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WHAT’S THEIR BEST FILM?: THE ACTORS EDITION 1

For the past 10 or so editions of “What’s Their Best Film?” I’ve featured various directors and the lists of their bodies of work so that you, dear readers, could give your honest opinion as to what you thought was their masterpiece, their crowning achievement as a filmmaker.

Now I want to switch things up a bit for this edition. Here I will list three actors and their collective bodies of work and I want your honest opinion as to what you think was their finest performance. It doesn’t have to be an Oscar winning performance; just the one that you consider to be their best. I will list each film in chronological order from oldest to newest and the role that was portrayed. I will not be listing  voice work or TV series work. As usual I can’t wait to hear from you.

ROBERT DE NIRO

Encounter as The Nephew

Three Rooms in Manhattan as Client in Diner (Unaccredited)

Greetings as Jon Rubin

Sam’s Song as Sam Nicoletti

The Wedding Party as Cecil

Bloody Mama as Lloyd Barker

Hi, Mom! as Jon Rubin

Jennifer on My Mind as Mardigian

Born to Win as Danny

The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight as Mario

Bang the Drum Slowly as Bruce Pearson

Mean Streets as Johnny Boy

The Godfather: Part II as Vito Corleone

Taxi Driver as Travis Bickle

1900 as Alfredo Berlinghieri

The Last Tycoon as Monroe Stahr

New York, New York as Jimmy Doyle

The Deer Hunter as Micheal

Raging Bull as Jake La Motta

True Confessions as Father Des Spellacy

The King of Comedy as Rupert Pupkin

Once Upon a Time in America as David ‘Noodles’ Aaronson

Falling in Love as Frank Raftis

Brazil as Archibald ‘Harry’ Tuttle

The Mission as Rodrigo Mendoza

Angel Heart as Louis Cyphre

The Untouchables as Al Capone

Midnight Run as Jack Walsh

Stanley and Iris as Stanley Everett Cox

Jacknife as Joseph ‘Jacknife’ Megessey

We’re No Angels as Ned

Goodfellas as James Conway

Awakenings as Leonard Lowe

Guilty By Suspicion as David Merrill

Backdraft as Donald ‘Shadow’ Rimgale

Cape Fear as Max Cady

Mistress as Evan M. Wright

Night and the City as Harry Fabian

Mad Dog and Glory as Wayne ‘Mad Dog’ Dobie

This Boy’s Life as Dwight Hansen

A Bronx Tale as Lorenzo Anello

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as The Creature

Les cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma as Le mari de la star-fantasme en croisière

Casino as Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein

Heat as Neil McCauley

The Fan as Gil Renard

Sleepers as Father Bobby

Marvin’s Room as Dr. Wally

Cop Land as Moe Tilden

Wag the Dog as Conrad Brean

Jackie Brown as Louis Gara

Great Expectations as Prisoner/Lustig

Ronin as Sam

Analyze This as Paul Vitti

Flawless as Walt Koontz

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle as Fearless Leader

Men of Honor as Master Chief Billy Sunday

Meet the Parents as Jack Byrnes

15 Minutes as Detective Eddie Fleming

The Score as Nick Wells

Showtime as Det. Mitch Preston

City by the Sea as Vincent LaMarca

Analyze That as Paul Vitti

Godsend as Richard Wells

Meet the Fockers as Jack Byrnes

The Bridge of San Luis Rey as The Archbishop of Peru

Hide and Seek as David Callaway

The Good Shepherd as Bill Sullivan

Stardust as Captain Shakespeare

What Just Happened as Ben

Righteous Kill as Turk

Everybody’s Fine as Frank Goode

Machete as Senator John McLaughlin

Stone as Jack Mabry

Little Fockers as Jack Byrnes

The Ages of Love as Adrian

Limitless as Carl Van Loon

Killer Elite as Hunter

New Year’s Eve as Stan Harris

Red Lights as Simon Silver

Being Flynn as Jonathan Flynn

Freelancers as Joe Sarcone

Silver Linings Playbook as Pat Sr.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

