In case you haven’t heard about Danny Collins, it’s a new Al Pacino movie where he plays an aging Rod Stewart like rock star who sold out when he hit it big in the 1970’s. Now he’s playing packed stadiums to elderly fans but he’s dissatisfied as he has lost touch with himself. Then comes a delayed thirty year old letter from John Lennon, encouraging him to stay true to himself and contact him to collaborate. As you can guess, this makes him reevaluate everything around him.
Though it’s certainly not Al Pacino’s best movie, it might just be his best in years. Unfortunately, it’s a low key comedy-drama geared towards adults that is having trouble finding a place to be seen. Al Pacino shines in this charismatic and actually quite hilarious role, so I urge you not to miss it.
As of now, were in a stage of Al’s career where we know him for TV movie bio-pics, cheaply made thrillers, and a strange cameo in Adam Sandler’s worst movie. Kids today know him as that kind of actor, not Scarface, Michael Corleone, or Serpico. Everyone else knows him by those earlier roles. But he’s had a vast career that’s created a lot of different types of work in many genres. Some didn’t fare to well at the box office, or time just let it fade away. I urge you to see Danny Collins if you get the chance, but if you’re a Pacino fan looking for more work by the king of acting, check out these underrated gems.
- Scarecrow (1973)
Pacino was between the first two Godfather movies at this point in his career. He was young, electric, and a force to be reckoned with. Here he is paired with screen legend Gene Hackman as a drifter looking for money and meaning. It’s one of the most loosely structured films I’ve ever seen, with a strange riotous turning point that comes out of nowhere. Still, it earned the coveted Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and should not be missed if you’re a young Pacino fan.
- Author! Author (1982)
Right before he became our favorite Cuban gangster Tony Montana, he took a career turn as a struggling playwright, husband, and Father in a light romantic comedy. He shines with charisma here as he actually smiles, laughs, and jokes around. If you like comedic family dramas or Neil Simon type comedies, this Pacino film is a gift to you!
- Sea of Love (1989)
Sexy thrillers about struggling detectives and haunting murder cases have become all too formulaic these days. Here’s one where the grumbly Al we know comes out and we get enthralled by his intensity and dedication to solving a case. It’s a real 80’s detective picture that sizzles with sexuality and has Al in a role I personally think kick started the second phase of his career.
- Dick Tracy (1990)
If you haven’t seen Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy adaptation, stop what you’re doing at watch it! Super hero movies today ain’t got nothing on this colorful and stylish kids caper film. The comic book character really comes alive here, but is Pacino who shines as the comedic over the top super villain that’s barely recognizable behind layers of make-up. Little known fact, this one earned him an Oscar nomination, a rare honor for a comedic Dr. Evil type role. For some reason, it just hasn’t aged well.
- Frankie and Johnny (1991)
Did you enjoy those romantic comedies at the last 80’s and early 90’s like Moonstruck, Ghost, and Sleepless in Seattle? It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone; besides, I do too. Well, Al Pacino was in one called Frankie and Johnny about two diner workers who fall in love. Best part is, it’s Scarface costar Michelle Pfeiffer who steals his heart. Another fun, charming, and sweet side of Pacino we rarely get to see.
- The Insider (1999)
As far as dramas go, this one takes the cake as a severely underrated nineties movie. The Insider tells the story of a famous whistleblower for Big Tobacco and the interview on 60 Minutes that exposed it all. Russell Crowe and the film itself did earn a few Oscar nominations, but it’s Pacino as the stressed and intense manager Lowell Bergman who makes the film amazingly shocking to watch.
- Stand Up Guys (2012)
A recent Pacino flick, this one pares him with Christopher Walken and Alan Alda as a group of gangsters who have one last night of fun. Nowhere near as interesting as his previous gangster flicks like Donnie Brasco, the cast alone here should make you want to see it. It again shows Pacino’s flare for comedy while staying grounded in drama and even poking a bit of fun at himself.