VB's Column: No country for old men

TB12′s all alone out there, and he’s been looking an awful lot like DeNiro or Pacino of late. Once upon a time that analogy would have made Tom Brady smile. Now it’s just getting old.

Now starting at quarterback for your New England Patriots: “The Irishman.”

I know, it feels like a cheap shot to even type that sentence. But I saw Martin Scorsese’s ridiculously long new movie on Netflix, and I saw the Pats get smoked by the Texans this past Sunday. And unless my eyes are deceiving me, “Houston, we have a problem.”

I liked “The Irishman.” It was a good movie, and it was indeed great to see the band back together for one last go around. But as the movie wore on, I couldn’t help but notice that Robert DeNiro is no longer Robert De Niro. That’s not to say he was awful. He just wasn’t “Taxi Driver” or “Raging Bull” Robert DeNiro. For example, there’s a scene where the G.O.A.T. actor of our time decides to teach the local grocer a lesson. The problem is, Scorsese didn’t use a stunt double for the scene, and it is clear that an aging DeNiro’s no longer capable of kicking someone’s butt. (He’s almost not capable of kicking, period.) Oh, what a “The Untouchables” DeNiro would have done to that grocer.

Then there’s Pacino. I’ve never been the biggest Pacino fan, but I’ve got a brother who’d tell you that Pacino, not DeNiro, is the best actor of our lifetime. Maybe, but there was little evidence of that in “The Irishman.” There was an odd accent Pacino attempted early in the movie that faded quickly (thankfully), and Pacino then resorted to delivering many of his lines in his usual near-shouting manner (think “Scent of a Woman”). The movie would have you believe that Jimmy Hoffa was an ice cream addict, but there are two scenes where Pacino tries desperately to not eat a sundae in front of him that he’s telling us he loves. Oh, what a “Scarface” Al Pacino would have done to those sundaes!

DeNiro and Pacino weren’t bad. They’ve just gotten older and are no longer capable of transcendence in their profession. Which brings me to Tom Brady. It’s not that he was bad against Houston (or Dallas, or Philly, or Baltimore...). It’s just that he hasn’t been, well, Tom Brady. And, unlike “The Irishman,” the Patriots aren’t going to get the band back together. Josh Gordon’s gone, Gronk’s done, and Kraft isn’t bringing AB back. TB12′s all alone out there, and he’s been looking an awful lot like DeNiro or Pacino of late. Once upon a time that analogy would have made Tom Brady smile. Now it’s just getting old.

-VB

VB in the Middle

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