Ever sit and wonder about what you’ve been able to achieve in life so far? Sometimes it’s an invigorating experience, sometimes it’s a depressing experience. Often when I read about a hero of mine or watch a documentary on some successful person I can start feeling like I’ve somehow missed out on greatness. But we all know that 1) it’s not fair in the slightest to compare human lives like that and 2) we are all our own worst critic. Cazale was able to star in five history-making movies in his acting career before his untimely death. Who can compete with that?
But really, it’s good that no one can compete with that. It’s unique. Cazale’s family will cherish this record for generations. It’s good that there’s only one Mohammed Ali. One Princess Diana. One Martin Luther King. Comparing is a draining experience and accomplishes absolutely nothing.
Sometimes I remind myself of the time I was chosen by my school to enter a variety show celebrating the 200th b’day of New Brunswick when I was 12. I suppose you can guess what my act was. Yup, imitating celebrities and politicians. Seven years later this very thing would help me earn scholarships through a talent competition that helped me pay for college. The first time around was John Wayne, George Burns and Richard Nixon (thank you Rich Little). The second time around was George Bush, Jack Nicholson and Sylvester Stallone (thank you cast of Saturday Night Live).
I’ve had other highlights, such as getting ordained, becoming a professor, learning trades to establish my first business, and ring announcing for a local pro wrestling promotion. And don’t worry, I’m resisting the temptation to make an “accomplishment” out of my wife and kids. They are not my accomplishments. They are my life, yes, but I didn’t achieve them.
Reminds me how much more often I should point out the accomplishments of others. Again, we often short-change ourselves and downplay the things we’ve done in life, acting as if they have no meaning or importance—so why not help fight back against those defeating feelings by reminding those around you of what they’ve done and what those things mean? Remembering my own achievements can be therapeutic and humbly satisfying. Remembering that of others’ can be illuminating and cathartic.
Congratulations The Godfather Part II. This is your week.
And special congratulations to you John Cazale. You may not be a household name, but the best of Hollywood’s actors can’t compete with your perfect record.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Talia Shire for her role in both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II.
Best Actor: Wow, this week’s nominated movies are loaded with big time Hollywood legends. I’d like to give this one to James Caan. He’s the “other brother” who doesn’t get as much attention as Pacino, DeNiro, Brando, etc etc. Plus I liked him in Elf.
Best Quote: “I’m a Catholic, I don’t want to hurt anybody.” Al Pacino as Sonny in Dog Day Afternoon.
Newest movie on my watch list? I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale. It was made in 2009 and is not only about him but also about the movies he was in and how they “defined a generation.” And here’s something I’ve accomplished today: fixed and painted a Kia Soul in the rain. Not too many people can say that.