Seventh installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.
Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.
Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.
As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.
When you talk about versatility, very few actors sprang to mind other than Al Pacino. He can be a mobster, a blind man, a Latin drug-dealer, a bank robber or the devil himself, all with the same convincing performance.
Alfredo James Pacino was born in New York, April, 25, 1940. Over the course of his stellar career he portrayed some of the most unforgettable characters of all time: Tony Montana (“Scarface), Michael Corleone (“The Godfather”), Carlito Brigante (“Carlito’s Way”), Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (“Scent of a Woman”) and of course, the Devil (“The Devil’s Advocate”).
Who can forget Pacino’s behind a mountain of coke, shooting everything and everybody at the end of “Scarface”, along with the immortal line: “Say hello to my little friend!” It was a performance for the ages!
But the performance that earned him an Oscar was as the blind colonel on “Scent of a Woman”. Probably nobody ever portrayed a blind man so well. At some moments you even forget it’s a guy who is actually seeing everything that’s in front of him.
One of the greatest assets of a great actor is to know how to choose a good role to perform. And when I say good role, I don’t mean only characters, but also great texts. And Al Pacino is brilliant at that. It’s really hard to find a bad movie starring Al Pacino. Maybe “Donnie Brasco”, but even then to call it a bad movie is stretching a little.
Lines like “I’ve been called by many names” (“The Devil’s Advocate”) or the whole speech at the end of “Scent of a Woman” are obviously the screenwriter’s merit, but no other actor could deliver them the way Al Pacino did. And how about that scene at a diner with Robert De Niro in “Heat”? That’s the epitome of two masters at their craft.
Welcome to the Hall, Al. Say hello to your little friends.
Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.
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