Monday, June 4, 2012

CORNBREAD. AIN'T NOTHIN' WRONG WITH THAT:  Robert De Niro, to the Bates College Class of 2012:
I think this is the most important piece of advice you will hear today: Become a movie star [laughter]. 
Now, you may be tempted by other careers, other interests, other commitments. There may be pressure on you to change the world, but you must find the strength to resist. When I started, I wasn’t a movie star, and it sucked [laughter]. The moment I became a movie star, things started to get better [laughter]. If you’re, say, a professor, or a distinguished broadcaster or a groundbreaking biologist, you have to ground it out every day... 
When you’re a movie star, you can coast. For example, who remembers the last really good successful picture I made [laughter]? C’mon, anyone? It doesn’t matter. I’m still getting the big bucks that Will Ferrell wishes he were getting.
added for Isaac: The Decemberists' Colin Meloy addresses the graduates of his alma mater, Helena High School, on the meaning of Montanan exceptionalism.


  1. Lou W5:45 PM

    Wow, that was surprisingly awesome.  I really liked this line, rare in commencement addresses, "So this isn’t an occasion for me to suggest what you should do, or to urge you on a path you have already chosen. This isn’t a day for advice; this is a day for pats on the back."

    Plus, of couse, "Become a movie star". :)

  2. isaac_spaceman7:41 PM

    Maybe it's not a time for advice, but he at least could have reminded them to leave the gun, take the cannoli. 

  3. kd bart8:02 PM

    "College.  I heard things.  I heard things."

  4. Adam C.9:34 PM

    Not his Godfather movie, though - that's for when Pacino addresses the graduating class of Babson.

    (Actually it's for when Richard Castellano, who played get the idea.)

  5. I do think it's worth answering his "what's the last really good, successful picture I made?"  There's an argument it's "Stardust," even though he has a really tiny part in it, or "Limitless," but I think the correct answer is the original "Meet The Parents."  ("Meet The Fockers" is MAYBE defensible.)  That said, it hasn't all been cash-in roles or maudlin stuff, there've been a number of things that DeNiro was clearly passionate about or wanting to help out indie folks with ("Good Shepherd," "Being Flynn").

  6. Scott9:11 AM

    This line was my favorite: "If you’re an actor, always be true to your character; if you’re not an actor, have character, and always be true to yourself."

  7. I've got no quarrel with Limitless, even if (or because) it involves way too many locations I'm familiar with.

  8. Adam C.9:43 AM

    I haven't seen Limitless or Stardust, but my answer to this question would not be Meet the Parents, which, sure, made a ton of money, but as far as De Niro's performance was concerned, really wasn't very different from the execrable Analyze This in terms of Bob satirizing Bob. Yes, he did it well, but the degree of difficulty was pretty low.   

    My answer on a purely creative level would be Ronin (1998), but since it failed to make back its budget, maybe we can't call it commercially successful.  My answer on a commercial and creative level would be his three 1997 releases: Jackie Brown, Wag the Dog, and Copland. 

    1997 was so long ago, I'd guess that almost none of this year's Spelling Bee contestants were born yet.

  9. <span>Man, that Helena High address makes me want to find Meloy and punch him in the face. I'll just say that I moved to Montana in high school and found very little of the respect or fondness for neighbors and whatnot that he speaks of.</span>

    That address actually encapsultes everything that's wrong with Montanans. They think they're better than everyone else. They have a huge chip on their shoulders about it. And they don't like outsiders. Montana is a lovely place and I met some great people there. But I have no desire to go back.

  10. Sounds a lot like NYC to me, except that it's lovely, and a lot easier to get away from neighbors you don't like.

  11. isaac_spaceman11:01 AM

    You're saying this like you weren't sure whether I knew this already. 

  12. NYC is lovely too...and for all the neighbors you don't like, there are 7 you do.