Speaking of Brando

The godfather of all imitated actors wil live on in bad mimics everywhere

For the Record

July 04, 2004|By Doug Donovan | Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF

As word of actor Marlon Brando's death spread across the nation Friday, so, undoubtedly, did endless imitations of his three classic film characters - Vito Corleone, Terry Malloy and Stanley Kowalski.

Was there any workplace spared at least one employee paying tribute to Brando with fourth-rate renditions from his three classic films: "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse" (Corleone in The Godfather); "I coulda been a contendah" (Malloy in On the Waterfront); and "Stella!" (Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire)?

Brando must be one of the top five most-imitated actors, along with two of his Godfather colleagues, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Add Jack Nicholson and Arnold Schwarzenegger to the mix and you have the standard lineup for amateur impersonators everywhere.

Movie buffs can't resist imitating their favorite actors and their most memorable lines - words that have escaped the confines of a simple film scene to serve forever as ready responses for everyday office situations.

Getting trouble from a co-worker? Scare them - and everyone else - away by repeatedly delivering DeNiro's Taxi Driver line: "You talkin' to me?"

A customer denies insulting you? Try a variation of DeNiro's line from Goodfellas: "Nah, nah, nah, you insulted [me] a little bit."

Bemoaning the glory days of your career? Recite the rest of Brando's famous scene from On the Waterfront: "I could've had class. I could've been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, Charley, let's face it." Finish a work project only to have your boss throw it back on your desk? Pacino's the best bet: "Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in" (Godfather III).

An assignment has you confused? Give a Pacino Scent of a Woman shout: "I'm in the dark here!" When you get it right, add his famous, "Hoo-ah!" from the same film.

Your boss's boss wants to know what really happened with that thing with the thing? Jack's got your back: "You can't handle the truth" (A Few Good Men). Then mend that outburst with a form of Jack's heart-wrenching line from As Good as It Gets: "You make me want to be a better employee."

Taking off this Fourth of July week? Schwarzenegger provides two easy lines from The Terminator movies: "Hasta la vista, baby," and "I'll be back."

For a bit more sincerity and to provide the most appropriate tribute to Brando's passing, though, you're better off departing with a line from Brando's 1957 film, Sayonara: "Tell 'em we said sayonara."

Same to you, Marlon.

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