“Hey, what’s with the food around here? A kid comes up to me in a white jacket, gives me a Ritz cracker, and uh, chopped liver, he says, ‘Canapes.’ I said, uh, ‘can of peas, my ass, that’s a Ritz cracker and chopped liver!’”
—- The Godfather Part 2
A week ago, Candy and I went to see the Godfather at The Alamo Drafthouse. This week is The Godfather Part II. Some people consider this to be a better movie than the first – it is one of those rare cases where the sequel is equal, if not superior to the original. Both won best picture Oscars – and every other accolade possible.
I was really looking forward to seeing it. Unlike Part 1 – which I saw in a theater in high school, I never saw the sequel on the big screen – I was in college by then and not able to get out to theaters because of time and money restraints. It would be years until I was able to see it on television – and it’s so long – it was impossible to carve out enough of a block to sit there uninterrupted. So I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen the whole thing in one sitting – though I’ve watched it in bits more than once, all told.
It is hard to compare to the first movie. Even though it has the same people, more or less, it is structured quite differently. It covers a huge amount of time and space – much told through flashbacks – two separate stories, really. The whole Cuba deal is complicated – and has the aspect of international politics, big news stories, and revolution. In that section, and in the congressional hearings, it feels like the outside world has finally started to intrude on the Corleone empire… which I guess is the point.
So I do think the second is the more subtle, complex, and possibly better film, but it doesn’t have the epic personalities of the first.
John Cazale (who plays Fredo) passed away in 1978 and I saw a short doc about his short acting career. He was only in five feature films – but what a collection – Godfathers 1 and 2, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter. Five classic films. I think his performance of the tragic, flawed Fredo is a high point of the film.
Oh, and I didn’t realize that Harry Dean Stanton is in the film (a fairly small part). He is truly in every movie.
So, next week is the third. I’m excited because the Alamo is screening the re-edit of Godfather Part III – The Godfather Coda: The Death of Micheal Corleone. It is supposed to be a big improvement. We have our tickets… and the Alamo is such a great place to see a film.
Just don’t talk or text.