The sudden passing of James Gandolfini, the phenomenal television actor who flourished as Tony Soprano on the HBO hit "The Sopranos, spurred questions as to which mob movie or character ranks as the best of all time.
That list is arguable, hotly contested and certainly includes "The Sopranos" from the TV side of the entertainment business. As for movies, no one is going to fight or argue that staples in that particular film genre such as Goodfellas, The Godfather I & II (let's not discuss the long-winded, disappointing third one), Scarface and Casino. The success and overwhelming appreciation for those films, much like the Sopranos and Gandolfini, are directly related to the amazing actors throughout those films.
Names like Robert Deniro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Marlon Brando resonate not only with those who saw the movies on the first, original one but for generations to come. The acting was downright enthralling; the on-screen emotion left movie-goers gasping for air, hanging on every word and sitting at the edge of their proverbial seats.
But like any film genre that experiences success, failure is bound to follow. Mob movies, like comedies, action, etc., are doomed to flounder as the pool of films quickly becomes watered-down. For movies that directly related to the mob, most of the time the ones that flop are parodies -- movies that take a serious concept and turn it into a campy collection of one-liners.
None is quite as disappointing as "Analyze That," the sequel to "Analyze This" and "Mickey Blue Eyes." "Analyze This" truly was a tremendous comedic take on mobsters but directly Harold Ramis couldn't capture lighting twice with his follow up. Both movies featured Deniro, who by this time had turned in his tommy gun for tepid performances in comedy movies. Much like Deniro's turn from drama to comedy, James Caan did the same 180-degree turn in "Mickey Blue Eyes," which also starred Hugh Grant. Caan mesmerized fans in The Godfather turned in a tired, lazy and stereotypical peformance in this one, and Grant was no better as a sheepish beau in love with Caan's on-screen daughter.
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