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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Godfathers of cool pass down fame, best roles
(Left to right.) Robert De Niro and Al Pacino star in Overture Films' RIGHTEOUS KILL.

Godfathers of cool pass down fame, best roles

Imagine for a minute that the entire world has been transported back to the 1980's. Duran Duran is blasting through every car stereo, suits are as white as the coke its wearers snort in trendy club bathrooms, and without fail, the names Robert De Niro and Al Pacino invoke images of pure, unadulterated badass. Fast-forward to 2008, where the Pussycat Dolls and Hannah Montana reign supreme, popped collars are the style du jour, and Pacino and De Niro invoke images of Meet the Fockers"" and ""88 Minutes."" 

 

Yes, times have certainly changed. Pacino and De Niro's new cop flick ""Righteous Kill"" debuts in theaters this Friday, yet what would certainly have been the movie of the year in 1987 garners nary a trace of hype now.  

 

When did this precipitous slide begin? When did we as moviegoers move from ""Scarface,"" ""Heat,"" ""Casino"" and ""A Bronx Tale,"" to ""Hide and Seek,"" ""Analyze That,"" ""Two For the Money"" and ""Gigli?"" (Yes, Pacino was in that infamous flop.)  

 

The answer is twofold. For one, De Niro and Pacino began to be typecast. As long as the dynamic duo - especially Pacino - continue to accept multiple yearly roles as either mobsters or cops, they will toil in movie mediocrity for the immediate future. Secondly, Al and Rob are old, 68 and 65 respectively.  

 

It's hard to convincingly run around and beat the crap out of bad guys for two hours straight when the audience has visions of the geriatric stars puttering around in their motorized carts and whacking orderlies with their canes at the Shady Oaks Retirement Home.  

 

While I still respect De Niro and Pacino as some of the greatest actors of our generation, when Friday rolls around, I'll be staring at the silver screen watching a different dynamic duo, as they outshine the AARP-eligible stars of ""Righteous Kill."" I am speaking, of course, of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, who star in the Coen Brothers' newest film ""Burn After Reading."" While Clooney and Pitt have not followed the same career path as De Niro and Pacino, they both exude the same undeniable cool that Al and Rob did in the 80's and early 90's. Clooney and Pitt are just 47 and 44, respectively, and have comfortably reprised roles once played by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, the forefathers of cool, in the ""Ocean's 11"" franchise. Mix in solid performances in ""Syriana,"" ""Babel,"" ""The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,"" and ""Michael Clayton,"" and you've got two bona fide stars for the next decade. Heck, even Pacino acknowledges the draw Clooney and Pitt provide, as evidenced by his villainous turn in ""Ocean's 13

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