Marlon Brando -- Fat, overrated, unaccomplished, and dead.

I found this article on I would link to it, but since it’s a weekly article (and likely to change soon) I didn’t want it to suddenly come down.

I neither agree nor disagree with anything the author said. I simply found it interesting, and wanted to share with my fellow Dopers.


Article here

So what do you think? Have we canonized Brando for what he was, or what we wish he’d been?
(Please just supply a link. Do not copy out the entire article. Copyright laws, y’know. – Ukulele Ike, CS mod)

“Fat, overrated, unaccomplished, and dead is no way to go through life, son.”

  • Dean Wormer

Everyone gets overrated in the days after his death. De mortuis nil nisi bonum is the ruling principle.

More evenly, Brando’s work in the 50s was brilliant and his comeback in The Godfather quite worthy of the Oscar he won. He was also excellent in Last Tango in Paris.

Even his later work was quite good. The Freshman and Don Juan DeMarco were excellent roles.

He was in his share of clunkers, too, and often tended to be a bit bizarre (see The Missouri Breaks) and self-indulgent. But all actors appear in bad movies, and Brando’s good roles predominate over the bad ones.

He also had little interest in the Hollywood bull and deliberately worked to put off people.

When Josh Jabcuga is 80, it will be interesting to see how many people still talk about his body of work, his moments of genius that will be remembered forever, and his legend. It can’t be denied that Brando spent most of the last 25 years slumming and playing Brando, but that doesn’t detract in the least from the fact that when he was great he was damned near untouchable. Had Paul McCartney & John Lennon never picked up their guitars again after Abby Road they’d have still ranked among the greatest artists who ever cast a shadow and the same is true of Brando post Godfather, Waterfront or Streetcar. To paraphrase Akiva, when grass is growing through Jabcuga’s eye sockets and all who ever knew him are but memories, I guarantee you the name Brando will still be known ala Elvis, Valentino, Bernhardt, Rembrandt and other mortals made demigods by their art.

The tributes I’ve read seem to fall into two camps:

(A) Though it’s a shame that his lifestyle and priorities didn’t create a body of work that was worthy of his talent, let’s celebrate his achievements and concentrate on his lasting importance.

(B) Yeah, sure, he was great and all that, but what a waste! What a joke he became! The poor choices that he made! Let’s dredge up all that and remind everyone of them again!

I’d say the article falls in Column B. “I don’t want to discredit anything MARLON BRANDO has done” :rolleyes: Yeah, but you’re willing to snark endlessly about it anyway. The Column B types all seem to have a weird sense of entitlement running as a thread through them, as though Brando owed them more. Pretty petty and pissy for a guy who was, in his own way, a genius (though a genuinely troubled one). I guess the Poop Shoot is where this “tribute” belongs (though, for a more balanced take, check out Jeff Wells’ comments).

Thanks for the other link. I agree most with Jeff Wells’ comment here:

Too true.

Also check out this lengthy thread, wherein people debate Marlon Brando’s talents as compared with his contemporaries.

“MARLON BRANDO, you could have been a contender.”
Contender to what exactly? I dunno, the article seems to send half the time complaining the media is deifiy him, and the other half complaining he failed to be a god.
Well he wasn’t. I have to think that what ever weird demons made him a fat recluse, they wern’t that different than the weird ones who drove him to those great performances. They both grew out of being Marlon Brando, whoever that was.

Jesus, he only redefined film acting (yes, for his time, not for all time, I guess that makes it not worth mentioning ) and created a dozen or so unforgetable performances…and then he went on his own weird way. What more was he supossed to do?

Da Vinci’s heliocoper didn’t really fly. Einstein never came to grips with quantum theory. Gee, I guess everybody’s a failure :rolleyes: .

Well said. In support, may I add a favourite quotation from R. W. Emerson: “To take apart is the art of those who cannot construct”.

Egg yoke?

[url=“”]Ebert’s[/rl] take on it.