Friday, February 01, 2013
Al Pacino won an Oscar in 1992, Christopher Walken in 1978 while Alan Arkin received his in 2006. All 3 have been well financially rewarded, and prize awarded, for their many years of fine performances but it has been awhile since any of them have had a major hit. Being a fan of Pacino’s since 1969 when I saw him on stage, in “Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie”, and in film, in “The Panic In Needle Park” in 1971, I have gone to every current movie of his hoping that it would be the one to put him back on top.
“Stand Up Guys” is more of an actors class exercise than a film with each actor playing characters they have played before but as if given a signal to ‘go for it’. As the movie starts Pacino is being released from prison after serving 28 years taking the fall for his gang where a mob boss’s son was killed. Walken picks him up and it isn’t long before both know that he is suppose to kill Pacino. One of the first stops is a brothel where Pacino isn’t able to perform so they leave, break into a pharmacy and steal some drugs along with Viagra which he takes a handful of and after a raunchy scene or two they have to go to the hospital. At the hospital they meet a nurse, played by Julianna Margulies, who just happens to be the daughter of the third member of their gang, Arkin, who they find is in a nursing home. Yes they break him out and go on a wild race but first stopping back at thebrothel for an item on his bucket list.
Walken is suppose to kill Pacino before 10 AM in the morning but first they help a woman who has been raped get revenge, Pacino eats a surf and turf dinner with a root beer float, comes back to the same restaurant in the early morning to have 2 steaks, waffles and a shake. Oh, by the way, there is a reason they keep on coming to this restaurant.
There really doesn’t seem to be much sense in the screenplay by Noah Haidle or the direction of Fisher Stevens. It is hard to place when, or where, this all takes place as there isn’t a cellphone or computer in sight no plus when was the last time you saw a pay phone in a restaurant? At the same time they steal a car that doesn’t need a ignition key to start.
Actors of this caliber are always a joy just to watch even if it looks like an Actors Studio class but it seems Hollywood and Independent films are having a problem with the old actors and getting stories worth their talents.
By the way it is time for Pacino to clean up and doing something with his face and head hair!