Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Overacting Hall of Fame

Salon ran a two-part Overacting and Underacting Hall of Fame pieces. The Over includes such people as Sean Penn, Nick Oldham, Jennifer Jason Leigh and here's the piece on Al Pacino.

The overacting hall of fame
Slide show: Sometimes an actor has to go over the top to sell a performance. Here are some of the most memorable
1 of 10

Al Pacino
"Scarface," "Sea of Love," "The Godfather, Part III," "The Devil's Advocate," "Heat," "The Recruit," et al.
I’ve already celebrated the great Mr. Pacino in my introduction, but let’s talk about him some more here, because the man is a treasure, an American institution whose characters seem as though they belong in an institution. Nobody does BIG ACTING with quite as much imagination and panache. He’s become so identified with this mode that any departures from it — “Donnie Brasco,” “Insomnia,” HBO’s “You Don’t Know Jack” — feel like bold experiments. But as film buffs and viewers of a certain age will tell you, from his breakthrough in “Panic in Needle Park” through the “Godfather” films, “Dog Day Afternoon” and even “Bobby Deerfield,” “Cruising” and “Author, Author,” he was known as a more naturalistic actor — definitely Method, but not ostentatiously so. Even his most flamboyant gestures seemed life-size.

Then came “Scarface,” one of the great over-the-top performances in American film, complete with “choo touch my seester I keel you” accent and burn-a-hole-in-you stare-eyes. Pacino’s star turn as Tony Montana warned the world, Say hello to my new acting style! After the box-office failure of 1985′s “Revolution,” he took four years off, then returned in 1989 with “Sea of Love,” and the new Pacino — the movie-star Pacino — was officially born. His voice was different — growly, insinuating, borderline Nick Nolte — and so was his body language. He didn’t walk anymore, he loped or bounced. And man, did he grin a lot. His new go-to persona even crept into “The Godfather, Part III,” about which a dear friend commented, “The biggest plausibility problem in this movie is that at some point between the second and third movies, somebody replaced Michael Corleone with Al Pacino from ‘Sea of Love,’ and nobody around him noticed.”

for the rest go here:


Bill Crider said...

Dang, Ed, I was planning to link to those tomorrow. What the heck. I still will.

Ed Gorman said...

I can't believe it, Bill. I actually scooped you on something. This must be a bad omen--for me. :) SAnd please watch your language. "Dang" in mixed company?

Fred Blosser said...

At least Pacino's shtick is entertaining. I don't understand what critics see in the overrated Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti.