Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns 'Top Of The Lake' Season 2 Starts Shooting This Year, Elisabeth Moss Returns Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis’ Penned Teen Horror ‘The Curse of Downers Grove’ With Bella Heathcote Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Video Essay Counts Down The 10 Most Beautiful Movies Of All Time Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Watch: Bond Is Back In New Trailer For 'Spectre' With Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, And More Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' Alejandro González Iñárritu Still Has To Shoot The Finale Of 'The Revenant' The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Films Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film" All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time Martin Scorsese Names His 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time

Terrifying First Look Set Pic Of 'Grudge Match' Is A Chilling Reminder Of Where De Niro's Career Can Go

The Playlist By Edward Davis | The Playlist February 24, 2013 at 6:36PM

Will all of Robert De Niro's great "Silver Linings Playbook" work be undone in a blink of an eye? The actor has a solid shot at winning Best Supporting Actor tonight despite the fact that Tommy Lee Jones won the SAG award for "Lincoln" earlier this year (the best Oscar augur there is). But his work in David O. Russell's film will go down as one of his finest whether or not he wins. It was an incredibly authentic and charged performance imbued with the anger, frustration and heartache of being a parent struggling with a problem child, on top of the the realization he may have failed said offspring.
7
Grudge Match, De Niro, Stallone, Set image

Will all of Robert De Niro's great "Silver Linings Playbook" work be undone in a blink of an eye? The actor has a solid shot at winning Best Supporting Actor tonight despite the fact that Tommy Lee Jones won the SAG award for "Lincoln" earlier this year (the best Oscar augur there is). But his work in David O. Russell's film will go down as one of his finest whether or not he wins. It was an incredibly authentic and charged performance imbued with the anger, frustration and heartache of being a parent struggling with a problem child, on top of the the realization he may have failed said offspring. 

De Niro's career in the aughts has gone dangerously close to Marlon Brando's late-career arc, which was hard to watch ("The Island of Dr. Moreau," "Don Juan DeMarco," "The Brave" which never even came out). There have been too many "Meet the Parents," "Analyze That" and "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" roles and not enough turns like "The Good Shepherd" (which he directed) or well, "Silver Linings Playbook." Everything else has felt like a paycheck gig or film that never felt terribly inspired. In short, the choices were enough to make you worry.

So on the eve of possibly winning an Oscar, a set photo  – via New Orleans Hornets' Robin Lopez's Twitter account of all people – has surfaced with De Niro and co-star Sylvester Stallone on the set of the boxing film, "Grudge Match." But don't expect "Raging Bull" meets "Rocky" (which would actually be better than what's in store). This is a, gulp, boxing comedy about a  pair of aging rival pugilists who are coaxed out of retirement for one final bout – 50 years after their last match.  More frightening: it's directed by Peter Segal, the filmmaker behind such classics like "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps," "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" and "Anger Management." It's the kind of thing we've become used to seeing these days from De Niro, sadly, and a sign that the conventional wisdom believing his career might be back on track thanks to 'Playbook' is a touch optimistic.

Sure, every actor needs to keep it light, but De Niro's had a whole decade of these forgettable films and starring opposite the meathead hack Stallone, it just feels like a career nadir. We'll see if De Niro is down for the KO when "Grudge Match" opens on November 15th.

Grudge Match, set photo (skip)

This article is related to: Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Grudge Match


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates