

19. Dangerous Liaisons
To fit in alongside such powerhouses as Glenn Close and John Malkovich is an unenviable task, and yet Reeves’s vulnerability makes him a great dupe in the power struggle between scheming aristocrats.

18. The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
It’s a crime that Reeves hasn’t played more romantic leads, and Reeves is on top heartthrob form as a cashier who woos over Robin Wright.

17. Destination Wedding
This romantic comedy with a sardonic edge received most of its press off that aforementioned wedding rumor, but it’s a joy to watch Reeves and Winona Ryder as a pair of ill-mannered cynics bicker for 90 minutes.

16. Thumbsucker
In Mike Mills’s debut feature, Reeves pairs wisdom with his calming presence as an orthodontist guiding a teen suffering from the titular habit, topping a hopeful monologue with the ad-libbed cherry: “The trick is living without an answer...I think.”

15. Toy Story 4
Who other than the world’s greatest Canadian could provide the voice for Canada’s greatest stuntman?

14. Point Break
Johnny Utah: he fights crime and surfs with Patrick Swayze—usually with homoerotic undertones.

13. River’s Edge
A disturbing account of troubled youth, River’s Edge shocked and disturbed audiences back in 1987, while Reeves, in his first major role, showcases a terrifying amorality that has become a rarity in his lengthy career.

12. Something’s Gotta Give
Contrary to popular belief, Something’s Gotta Give is, in fact, a horror and not a romantic comedy, which is the only reason I can think of to explain why Diane Keaton leaves hot doctor Keanu Reeves for Jack Nicholson.

11. Permanent Record
Like River’s Edge, Permanent Record is a glimmering exception in the actor’s career—he pulls off an understated but emotional performance as a teen grappling with the death of his best friend.

10. Always Be My Maybe
Always Be My Maybe, the Netflix romantic comedy the Internet conjured into existence, presents us with a nightmarish vision: Keanu Reeves is an asshole. The actor’s 15-minute cameo as a heightened version of himself is so memorable and hilarious because it toys with our perception of who the actor is—wholesome and pure, but totally unknowable. Most importantly, his appearance in a film with an all Asian-American cast means that Reeves is able to reclaim his own Asian-American identity.

9. Man of Tai Chi
Man of Tai Chi is the first, and so far, only film Reeves has directed—which is a shame because it’s batshit crazy. A megalomaniacal millionnaire (played by Reeves) enlists a fighter skilled in Tai Chi for an underground fighting operation. Reeves has a great respect for martial arts movies—beautifully choreographed sequences filmed in long takes, with authentic representations of the many fighting styles it features. He lets the action (of which there is many) speak for itself.

8. Constantine
The failed DC comic book adaptation starring Reeves as a demon-slaying detective is in dire need of a critical reassessment. Sure, it’s heavy CGI hasn’t aged well, and it isn’t exactly faithful to the source material—but it stands as one of the most trenchant explorations of loneliness in the actor’s career. As he wanders through the blazing wasteland of hell, he almost seems at peace, as if he’s content with his fate.

7. Parenthood
Underneath Ron Howard’s ensemble comedy is a subtle depiction of masculinity. Tod (played by Reeves) is an airhead with seemingly zero ambition, but he defies expectations with his resolute kindness and dedication to his girlfriend and her family. Seeing himself as something of a father figure to the youngest son of the family, he knows all too well what an abusive patriarch can do to a boy: “You need a licence to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a licence to catch a fish. But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father,” he says, before reverting back to dumbass mode.

6. Speed
There’s an uncanny quality to Keanu Reeves. The way his body moves, the cadences in his voice, suggest someone who isn’t completely comfortable in their skin. His character in Speed, however, doesn’t exhibit these behaviours. Jack Traven is the everyman. Thankfully, Speed is silly enough for Reeves, who has never been particularly suited to playing regular people. Nothing brings communities together like a bus jumping over a 50-foot gap in the highway.

5. John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2 and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Hell hath no fury like a Keanu scorned. The story of a retired hitman who does the absolute most to avenge his murdered canine resonated with many. The first John Wick—directed by Reeves’s stuntmen from The Matrix—was a surprise hit, spawned two sequels and a future TV show, and relaunched Reeves as an action star. In the words of our beloved Baba Yaga: Yeah, I think he’s back.

4. A Scanner Darkly
The future depicted in Richard Linklater’s Phillip K. Dick adaptation doesn’t look so far removed from today. The war on drugs has been lost, an undercover agent (Reeves) infiltrates a community of addicts hooked on the hallucinatory drug Substance D, only to lose his identity as he becomes addicted himself. Reeves is devastating—aided by the rotoscoped animation, he drifts through the frame like a breeze, while his descent into a psychological prison infects the film’s mutable aesthetic. It’s intensely hypnotic, almost addictive.

3. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
Bill S. Preston Esq. and his best bro Ted “Theodore” are two idiots with hearts of gold, and their most excellent adventures through time, the afterlife and hell itself have cemented the two films as cult classics. Reeves has since progressed into darker, more serious films, but Ted has, and will always be, one of his defining characters. That isn’t to say it’s a role he wants to shake off;a third film, Bill and Ted Face the Music, is on the way. Woah, dude.

2. The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions
When we think of Keanu Reeves, we think of Neo. As the Chosen One fated to wake the world up from simulated slavery, Neo was born great, achieves greatness and has greatness thrust upon him. The Matrix is a revolutionary film in many ways,and though its sequels don’t have the same glowing reputation,its shockwaves have been felt through sci-fi and action films ever since.

1. My Own Private Idaho
The restrained performances that make the bulk of Reeves’s career are frequently mischaracterized as wooden or lifeless. But this is all part of the allure—he’s impossible to judge, a puzzle made to decipher. With Gus Van Sant’s bleak and beautiful My Own Private Idaho, Reeves is at the height of his powers as Scott, the unattainable heir that River Phoenix’s narcoleptic hustler Mike desires. Scott is impenetrable, all the more enticing as we try to unravel his motives. We hope that Scott returns Mike’s love, and sometimes Reeves makes us believe so until we’re blindsided. It’s utterly heartbreaking.

10-22-2019, 09:37 AM
JOKER: Actor and Director Take on Public Safety

By: Associated Press - @inquirerdotnet

AP / 07:32 AM October 02, 2019

There may be no such thing as bad publicity, but the spotlight on “Joker” is testing the limits of that old cliche.

The origin story about the classic Batman villain has inspired pieces both in defense of and against the movie.

It’s been hailed as the thing that’s going to finally get Joaquin Phoenix an Oscar and also decried for being “dangerous,” ”irresponsible” and even “incel-friendly.”

Last week, some parents of victims of the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting even wrote to the Warner Bros. CEO asking for support for anti-gun causes.

The studio issued a statement in response saying that the film is not “an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind.”

In his 80 years as part of the culture, the Joker has always had a way of getting under people’s skin whether it’s because of who the character appeals to, what he represents or even the stories actors tell about how they got into character.

But perhaps the biggest irony of all this time around is that for all the discourse and hand-wringing, the film has yet to even open in theaters.

That doesn’t happen until Thursday night.

It’s made for a complicated release for the high-profile film, which got off to a triumphant start premiering at and then winning the top award from the Venice Film Festival.

And while reviews are mostly positive, it’s also been heavily scrutinized and put the filmmakers on the defensive.

Director and co-writer Todd Phillips doesn’t mind the discussion.

“I’ll talk about it all day,” he said.

“I’m not shy about it.”

He just wishes people would see the movie before drawing conclusions.

“It’s a little troubling when people write think pieces without having seen it.

And even in their think pieces write, ‘I don’t need to see it know what it is.’

I find it astounding, to be quite frank, how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda,” Phillips said.

“To that point, I’ve been disappointed.”

The pre-emptive backlash is all the more baffling to Phillips because he hopes it inspires conversations: About guns, about violence and about the treatment of people with mental illness.

“Part of the reason we made the movie is a response to the comic book world of movies,” Phillips said.

“Like, ‘Why is this celebrated? Why is this funny? Why is this fun? What are the real-world implications of violence?'”

The film itself is a slow-burn character study of how a mentally-ill, middle-aged man named Arthur Fleck becomes the Joker.

When the audience drops in on his life, he’s working as a clown-for-hire, living with his mother in a run-down Gotham apartment and checking in occasionally with a social worker.

He has a card that he gives to people to explain that his spontaneous and painful bursts of laughter are because of a medical condition.

His only joy seems to be watching the talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) in the evenings.

“The truth is you see it and it’s heartbreaking. And he’s heartbreaking,” Phillips said.

“And you know what happens in the movies when you have a world that lacks empathy and lacks love? You get the villain you deserve.”

It’s a role that has often required actors to go to difficult places, and “Joker” has the added complication of being more realistic than most of the other depictions even though it’s still set in a fictional world.

To play Arthur and Joker, Phoenix researched a number of people that he’s reluctant to even name.

“Some of the people I studied, I feel what they crave are attention and notoriety,” he said.

“I don’t feel like they deserve any more of that.”

He also underwent a drastic physical transformation, losing 52 pounds on an extremely calorie-restricted diet with the supervision of a doctor.

