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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2007 at 2:36 PM

This kind of crap generally pisses me off.  I read today a story in the NY Daily News that  "Youth Without Youth" director Francis Ford Coppola trashed Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino for not being "hungry" actors.  Remarked Coppola, "I don't know what any of them want anymore. I don't know that they want the same things. Pacino always wanted to do theater ... (He) will say, 'Oh, I was raised next to a furnace in New York, and I'm never going to go to L.A.,' but they all live off the fat of the land." 

He further stated, "I think if there was a role that De Niro was hungry for, he would come after it. I don't think Jack would. Jack has money and influence and girls, and I think he's a little bit like (Marlon) Brando, except Brando went through some tough times. I guess they don't want to do it anymore.

"You know, even in those days, after 'The Godfather,' I didn't feel that those actors were ready to say, 'Let's do something else really ambitious.' A guy like (38-year-old "Before Night Falls" star) Javier Bardem is excited to do something good: 'Let me do this' or 'I'll put stuff in my mouth, change my appearance.' I don't feel that kind of passion to do a role and be great coming from those guys, because if it was there, they would do it."

What the hell is Coppola talking about?  He hasn't made a movie since he brought that dog poop film "The Rainmaker" to the screen, and that was 10 years ago.  Before that, he waxed poetic genius with "Jack," "Dracula," "The Godfather Part III," "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," "Gardens of Stone," "Peggy Sue Got Married," "Captain EO," "The Cotton Club," and "Rumble Fish." 

Sure, he's back with an alleged "art" film.  Maybe it will be good, maybe it will be great, but for Coppola to suggest that Pacino, DeNiro and Nicholson don't have the drive anymore is blatantly hypocritical and disrespectful.  Especially coming from a guy who's made the sum total of 4 good movies in 33 years (and nothing watchable since "Apocalypse Now").  I don't care if he did make "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II. 

In the past 10 years, Jack Nicholson has 1 Oscar and another nomination.  He's been in 6 films, including 1 Best Picture winner ("The Departed"), and one more that was nominated for Best Picture ("As Good as it Gets").  Only "Anger Management" was intolerable, and I'd suggest it's not nearly as bad as, I don't know, "Jack"!

Al Pacino has appeared in 15 films, including Best Picture nominee "The Insider."  His brilliant performance as Roy Cohn in "Angels in American" netted him an Emmy and a Golden Globe (and many argued that had the film played in theaters it would have swept the Oscar race as well).  Sure, "The Recruit," "Two for the Money," and "S1m0ne" were crappy, but prior to do those he did "Heat," "Carlito's Way," won an Oscar for "Scent of a Woman," and "Glengarry Glen Ross," for which he was also nominated for an Oscar.  I'd say he's challenged himself.

In the past 10 years, DeNiro has appeared in 23 films including "Cop Land," "Wag the Dog," "Jackie Brown," "Great Expectations," "Flawless," and "The Good Shepard." I wonder if Coppola even watched "Flawless" or "The Good Shepard."  Those were both great roles, and well played by DeNiro. 

I'm not sure what Coppola's definition of "great" is (surely it's not his body of work after 1979), but it seems to me that he's the one that needs to be looking in the mirror and giving himself this lecture.



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