Pacino packs a subtle punch in ‘Danny Collins’



Sometimes our great actors can seem to be merely playing themselves. My, that can become tiring.

Jack Nicholson as Jack Nicholson, anyone? Arch that eyebrow. Unleash that expression of disgust.

Sorry, Jack.

Al Pacino has done that to me at times.

Not in “Danny Collins.” He’s not a cop or a crime figure or anywhere in between.

Al plays a singer who’s beloved for his old songs. But he’s tired of singing them.

This role has made Pacino appear fresh and eager for whatever the story brings.

You can read my Film Review of “Danny Collins” on the Syracuse New Times site by clicking the link below.

Pacino works very well with all of the cast, but there are many special moments with Annette Bening, who looks different than I’ve seen her of late, too.

Now for this week’s set of Movie Questions:

Which actors do you think have ended up playing themselves every time on screen, no matter the role? Do you think it’s the actors’ fault or the writers, directors and Hollywood machine for producing familiar roles to best bank on their stardom? Which actors do you like best for being completely different every time out, and why?

26 thoughts on “Pacino packs a subtle punch in ‘Danny Collins’

  1. Some great movie questions at the end of this post, Mark. Jack and Al are regularly playing themselves, but I haven’t seen Danny Collins yet. However, I want to check it out. Melissa McCarthy has played herself to some degree almost every time, as that sense of humor is hard to hide. I was happily surprised by her role in St. Vincent.


  2. I can’t even think any more Mark. It’s been a long afternoon preparing for tomorrow’s power blackout–again, but I think John Wayne ended up playing himself more often than not, Kevin Costner has always played himself, with very few exceptions, even some of the greatest actors played themselves, mainly because they really can’t act. They are cast for their looks and audience appeal, the noise in the background cancels out the dialog, CGI takes care of any mistakes made, and all they really have to do is show up for photo ops. As long as the guys fit the suit and the girls look good in the dress or bikini, they have it made. Talent? Who needs it?


      • Ummm, I haven’t seen many of his later ones bro Mark, but he seems like he plays himself in every movie I’ve seen him in. I love him, don’t get me wrong, but he acts like a cardboard cutout of himself stuck in different costumes.


      • Okay, bro, I will, if I know when they will be on. The cable co. is putting new lines in this month, so maybe soon we will get more channels. If we could just get the TV guide channel again it would help, but for our present $10 month I guess we are lucky to get the 4 channels we have.


  3. I love in “Love Actually” Bill Nighy who plays a tired, old rock star. I think it just went past its tenth anniversary. The idea of Pacino being Danny Collins excites me, yes, Mark, I wish to see this one! I think (horrors) that Liam Neeson seems to walk through parts, now joining Bruce Willis, Jack Nicholson and a few others have been making money with little change in their acting skills. I actually liked a movie with Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, called, “And So It Goes,” which I had to wait WEEKS on the library waitlist. I liked this one very much. But Michael Douglas started the film as a cranky, bigoted character who seemed to be ‘copying’ a much finer actor, Clint Eastwood, in “Gran Torino.” Great post and so glad you liked this one!
    I admired your review awhile back of :”St. Vincent,” where you may have mentioned how Bill Murray really does act in his movies.


    • You mentioned a few mail-it-in performers, Robin, that you did. I’ll have to check out ‘And So It Goes,’ on your recommendation. Yes, Clint Eastwood did a great job in ‘Gran Torino,’ I think, of being at least a little different than some of his characters. Although his health-failing baseball scout in ‘Trouble with the Curve’ had some of the same traits a few years later, in my view. And you have a good memory about what I wrote about Bill Murray and his good work in ‘St. Vincent,’ too. Thanks for adding so much here today, my astute movie-viewing friend.


  4. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one. Glad you enjoyed it. Your questions are pretty thought provoking. I guess most actors and actresses get type cast to a certain extent. It’s just the extent to how much they are unable to ‘break out of that box.’


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