I love the Academy Awards and last year I realized how few of the “Best Picture” winners I’d actually seen. So I made it a goal to see all 83 winners and blog my thoughts about them along the way.

Why did it win? Should another movie have won instead? Has it become a beloved classic or do many of you not even recognize the title? I invite you, my friends and guests, to comment along with me. Do you agree/disagree? I should be fair and place a SPOLIER ALERT on this blog since I’ll be writing about various parts of the movie. So read at your own risk…

I have often told people that I have movie amnesia… I can see a movie and forget all about it years later. So for that reason, I am re-watching the 27 I’ve seen before. That said, if no one visits or reads my blog and I basically perform the online equivalent of talking to a brick wall, that’s fine; if for nothing else, it’ll be my own reminder. Enjoy!

And the Oscar goes to…


Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Godfather, Part II, 1974










Rated R

I had seen both Parts 1 and 2 once before this challenge and I remembered far more about the original film than the sequel. I still think this film is entertaining, but I guess that’s an indication of its lasting impression on me.

The second film in this trilogy serves as a prologue as well as a sequel. We left the first film with Michael Corleone being privately hailed as the new “Godfather” of the family/community after his father Vito’s heart attack. This film flashes back in time, mainly to 1920’s New York to show Vito Corleone’s life prior to and becoming the “Godfather”. Interspersed in that, is the continuing story of Michael in present day 1958. He’s invested in casinos in Las Vegas and Cuba and trying to make sure the Corleone name isn’t tarnished (for being what they really are: a mafia family). This film doesn’t have as much bloodshed as the first, but what it does have is more graphic, so beware.

A young and rather dashing Robert DeNiro plays the younger Vito and over time, he flawlessly takes on the same raspy voice Marlon Brando used to voice his character.


And although they obviously never acted in a scene together, I could still appreciate this picture I found of Al Pacino and him online.


This sequel is quite lengthy (3 hours, 22 minutes) and requires two discs. I’m sure that could’ve been shaved down a bit as the beginning hour is rather uneventful. The film finishes, in my opinion, with several questions left unanswered. I’m pretty sure they weren’t intending on making a third film 16 years later, so they must’ve wanted to leave things open-ended to allow for varying interpretations. I prefer my movies to wrap up all loose ends. Otherwise, it makes me nervous.

I forgot to add in my post about the previous film, how brilliant I think Robert Duvall is in these films. He plays the role of “consigliere” (advisor, trusted lawyer, friend, right-hand man, son/brother they never had). He is stoic, confidant, and just plain smart in these films. I was first introduced to Duvall in my favorite Disney musical, “Newsies”, when he played newspaper tycoon Joseph Pulitzer.

This film beat out the following films for the top award: “The Conversation”, “Chinatown”, “Lenny” and “The Towering Inferno”. I haven’t seen any of them so I can’t rightly compare. This sequel was up for AND won more nominations than the original film. Many critics think it’s better than the first, but I maintain that nothing compares to the original "Godfather". De Niro deservingly won his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and became the first actor to win the award primarily speaking a foreign language (Italian, Sicilian dialect). (He previously had auditioned for the role of Michael Corleone in the first film; Coppola remembered him and asked him to come back for the sequel.)

FAVORITE SCENE: (SPOILER ALERT)

I’m disturbed that my favorite scene involves a homicide, but I think the way it was artfully done and the significance it holds are what make it intriguing to me. Near the end of the film, we see the young Vito commit his first murder- the catalyst for his future family reputation. The town “bully” Fanucci is demanding that Vito and his friends owe him a cut of their business. Instead of giving in (and continuing to let Fanucci rule Little Italy based on fear), he decides to take him out of the equation. We hear him reassure his friends and utter those famous words for the first time in his life, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” A festival is going on in the streets and Fanucci, dressed in a white suit, is walking home. Vito is stalking him from the rooftops across the street and enters his building, catching him off guard, and shoots him (an unnecessarily) 3 times. The scene is suspenseful, the camerawork interesting, and the music paired appropriately.


LESSONS LEARNED:

Revenge is not the answer. It is the problem. It is a cycle, really.

I am thankful for my sons’ godfathers (godparents, actually). 1. Because they’re not involved with any mafia (that I know of) and 2. Because my husband and I truly feel confident in them being the other moral guides of our children as they grow.

2 comments:

  1. In your opinion and experience, do you have a consistent preference in sequels and trilogies? Do you usually like the first movie or do you usually think the sequels get better?

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  2. I USUALLY think the first movies are better. They are the ones that really capture the audience in the first place and make them interested in seeing another one. It's usually harder to come up with a really entertaining conflict for the plots of sequels, thirds, forths, etc.
    Here are some of my thoughts on movies that went on to make more:
    Back to the Future - 1 is best, 2 & 3 are great
    Lord of the Rings - 1 is best, 2 & 3 are great
    Godfather - 1 is best, 2 is good, 3 is rubbish
    My Girl - 1 is best, 2 is ridiculous
    Toy Story - 1 is best, 2 is great, 3 is good
    Cars - 1 is best, 2 is ok
    Harry Potter - 1 is pretty bad (they were baby actors), 2 is just ok, 3 is my personal favorite, 4 is pretty good, 5 is pretty good, 6 is great, 7.1 & 7.2 are very good
    Ocean's 12 - 1 is best, 2 is alright, 3 is pushing it
    Speed - 1 is best, 2 is piss poor
    The Santa Clause - 1 is best, 2 is eh, 3 needed to stop
    Father of the Bride - 1 is best, 2 is pretty cute

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