With Al Pacino opening this weekend in one of the worst movies of his career — it’s a serial killer thriller called 88 Minutes and it seems 88 hours longer — the time is ripe to honor Pacino the ranter. In 88 Minutes, he screams, shouts and spits directly in the killer’s face, but it’s too little and too late. The movie sucks. Pacino rants best when the movie deserves his anger. In an addictive new book of movie lists, 10 Bad Dates with De Niro, editor Richard T. Kelly includes a provoking critical essay by Tim Robey entitled: The Mighty Apoplexies of Pacino — Ten Scenes Where ‘Shouty Al’ Shows Up. Robey gives pride of place to The Devil’s Advocate, in which demon Al, in a slice of Parma-grade Pacino ham, rants about his Almighty enemy:
“He’s laughing his sick, fucking ass off. He’s a tight-ass! He’s a sadist! He’s an Absentee landlord! Worship that? Never!” Pretty good, I admit.
My favorite Shouty Al — I never went with all the Scent of a Woman hoo-ha! — comes from 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross, James Foley’s terrific film version of David Mamet’s liveliest play. It’s the way Pacino decimates Kevin Spacey, playing Williamson the office manager of a shady real estate firm. As Robey writes, “Spacey has never before or since been so entirely dealt with, dismantled.” Give a listen to Shouty Al as he takes the piss out of Spacey:
“You never open your mouth until you know what the shot is. You fucking child. Who ever told you that you could work with men? Where did you learn your trade, you stupid fucking cunt, you idiot? Oh, I’m gonna have your job, shithead. You know your business, I know mine. Your business is being an asshole.”
Primo stuff especially the way he hisses “you fucking child.” And there’s much more: Dog Day Afternoon gave us “Attica! Attica!” The Godfather IIi provides, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” And say hello to my leetle friend Scarface, where Shouty Al condemns the Diaz brothers: “Fuck ’em all. I bury those cock-a-roaches.” But I’m sticking with Glengarry Glen Ross as No. 1 Shouty Al. That’s my choice. What’s yours?