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:
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.