Thursday, October 02, 2008

Can Martin Scorsese save Robert De Niro?

First thing first: Last night's "Pushing Daisies," after a rather disastrously long bit of opening exposition to catch everyone up, was just as funny and whimsical as ever, and will hopefully lead ABC to announce later today that the show has received a full season-two order (so far it just has 13 new episodes coming.)

And, in reference to my headline question, does Robert De Niro really need saving? Well, I'm sure his life in NYC is still a whole lot more fabulous than mine down here in Macon, GA, but if its from mediocre movies I'd say the answer is surely an emphatic yes.

I had to go back to 2006's "The Good Shepherd" to find a De Niro movie I really liked unconditionally and much further back to 2000's "Meet the Parents" to find another one (and the second one gets an asterisk in the "like" column because Mr. De Niro isn't nearly as funny as he seems to think he is nowadays).

So, what could bring this formerly great man back to his glory days, to roles in movies such as "Raging Bull" or "Goodfellas," or even in John Frankenheimer's rather severely underrated "Ronin"? Well, either reteaming with Martin Scorses or doing a great movie about the mob would probably do the trick, so throw in both and you'd seem to have just about the perfect project.

Indeed, word comes today that Mr. Scorsese is attached to direct and Mr. De Niro to star in "I Heard You Paint Houses," based on the book about the mob assassin who many believe was involved in the death of Jimmy Hoffa. (And despite my rather heavy diet of mob movies and TV through the years, I had no idea that "paint houses" was mob slang for a contract killing ... yet another rather useless bit of trivia to clutter my brain!)

De Niro will play Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran, who is reputed to have carried out more than 25 mob murders and confessed to "Paint Houses" author Charles Brandt that he also carried out the killing and dismemberment of Hoffa on orders from mob boss Russell Bufalino. On top of my love for mob movies, I also like flicks like "Confession of a Dangerous Mind" in which our "protagonist" makes an outlandish claim that stays in doubt throughout the entire movie, so this should be ideal.

Steven Zaillian, who crafted the crisp script for "American Gangster" but also the rather uneven screenplay for Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" too, will adapt Brandt's book for the big screen.

And Scorsese, I predict, will have one of both the biggest critical and box office successes next year with "Shutter Island," starring Leo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo in his take on Dennis Lehane's novel about the mysterious happenings at a mental hospital on the titular remote island.

And now, since I have no other news to report, I have to get ready for the job that still somehow pays my rent. Peace out.


Bob said...

I'm right there with ya on De Niro needing to be in something good. His embarrassing turn in "Stardust" was a low point among low points. To me he's never been funnier (or better!) than in "The King of Comedy." For my money that's Scorsese's best movie, though I'm probably alone on that. This new one sounds intriguing though.
I finally watched "Pushing Daisies" for the first time. Crazy show, but I liked it. I liked the reference to the Happy Time Temp Agency from "Dead Like Me." Despite the lack of new shows that are interesting (I haven't found a single one I even want to check out really), "Sunny," "Chuck," and "Heroes" are all off to good starts. And of course "Mad Men" has been spectacular.
If you're interested I put up a review of "Choke" last night. Have a good Thursday!

Reel Fanatic said...

I'll check out your review, Bob, but I'll have to be extremely jealous as I read it .. I would at the beginning of this summer considered riding up to Atlanta to see such a movie, but combine gas prices with my wallet, and it's simply out of the question .. And I too like "King of Comedy" quite a bit, and another Scorsese comedy that I just can't get enough of is the extremely silly "After Hours" ... I think that might just have to be my Scorsese favorite

Jess said...

I did really like the new Pushing Daisies. And they moved the plot around with the secrets being revealed and kept. I liked it.

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Rose said...

ABC still hasn't ordered a full season of Pushing Daisies... I hope they do so soon. Tv would be losing a gem of a show.