He expected “feelings of dissatisfaction, hunger, a certain kind of vulnerability and weakness.”

Instead, he found the emaciation led to a physical “fluidity” that he didn’t quite anticipate.

The set was also fairly fluid in a way, and Phoenix said he and Phillips were constantly discovering new elements to Joker and Arthur.

“There seemed to be an infinite number of ways to interpret every moment or how he might behave at any moment. And there wasn’t anything that didn’t make sense.

So we would do scenes so many different ways and some I would cry and others I would make jokes and others I would be angry and it would be the same scene and they all (expletive) made sense,” he said.

It made the experience constantly “exciting” and “surprising,” but portraying Arthur/Joker also proved to be “messy and uncomfortable” for the 44-year-old actor.

As for whether or not audiences will use the character as an inspiration or excuse to act out, Phoenix thinks that the onus is on the individual.

“I do think that the audience should be challenged and they should be able to know the difference between right and wrong. I don’t think it’s the filmmaker’s responsibility to teach morality,” Phoenix said.

“If you don’t know the difference between right and wrong, then there are all sorts of things that you are going to interpret in the way that you want.”

Both he and Phillips make sure to stress that “Joker,” which is rated R, is not a kids’ movie.

It also won’t be for everyone.

“I just hope people see it and take it as a movie,” Phillips said.

“Do I hope everyone loves it? No. We didn’t make the movie for everyone. Anytime anyone tries to make a movie for everyone it’s usually for nobody…You have a choice. Don’t see it is the other choice. It’s ok.”

12-05-2019, 09:12 AM
From GQ ...

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino: A Big, Beautiful 50-Year Friendship

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have spanned generations as acting royalty. And their latest, The Irishman, has the feeling of one final coronation. Here the two legends riff about Scorsese, The Godfather, and five decades of Hollywood fame.

By Zach Baron

November 20, 2019

“We got together early on,” Al Pacino said, gesturing at Robert De Niro. “And we shared something, which was a big thing at the time.” The two men were sitting in a hotel suite in New York, trying to sum up 50 years of friendship and the weird, singular bond that comes from being two of the most heralded actors of their generation. The balcony door was open, to catch the September breeze. Last night Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, in which they both star, had premiered at the New York Film Festival, and they’d spent nearly every hour since being fêted. And so, despite their often formidable reputations, there was a sweetness about them. “New York Film Festival, this is a prestigious film festival!” Pacino said earnestly.

After the first showing of the film, De Niro and Scorsese emerged onto a balcony in Alice Tully Hall, arms around each other, as the crowd stood to applaud. Later that night, I watched De Niro and Pacino become overwhelmed by well-wishers at an after-party at Tavern on the Green, where Joe Pesci and Spike Lee and Bobby Cannavale mixed in with triumphant Netflix executives in an overheated VIP room. The reviews of the film were good. They looked, sitting on a couch in front of me, like two men who couldn’t believe their luck.

In 1974 they both starred—in separate timelines that never intersect—in The Godfather Part II. It wasn’t until most of the way through 1995’s Heat that they finally appeared in the same frame of the same film, facing off across a diner table, and even then it was for only a few electric minutes. In the interim, both De Niro and Pacino made innumerable classics, and also 2008’s Righteous Kill, the first film in which they shared multiple scenes. In The Irishman—based on Charles Brandt’s true-crime book I Heard You Paint Houses, about the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa (played in the film by Pacino) and the underworld into which he disappeared (represented by the hit man Frank Sheeran, played by De Niro)—the two men give surprisingly emotional performances, suffused by their history with each other and, in De Niro’s case, with Scorsese. (Somehow this is Pacino’s first role in a Scorsese film, and the first time the three men—along with their costars Pesci and Harvey Keitel—have made something all together.) The movie has the feel of an old and august gang reuniting for one last job and looking back, sometimes ambivalently, on many lifetimes of work about violence and love and loss.

Pacino is three years older than De Niro and visibly protective of him. De Niro is famously a man of few words in life and a man of even fewer words in front of journalists. During the afternoon we spent together, he sat quietly on the couch and barely spoke, except to laugh as Pacino stood to roar or act out characters and scenes from their respective lives. Even now De Niro looks like himself: When he shrugs, you see a dozen iconic movie characters flicker through him. Pacino wore a baseball cap that he periodically removed to reveal a wild mane of hair—the watchful beauty of his youth has long since turned to a mischievous chaos, a visible glee to still be at it. Pacino is on a recent run of characters, as in The Humbling or Danny Collins, ravaged by time and pride, while De Niro has increasingly found himself playing fathers and grandfathers, men who have as much to express and as little to actually say as he himself does.

