Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Godfather: Part III

Frustrating day yesterday, so I took myself out for dinner. Ate some ribs, sat there watching GODFATHER 3 on my laptop. Which I like doing. It's like reading a novel, except there's more to look at. And it seemed right. Annoying day, what's better than eat some ribs, put in the headphones, watch some bad guys whack other bad guys.

You know, when I first watched THE GODFATHER and SON OF GODFATHER or whatever they call it, they didn't do much for me. But I knew I had missed something, so I paid them a second visit years later. I was on a road trip, doing some work out of town, and my friend Tim had told me about watching movies in pieces, which I had always avoided, but he said it was like reading a good book. So I thought, what the heck. So on that trip I re-read/re-viewed G1 and G2. And it was sitting in a restaurant in Azusa California, probably eating ribs, that the Corleone movies really got to me.

So yesterday I figured the day had come to finally risk #3. See if it's as good and as falsely maligned as Roy says. Or if it's as truly awful as everybody else on the planet says. (Okay, one thing Roy and the rest of the planet agree on: Sofia stinks.)

The ribs were good.

The movie, not so much.

But Sophia has really nice hair.

The poor girl gets scape-goated. She's got maybe two really bad scenes, most of the rest are passable. Well, mostly passable.

It's the script that is atrocious. G1 and G2 took a potboiler, melodramatic pulp novel and made art out of them. G3 returns them solidly to melodrama: everything is either shamefully underwritten or grotesquely over-written. Another movie friend, Karen, tells me the film was a victim of a writers strike: that they had to push ahead without proper attention to developing the screenplay. Which would explain much.

It's not Sophia, it's the script. The script doesn't even have good hair.

Another movie buddy, Rory, points out that the scene in the restaurant between Andy Garcia and Sophia is like nails on a blackboard. "Hey Cuz." Yikes.

But I'm saying, okay, but let's start with the writing: "Hey Cuz..." ??!????!!!!!! Tell me a line like that would make it into G1 or G2. Tell me Meryl Streep could have spoken that dialogue and not stunk up the joint.

Her first lousy scene is on a rooftop, alone with Michael. Wooden, wooden, wooden. But until then, I was going, hey, they're scapegoating this girl because she's not a movie star. It took four or five scenes before I could grudgingly admit that Frank's kid couldn't always pull her weight. But I knew right away, the script! Tinny and flat like a bean can on a railway track. (Hey, I shoulda bin a writer...)

And talk about On The Nose. Michael and Kay walk through the streets of some Sicilian town. The conversation turns to The Girl With The Nice Hair marrying her cousin. Then they just happen to walk up to a puppet show where one puppet stabs his daughter puppet with a hatpin because she won't stop dating her cousin. Stab me through the heart with a hatpin, that's who I wish they had stabbed. And the puppet didn't even have nice hair.

And then the opera was just a 3D version of the same puppet show nonsense. Shoot me on the steps of the opera house, that's who I wish they had shot. And I don't have any hair at all.

Still have to puzzle out one thing. The priest gets Michael to say his confession. Michael says, but hey, I didn't think it counted if I don't repent. Priest says, confess anyway. And I'm thinking, Mike, you've got a point there. So what the hell kinda priest is this anyway? Except I'm also thinking, you take what you can get. Maybe this is Standard Priest Practice: the guy feels bad about his sins, he wants to talk, you let him talk. He's not ready to actually repent just yet, but let him talk, maybe he'll get there? So maybe there's some good theology - or at least some good praxis - at the heart of this movie after all?

Which is all Roy was really saying all along anyhow.

1 comment:

andrea said...

Ron, love your line:
"The script doesn't even have good hair."

As a big fan of G1&G2 I remember walking out of the Stanley after G3 saying "what was that?".