In terms of pure enthusiasm, there are few actors who can top Al Pacino. Early on in his career, he channeled more nervous energy than anything else, winning fans with his performances in Scarecrow and Serpico. Later on, he became Mr. Enthusiasm, a style Pacino really brought to the fore in Scent of a Woman. At this point, it's tough to argue that the frenetic Pacino isn't the persona favored by most fans. Here are five HD movies playing on Illinois satellite TV that showcase this side of Al.
1. Glengarry Glen Ross. Just thinking of Al's reaming of office dweeb Kevin Spacey is enough to get fans chuckling. David Mamet supplied some extraordinarily cruel lines and Pacino relishes every one. Of course, his deflection of the overbearing cop is equally funny. "Yes. I confess. I did it. Now can you excuse me a moment, please?" Keep an eye on IFC and HBO schedules to see this modern classic showing in high definition.
2. The Godfather, Part III. Some of the stars of the original Godfather saga did not sign on to play the third installment. Pacino certainly did, a move supported by most of his adoring fans. The basic conflict can be broken down to Pacino's great line: "Every time I try to get out, they keep pulling me back in!" It made a few great Saturday Night Live sketches years ago, and it makes for great viewing right now on Illinois satellite TV.
3. Scent of a Woman. There is something about Pacino humiliating people which gets fans roused up. As in Glengarry, it's obvious how flawed his character is in Scent of a Woman, but it doesn't matter. When he finally gets to the private school and defends his nephew after their weekend in New York, it has the feeling of a stadium audience at a rock concert. Pacino is definitely the rock star in this picture. The Academy finally got tired of the complaints being lodged on his behalf and gave him the Oscar. "Hoo-ah!"
4. Heat. The famous pairing of De Niro and Pacino delivered on so many counts. Just a summary glance at their respective roles will tell you that Michael Mann knew the score. De Niro is measured and professional; Pacino is reckless and flamboyant. The careful one is the criminal; the wild one is the cop. One of the poorest overall elements of the film – the Pacino love interest – redeems itself with a classic Al moment. Angered that his wife's boyfriend is watching his TV set, Al takes matters into his own hands.
5. Dog Day Afternoon. This movie flies somewhat under the radar in Pacino's oeuvre, but it is one of his most explosive. "Attica!" he screams at a lineup of cops after his robbery plans go awry. "This cop wants to kill me so bad he can taste it." Pacino is again the rock star, this time in the streets of New York, playing to a tabloid audience. Check out this classic on TCM, uncut and in HD.