Al Pacino has been a pretty good actor for longer than most people reading and writing this have been alive. And when you've mastered a craft as he has, you eventually have to find new ways to challenge yourself or you risk growing bored. This explains why a lot of the movies Al Pacino has been in the past 15 or 20 years haven't lived up to his skill. That's because, according to Pacino himself, sometimes he takes roles in movies he knows are going to suck just to see if he's good enough to elevate it from utter garbage to maybe just okay. (He said, "I'm starting to want to do films that aren't really very good and try to make them better. And that's become my challenge.")
That's a hell of a challenge to undertake, so I decided to crunch the numbers to see if he succeeded in his goal. What's fascinating is you can actually see the point where he stopped caring about being in good movies.
From the start of his film career in the early '70s to about the mid-90s, damn near everything he was in was rated either Fresh or Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. But right here, right now, I am retroactively claiming that the '90s was the decade of Al Pacino. It started with Dick Tracy, then Godfather, Part Three, which were both rated as above average films that one can argue were elevated by Pacino's presence. But then, between 1992 and 1995, he went on an insane hot streak: Glengarry Glen Ross, Scent Of A Woman, Carlito's Way, and Heat -- all essentially released one after another, all scoring an 86 or better.
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The average score of the movies released between 1998 and 2008 years is 59.75% -- that's a solid F in the eyes of the American educational grading system. The average score of the 20 films Pacino has starred in between 2009 and 2019 is an even worse 59.1%. There are some excellent films with incredible performances mixed in, but the hot streaks become fewer and far between, and there are less overall critically acclaimed movies.
From all of this, we can deduce that if Al Pacino's presence is indeed elevating all of these bad movies to the point where he's still averaging an F, he deserves a confusing medal for having single-handedly making us to know that these cinematic disasters even exist.Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com. And listen for his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast
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