Their dynamic, at least today, was tender. Often Pacino would intercept questions intended for his friend and answer them himself. At the end of the interview, both men stood and embraced for a long, quiet moment. “I love you,” Pacino said to De Niro.

Al Pacino: It sort of bleeds out. It’s as though somehow Marty has found a way to get at his inner feelings about things in a very subtle way. I know when I saw it, I was moved by it and I thought, Why am I feeling this way? And I feel like it’s about us in a way. About people. What are we doing?

Bob, you talked Joe Pesci into doing the movie, in part by saying, “This could be the last one,” right?

Robert De Niro: Yeah, I was on Joe about it. But he knew that. We all know that. I mean, we’d like to do other projects together, and maybe if we’re lucky, we will, but this—I said, “Joe, you gotta.”

Is there something bittersweet about coming to a point where anything that you guys do together could be the last one?

Pacino: It didn’t enter my mind. It always feels like that’s in some way an outside determination. And perhaps in six weeks or something, I’ll say, “Hey, that was good while it lasted.” But basically you don’t think that way. Do you, Bob?

De Niro: No. I mean, you don’t.

Pacino: You don’t think that way. Because you’re in your body doing your thing, and you’re thinking, Well, it’s the same old, same old. The same old is: There’s a script, there’s a director, and is there a role for you? At least that’s the way I think: Is there a role for you to play in it?

These characters could have been going to see your films on the weekends; it’s the same period as Mean Streets and The Godfather. Is it strange to see times that you lived through turned into a period piece?

Pacino: As a writer, you see that, but we don’t think that way. Well, I’m not speaking for Bob here. But you don’t think of your life in the past as a period piece. You just don’t.

De Niro: [laughs]

Pacino: Someone said to me just recently, “How old are you?” And I said, “Well, that’s like asking me how long do you think I have left.” At a certain period, there’s something rude about asking someone how old they are.

Is the implication that you’re somehow too old for what you’re doing?

Pacino: I just don’t know. I think it’s personal. Like, I’m looking at you now. I’m not thinking about how old you are. You look like a young guy to me, but I see a marriage ring. I see, I wonder, Wow—but I don’t try guessing it. Certainly I don’t want to do it in front of you.

When I leave maybe.

Pacino: Yeah, when you leave, we’ll go over it. What do you think that guy is? How much time does he have left?

Also, you’re Al Pacino. If someone wants to know your age, they can look it up.

Pacino: Well, this is what we’re plagued with, you have to understand. When celebrities have birthdays, it’s all over the news. You can’t lie about your own age! Actually, that expression “You look good for your age” comes in. But I haven’t heard that in a long time. Maybe: “You look good to still be alive.”

De Niro: [laughing] Right.

Pacino: But it has a lot to do with choices, it has a lot to do with the kind of roles you get. Because with us, we don’t just go home and write. We need to find roles.

12-05-2019, 09:14 AM
^ (Continued from above)

It’s fascinating what you said, Al, about age dictating parts somewhat. You’re on a great run of playing prideful men at the end of their lives: Danny Collins, The Humbling, Manglehorn. I wondered if you were doing those parts because you felt a certain kind of affinity. Or is it because that’s what you get sent in the mail?

Pacino: No, totally because of their thematic material. You look for that. I’m doing roles and thinking about doing things like King Lear. I’ve been approached to do that several times now. I’ve never thought of that as a film. And suddenly, you say, “Well, let me pick it up and start looking at it and reading it.” And you find there are things in it you understand more that you didn’t before. So it’s a funny kind of thing, when those awarenesses start to creep in on you without knowing it. I didn’t even think of doing King Lear, which I was offered 10 years ago. But now when I look at it, I understand some things I just didn’t then. So there’s these mini revelations that come along.

And Bob, for you it’s been fathers, like the character you play in Silver Linings Playbook: guys who have a lot of love to give but don’t necessarily know how to pass it along. And obviously that’s very much threaded through The Irishman as well. Is that a thematic concern you relate to?

De Niro: Yeah. It’s an appealing one, and it’s relevant to my life and I guess a lot of people’s lives, obviously.

You guys both have worked almost constantly. Bob, I’m not really aware of any break you’ve ever taken. Al, the only time off I really know you have taken was after Scarface, in 1983, then Revolution, in 1985.

Pacino: I went about four years without making films. Then I went broke. Bob knew about it.

De Niro: [laughing]

Pacino: That was only the first time I went broke. There was another time too.

What was the other time?

Pacino: We’ll leave that alone. But when I went broke the first time, the person I was living with at the time said, “What do you think you’re gonna do? Live off of me?” I thought, No. She said, “You gotta work.” I was relatively young when this happened to me. So I just decided not to do this for a while.

