Michael Mann's Heat came out in 1995 and cinephiles everywhere were fired up to see Robert De Niro and Al Pacino face to face in the same movie. Righteous Kill (2008) brought them together again but was a huge disappointment and there wasn't the same buzz leading up to its release, with Devin Gordon for Newsweek writing: Once upon a time, the prospect of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino on screen together, mano a mano, would've provoked a wildly different reaction than the one I have whenever I see posters for their new cop flick." Both actors appeared in The Godfather Part II (1974) but never in the same scene, or era even. About two years ago, when I heard Scorsese was going to make The Irishman, I felt some of that same mid-nineties excitement for Heat. Not just Pacino and De Niro, but Scorsese at the helm, with Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel too? This hadn't seemed possible for a whole half-century. Then the other day I finally got to see it.
Did The Irishman live up to my expectations. Doesn't matter. After all's said and done, I see it as a monumental event rather than just another movie. My only regret is that I didn't go watch it on the big screen.