Daddy was a Raging Bull.
In my top ten films of all time are De Niro in Godfather, Raging Bull and Deer Hunter. Fucking A. None like him, brilliant, on the money, ironic,historic the full ten yards. Way to go Robert. Chuck in a Goodfellas and Taxi if you will. Drinking and driving, pushing on. You looking at me? We sure were ,and how.Oscars in the locker, talent pouring out like a swollen river.
Now I see this great actor shuffling around playing grumpy dads in Meet the Parents, the Fockers, the Big Wedding and Joy. Oh God,there are others.. Thankfully I haven’t seen them all but the fact they exist means there is dry rot in cinema heaven. He is getting old, does he need the work that badly, did Olivier end up playing grumps?
No,these are cameo parts which his oh so expressive face can capture easily, but surely he could get better parts. Doe Meryl Streep play grumpy Mums(yes), does Maggie Smith-I’m afraid she does worse. No its De Niro we must talk about.
For where he treads others must follow. The choice is be a grumpy dad or be an acquiescent one. Either resist the slings and arrows especially when they are brought in by the Trojan Horses of your own children, or meekly go down to Sainsbury’s and get excited about the latest 2 for one offer.
No, De Niro shows us the way on how to rage, rage against the dying of the light. Its not a great part, it appeals to no one, but himself, but it is a part. It has a personality, a distinction and so every time my children beg me to hehave, cut down on the sauce,stop being a contrarian, shape up to the modern world I think of De Niro in any one of his recent absolutely hopeless and embarrassing ,daddy is a rolling stone, roles.
De Niro has the added attraction that he also plays in real life the estranged son whose dad was a gay and broken artist. So he knows all about bad parenting. Who doesn’t ,either as givers or receivers and now as De Niro spectators, we all know about how hopeless and down right embarrassing parents are and will always be. Its not a club you join, you are born into it. De Niro at least has the satisfaction of being paid.
Then I read “Fathers should be neither seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life”, of course spilling from the full lips of Oscar Wilde. He should know all about that, his two children were taken away-for more or less than same reason that Elton was given two.