Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Film idea: Press junket with three fallen titans

"What happened?"
"What happened?"

So, over at Mr. Marks' Wolf of Wall Street review, the conversation has turned, as it does, to "Whatever happened to Robert De Niro?" For the longest time, my answer to that question has been, "The guy can't help it. Eventually, persona becomes self-parody if the spotlight stays on you long enough. That's just the way it goes."

"Little did he know? I've written a book on 'Little did he know!'"

And then I saw American Hustle and was reminded about De Niro's ability to project genuine power and menace — no matter how many times we've seen it before. (It probably helped that it was such a brief appearance, but still.)

Maybe credit the director, David O. Russell, for managing to get a Scorsese-level performance out of the old man in a film that has Scorsese in the back of its mind in nearly every scene.

It's sort of the way I felt about Dustin Hoffman after seeing Stranger Than Fiction. The guy was commanding and hilarious, full of absurdity without ever winking at the audience.

Hello.

And it's even the way I felt about Al Pacino after Jack and Jill — there were a few seconds of Pacino dressed as Don Quixote in a neighborhood restaurant that made me peek through my fingers and take notice: What's going on here? Was that a spark?

So. Three titans, all fallen, but all still capable of some measure of their former greatness. They're on a press tour for some piece of garbage high-concept comedy that's got all of them together for an easy paycheck in a nice location. Miami, say. They sit down for a powder-puff video interview with some punk kid from some dumb website.

NEEEEEERRRD!

But the kid doesn't play by the rules. He knows he'll never have another chance like this. Instead of lobbing softballs, he comes with the high heat: "Do any of you give a single shit about your legacy? Does it ever bother you to crap all over the profession that has made you demigods by churning out this kind of bilge? Has money numbed you to the point where life has no meaning, let alone art?"

The three try to dodge at first, and then Hoffman stands up to leave, urging the others to follow suit. But De Niro can't let it go. He starts firing back at the kid, and the kid won't back down. His knowledge is encyclopedic, his love for the movies is pathological, and his fury is that of the betrayed disciple. Eventually, all three stars are dragged into the locus of his rage, and they're screaming in defense of themselves. And then something snaps, and someone throws a punch, and by the time it's all over, they've beaten him to death with a chair. On video.

Just a couple of guys.

Suddenly, all three men are wanted felons, whose every mannerism is etched onto the public consciousness. Suddenly, all three men must act — act as if their lives depend on it. Because they do.

"Do you think they'll recognize us?"

The whole first act — the interview — would play like a filmed parlor drama, with tales of their past glories and recent betrayals unfolding like dirty family secrets. Act two is a farce, as three legends try to impersonate ordinary folk while on the lam. ("Hey, anybody ever tell you you look like Robert De Niro?" "You talkin' to me? I mean, no, no of course not.")

Act three becomes melancholy melodrama as the inevitable closes in. Could be the feel-good comedy of the year. I'll need $220K and a suitcase of coke, and I'll have you a draft by Tuesday.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Religion in Christmas movies, Yellow Deli a cult?, San DIego Sikhs, Christmas without Jesus, Hare Krishnas

San Diego spiritual
"What happened?"
"What happened?"

So, over at Mr. Marks' Wolf of Wall Street review, the conversation has turned, as it does, to "Whatever happened to Robert De Niro?" For the longest time, my answer to that question has been, "The guy can't help it. Eventually, persona becomes self-parody if the spotlight stays on you long enough. That's just the way it goes."

"Little did he know? I've written a book on 'Little did he know!'"

And then I saw American Hustle and was reminded about De Niro's ability to project genuine power and menace — no matter how many times we've seen it before. (It probably helped that it was such a brief appearance, but still.)

Maybe credit the director, David O. Russell, for managing to get a Scorsese-level performance out of the old man in a film that has Scorsese in the back of its mind in nearly every scene.

It's sort of the way I felt about Dustin Hoffman after seeing Stranger Than Fiction. The guy was commanding and hilarious, full of absurdity without ever winking at the audience.

Hello.

And it's even the way I felt about Al Pacino after Jack and Jill — there were a few seconds of Pacino dressed as Don Quixote in a neighborhood restaurant that made me peek through my fingers and take notice: What's going on here? Was that a spark?

So. Three titans, all fallen, but all still capable of some measure of their former greatness. They're on a press tour for some piece of garbage high-concept comedy that's got all of them together for an easy paycheck in a nice location. Miami, say. They sit down for a powder-puff video interview with some punk kid from some dumb website.

NEEEEEERRRD!

But the kid doesn't play by the rules. He knows he'll never have another chance like this. Instead of lobbing softballs, he comes with the high heat: "Do any of you give a single shit about your legacy? Does it ever bother you to crap all over the profession that has made you demigods by churning out this kind of bilge? Has money numbed you to the point where life has no meaning, let alone art?"

The three try to dodge at first, and then Hoffman stands up to leave, urging the others to follow suit. But De Niro can't let it go. He starts firing back at the kid, and the kid won't back down. His knowledge is encyclopedic, his love for the movies is pathological, and his fury is that of the betrayed disciple. Eventually, all three stars are dragged into the locus of his rage, and they're screaming in defense of themselves. And then something snaps, and someone throws a punch, and by the time it's all over, they've beaten him to death with a chair. On video.

Just a couple of guys.

Suddenly, all three men are wanted felons, whose every mannerism is etched onto the public consciousness. Suddenly, all three men must act — act as if their lives depend on it. Because they do.

"Do you think they'll recognize us?"

The whole first act — the interview — would play like a filmed parlor drama, with tales of their past glories and recent betrayals unfolding like dirty family secrets. Act two is a farce, as three legends try to impersonate ordinary folk while on the lam. ("Hey, anybody ever tell you you look like Robert De Niro?" "You talkin' to me? I mean, no, no of course not.")

Act three becomes melancholy melodrama as the inevitable closes in. Could be the feel-good comedy of the year. I'll need $220K and a suitcase of coke, and I'll have you a draft by Tuesday.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Claudia Gomez‘s sound showers with Trio Gadjo and Besos de Coco

“Playing again has lifted everyone’s spirits.”
Next Article

Orchid zealots, brave beekeepers, pit bulls not so bad, vicious seagulls, San Diego birds surveyed, a cactus will take a bullet

San Diego's extreme plants and animals
Comments
2

Here's the suitcase of Coke!

None

Jan. 3, 2014

Matthew, Bobby's capable of turning on a dime... just watch:

Jan. 5, 2014

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close