January 1, 2010
Let Me Give You a Present You Can't Refuse
It was a very Godfather Christmas at our house. J-Pup received the Godfather trilogy and two annotated books about the making of the films. Not very Christmassy I know, but my husband and I try so hard to keep Junior away from gaming that we thought we’d try to turn him on to some other quality films.
The Godfather came out when I was 10 and when I first saw it a few years later, I thought it was dark, boring, unfathomable and gross. Fast-forward 37 years and I can see it for the great art it is. We watched The Godfather, part II and followed it up with Jeff Bridge’s Starman. While I loved Starman when it first came out, it’s not even on the same page as The Godfather films.
The first two Godfathers really stand the test of time. What’s great about well-made period-pieces is that you can’t tell if they were made in 1972 or 2002. I can’t see how Coppola could improve on them.
It’s still confusing; although not as much so. It’s still gross, but over the last 3 decades, I’ve become more or less inured to movie violence. The films are gorgeous to watch. Michael Corleone is so handsome. And chilling. Mario Puzo’s novel describes Michael Corleone as possessing “a cold chilling anger that was not externalized in any gesture or change in voice. It was a coldness that came off him like death.” Well done, Al. For that, I forgive you your current bad toupee.
Did you know The Godfather was Al Pacino’s second movie and the first Pacino movie ever released? Amazing. Much to my chagrin I learned that Brando was my age when he made the first film and therefore three years younger than my husband. I was happy to learn there was substantial make-up involved. And Fredo – the perennial milquetoast – he’s so good that I forget he’s acting. During his unfortunately short six-year film career John Cazale appeared in five movies, each of which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, The Conversation and The Deer Hunter. Try to add up the six-degrees of separation there!
Last night we watched The Godfather, part III for the first time. It was so bad. Michael Corleone was actually quite affable and I enjoyed every moment he was on the screen. I can even forgive Sophia Coppola’s and Diane Keaton’s bad delivery for the gorgeous scenes of Sicily. Andy Garcia’s Vincent was an inspired piece of casting even though he did look more like a hybrid of Michael and Kay than Sonny’s kid.
Anyway. Annie Hall and Hannah and her Sisters are in the wings for this weekend. Happy New Year!