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Phoning It In: Precipitous Drops For Key Actors


I completely failed this Holiday weekend to put together my planned review of Mark's Amazingly Spectacular Megatunes Vol. IV. I blame the copious amounts of grilled food (which did include the famous Jucy Lucy burger made by me) combined with the unhealthy amount of television, sunlight, boat rides, and dog playing that I participated in. I hope you all had as great of a weekend as I had. Regardless, next week you will be reading about / listening to tracks on Vol. IV of that seminal series.

Anyway, what I want to rap at y'all about is this: actors or actresses that have had the most noticeable drops in quality and/or quantity in film or television roles. Frequent commenter and beloved follower (and Brigitte's dad, and my dad-in-law) Papa Thor brought this topic to our attention, and what he believes to be the ultimate example of an actor with a particularly precipitous drop: Robert De Niro. (*) He cited specifically his role in Meet the Fockers. I would add Everybody's Fine, last winter's requisite Christmas crowd pleaser, where he played what I imagine was the part of a friendly grandpa. Yes, that's a long way from being a sociopathic taxi driver, isn't it? Brigitte also brought in Diane Keaton, who has gone from starring in great films like Annie Hall and Manhattan and even participating in generally well-done big broad rom-coms like Father of the Bride to being in "that movie where she has all those daughters," according to Brigitte (I think either The Family Stone or Because I Said So.)

(*)And, discussing Robert De Niro gives me a great excuse to post the video on the bottom by Sean that features the best Robert De Niro impression I've ever heard. Nice work, Sean.

Me? I agree that both actors have had a precipitous drop in quality throughout their careers. But I would argue that De Niro probably looked at his paycheck for Meet the Fockers and compared it to the actual work he would have to do to act well in a movie with a good script and chose to pad his retirement account and accept the easy work. Keaton, meanwhile, to me suffered from a lack of quality film parts written for women in their 50s and above, and is thankfully getting what looks to be a perfect role in the as of now proposed new HBO comedy series Tilda, where she would play a powerful celebrity blogger (!!!) alongside Ellen Page. This along with Dustin Hoffman's role in the as of now proposed new HBO drama series Luck(**) tells me that, as good actors get old, they find that writing for people in their age group is much better on the boob tube side of things.

(**)Created by Deadwood's David Milch!!!!!!!!!!!

So, when older actors take crappy parts, is it really their fault, as in, their acting skills have declined so much that they no longer are able to take parts in movies they previously would have starred in? Or, is it a case of actors finding their great roles in different areas these days, like Keaton and Hoffman are doing? Furthermore, what actors or actresses can you think of that truly have suffered a precipitous drop in quality that is their doing? I'm thinking, Mickey Rourke, Burt Reynolds (albeit both actors had their "comebacks" in the form of roles in movies with roles written very much for them) as well as actors like John Travolta and Robert Downey, Jr., who both have had multiple ups and downs in their careers.

Discuss.

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  1. Blogger Papa Thor | 7:36 AM |  

    I actually liked Everybody's Fine but probably because I'm "at that age." 8(
    Also, we watched Transformers a couple days ago and I think that was Jon Voight in it! Also, wasn't Dustin Hoffman in some crap-ass Magorical Wonder Place movie?

  2. Blogger Papa Thor | 1:47 PM |  

    Hey, I see that Robert De Niro is in that new Machete movie. That used to mean the movie would be awesome, but now I wonder?

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