Monday, September 3, 2012

Fuck Star Wars: Revisiting the Godfather trilogy

Har har, that’s how you bait an internet audience.

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THE GODFATHER is one of those movies that’s in many people’s “Best Of All Time” lists. Or at least, the ones who care to have such things. The first two installments of the trilogy are consistently near the top on IMDB’s top 100 movies page, duking it out with THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.

What’s amazing to me is that it isn’t just a critical darling, it was a huge box office success as well. Adjusted for inflation, the first movie made more money than any single HARRY POTTER or LORD OF THE RINGS. It also deftly beat out both THE AVENGERS and the DARK KNIGHT movies. Notice a disparity there? Now, I love both kinds of movies equally, but it’s a damned shame Hollywood doesn’t push the GODFATHER-kind anymore. It’s a blockbuster that mostly just has people talking, is set in the “real world” without any fantasy elements or big special effects*.

I don’t wanna make this post about THEY DON’T MAKE EM LIKE THEY USED TO ANYMURRR, since I think “nostalgic fondness” is pretty much on par with “guilty pleasure.” If whatever piece of art has the sole redeeming quality of being experienced by you at a young age, then it’s not worth much to begin with. I think early 90s Simpsons episodes are still great; not so much Thundercats.

10 Things I LEARNed upon revisiting the series as an adult:

  1. For all his iconicity, Brando isn’t in the movie all that much. He’s super great in all his scenes, though.
  2. Holy shit, Pacino can do subdued.
  3. Diane Keaton needs bangs.
  4. Michael’s a lying sack of shit.
  5. My parents always described Fredo as “the retarded one.” He came across as more awkward and insecure than anything else this time.
  6. There are little kids everywhere in these movies.
  7. Realism! The (sometimes not so) subtle distaste Italians have for non-Italians conveyed by Mama Corleone’s eye-roll when Connie introduces her new husband at the start of Part II. Also Mama’s “They were made for each other!” comment when new WHITE IN-LAWS Merle and Deanna are introduced to each other. Because, you know, they’re not Italian.
  8. Funniest don is probably a toss-up between Pentangeli and Fanucci.
  9. I always thought GODFATHER III wasn’t as shitty as people said it was. I still think there’s good stuff in there, most notably Pacino doing a remorseful Michael. But yeah, it’s definitely not up to par. And holy shit, Sofia. George Lucas once said he knew technology had gotten to an advanced enough level for him to make his prequels when he saw JURASSIC PARK. I guess he saw Sofia Coppola in GODFATHER III when he realized acting technology had come far enough for the prequels too. DADDDDDD ( –_–)**
  10. I don’t think even Jaime and Cersei Lannister called each other bro and sis constantly during their illicit rendezvous. What were you thinking, Francis????

The (first two) GODFATHER movies represent expertly crafted mainstream entertainment for adults. They’re seen as “good” and “classic” movies, but they are far from stuffy or inaccessible. I don’t think Hollywood will ever return to the model where movies like this are pimped as blockbusters – just check on all the other movies that outrank it on the adjusted all-time list – but consider this post a friendly reminder of how wonderful these movies are, and how easy to get into.

So yes, fuck STAR WARS for making blockbusters all about safe, family-friendly four quadrant Hero’s Journey pictures. I know JAWS is equally to blame for this, but I coudln’t bring myself to write “fuck JAWS.” The GODFATHER films would never lend themselves to such crass moneti—

oh

ohhhhh

never mind ignore everything

 

*Give or take a fake horse-head and a bunch of squibs.

**She’s cool now, though.

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