AL PACINO

Me, Natalie as Tony

The Panic in Needle Park as Bobby

The Godfather as Michael Corleone

Scarecrow as Francis Lionel ‘Lion’ Delbuchi

Serpico as Frank Serpico

The Godfather: Part II as Michael Corleone

Dog Day Afternoon as Sonny Wortzik

Bobby Deerfield as Bobby

…And Justice For All. as Arthur Kirkland

Cruising as Steve Burns

Author! Author! as Ivan Travalian

Scarface as Tony Montana

Revolution as Tom Dobb

Sea of Love as Det. Frank Keller

The Local Stigmatic as Graham

Dick Tracy as Big Boy Caprice

The Godfather: Part III as Don Michael Corleone

Frankie and Johnny as Johnny

Glengarry Glen Ross as Ricky Roma

Scent of a Woman as Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade

Carlito’s Way As Carlito ‘Charlie’ Brigante

Two Bits as Grandpa

Heat as Lt. Vincent Hanna

City Hall as Mayor John Pappas

Donnie Brasco as Benjamin ‘Lefty’ Ruggiero

The Devil’s Advocate as John Milton

The Insider as Lowell Bergman

Any Given Sunday as Tony D’Amato

Chinese Coffee as Harry Levine

People I Know as Eli Wurman

Insomnia as Will Dormer

S1m0ne as Viktor Taransky

The Recruit as Walter Burke

Gigli as Starkman

The Merchant of Venice as Shylock

Two for the Money as Walter

88 Minutes as Jack Gramm

Ocean’s Thirteen as Willy Bank

Righteous Kill as Rooster

You Don’t Know Jack (TV Movie) as Jack Kevorkian

The Son of No One as Detective Charles Stanford

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CHRISTOPHER WALKEN

Barefoot in Athens (TV Movie) as Lamprocles

The Three Musketeers (TV Movie) as Felton

Me and My Brother

Cleopatra as Boy

The Anderson Tapes as The Kid

The Happiness Cage (aka The Mind Snatchers) as Private James H, Reese

Valley Forge (TV Movie) as The Hessian

Next Stop, Greenwich Village as Robert Fulmer

The Sentinel as Detective Rizzo

Annie Hall as Duane Hall

Roseland as Russel (The Hustle)

Shoot the Sun Down as Mr. Rainbow

The Deer Hunter as Nick

Last Embrace as Eckart

Heaven’s Gate as Nathan D. Champion

The Dogs of War as Jamie Shannon

Pennies From Heaven as Tom

Brainstorm as Michael Brace

The Dead Zone as Johnny Smith

A View to a Kill as Max Zorin

At Close Range as Brad Whitewood, Sr.

Witness in the War Zone (aka Deadline) as Don Stevens

The Milagro Beanfield War as Kyril Montana

Biloxi Blues as Sgt. Toomey

Puss in Boots as Puss

Homeboy as Wesley Pendergrass

Communion as Whitley Strieber

King of New York as Frank White

The Comfort of Strangers as Robert

Sarah, Plain and Tall (TV Movie) as Jacob Witting

McBain as Robert McBain

All-American Murder as P.J. Decker

Mistress as Warren Zell

Batman Returns as Max Shreck

Le Grand Pardon II as Pasco Meisner

Skylark (TV Movie) as Jacob Witting

Scam (TV Movie) as Jack Shanks

True Romance as Vincenzo Coccotti

Wayne’s World 2 as Bobby Cahn

A Business Affair as Vanni Corso

Pulp Fiction as Captain Koontz

The Addiction as Peina

The Prophecy as Gabriel

Wild Side as Bruno Buckingham

Search and Destroy as Kim Ulander

Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead as The Man With the Plan

Nick of Time as Mr. Smith

Celluloid

Basquiat as The Interviewer

The Funeral as Ray

Last Man Standing as Hickey

Touch as Bill Hill

Excess Baggage as Ray

Suicide Kings as Carlo Bartolucci/Charlie Barret

Mousehunt as Caeser, the Exterminator

The Prophecy II as Gabriel

Illuminata as Bevalaqua

New Rose Hotel as Fox

Trance as Uncle Bill Ferriter

Blast From the Past as Calvin

Vendetta (TV Movie) as James Houston

Sleepy Hollow as Hessian Horseman

Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter’s End (TV Movie) as Jacob Witting

Kiss Toledo Goodbye as Max

The Prophecy 3: The Ascent as Gabriel

The Opportunists as Victor ‘Vic’ Kelly

Scotland, PA. as Lt. McDuff

Joe Dirt as Clem

America’s Sweethearts as Hal Weidmann

The Affair of the Necklace as Count Cagliostro

The Country Bears as Reed Thimple

Undertaking Betty as Frank Featherbed

Catch Me If You Can as Frank Abagnale

Caesar (TV Movie) as Marcus Portius Cato

Kangaroo Jack as Salvatore ‘Sal’ Maggio

Gigli as Det. Stanley Jacobellis

The Rundown as Hatcher

Man on Fire as Rayburn

Envy as J-Man

The Stepford Wives as Mike Wellington

Around the Bend as Turner Lair

Wedding Crashers as Secretary Cleary

Romance and Cigarettes as Cousin Bo

Domino as Mark Heiss

Click as Morty

Fade to Black as Brewster

Man of the Year as Jack Menken

Hairspray as Wilbur Turnblad

Balls of Fury as Feng

$5 a Day as Nat Parker

The Maiden Heist as Roger Barlow

Life’s a Beach as Roy Callahan

Kill the Irishman as Shondor Birns

The Legend of Harrow Woods as Raven

Dark Horse as Jackie

Seven Psychopaths as Hans

A Late Quartet as Peter Mitchell

As an added bonus, ladies and gentlemen I present to you the dance stylings of Mr. Christopher Walken

