Open Forum Friday: What Happened to Robert DeNiro?


With Luc Besson’s The Family hitting theatres this weekend and the first trailer for Grudge Match hitting the web, it’s time to address a question that we’ve probably asked ourselves numerous times over the past decade and a half: what the hell happened to Robert DeNiro? The man was once known as perhaps the greatest living actor, giving us intense performances in films like Taxi Driver, The Godfather: Part II, and Raging Bull. In fact, if you look at his pre-2000 filmography, there are hardly any bad movies at all. But after the one-two punch of Analyze This and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, everything changed. He started doing a lot of comedies and quickly became a parody of himself.

To be fair, his performance in Silver Linings Playbook last year was noteworthy and even earned him an Oscar nomination. By and large, however, most of the movies he has been in lately are just plain bad. Many actors decline as they get older, but they don’t seem to drop off as steeply as this. Even people like Christopher Walken and Al Pacino, who have somewhat comparable careers, still occasionally do interesting work. So what happened? Did DeNiro just stop caring? Is he not being offered decent roles anymore or is he not versatile enough to adapt with his age? Did all of the comedies make it impossible to take him seriously anymore? What was the last great Robert DeNiro film anyway? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.

  • Ripplesdip

    Well a couple of years ago I remember him being interviewed (which is rare for him), and he went on and on about how he had ” Always been a comedian” and that people never realized this and that it was his preferred genre. I remember thinking that it all sounded just a bit apologist…or deluded. Sad, because there was a time I my life when a DeNiro picture was virtually guaranteed to be the highlight of the year.

  • Joe

    pretty simple really, acting stopped being a passion for him, and became a Job

  • Brittany Gresang

    He probably doesn’t even watch the movies he’s in. Making bad movies can still be a fun experience for him. Besides, he still gets the random silver lining in the scripts he says yes to.

  • reedpocalpyse

    hes from new york, he dont care about nuthin

  • ProCynic

    ProCynic here. Most people if offered Millions for a piss easy job would act in anything. Money is the driving force, anything else is for the same people who believe that any actor does it for the craft. They have the option on any project of taking minimum pay.

  • ProCynic

    Hello ProCynic here. Money. They always have the option in there contract to take minimum wage. But who would? He is an old man, and getting plenty to leave his family..prob a breaking bad fan. He’s just doing it legally.

  • Scott Gibbons

    He is doing Fine, and the 00s being his 5th and 6th decade making movies he’s in a far better position than most actors, he does crap sometimes, who Doesn’t ? Pacino certainly is, and De Niro’s comedies ? he did some good ones, Meet the parents(2000) is fantastic, plus quite a few dramatic works through this period that are Worthy, Everybody’s fine, Stone and the exellent Being Flynn from last year, he is fantastic and way overlooked.

  • DanLorien

    Don’t forget his excellent comedic performance in Midnight Run (1988). A fantastic action/comedy. If he had more scripts and directors as good as that, we’d understand his desire to do comedy.

  • Loren

    It would be nice to see him do a TV Series or something with great writing or do more directing.

  • T. Heilman

    He was fun in Machete, but Jackie Brown was the last masterpiece.

  • Mrespony

    DeNiro should do family oriented films from here on out. He needs to establish himself as a popular figure with young children. Then those young children will grow up and see him in his older films and have their minds blown.

  • Lophan

    fucking money, duh!

  • Antonio

    Al Pacino , the universe and generally all life deteriorates and withers away..

  • Lori Cerny

    I remember him being in a couple comedies from the 70s, before he became famous as a “dramatic” actor. He’s versatile and does everything. Today’s films seem worse, but I’m sure De Niro’s had his share of sucky films throughout his career.

  • the horse that loves donkeys

    he’s working, that’s what happened. i wish him the best

    – meaning, in his case, better writers, directors, just like the ones he used to work with. my point: not his fault.

    aww wha’happen ..eee.. morgan freedman, el pacino, hewey granti, cristopher walker.. donno, what?.. they looka fine theya make moneys uh


    i too feel he will make a great move by playing a big fat part in some kickass tv series.

  • james

    godfather, taxi driver, then that crap movie with eddy murphy ,how the mighty have fallen , nothing for a decade, with some “phoned in performances , we feel let down .