Monday, August 20, 2018

Profiles in Middledom: #1 in a series

A new Smack Dab Blog series, featuring Middle Children (real-life or otherwise) who have earned their place in the pantheon of birth order oblivion.

          I think most people would agree, Jan Brady was the most memorable TV Middle Child ever. Her classic “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” is not only the quintessential Middle Child TV moment, but a universal rallying cry for Middle Children everywhere. But who was the greatest movie Middle Child of all time? This is a question I am often asked. Okay, no one has ever asked me that, but if someone ever does, I am ready with my answer: Fredo Corleone.
          The Middle son of Vito Corleone, a.k.a Don Corleone -- the Godfather, Fredo wasn’t born with the bravado and balls of older brother Santino (Sonny), or the brains and blind ambition of younger brother Michael. He’s also not very good with a gun. When Sollozzo and the Tattaglia's attempt to assassinate Don Corleone, Fredo is with him. He doesn’t even get a shot off, and is left sobbing on the curb. Not exactly your prototypical tough guy. It’s no wonder, then, that when their father steps down as head of “The Family,” it’s Michael who assumes control. Poor Fredo. Nobody gives him the respect he feels he deserves.
          Not Moe Greene:

          Not Michael:

          Not even his drunken wife:

          So Fredo does what any self disrespecting Middle Child would do. He looks for anyone who will pay some attention to him. When he's approached by Johnny Ola on behalf of arch-rival Hyman Roth asking for help in working out a deal with Michael between Roth’s organization and the Corleone family, Fredo’s all in. Okay, so who knew they were really trying to kill Michael? Ooops. When confronted by his brother, Fredo finally erupts in a flurry of frustration and fury that is Middle Child movie magic:

          “The Godfather” and “The Godfather II” won a ton of awards. Marlon Brando won Best Actor in 1973 at the 45th Academy Awards, and famously refused to accept. James Caan (Sonny), Robert Duvall (Tom Hagen), and Al Pacino (Michael) were all nominated for Best Supporting Actor. In 1975, Pacino won the Best Actor Oscar and Robert De Niro (Young Vito Corleone) snagged a Best Supporting Actor statue. Lee Strasberg (Hyman Roth) was also nominated in the same category. Even Michael V. Gazzo (Frank Pentangeli) was nominated, and I guess you can see where this is going. Yes, Fredo (John Cazale) was totally overlooked.

See more memorable Middle Child Moments: “Middle Child Masterpiece Theater

No comments:

Post a Comment

Middle Children need to be heard!