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TAXI DRIVER: An appreciation for God’s Lonely Man

TAXI DRIVER: An appreciation for God‘s LonelyMan

Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle

 

Jodie Foster as Iris

 

Albert Brooks as Tom

 

Harvey Keitel (l) as Sport

 

Leonard Harris as Charles Palantine

 

Peter Boyle (c) as Wizard

 

Cybill Shepherd as Betsy

 
 
Directed by Martin Scorsese
 
Written by Paul Schrader
 

This is a question for my blogger friends. Why do you write a blog? What is that drives you to put words onto the brightness of your computer screen? I know why I do it. I do it because I want to feel as if I am a part of something that is bigger than me. I admit that I get a little rush when I read a favorable comment or when someone likes a review I’ve written. I feel good when I check my page view count for the day and I’ve had a few hundred visitors. That means that all the times that I have sat alone in a dark room watching movie after movie has not been in vain. When I sit at my computer racking my brain for the right words to say I know that someone, somewhere will read what I have written and will appreciate it in some way or another. I am alone as I sit and type, but I am not lonely.

In Taxi Driver, Travis Bickle is always alone. Even in scenes where he is surrounded by other people, he is ultimately and painfully alone. In the scene in the diner with his co-workers he is off to one side of the table, slightly separate from the rest. Again, in the diner, this time with Iris, the young prostitute that he feels a need to save, he is still alone. Why? Because his ideas, his way of thinking is so out of tune with hers that they are two people on separate sides of a desert island; always knowing that the other exists, but never making that connection.

The saddest and most heart wrenching scene in the film comes when Travis, after taking Betsy to a pornographic movie on their first date together, is on the phone in a lonely hallway pleading with her to give him another chance. As we listen the camera pans away from him. We don’t know whether to console him or put him down like a dog to ease his misery. Travis is so far out of touch with the rest of the world. He is never alone, yet he is lonely; and he is alone and he is lonely. By its own design, the job of a taxi driver is one of the loneliest jobs on the planet. A cabbie is continually in a situation where he is with people and yet they are all rank strangers to him. For the brief time that they are in his cab, they are a part of Travis’ world, but at no point in time is he ever a part of theirs. Travis Bickle truly is God’s Lonely Man.

Again, I will ask you; why do you do what you do?

TRIVIA

Various studios considered producing this film; one suggested Neil Diamond for the lead role.
 
Robert De Niro worked twelve hour days for a month driving cabs as preparation for this role. He also studied mental illness.
 
Director Martin Scorsese claims that the most important shot in the movie is when Bickle is on the phone trying to get another date with Betsy. The camera moves to the side slowly and pans down the long, empty hallway next to Bickle, as if to suggest that the phone conversation is too painful and pathetic to bear.
 
 
 
 
 

CHRONICLE

CHRONICLE-United States/United Kingdom-2012

Dane DeHaan as Andrew Detmer

Alex Russell as Matt Garetty

Michael B. Jordan as Steve Montgomery

Directed by Josh Trank
Story by Max Landis and Josh Trank
Screenplay by Max Landis

This question is for my older readers, the ones that have graduated high school. How many times have you found yourself thinking about what you would do differently if you could do high school all over again? Maybe you were bullied and would like to put your foot so far up that bully’s ass he could tell you what size shoe you’re wearing. Maybe a parent(s) gave you grief about every little thing. Would you change that? Was there a special girl? Were you a popular kid or a complete social misfit? For me high school was an ordeal, not an experience. I wasn’t very popular, I was bullied and yes, my parents, especially my dad, gave me grief. So while I was watching Chronicle, the latest cinema verité/found footage thriller about three teenagers who acquire telekinetic powers, I found myself sympathizing with Andrew Detmer. Here is an angry young man that uses his powers as a weapon; striking out in anger at the bullies at school and an alcoholic, abusive dad at home. Andrew is Travis Bickle‘s unchecked anger combined with Magneto’s self-righteous and arrogant rage. He feels that the world has taken a shit all over him and that we all need to pay. Even though he is clearly the villain of the film I found myself pitying him. When I was younger I did the things he did to fight what I felt were injustices against me. I shut myself away from the world, retreating into a world of my own. I was an angry young man, and despite the fact that my wife and my friends tell me that I’m a kind and decent human being, I know that anger is still there.

What I found most interesting about the film was that after it was over I listened to people as they were walking out of the theater. They talked about which character they would be like if they had the powers that they were given. There were a few Steve’s, a few Matt’s; but mostly the majority was Andrew. What that tells me is that there are a whole lot of angry people in this world. That thought is more disturbing than any scene in the film itself.

NO TRIVIA AT THIS TIME

½

 

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