Why’d you decide not to do it anymore?

Pacino: It was just kind of an impulse. A bit of the bloom was off the rose for me, artistically and expressively. But somewhere in the back of my head, I always felt I could work. I always felt I’d be able to get work. And then the truth is I needed to go work. I had to earn.

Did you learn anything from taking a break?

Pacino: I remember how wonderful it felt to even sort of contemplate anonymity. Even though I wasn’t. But I did feel a little… You know what they say: out of sight, out of mind. Because there was an intense period. It was, I would say, more of a happier period in my life than I remember. That doesn’t mean I’m gonna do it again. [laughs]

De Niro: Was that the time you were doing the documentary you were showing me?

Pacino: Yeah, The Local Stigmatic [a little-seen extremely strange film by Pacino about dog- track betting].

De Niro: I liked that.

Pacino: I was showing Bob stuff. And he thought I was nuts. Of course he was very nice, though. Like, “What is he doing?” But we were close. We were very close. So pretty much—what, 30 years, 40 years?

De Niro: More, yeah.

What’s the earliest memory that you guys have of each other?

De Niro: Well, when we met, I think I was in my mid-20s. And you were maybe a couple years older than me. And that was about 50 years ago.

Pacino: I remember the meeting very clearly. Unbelievably, I saw this guy, I thought, Wow, he’s got such charisma. He wasn’t doing anything. He was just walking. Remember? You know, he was Bob. But you felt something from him.

Were you guys competitive with each other?

De Niro: It’s not that you’re competitive. You’re up for the same parts. Like Godfather—​Francis wanted Al. But every actor knew about it, and I think the studio was forcing him to look [elsewhere], from what I understood of it. And I never confirmed this with Francis, but they were putting pressure on him to use somebody other than Al.

I was in a reading once with Paul Sorvino where Francis was on the phone talking to one of the studio heads, maybe it was Bob Evans, about another actor—I’m not gonna say who it was, but if I said who it was, you’d say, “Jesus.” But they were in a hit movie at the time. And Francis is very open. He’s talking in front of an actor. Saying, “I really don’t think that they’re right for it, blah blah blah.”

Was it Michael that you were reading for?

De Niro: I could have been reading for Michael, or I was reading for Sonny. Because I knew that Francis wanted Al for Michael. But the word was out also that he wanted Jimmy Caan for Sonny. But he was going through the pressure, Francis, unbelievable pressure that they were gonna push you to do things. It’s just the nature of it.

I wonder if you guys are friends in part because so few other people can really relate to your respective life experiences.

Pacino: We get together. And there’s a trust there. There just is. We understand this thing together a little bit better. And you go there sometimes just to get some feedback. We talk about things.

De Niro: Kibitz. I don’t know if you know that word.

I do.

Pacino: We kibitz.

12-05-2019, 09:15 AM
^ (Continued from above)

I imagine there are not a lot of people who can understand, really, what it’s like for the two of you —

Pacino: Well…

Maybe not. You’re disagreeing.

Pacino: I mean, it’s just such a different world now. Celebrity is different. And fame is, I think, sought-after more than it ever was in my lifetime. It’s sort of a cart-before-a-horse kind of thing.

Younger actors cite you guys to me, and they’ll say they admire you guys for giving less away. Like, Al, maybe you’ve done a couple of things, like a big Playboy interview, but Bob, you hardly do interviews at all.

Pacino: He used to tell it to me. He’d say, “No, I don’t need to. I’ll go to Al and talk about it.” No, I’m totally joking.

Did you have to learn that, Bob, or was that always your instinct?

De Niro: No, it’s just the way I am. I just feel a little—but I felt that you were that way too.

Pacino: I was that way. I mean, that Playboy interview, that was Larry Grobel, who I got to know. But I’ll tell you the truth, I think I did it because he did Marlon! And he did Barbra Streisand, you know? And I thought, Wow. And he came to me and I said, “Well, Marlon...” See, a lot of my influence, I don’t know about Bob, was Marlon. The way he dealt with things. He was reclusive in a way. And so I thought you don’t give that away, because that is part of what your performance art is.

De Niro: Yeah.

