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What Is De Niro Thinking? Goes Against Stallone in 'Grudge Match'

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by Anne Thompson
November 6, 2012 2:09 PM
6 Comments
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'Grudge Match'

Yet another example of Hollywood's current thinking is the depressing prospect of Warner Bros. chasing the trendy boomer demo by casting Robert De Niro ("Raging Bull") and Sylvester Stallone ("Rocky") as two aging boxers in "Grudge Match."

Shoot me now. I don't mind "The Expendables," which shows how smart and crafty and strong a bunch of aging action heroes still are. Fine.

But De Niro sold out his talent a long time ago for big cash paydays and it saddens me every time he trades on past glories for a buck.  One of the reasons people are so high on him--he is a supporting actor contender-- in "Silver Linings Playbook" is that in the hands of David O. Russell and surrounded by actors giving their best, De Niro steps up his game as a confused, caring father who genuinely wants what's best for his bipolar son. It's moving--and hilarious.

Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook"

But how much crap and drivel has one of our greatest actors participated in, presumably believing that his self-worth should be measured by how much he gets paid? That's not the way to think, as George Clooney and Brad Pitt have proven. Legacy is the key. How do you want your entry in the David Thomson Biography of Film to read? Thomson's long and admiring De Niro essay eventually comes to this: "De Niro has gone a long way to squander his own high reputation by the remorseless greed for minor or trashy projects." He lists 23 pictures made since De Niro turned 50: they include "Analyze This" and "Analyze That," "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle," "15 Minutes," "The Score," "City by the Sea," "Showtime," and "Scared Guys," to name a forgettable few.

It's possible that "Grudge Match" is a terrific script. And Warners should go with the best casting they can. But De Niro and Stallone did not have to say yes. Let "Raging Bull" and "Rocky" lie.

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More: Robert De Niro, IN THE WORKS

6 Comments

  • Salad | November 8, 2012 2:47 PMReply

    Why would they go ahead with this with such an average director attached? Either Sly or Bob should direct it instead, or co-direct. Or it will be like that DeNiro/Pacino stinkaroo Rightious Kill.

  • DeNiro | November 8, 2012 9:05 AMReply

    "they include "City by the Sea," "Showtime," and "Scared Guys," to name a forgettable few."

    What the heck is "Scared Guys" ? There is no DeNiro film by that name.

  • arthur | November 6, 2012 4:01 PMReply

    how presumptuous to suggst that he derives his "self-worth" from anything related to the film world at all? how would you know?

  • gadi | November 6, 2012 2:54 PMReply

    Analyse This & That were both decent films. They poked fun at the serious nature of De Niro's mob films and did it respectfully. Plus they were pretty darn funny. I think Al Pacino has chosen worse films. Maybe this "boxing" movie is more like Clint Eastwood's take on "boxing" (million dollar baby) then what you're bitching about. I'll at least give De Niro the benefit of the doubt, especially after he rewarded us all with his wonderful performance in Silver Linings Playbook.

  • ag | November 6, 2012 2:45 PMReply

    wha? sounds like a cool idea. has nothing to do (hopefully) with raging bull and rocky. if it does, if there's a hint of that, then yes, it'll have squirm factor. but, on the surface, seems like a cool idea. if the script delivers should be fun. ---------- cashing out... please. it's a movie that's getting made because the leads make it possible. (i hope that damn script is cut like a gem)

  • kitcon | November 6, 2012 2:24 PMReply

    Its really puzzling. Nicolas Cage we can understand. But de Niro isn't short of cash. He received $20M for the last Fockers. I hope Besson's Malavita turns out to be another Silver Linings.

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