The Pacino Code: In Search of an Al-gorithm
05.15.14 by Mandy
Al Pacino is an acting legend who has starred in some truly great movies... but he's also been in some less-than-spectacular flicks. So how can you know ahead of time whether an Al Pacino movie will be Classic Cinema or just a Pacino Paycheck? We’re working on a formula that will allow us to plug in some numbers and arrive at a conclusion, and here’s what we have so far.
Looking at the variables in this equation, it seems like Heat could have been a miss. It might not have been a sure thing, but it's definitely one of the best cat-and-mouse cop movies to hit theaters. It's Certified Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes and is a classic '90s crime drama.
Jack and Jill
At a glance, we'd assume an Al Pacino working with a comedian and a director who together regularly spin box office gold would result in something pretty terrific. Instead it results in Jack and Jill. It has a lowly 3% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it didn't even make back its production budget at the domestic box office. Not a classic by anyone's standards.
The numbers show all the earmarks of a great movie, and indeed The Godfather is nearly the definition of a classic. It has a great script full of quotable lines, an all-star cast, and a legacy that's still going strong over forty years after the movie's release.
If someone were to say "Hey, wanna watch a movie with a star-studded cast that includes Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Ben Affleck," we would definitely be interested. If that person were to then say "oh, and the guy that made Scent of a Woman directed it," we'd be sold. Who would ever guess that a movie that was made up of such great components would turn out to be Gigli?
When he made Scarface, director Brian DePalma was best known for his work in the horror/thriller genres with movies like Carrie and Blow Out. There was no telling that he was about to make a movie that would be a pop-culture touchstone for decades to come. To this day Scarface posters decorate the walls of dorm rooms and frat houses everywhere, and it is no doubt a classic.
Truth be told, we’re still stumped. It seems like no matter what the numbers suggest, there's no telling what you're going to get with an Al Pacino flick. Nonetheless, we're optimistic about Son of No One, a Pacino movie that is directed by an acclaimed filmmaker (Dito Montiel) and co-stars one Sexiest Man Alive (Channing Tatum) and one American Sweetheart (Katie Holmes). So will this one be a Pacino Classic? Find out when Son of No One airs on REELZ Saturday at 8p ET/ 5p PT.
Images courtesy Anchor Bay Films, Warner Bros, Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Universal Pictures.