Or “GF 3,” as Silvio calls it.

Alan was late getting home Friday night, so I did something I would only do if I were alone on a Friday night — I watched “The Godfather, Part III” from beginning to end for the first time since the movie came out.

I remember seeing it in the theater, and thinking, “Of course it’s not nearly as good as the first two, but I think the critics are piling on a bit. It’s not that bad.”

To set the record straight: It is that bad. In fact, by the midpoint, I was convinced Francis Ford Coppola had sunk into existential despair and could only emerge by parodying himself. How so? Those who remember the movie might recall that at one point, there’s an actual helicopter attack on a meeting of the mafia dons. While it was welcome — someone had just used the phrase, “you gotta let us wet our beaks,” a line that certainly calls for summary execution — it was impossible not to think of “Apocalypse Now.” Good god, Francis, get a grip.

This attack also came after Joe Mantegna, a fine actor, was forced to deliver a horrible speech: I say to all of you, I have been treated this day, with no respect. I’ve earned you all money. I’ve made you rich, and I asked for little. Good. You will not give, I’ll take!

Evidently there’s some rule that all mafiosos in Godfather movies must speak like Hollywood Indians around the council fire. “You will not give, I’ll take!” I prefer Tony Soprano.

There were thousands of other problems, but my favorite were the shots of New York Times front pages, used to convey the breaking news out of Rome, about the election of Pope John Paul I. (Yes, the Corleones are a family of many pies, many fingers, and many wet beaks.) Little-known journalistic fact: The New York Times was on strike for the entire papacy of John Paul I. They missed the whole thing, front to back. (Note to youngsters: It wasn’t a long one.) Also, the typefaces didn’t match. Which drives me crazy.

My friend the film critic says it’s Hollywood legend: The original script was about a power struggle between Michael Corleone and Tom Hagen, but the producers balked at Robert Duvall’s salary requirement, which was: As much as Diane Keaton. They refused. And so we got Sofia Coppola showing he all her shades of wooden, which ran the gamut from ash to birch.

When it ended (Spoiler: NOT HAPPILY), I surfed around the dial and found Al Pacino on another channel, in “Scarface.” Watched it for 10 minutes. Just for the comic relief.

While we’re at the movies, though — someone mentioned Clark Griswold in the comments, and it made me think of “Christmas Vacation.” I wondered if Kate was old enough to watch it yet. I don’t think I saw it all the way through, but I’ve seen bits and pieces of it here and there, and it seemed she’d get a kick out of it. Asked IMdB. Hmm, PG-13. Well, so was “Seabiscuit,” and that didn’t have much objectionable material. Checked the “memorable quotes” from IMdB’s entry:

Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.

Oh well, I guess I can watch “A Christmas Story” a few dozen more times. Maybe in 2009.

So, on to the bloggage:

Michael Kinsley — word.

What did this woman get for her $4,000? I honestly can’t tell. For that money, she could spend two weeks in Istanbul — and do a lot of shopping. I know what I’d prefer.

Remember those people who said they were going to put their kids through college by investing in Beanie Babies? They were wrong, but others invested more wisely. An eBay success story.

Posted at 8:03 pm in Uncategorized |

23 responses to “Or “GF 3,” as Silvio calls it.”

  1. alex said on December 5, 2005 at 9:36 pm

    What did it get her?’

    A harelip, near as I can tell.

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  2. Connie said on December 5, 2005 at 10:20 pm

    Well, I still have all this Barbie stuff. You think an original Midge to which I gave a haircut is worth anything? Or the cardboard coffee table to the original Dream House?

    And I can’t see much difference in her either. I will never understand how some people choose to spend their money. The closest thing to plastic surgery that I would spend $4,000 on is Lasik surgery.

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  3. blue girl said on December 6, 2005 at 8:20 am

    I guess I’ve only watched “Christmas Vacation” on TV over the last few years. I don’t even remember that part.

    Obviously I don’t know Kate, but if you think she’s get a kick out of it, it should be coming on in the next few weeks. She’d get a kick out of it!

    (I love that movie! I also love “A Christmas Story, but after a few years of watching the “24-hours of A Christmas Story” on TBS — I’ve pretty much had my fill, too.)

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  4. Dorothy said on December 6, 2005 at 8:27 am

    I’m with you, blue girl, but this year we want to watch “A Christmas Story” with our Russian exchange student. He’s sure to get a huge kick out of it. He had his first candy cane on Saturday when we went to get our Christmas tree. He’s delighting in the season so far.

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  5. 4dbirds said on December 6, 2005 at 10:31 am

    There is a subtle difference in her lower face and neck, especially her neck. Looks like her eyes weren’t touched.

    You are such a good mom, keeping the F-bomb away from Kate as long as possible. I lost that battle.

