In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb galveston poster

Galveston

A cliched but sensitively observed crime drama about a gangster's thug and a call girl who go on the run.

Thumb halloween poster

Halloween

Do you know the biggest sin of the new Halloween? It’s just not scary. And that’s one thing you could never say about the original.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Primary screen shot 2013 12 27 at 10.28.52 pm

My Marlon Brando obsession

I'm obsessed with Marlon Brando

I don't know if it's because of his genius or because he's just fun to think about and imitate, but the late actor is part of my life and probably always will be. 

I've been scrutinizing his career and his life for a few decades now—since high school, when I saw "One-Eyed Jacks," "On the Waterfront" and "Apocalypse Now" within the space of a week—and I've been doing a Brando impression for almost as long. I'm not going to claim it's good, because it really isn't. Most of the time when I do Brando I sound more like Popeye the Sailor Man than Brando. The things that my Brando talks about bear almost no relation to Brando in real life—even the self-parodying (or parody-of-himself) elderly Brando who alternately delighted and baffled CNN's Larry King. My Brando is less Brando than "Brando." 

Advertisement

I picture my Brando as somehow merging with Brando's Col. Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now." He didn't die, he's still alive, and he rules over his tropical island like a cult leader, issuing nonsensical orders to an army of "native boys" and perhaps communicating with random people via shortwave radio.

I find that the imitation is aided tremendously by jutting out your jaw and distorting your mouth as if there are lemon rinds between your cheeks and gums. If you can do the impression by candlelight, or while sitting beneath a single, very harsh overhead lighting source, that helps, too. 

When I worked at the Star-Ledger in the 1990s and 00s, I used to prevent my friend Alan Sepinwall from getting work done by going over to his cubicle and imitating Brando. I'd just say whatever popped into my head. "Alan, I'm thinking of getting my buttocks pierced without anesthesia, just for kicks, what do you think of that?" or "I wonder if it's possible to stuff a duck inside of a turkey inside of a pig inside of a cow and somehow roast all of them" or "The architects specifically assured me that my vacation home was being built atop an extinct volcano. Extinct, Alan. Extinct." 

Alan came over to my apartment for my birthday this week with his wife and children. At one point he asked, "Marlon, how does it feel to turn 45?" This was the result.


A few years back I did a more elaborate Brando video on YouTube. Roger was a fan. At one point he asked me if I would consider doing a podcast as Brando. I told him it seemed like too much of a time commitment, but the truth is, if I'd started a Brando podcast I might have fallen into a Brando rabbit hole and never climbed out. 

Here's a slightly more elaborate Brando video that I did back in 2010.


   

And now that I have outed myself as a complete weirdo, I'll be on my merry way.

Advertisement

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Netflix’s Terrifying, Moving The Haunting of Hill House is Essential Viewing

A review of Mike Flanagan's new horror series based on the Shirley Jackson novel, The Haunting of Hill House.

Danson's Racist 'Humor' Appalls Crowd at Roast

NEW YORK It's a tradition of the celebrity roasts at the Friar's Club that everything goes - that no joke is in such ...

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" Gets the Deluxe Treatment from Criterion

An epic essay on an epic comedy of the 1960s, now given deluxe treatment on Blu-ray and DVD by Criterion.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus