"You talking to me," Robert De Niro uttered in his famed "Taxi Driver" role.
Yes, Mr. De Niro, we're talking to you. At this very moment, we hope you are listening intently.
De Niro is hardly recognizable in his latest movie "Dirty Grandpa," a film that also stars Zac Efron.
Efron, at this stage in his career, seems more suitable for an idiotic role after his role in "Neighbors," another throwaway comedy that seems beneath all parties involved. "Dirty Grandpa" finds itself well below "Neighbors" but is mostly troubling due to the involvement of De Niro, a seven time Oscar nominee.
De Niro is best known for such epic films as "Goodfellas," "Casino" and the aforementioned "Taxi Driver," but has watched his career take a downward turn as he's gotten older. The mid 1990s were the last of De Niro's high points as an actor (aside from the "Meet the Parents" franchise), but his role in "Dirty Grandpa" is disturbing.
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The film is awful, and the first sight of De Niro in a trailer as a widower who is on spring break with the Efron character was met with disbelief and not anything close to laughs. The last decade or more of De Niro's career has been hard to watch, and rather him take on roles that are inspired or unique for an actor of his age, he's opted to become that aging superstar that will take whatever he can get.
Sure, De Niro is always going to lauded for being one of the greatest actors of all time but that shouldn't mean he can rest on his name value when it comes time to reflect on a career that is the tale of two halves.
The first is one of sheer brilliance, as everything De Niro touched turned to gold. The latter half of the career, basically the year 2000 and beyond, was tough to watch, and "Dirty Grandpa" is the capper to the worst second half of a career you might see for an actor that is so gifted.
No one can be sure why De Niro has decided to shift to comedy, and for the most part there's nothing wrong with adding that element to a career that was deeply rooted in drama. The comedy turn is fine, but not when it turns pathetic in nature.
So, Mr. De Niro if you're listening or even care anything at all about the legacy you've created, you should take a sabbatical or only take roles that are worth your time. Because what is happening right now shouldn't be, and is truly a shame and sham.
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