Pacino: It’s keeping the page blank or the canvas blank so it doesn’t affect the performance you’re giving or the character you’re playing. That was my idea of it. And Marty Bregman was a big help to me, my manager at the time. ’Cause he would always say to me, you know, something would happen, and I would say, “Gee, should I go on TV?” And he would just say simply, “Not you, no. You don’t want to do that.” And the truth is some of these people that do do it, the young people, are very good at it. They’re wonderful actors too. And they know how to because they grew up with it. It’s not the same kind of stigma as it used to be when we were younger. It’s changed. Some very prominent young star told me that too. He just said to me straight out, “I know how to do this because it just came out of my upbringing.” And he says, “I know you didn’t. You didn’t have that.” And I thought, Gee, he’s making a good point here. But there’s nothing really against it at this point. It can’t really hurt you. Not us. We’re not young. We’re beyond it now. Now they come to you and they want to write books.

You mean about you guys?

Pacino: They want to write a book about Bob, a book about me. I didn’t want to write a book. I still don’t. I would probably, if I was writing a book, I would wake up in the middle of the night screaming. Something about somehow talking about the life I had and how I lived and all the things in it, if it didn’t make me scream—I don’t mean that so much as it would really bother me to go back there and go through things.

It would?

Pacino: Yeah. I think it would, yeah. But my kids want me to write a book. They say, “Dad, write about it.”

Bob, you participated in making a beautiful film about your father, 2014’s Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr., and I think at the time you said it was for your kids too, right?

De Niro: Yeah, I did it for the kids and grandkids and the family. That was the original intention of it. So that they were aware of who he was.

The Irishman is very much about a guy at the end of his life looking back, trying to make sense of it. When you look back at the lives you led, what do you think of first?

Pacino: [A long silence here.] Well, I guess I think about the people that are no longer in my life. That’s what I think about. And of course, my kids.

De Niro: Sure. You’re looking back, things that I’ve been through in my life. Did I make this decision correctly? And that one? And I say, “But this is what I did and you live and learn and that’s it.” You just gotta keep going and make the best of things, and I’m pretty fortunate in a lot of ways. So I want to always keep that focus.

Pacino: That’s a big thing. You start feeling grateful.

And when does that kick in?

Pacino: Well, when you practice it. Because you forget a lot about that. But then when you think: It’s true. There’s a lot to be thankful for.

Are there particular roles that you look back on with pride?

De Niro: Of course. But I mean, I feel that this film is a—I mean, I could have shot for another five or six months with Marty. It was a great experience. And this is something I’m very proud of that we did.

Pacino: What I’m happy about is to have desire. To feel appetite.

To continue the work, or just in general?

Pacino: Well, in general. Appetite for whatever—work, life. If you saw The Humbling, part of what motivated me to do that film is because I thought of that. The idea that what happens when you don’t have that anymore. God, to me it’s a gift. It’s a real gift. Desire, I think sometimes it trumps talent. Maybe it goes hand in hand. I guess it must.

The talent part is not in question for you two, but when you think back on how you became successful, is that luck, or is it that you had more desire than the next guy?

Pacino: It’s a combination of luck and other things. Let’s face it. Just something as simple as being at the right time, the right place. I mean, to come out of the ’70s, when our kind of actor was following the way paved by Brando and Dean and Newman and all these great people back then who opened the door for a lot of people like us. And Scorsese and Coppola and Spielberg and Lumet and these people—they were all around then. And Lucas and De Palma. This was a period at that time when film was flourishing. It was different than the time before it, I think. Not better or worse, mind you. It was different. And I think that there was a new kind of person out there, in that period.

We were talking about commonalities that you guys have. And one of many is that you’re both formally trained. I don’t know if there are Stella Adlers and Lee Strasbergs around anymore —

Pacino: Bob was a Stella Adler student. So was Marlon.

De Niro: I don’t know what the acting-teaching situation is today. I’m sure there are very good people who teach today. I know, with Stella, she had a thing called script analysis that I had not experienced when I was studying at the Dramatic Workshop. And she was opposed to what Lee would do because Lee, she felt, was a cult of personality. But at the same time, she had Marlon, who was very much all that stuff. But he was a great actor and wonderful, and part of his personality came through in his acting, it was all together. And we all looked up to him.

Pacino: I saw recently something he did, Streetcar, the film Streetcar. There’s a section in there, and I was telling Bob—or was I telling myself? But I was telling him about this time where he’s playing cards and Karl Malden is flirting with Vivien Leigh and they’re having a flirt together, and Brando’s by the kitchen playing cards with his poker buddies and he’s going crazy ’cause he’s losing and he’s half in the bag and he’s playing, and then she’s singing and the radio’s on and he starts saying things like, “Shut that radio off!” [Pacino is now fully performing as Brando in a loose re-creation of one the most iconic scenes in film history.] And then this one moment where the guy throws down his cards, Brando throws down his, he goes, [in full Marlon voice] “Bam! There they are. There they are.” And he lays down this good poker hand. And the guy next to him, his friend, goes, “Here! Here!” And he throws down a hand that beats him. And Brando just looks at it and gets upset, because this music is playing and he goes out into the other room and takes the radio, pulls it out of the wall, [Pacino is on his feet now, acting out the scene] and throws it through the window and it all winds up with him in the street going [at a full yell] Stelllllllllllaaa! This is a few minutes long. And it is a passage that is literally a tornado. It’s not like you’re watching an actor in an acting school getting really angry. It is more than anger. It is nature. And when I saw it, I just reflected on it.

