Friday, March 23, 2012

Robert DeNiro's Waning

I've never been a huge fan of Robert DeNiro.  I don't tend to see a lot of his movies, and I think his whole image of "I'm the greatest actor in the world" is sort of off-putting.  And I don't think he ever said that he is the greatest actor, although I've little doubt that he feels that way.

I did enjoy the song that Bananarama did in his honor, though.

I'm not sure just what it takes to be the greatest actor in the world.  I guess it has something to do with making the audience suspend their knowledge of who the person on the stage (or the screen, large or small) really is.  For instance, the Meryl Streep that we see on talk shows, self-effacing and modest, is far from the person we see portraying Yolanda Johnson in the "A Prairie Home Companion" movie, and that persona is not easily confused with her characterization of Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady."  But in every Robert DeNiro movie, you always expect him to say, "You talkin' to me?"  Judging from the clips I've seen.

Another thing I don't care for about him is his supercilious attitude toward things he regards as being beneath him, such as appearing on Letterman to beat the drum for a movie in which he acts. Clearly he regards the medium of television to be beneath him. Case in point: in 2010, when "Little Fockers" was coming out, he and co-star Dustin Hoffman showed up on "Late Night" late one night and DeNiro made an absolute patootie of himself.  He dripped with disdain, like syrup off a short stack at IHOP. He slouched on Dave's sofa, acted like he was forced at gunpoint to be there, and mumbled stupid answers.  Hoffman tried to act like a professional but, being in awe of DeNiro's superiority in all things show-biz, sat and giggled at his buddy's ignorance.

Well then.  All this scorn I feel for DeNiro came a bubblin' up this week because he acted like a patootie again at an appearance before our first lady, when he said, "Do you think America is ready for a white first lady?"

Bob.  Bobby. Robert.  Whatever it is that you like to be called...for your information, the rest of us are trying to move past that form of identification.  It's 2012 now and we don't refer to people as "that black third baseman" or "that white guy who works at Safeway" or "that black president."  In fact, it's a little odd to say, but when my right-leaning friends refer to the president as a "radical Muslim socialist fascist neo-Nazi who wants to turn this country into another failed Euro-style autocracy," even though they are wrong six ways from Sunday, at least they aren't making it about his race.

Learn from them, Robert, Robbie, Mr D, whatever.

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