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  6. blue girl said on December 6, 2005 at 10:53 am

    Not to take this comment thread into movie-dom and kids, BUT! Regarding protecting your kids from the F-bomb and other *exciting* things — my son (almost 14) invited his *girlfriend* (already 14) over on Sunday.

    I pop downstairs, oh, every 12 seconds to grab a pop, some stamps, run the garbage disposal, etc…and the one time I pop in, they are watching “Love Actually.” Which I do love, actually — but, I didn’t know what to do because of the storyline with the porn people!

    Got them to switch it. Then pop down later and they are watching a John Lennon documentary. The part I come in on is when they are showing John and Yoko in bed naked, kissing to, “Woman.” — I think.

    I finally broke down and told them to go outside and *play.* — Oh, yes — they were very receptive to that suggestion…

    Nance, remember what you wrote last week about how they are great at every age? Oh my God, I’m so scared.

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  7. John said on December 6, 2005 at 10:56 am

    Once kids start riding the school bus, they are exposed to the F-bomb.

    Randy Quaid is hilarious in the movie…

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  8. Rory on Lawn Guyland said on December 6, 2005 at 11:25 am

    “Little-known journalistic fact: The New York Times was on strike for the entire papacy of John Paul I. They missed the whole thing, front to back. (Note to youngsters: It wasn’t a long one.) ”

    Nance: Sorry to disagree, but if memory serves, the NY Times strike of 1961 ran 103 days. I remember, because Dad worked there as a “mailer”. Best we can decipher, his job was to make sure all the international editons got sent off to their proper recipients.

    Anyhoo, as a proud Union member, he honored the picket line, even with 5 kids and a big mortgage. He worked as a part-time mail carrier (it was Christmas season), made holiday deliveries for a local liquor store, and did whatever it took to keep the family afloat.

    The union did kick in something toward the strikers, but it was tough going there for a while. And as a nine-year-old kid, I got a good, firsthand lesson in fighting for your rights. I won’t cross a picket line to this day, because I remember what the union did for our family.

    Dad stayed at the Times for 38 years until he retired, and then hung in there another 20 years until cancer got him. He was a tough old bird, and every Christmas I remember how he worked to make it special for us, even in the midst of a crushing strike.

    Whenever I get pissy about work, I think of him, and certain idiots in my sphere don’t bother me as much.

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  9. mary said on December 6, 2005 at 11:33 am


    John Paul I was pope in the late seventies, not 61. You’re thinking of John 23, I think. John Paul was the one who died very shortly after becoming pope, followed by John Paul II. Personally, I think he should have taken the name Ringo George I, but go figure popes, eh?

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  10. mary said on December 6, 2005 at 12:30 pm

    JP I was named pope on August 26, 1978, and he died 33 days later, on September 28.

    The NYT pressmen went on strike on August 10, 1978, and returned on November 5, 1978.

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  11. Nance said on December 6, 2005 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks, Mary. There have been many newspaper strikes, but only one missed an entire papacy.

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  12. 4dbirds said on December 6, 2005 at 2:11 pm

    I think everyone in a profession gets irritated when movies get it wrong. I mean can you do at least a little research? I was in the army and I roll my eyes every time I see wrong uniforms, insignia worn incorrectly, hair too long, hats worn indoors, incorrect military lingo etc. My sisters (one a physician and the other a nurse) feel the same way about medical scenes.

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  13. Danny said on December 6, 2005 at 2:28 pm

    Nance, good on the Kinsley. Having had a more or less front row seat to the demise of the “Duke-Stir,” I will be voting for Demcrats and outsiders for the foreseeable future. The only bigger screw-up I can think up in recent history was Gray “Quid Pro Quo” Davis.

    Politics in California just flat-out sucks. Both sides of the aisle.

    Mary, I assume you were against the recent redistricting proposition. Given the current gerrymandered situation, I can’t possibly agree. According to John & Ken, not one state or federal seat changed party hands last major election.

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  14. Nance said on December 6, 2005 at 3:16 pm

    If only Kate were still innocent of the f-bomb. Alas, we have hammers and thumbs in our house, too.

    I just don’t want her to catch me giggling at it. At least for a few more years.

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  15. mary said on December 6, 2005 at 3:42 pm


    You know what happens when you assume.

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  16. Danny said on December 6, 2005 at 6:01 pm

    Mary, given your past expressed disdain for “Ahnuld,” it seemed a logical assumption. And then given your post I just unearthed laughing at the props going down to defeat, it seems a fact.

    “Ahnuld’s ballot propositions all got shot down here in Ca. Heh heh….” Posted by: mary at November 9, 2005 12:16 PM

    Any more cute little rejoinders?

