Friday, March 30, 2012

Question for the Week of Mar 26-Apr 1: Al Pacino

What happened to Al Pacino? I could try to explain, but I'll let Al do it himself:

His volume-challenged voice, his wild, frozen, hammy expressions... it's more Looney Tunes than... professional acting. Where is "Vincent Hanna" from? What happened to Glengarry Glen Ross? Or... Sea of Love (good lead, complicated movie)? Or even Frankie and Johnnie?

Bonus question: what was Michael Mann thinking? Double bonus: This was the take you went with? Not only is Hank Azaria's "jesus!" too quiet after Pacino's shouting, I think maybe Azaria wasn't just reading his lines.

The tone of this scene is all over the place, and doesn't work for me at all. Even if the dialogue was the point ("women's bodies=awesome" or "you been whipped, dummy"), I've seen other actors do this much, much better. I've never liked Heat, cool action sequences be damned; I remember when I saw it in the theater, and this moment didn't help.


  1. Yeah, this is the moment I knew we wouldn't get Good Pacino back after Scent of a Woman. Still, how can you take issue with Azaria's acting in that scene? That was the most genuine "what the fuck?" look I've ever seen from an actor (and for good reason).

    Yeah, I'm not sure how a Bronx boy who had a really nasal voice through all his signature 1970s roles picked up a vaguely pan-Southern accent for his work from roughly 1990 on. It's like he decided to split the difference between Texas and Georgia, accent-wise.

    Despite this, and Diane Venora's awful performance, and the bizarre unnecessary subplot where Waingro's not just a loose cannon, he's a prostitute-murdering serial killer...I still love Heat.

  2. You nailed it, man! Pan-Southern is right, and I think you got the exact states, too.

    I don't like Hank here because his dialogue in this scene is so quiet, it needs its own volume control. Also, his character is a louse and I didn't like the film. I was (also) trying to subtly suggest, tho, that the "wtf" was real.

    And now you've committed the crime of writing the word "waingro" on this site! I continue to insist that no one is ever named "waingro" and that it's a stupid, stupid name that sounds like... 60's drug slang! At least you didn't also write the other shitty and absurd name from this movie, "Van Zandt."

    F----, now I'm doing it.


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