12-05-2019, 09:19 AM
^ (Continued from above)

Bob, you are famous for your preparation for roles, which we don’t have to rehash here, but I only found out recently that you watched The Godfather, like, 50 times before you did The Godfather Part II.

De Niro: Well, yeah, I looked at it. It’s funny, what I did with one of the producers, Gray Frederickson. But we went to the Paramount building right here, which is now a Trump hotel. We went there, and me and Gray went up to the 30-something floor, where the screening room was, and I had a Wollensak reel-to-reel tape recorder and a camera and I put it up there so it just caught the whole screen and then we shot. And then whenever Marlon’s pieces came on, I would record it. That’s how we did it. And I watched that a lot.

So no Al.

De Niro: No, it was all Marlon.

Pacino: I was this gangly kid. Like, “Look at him. There he goes.”

Just the Marlon parts.

De Niro: Well, that’s who I was playing. It was almost like a technical exercise in some ways. I was seeing what he did and how could I transfer that to the scenes that I had.

Bob, has your way of feeling your way into a performance changed?

De Niro: Everything is different. When I was younger, I’d be worried about certain things that I would not worry about now, because it’s just, you’re anxious and you want to make sure. And so you get all sort of revved up, whereas what you really should do is not get revved up and just relax and let things happen. And sometimes that just comes from experience. “It’s gonna be okay, you’re gonna be there. Don’t push for anything and don’t get anxious that you’re gonna get it, because then you’ll never get it.” So you’ve done all your homework, you’re ready to go, and you just go in and do it and don’t think about it. I mean, that’s a better way to go into something, and especially if you’re with a director who understands that, respects that, like Marty.

What do you think keeps you going and continuing to say yes to stuff? Especially when it would be very easy to say no to plenty of things.

De Niro: Well, I mean, sometimes it’s just financial. You do something and you get paid well and you say, “I’m gonna make it work.” Or, “There will be things that will be good about it.” And I’ve done that—when I was a young actor and I had to do stuff, I was lucky I got the part. And I said, “I’m not sure about this or that. They’ve hired me for their reasons, but I’m doing it for mine as an actor.” You don’t always have the luxury of working in a situation like with Marty or David O. Russell or Francis Coppola or Barry Levinson. Nothing against the other directors. But you take your chances.

Pacino: You know what? I may be falling into a bad habit now. I think I’m starting to get a little perverse. I’m starting to want to do films that aren’t really very good and try to make them better. And that’s become my challenge. I don’t think I go in thinking it’s not gonna be very good, but it’s like Bob said: Sometimes they offer you money to do something that’s not adequate. And you talk yourself into it. And somewhere within you, you know that this thing is gonna be a lemon. But then, when it comes full circle, and you see it, you say, “Oh, no. I’m gonna make this better.” And you spend a lot of time and you’re doing all these things, and you say, “If I can just get this to be a mediocre film,” and you get excited by that. It’s an impulse that I’ve got to just put that away now. “Every time I get the urge to exercise, I lie down till it passes.” That’s Oscar Wilde, I think. But the point is that it’s true. I work onstage a lot when I’m not doing other things.

I’ve always wanted to ask you about this. There’s an anecdote you used to tell about acting. You were in Boston performing for a very perceptive pair of eyes, and—

Pacino: Oh, yeah. Oh, my God. [to De Niro] You know that story? At the end of the play, there were these eyes on me. I went, “Who is this?” You know, “Is this gonna be my true love?” I see them again during the curtain call. I couldn’t believe this. There was such focus. So when the lights came up, I turned to the right, and there they were, two Seeing Eye dogs.

De Niro: Really?! [laughing]

Pacino: I said, “That’s the theater.”

I realized that I’m not sure what this story is actually supposed to mean.

Pacino: Well, it really means that when you’re out there, all kinds of impulses are working. You’re live. I mean, I was doing Richard III once, and I looked at the audience to talk about something, and in the second row was this woman standing up with a hunchback and her eyes—I was doing a monologue. And she’s up there looking up like this [Pacino is on his feet, impersonating a woman with a hunchback gazing toward the stage] and she was smiling at me. And I said, “Poor woman!” You know, I couldn’t help it, I smiled at her. “WE’RE RIDING HERE, BABY! YOU AND ME, WE KNOW IT!” And we just—

De Niro: She said that? She said that?

