10) "Midnight Run"
There had been a strong comedic component to many of the mooks De Niro had
portrayed early in his career. Even the terrifyingly self-destructive Jake
LaMotta of 1980's "Raging Bull" could be funny, what with his malapropism
("It defeats its own purpose!") and Lou Costello-derived Italian-American
schtick ("Whad I gotta do?"). But this 1988 odd-couple buddy movie, in which De
Niro plays an irascible bounty hunter (badass Oscar Madison) collaring a sniffy,
neurotic mob accountant (Charles Grodin, criminality's answer to Felix Unger),
was his first full-blown comedy since achieving fame and an Oscar and a
reputation as "THE Robert De Niro,"
not-to-be-messed-with Method man. The four words De Niro pronounces on
announcing to Grodin that he has two words for him are, of course, classic, but
more impressive in a way is how De Niro can make "fistophobia" sound like it's
maybe an actual condition.
Bing: More on 'Midnight