Are you ready for Thanksgiving? And for the uniquely American bonfire of commerce otherwise known as Black Friday? It’s going to be a doozy of a shopping day. Plus – here’s to JR Martinez for taking home that Dancing With The Stars mirror ball. It’s nice to catch a show where the guy who should win, does win. Rather like the PCA’s, I might add. Speaking of which, let’s return to this year’s icon-ography.
We have Favorite Movie Icon nominees…those uber-cool dudes who star in (and direct, and write, and produce) movies that we love and who have been doing this for literally decades. Pretty incredible group so far…George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman…and today?
The coolest, most intensely charismatic tough guy around: Robert DeNiro.
Now I say “tough guy” because of the whole Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Godfather(s) and Raging Bull stuff, but in reality Robert DeNiro is also funny, charming, and just plain powerful on screen, regardless of the subject matter. What’s your first memory of Robert DeNiro? For me, it was the baseball film Bang The Drum Slowly, arguably one of the greatest sports movies of all time. Within 5 years DeNiro would go on to make Taxi Driver and The Deer Hunter, at which point the America’s greatest living actor talk really got going. The 2 Oscars and 6 Oscar nominations haven’t hurt him in that regard either.
But seriously – here’s a guy known for his genius playing mob types and yet, he’s fantastic in the Meet The Parents movies and I also happened to love Everybody’s Fine (even if critics didn’t). Plus the love stories – who saw New York, New York (with Liza Minnelli) and Falling In Love (with Meryl Streep)? I think if you take a moment and watch these smaller, quieter movies one gains an even greater appreciation for this guy. There’s not too much DeNiro can’t do. Notoriously private, what we do know about him is that he’s about as devoted a New Yorker as anybody, and after 9/11 he was one of Manhattan’s most emphatic spokesmen – encouraging people to visit and rejuvenate his hometown. He started the Tribeca Film Festival (which brings a tremendous amount of income to the city) and owns several restaurants. By the way, did you know that the ubiquitous national anthem of New York City “New York, New York” actually came from that 1977 movie? Liza Minnelli put that tune on the map and then of course Sinatra worked a little magic with it too.
DeNiro remains humble and publicity shy, preferring to let the body of work speak for itself. Which it has indeed. Is Robert DeNiro your Favorite Movie Icon? If so, don’t forget to vote and let your voice be heard. You’ll know all on January 11th, 2012. We’ll be back with more PCA nominees next week, in the meantime please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Cheers!
1) Raging Bull
2) Taxi Driver
3) Godfather (Parts 1 & 2)
4) Meet The Parents