What better way to start this new feature than with the movie that seems to elicit the biggest shock when I tell people I hadn't seen it. There are many reasons why I never got around to seeing The Godfather. At first, it was hard for me to drum up interest in watching a three hour movie whose major plot points had been ingrained in our everyday Pop Culture lexicon for so long. It almost seemed pointless to even bother watching it when there were so many other films for me to discover/enjoy that I knew little to nothing about. After a while though, it basically became a weird in-joke for myself. I liked that I hadn't seen The Godfather mainly due to the reaction I got when letting people know I never saw it. But I slowly realized that I can't really consider myself a Film Fan without seeing this movie, so I set out to finally change that.
I now completely understand why The Godfather is held in such high regard. Everything about this movie just works. It's a Master class on everything: Acting, Directing, Writing, all the way down to Costume Design. One thing I realized right off the bat is that I had really been missing the boat on Al Pacino and Marlon Brando. I've mainly been familiar with their work from the past 15-20 years, which gradually became them playing a bad impersonator doing an impression of them. Just look at the tail end of Brando's career, beginning with The Freshman, which ironically has him parodying his role in The Godfather. Everything after (and including) that point shows not one speck of the amazing talent that Brando showcased in this film. The same goes for Pacino. Nowadays he shows up in movies to yell every other line with a general look of confusion on his face. He was in Jack and Jill for Christ's sake! Is it that he just gave up or is nobody offering him real roles anymore? Either way, all that mattered to me while watching this movie was that I was seeing two actors at the top of their game going toe-to-toe in every scene they shared.
The only real bit of criticism I had when watching The Godfather was that at certain points in the first 2/3 of the film's almost 3 hour running time, I was left feeling like certain things could have been cut in order to make for a more concise (and shorter) film. But the real magic of this movie comes from the payoff in the final hour. Literally every scene I felt should have been cut ended up being crucial to the final puzzle. The best example to me was that we spend so much time at the happy wedding of Connie and Carlo in the beginning of the film. I kept rolling my eyes waiting for them to get to the real story. (Did I mention I am bad at long movies?) However, as we slowly start to see the marriage fall apart over the rest of the movie, it allows the pieces to fall into place for when Michael decides to coldly have Carlo killed, completing Connie's transition from bride to widow. We then end with the fallout of Carlo's death, where Michael is in the same room his Dad was meeting people on Connie's wedding day. The full transition has been complete (right down to Michael's wardrobe change). How had I not seen this yet?
Valuable Life Lesson Learned: If an Italian woman attempts to drive a car, the car will explode.
Upcoming February Titles:
- The Godfather Part 2
- The King of Comedy
- The Thin Man