Pacino: She didn’t say it. I didn’t say it, either. I was doing Shakespeare. But at the same time, I felt it: We’re dancing here. Oh, my God! When those things happen, when you’re on the stage and a bat comes on the stage, I mean, for God’s sake, it’s so alive, you know?

I guess I always thought the point of that story is that performing is just communing with the void. You don’t know what’s out there.

Pacino: Exactly right. That’s what it is. I was young when it happened. I was in Boston. I was a kid doing a play. But at the same time, I was drawn to it. Because let’s face it, those dogs are focused. I mean, they’re protecting their owners.

You guys both have really interesting histories with the Academy. Al, you were nominated four times in a row in the ’70s.

Pacino: Wow. That’s intense.

You say “wow” like you didn’t know that.

Pacino: I didn’t think four times, but yeah. In a row? That’s pretty good.

You didn’t know that?

Pacino: I know there was a lot of times, but I didn’t know four in a row.

Yeah, it’s four in a row.

Pacino: That’s intense.

And you didn’t show up the first year, right?

Pacino: I don’t think I showed up a couple of those years.

Why not show up?

Pacino: Well, you have to understand, this was all new to me and I was extremely affected by it. I was a little concerned about what was going on with my life. There was a contrast to what I was and what I had so recently become. So I was going through a period of adjustment. And Bob knows. He was around when it was happening to me. I was having a difficult time. I think I was afraid of it for whatever reason. There was several reasons. I also took a lot of inebriants at the time. But I think I was…somewhat confused or something.

De Niro: [with great empathy] Yeah, sure.

Pacino: I mean, it happens.

12-05-2019, 09:20 AM
^ (Continued from above)

Bob, when you won for The Godfather Part II, you also didn’t go, right?

De Niro: No. I had been away shooting with Bertolucci in Italy. So I couldn’t go. I don’t know whether if I was there I would have gone, but I was away shooting. I got a call at, like, six in the morning my time, like, nine at night, I guess, L.A. time.

I’m curious how you decide on projects. The last movie you guys did together before The Irishman was Righteous Kill. What’s the calculus on getting involved with something like that?

De Niro: [laughs]

Pacino: He called me! We thought we were gonna do something. It was an interesting story.

De Niro: I mean, we wanted to work together. I don’t want to say anything bad, because we did it and I did it.

I think I was more just trying to give the movie as an example. If a master filmmaker like Scorsese asks you to do his film, I can see why you’d do it. But you guys do all sorts of films, and you probably don’t need to at this point. So what—

Pacino: We really thought we had something there that we could do something with. There were a lot of different things I really can’t talk about now. He knows what I’m talking about. You’re better not talking about it.

De Niro: But we had a good time doing the movie. It’s what it was. And I did say when we were together—

Pacino: I’ll never forget that, what he’s gonna say.

De Niro: We went to Europe, a couple of cities, for the premiere, and I said, “Well, look, Al, one day let’s hope that we’re gonna be here for a movie that we can really feel great about.” That’s all. Nothing against that movie. But it wasn’t what this one is.

Pacino: It was very simple what he said. I said, “Damn, that would be good.”

Do you feel like your relationship to Hollywood has changed over time?

De Niro: I mean, I go out there. He lives out there.

Pacino: I live there.

I was talking less about the geography and more about Hollywood as an industry.

Pacino: I want to get back here a lot, and I do come as much as I can. I have friends here.

De Niro: We were just talking about it.

Pacino: I do have a hard time with the winters here, I must say. It gets too cold for me.

De Niro: You’re from Philadelphia?

I’m from Philadelphia, yeah.

De Niro: One of the coldest days I ever shot was in Philly, doing a reshoot with Bradley Cooper on Limitless. Oh, man.

Pacino: You had to be outside?

De Niro: When I did it, it was in the summer, so we wore lighter clothes, and we were shooting in the winter now. And I couldn’t even say the words.

Pacino: That’s the worst thing about film. That is the worst. Let’s face it. In the end, we are humans.

Well, I was about to say, can’t you just be like, “Excuse me? I’m Robert De Niro. Get me out of the cold.”

Pacino: “Let’s do it another day.”

De Niro: What are you gonna do? You’re gonna shoot. Put on long underwear, you have to go out and shoot.

Pacino: I wouldn’t do it. I would just say, “I’m sorry, there’s another day, it’ll be warmer. And if it isn’t, we’ll find another place. This is film, man!”

Zach Baron is GQ's senior staff writer.