The great James Caan has died at 82. He is being fondly and widely remembered as a great actor and an iconic movie tough guy. This is the correct way to remember him. But weirdoes like myself are mourning an unlikely element of The Godfather star’s outsized life and legacy: his Twitter feed. The genius of Caan’s Twitter feed lies in its artlessness, or rather its apparent obliviousness. Reading Caan’s Twitter, it feels like one of his children introduced him to the concept of micro-blogging and he decided to become a prolific Tweeter despite seemingly not understanding the nature of social media.
Caan’s tweets follow a simple, wildly effective formula. A picture from Caan’s extraordinary life and career will be briefly described/summarized (or not!) before the words “End of tweet.”
Sometimes “End of tweet” are the only words accompanying an image, which means, technically speaking, that the words “End of tweet” is the end of the tweet, the beginning of the tweet, AND the entirety of the tweet.
The adorable thing about Caan’s Twitter game is that you do not, of course, have to officially end tweets. They aren’t like stories that need a beginning, middle, and end. Caan’s compulsive use of the phrase “End of tweet” suggests that he does not understand Twitter and confuses it with Instagram, a much more visually oriented medium.
“End of tweet” consequently became Caan’s unlikely online catchphrase. It’s a phrase that I will always associate with him because it made an elderly actor’s Twitter feed distinctive, funny, weird, and unforgettable, things that celebrity Twitter account generally are not, particularly if the famous person is also an octogenarian.
It’s easy to be snarky and say that Caan was a grandpa who did not get Twitter but I prefer to think that Caan had a unique understanding of Twitter. Caan used the trashy social media site as a digital photo album, as a way of perpetually remembering the movies that he made and the people that he befriended along the way.
That, to me, is a better use of Twitter than making an endless series of glib jokes about famous people, trending topics, and political matters in a never-ending quest for likes and re-tweets.
Caan’s Twitter feed might have been like your dad’s photo album in online form but if your dad was the world-class badass who starred in such films as The Godfather, Misery, Honeymoon in Vegas, Bottle Rocket and Elf I suspect that you would be anything but bored when pops wanted to look at old photographs.
Caan’s Twitter feed is a useful reminder that even the coolest celebrities are also, on some level, someone’s embarrassing dad who doesn’t quite get new technology but gives it a go all the same.
Caan’s engagingly dorky, dad-like Twitter feed was also a way of remembering and celebrating the countless acting legends that the actor worked with who are no longer with us. Now Caan has joined their ranks. He will live on forever through his unforgettable performances and films, in his interviews and talk show appearances but also, weirdly enough, through his Twitter feed.
One of Caan’s final tweets is an image of him acting alongside his son Scott accompanied but the words “Caption this” and of course “End of tweet.” Like a true dad, he couldn’t help but show off how proud he is of a son who went into the family business and achieved considerable success.
The actor’s death represents the end of James Caan and the end of his tweets but we’ll always have our memories! End of article.