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  17. alex said on December 6, 2005 at 6:18 pm

    An observation about life in family-friendly Fort Wayne�the “City of Churches”: The way f-bombs go off in public around here it’s a wonder the place hasn’t been leveled like Dresden. I don’t have small children, but I’m guessing that any adult who thinks his/her child has virgin ears is probably the same sort of parent you read about whose daughters manage to carry fetuses to term and then put them in dumpsters.

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  18. brian stouder said on December 6, 2005 at 7:07 pm

    Kinsley, who I like, says –

    “And bribery is what it is: not just campaign contributions, but the promise of personal enrichment for politicians and political aides who play ball for a few years before cashing in.

    When Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham pleaded guilty this week to accepting a comic cornucopia of baubles, plus some cash, from defense contractors, the vast right-wing conspiracy acted with impressive speed and forcefulness to expel one of its most doggedly loyal loudmouths and pack him off to a long jail term.”

    See, the MODERN part of this is that last bit – the part about “pack him off to a long jail term”

    I just read a somewhat oddly written book by Thomas Keneally about Daniel Edgar Sickles.If there was ever a Hall of fame for political scum-bags, flawed military heroes, and/or people who literally get away with murder (he pumped 3 bullets into an unarmed man – Philip Barton Key, son of Francis Scott Key – in broad daylight and in front of witnesses on Lafayette Square within sight of the White House, and gained acquittal) Democrats like Sickles make Republicans like Cunningham look like the pikers that they are!

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  19. alex said on December 6, 2005 at 8:21 pm

    Brian, I hate to rain on a good rejoinder�and it is�but Sickles lived during the nineteenth century. You know, back when the Democrats were the anti-intellectual southern ogres that the Party of Lincoln has in more recent times become.

    Tom DeLay makes Cunningham look like an altar boy.

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  20. MarkH said on December 6, 2005 at 8:30 pm

    Brian is on to it. To read Kinsley’s article is to see the usual, “everything bad about Washington is the result of Republicans and CONSERVATIVES. All the lobbying abuses come from THOSE nasty people.”

    How about this: in 1999, “60 Minutes” did an excellent piece by Ed Bradley(?) on the Washington lobbying industry. It started out by reminding us that one of Bill Clinton’s original campaign promises was to reign in the lobbyists and end their control of Congress, “as we know it”. What happened? One of their on-camera interviewees was Tommy Boggs, son of the late Louisiana Congressman Hale Boggs, and brother of commentator Cokie Roberts. He was (and I assume still is) one of the most powerful lobbyists in the Capital. Bradley asked him if it was better or worse now for lobbyists since Clinton took office. And Boggs said, “Oh, better, much better, we’ve never had it so good”. He aluded to access to legislators being far easier than when Reagan and Bush I were in office and related some success stories. He said the Clinton administration hadn’t done anything to impede lobbyists, and, in fact, had made things easier. Now, this was seven years after Clinton took office and things just got better for the lobbyists. Granted, two years into the Clinton Administration the Republicans gained control of the House, but still…My point is this: it IS bribery and it’s rampant from one end of the political scale to the other, Dem to Rep, liberal to conservative and it just gets worse. No President can single-handedly change the system. I think it’s disingenuous for Kinsley to basically blame a corrupt system one one individual or party. It is ever thus.

    The Cunningham saga is particularly tragic, though, and I think Kinsley’s “moral arc” description fits. I don’t live in California, but from what I have read he turned his genuine war hero/patriot persona into a straight shooter congressman. What a downfall. I was flabbergasted at how blatant he was. And since he was so blatantly NOT what he wanted people to believe (or how he believed himself to be), he’ll be in his own special hell.

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  21. Danny said on December 6, 2005 at 9:36 pm

    Alex, irrespective of Brian’s example from yester-century, one doesn’t have to look far back nor far afield to find those with “ethics gradients” from either party. I’m sure you would agree. Most politicians seem to have utter contempt for those whom they would call their constituents.

    I’m just sick of the Republicans (who supposedly hold themselves to some higher level…snort) and am ready to leave the base for a while. A long while.

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  22. mary said on December 6, 2005 at 11:15 pm

    Well, Danny, not that it’s any of your business but I did vote yes on the redistricting. It was endorsed by some people in both parties as well as the LA Times. I don’t like Ahnuld, and I didn’t like his special election. I liked it that his propositions failed, although we do need redistricting reform of some sort here in California. I felt the proposition was a start. There was a strong chance it would have been shot down in court if it had passed, since it was contrary to the state constitution, but it would at least have got people thinking. Anything else you want to know about how I vote or would you like to keep making assumptions?

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  23. Danny said on December 6, 2005 at 11:50 pm

    Mary, I am not trying to paint you into a corner, it was just a logical assumption. No harm intended.

    And thanks for the enlightenment. We probably agree on more than either of us would know.

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