Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Godfather I & II

Oh boy did AMC mess me up this weekend. I mean, I had all these plans to clean the apartment top to bottom, cook a bad ass dinner, and blah blah blah. But then, I turn on the tv in the morning, and, wait, what is this? An all weekend Godfather marathon?!! Wha...ttt?!!!
Well, there you go. But let me tell you, getting a sore ass from sitting around watching I & II over and over again (they WERE also showing III, thankfully, so I did manage to get my cleaning and cooking done doing those 3 hour stretches) was worth it. Man, those movies are so... So Raven!
You know, it's weird how they never get old. Like, NEVER. You really could watch them over and over again and find new things all the time. And you know, the first one came out in '72, the second in '74 (when I was born) so I've pretty much been watching those things all my life.
Let's see. My love affair started at birth, cuz I know my mom went to see Part II over and over again in the theatre, and I think she took little newborn me (to the horror of the other people in the audience, who were then pleasantly surprised by the fact that I only cried twice; once to get my mom to lift me up so I could see the screen better, and again when Fredo got shot).
During my elementary school days, I got to watch the movie every time the networks would show it on tv, complete with a full narrative provided by my mom and my uncle, who then answered all my little girl questions, like "By having Apollonia meet Michael with a deformed jaw and love and accept him as a husband anyway, do you think Puzo meant to show us that an Italian woman would be better suited as the wife of a Godfather, because she would know from the get-go of the monster within, mommy?" or "do you think this a parable on the isolation of immigrants in the USA, Tio?". You know, typical nosy kid questions.
I read the book when I was around 12, and that's when I discovered that the movie I'd seen on network tv was totally edited. I mean, wowe, NO WONDER I'd always liked Sonny! That little scene with him and the bridesmaid Lucy was the first sex scene I ever read (page 18, I still remember!) and it's still one of my favorites. By the way, I read the book so many times it tore in half, which ended up being a good thing, because it made it easier to fit in front of whatever textbook I was supposed to be reading in class.
Finally, when we got a VCR in middle school, I got to watch the unedited version, and I fell in love all over again. I got to see Sonny bang Lucy up against the wall, got to see the bloody horse head, Apollonia's boobies, and Moe Green's shot up eyeball. YAY!!!
In high school, The Godfather III came out, and... well, I went back to renting I and II again, over and over, until the memory of that horrid mess (Michael joking around with spiky hair? What the FUCK?) thankfully faded from my memory.
So see, it's been a lifelong love affair for me. Every two years or so, I go through my little Godfather marathons, and I always find a new little theme to explore. Like, what do these films say about the role of women? Immigrants? Family?
And then there's all these new little details, like hey! when they kill Luca Brasi, the camera moves behind a glass screen with a fish design (sleep with the fishes, my friend), oh and speaking of old Luca, he's SO the inspiration for The Usual Suspects' Keyser Soze. Think about it. And ever notice how right before Mike pops the cop and the other dude at the restaurant, you can hear the sound of a train, kinda like, his last chance to jump on the train to a normal life is leaving him behind?
Finally, there's always a new character to focus on. When I was little, I was all into Sonny and his big... uh, HEART. Then in high school I went through my Vito phase, old and young. See what I mean? Hell, I've even gone through a Tom phase! And then there's Michael, who's always been the love of my life (he's one of the reasons I only like guys with dark hair and big eyes, he's who I named my Ken Doll Mike after, who got to fuck all the Barbies until I unfortunately lost his head, and he's the reason why if I ever have a little boy, I'm gonna name him Michael, even if Michael Sprankle sounds kinda weird when you say it out loud).
This time, however, it was all about Fredo for me. I dunno, I guess maybe I'm going through a loser phase or something, cuz something about him just tore my heart in half. And you know, that actor John Cazale was really something else. I mean, think about it: the dude only made 5 movies before he died in '78, but Jesus, those were THE 5 movies:
The Godfather I, The Godfather II, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, Deer Hunter.
Wow. Oh, and he was engaged to Meryl Streep. If ever anyone can claim artistic and personal perfection...
Anyway, geez, what a geek I am. I mean, look at me go on and on about this. And the sad thing is, I could probably keep going, but I'll stop. Just one last thing, though. I've noticed, like I said earlier, that everytime I watch these flicks I bond with a character. Right now I'm a rather unfortunate mixture of Tom/Fredo. You know, a goofy outsider. Who are you?

1 comment:

Daniel said...

You're right. This is one of those films that just never get old. It's too bad Coppola didn't retire after "Apocalypse Now".