The Dennis Farina Syndrome©

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I realize I often reference this in my work, but I may not have properly explained.  Once again, this is my claiming obvious shit and trying to pass it off as unique and introspective.  That’s my gig, bubba.

There is a group of actors who play ‘to type’.  This means, they have a niche, and they are stuck in it.  Think Jason Statham here.  Have you seen a Jason Statham film?  If so, then you have literally seen ALL the Statham films.  He plays a total bad ass, likeable criminal with exceptional driving skills.  You will be alarmed to know how many films this guy has with this character.  38 movies.  He has 38 movies playing this exact same character.

Here is the weird thing, though.  I love his work, and I love his character.  I have seen at least 10 of those movies.  I can’t say for sure, because every single one is truly exactly the same as the other.  There are others, too.  Most notably, Dennis Farina.  Dennis plays the exact same character every time.  He doesn’t bother to act, but he doesn’t need to.  I imagine he doesn’t even have to audition.  When a script needs a 50-ish bad ass organized crime mobbish salt and pepper tough guy… you hire Farina.

Al Pacino was famous for this, too.  Al did about 30 years of forgettable films playing the same shit.  He still can act, though.  See his work in the Kevorkian movie?*** he still has it!  Here is another example, Denzel Washington.  He is very well regarded, and even received an Oscar for playing Denzel.  Denzel Washington is over rated.  Really over rated.  Hell, he might be a great actor, but there is no way to tell.  He just plays the same guy in every movie.

Comedy has them, too.  Think of Vince Vaughn.  He had a pretty good ten year run playing one character.  Even though Statham is the poster boy for this movement, he is young enough to actually open to other roles.  Who else?  Man, there are tons.  For some reason, the Italian stereotypes thrive on the Farina Syndrome®.  How about Joe Pesci?  Frank Vincent

So, it remains the Dennis Farina Syndrome®

*** seriously, this is amazing.  Pacino actually stepped out and did something completely different.  Just look at this transformation.  It’s the real Kevorkian on the left, and Pacino on the right.

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3 thoughts on “The Dennis Farina Syndrome©

  1. Not sure what the reason for this jeremiad was – colick? Gout attack? But to slag Dennis Farina for playing himself, belies true ignorance. To wit: Bette Davis, Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood, Katherine Hepburn, Bing Crosby, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Ann-Margaret, Jack Nicholsen..should I continue to enlighten you? Did any of the previous actors (which include 6 Oscar winners) ever play anyone but “themselves”? Wise up.

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