Popular “Godfather”, “Misery”, “Elf” Actor Passes Away At 82
Perhaps you've already heard the sad news by now, Berkshire County. I caught it on the TV yesterday afternoon at my soulmate Tonya's house but I'm still feeling kind of numb this morning, I can't lie. One of my favorite "tough guy" actors passed away on Wednesday night. James Caan. He was 82 years old.
In my opinion, James Caan was an "underappreciated" actor. I say that because I don't think he ever received the critical praise of his contemporaries. Granted, when you're surrounded by actors of such high caliber as Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and Robert Duvall, it might be tough to get noticed if you don't bring your "A" game.
And even though he played a lot of "tough guy" roles, he didn't take himself too seriously all that often. Caan brought a sense of humor to many roles that didn't call for it. And he often brought pathos or emotion to some roles that a lot of us didn't expect.
I mean, come on, what self-respecting man out there did not shed a few tears while watching "Brian's Song"? I just think Caan did a lot of great work that remains unsung. Some of that was Caan's own fault. He was perfectly willing to often let his co-stars shine so they could receive acclaim and kudos.
Case in point, "Misery" from 1990. Kathy Bates was undeniably amazing in her role, but, in a fabulously multi-layered performance, so was Jimmy. Caan liked to spread himself throughout different genres, as well.
Whether it was comedies like "Elf", "Bottle Rocket", or "Honeymoon In Vegas", sports movies like "Rollerball", "Brian's Song", or "The Program", or dramas like "The Godfather", "The Killer Elite", or "Gardens of Stone", Caan always delivered what his character's role called for.
The cause of Caan's death has not been revealed as of yet. Suffice to say, by looking at all the tributes from former co-stars, directors, and fellow actors pouring in on social media, Caan will be greatly missed. I know I'm going to miss him.
By the way, if you want to check out a great James Caan performance, watch 1981's criminally underseen movie "Thief", directed by Michael Mann. Caan plays a professional jewel thief who wants one last BIG score, so he can get out of the life and settle down with his girlfriend. Caan almost UNDERplays his role, but he does it masterfully. And you know who else does a great acting job in "Thief"? Country singer Willie Nelson.
Rest In Peace, Mr. Caan.