The other day, I read an article in the NY Times about the making of the film The Comedian, that stars Robert DeNiro, along with Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito and others, in a good cast. The film doesn't completely work. It’s not bad – some of it is quite well-done, particularly the scenes between DeNiro and Danny DeVito (who plays his brother), as well as with Patti Lupone as DeVito’s wife. And there are very good scenes with DeNiro and Edie Falco as his manager.
But this is not about the film, but the article. In fact, just one passage in the article. It's where the author Jason Zinoman writes, a bit disparagingly, "The history of movie stars playing stand-up comics is checkered, with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Hanks delivering some of their least memorable work in 'Lenny' and 'Punchline.'”
Now, of course, taste is subjective, especially comedy, but for my taste, while Hanks plays an unsympathetic character in Punchline, I thought he did a very good job, in a difficult, conflicting role. And he handled the stand-up comedy part very well. But Punchline aside, the larger point here is about describing Lenny as providing some of Hoffman's "least memorable work."
For the record -- Dustin Hoffman was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor for Lenny. And the movie received an Oscar nomination as Best Picture.
Personal taste aside, this is ignoring a fact in order to cram an opinion to try and prove a point.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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