Robert De Niro
When he was great: Mean Streets (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), Raging Bull (1980), Midnight Run (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Casino (1995)
Since then: Righteous Kill (2008), Little Fockers (2010), Killer Elite (2011), Limitless (2011), New Year’s Eve (2011)
In the above “When he was great” category, we’ve honestly left a bunch of stellar Robert De Niro films off, for brevity’s sake: The King Of Comedy (1983), Brazil (1985), Awakenings (1990), Heat (1999), Analyze This (1999). The list goes on—when push comes to shove, De Niro could very well have the best-ever filmography of any actor, living or dead.
And, with that, he’s certainly earned the right to kick back and do whatever seems the most enjoyable nowadays, but why does he have to take pleasure in phoning it in? Once a source of immediate audience attraction, lately De Niro has evolved into a repellent, with his name alone inducing thoughts of disinterest; does anyone really want to see one of the greatest actors of all time sleepwalking through another lifeless action flick (Killer Elite) or soul-crushingly unfunny comedy (New Year’s Eve)? We also left off a lot of horrible films he's made, too: 15 Minutes (2001), The Score (2001), Showtime (2002), City By The Sea (2002), Godsend (2004), Hide And Seek (2005), Stone (2010)...
We’ll gladly take a great little film like Being Flynn, thank you very much. As evidenced in his latest film, De Niro still has that magical gift, and now that we’ve seen it again, for the first time in over a decade, we don’t want it to away. God help us if Even More Little Fockers gets announced anytime soon.