The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone

Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.

—-Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part III

A terrible Blackberry photo of my folding Xootr Swift parked next to a Yuba cargo bike (set up to carry a whole family) outside the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Two different philosophies on urban bicycling.

On the last two Saturdays Candy and I went to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to watch special showings of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II. So today, the third Saturday in a row, we went to see The Godfather Part III. I was very interested because they were screening the re-cut version The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. I’m not sure if I was ever able to sit through the original Godfather III – it wasn’t up to the standards of the first two – and I found it ponderous and boring, especially on television. I have read that the new version, although it leaves most of the center of the film the same, changes the beginning and end – leading to a version that is much improved. So we’ll see.

I enjoyed it – I think the key is to realize that it is a very different movie, both in style and in message, than the previous two. If you can take it on its own, it’s a good, enjoyable film – though not as epic as the other chapters in the saga. Seeing it in a theater helped – the film mostly made sense, though I still don’t completely understand all the financial issues with the Vatican.

Oh, and I’m afraid its still true – Sophia Coppola may be a great director – but she is terrible in this movie.

And its fun to spot actors that you’ve seen somewhere else that you never thought would be in a Godfather epic (for example Harry Dean Stanton in Godfather Pert II). In this one it would have to be Don Novello (he has a big part) – better known as Father Guido Sarducci.


On the dry and dusty road
The nights we spend apart alone
I need to get back home to cool, cool rain
I can’t sleep, and I lay, and I think
The night is hot and black as ink
Woo, oh God, I need a drink of cool, cool rain

Love, reign o’er me
Reign o’er me, o’er me, o’er me, woah
Love, reign o’er me, o’er me

—-Pete Townshend, Love, Reign o’er Me, from Quadrophenia

Motorcycle Gang on scooters (where else but) New Orleans, Louisiana

This evening, after riding my spin bike for an hour or so – using my BitGym app to ride up the mountains and glaciers of Argentina – I rested a bit and watched the 1979 movie Quadrophenia. I wasn’t overly familiar with the movie – or most of the music behind it. I was just out of school in 1979, isolated out in the Kansas plains and not very hooked into pop culture of the time. I had seen bits of the movie – but not the whole thing until today.

I was interested because I had watched a YouTube video on modern musical films that considered Quadrophenia to be superior to the much more well-known Tommy. And having watched the movie I can see where the reviewer is coming from. Tommy is more entertaining, more fun – but Quadrophenia is deeper, both as a window into a certain time and place (and the Mods and Rockers subcultures) as well as a window into the life of a damaged mind.

So it was good – I actually may go back and watch most of it again. One really cool thing I didn’t know is that Sting is in the film – using his extreme charisma as the character Ace Face – the king of the Mods.

I Know It Was You, Fredo

“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.

An Offer He Can’t Refuse

“The lawyer with the briefcase can steal more money than the man with the gun.”
― Mario Puzo, The Godfather

My bike in front of the Alamo Drafthouse, Richardson. Cool bike racks.

Last Saturday Candy and I went to a special showing of The Godfather at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Lake Highlands (it was sold out in Richardson – the closest to our house). We very seldom see movies anywhere other than the Alamo – it is just too cool.

This is the fiftieth anniversary of the film – which makes the math easy – I was fifteen when I first saw it. I was living in Managua – the arrival of the film in country was a big deal. I remember seeing it in a theater in town – pre-earthquake – so I did see it in 1972 (sometimes it took films a while to get to Central America).

The theater where I saw it was packed. Sometimes it was tough to get into R rated films in Managua (I couldn’t get in to see Cabaret, for example) but this one was considered highbrow and I was let in with my friends.

There was this kid at school that had mastered a loud, booming, evil-sounding laugh and would let loose with it at any inappropriate moment if he could shock everyone. In the movie, after the wedding, when Michael and Apollonia were in the bedroom and she dropped her nightgown… the crowd was silent and tense… and the guy, from somewhere in the theater (I didn’t know he was there) let out his loudest laugh. It was awful and hilarious.

Decades later, when we all got together in North Carolina, I asked him if he remembered that and he said, “Of course I do!”

At any rate, it was good to see it again, and nobody laughed at that scene. I have seen it many times over the years and was able to concentrate on details – like looking for oranges. I have to admit, over the years, I wasn’t sure what was going on all the time (like who exactly were getting shot there at the end) and I think I’ve got most of it figured out now – the internet helps.

At any rate, we’ve already got our tickets for Godfather part two, showing one week later – and the Alamo is also going to screen The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone – the re-edited version of The Godfather Part III – that is supposed to be much, much better. I haven’t seen it – have to buy my tickets.


“You’re going to have the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood.”

—-Merian C. Cooper to Fay Wray on being cast in King Kong

Table of tiny monsters, Clarence Street Art Collective, The Cedars, Dallas, Texas

OK, to prove I am serious about my streaming Movie Recommendations – tonight when I came home from a bike ride (having narrowly missed today’s thunderstorm) I sat down, dialed up HBOMax, and watched the first item from my list – the Science Fiction film, Colossal.

I’ll keep this spoiler free – it stars Anne Hathaway as an alcoholic mess of a New York party girl hitting rock bottom and a giant monster stomping on Seoul, Korea. And yes, the two plot strands are very related.

That’s all I’m going to say (these plot points are revealed in the first minutes of the film) except… someone who is very famous recently for playing the best of all good guys turns out to be… something else.

A very good movie – different, but not weird, serious, but not maudlin, and not too long. Worth your while.

I’m not even going to link to the trailer… it gives away too much.

Movie Recommendations

“Me? I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid.”
― Captain Jack Sparrow

Classic colorful street bombers at the movie.

I watch too many movies… or maybe I don’t watch enough movies. I watch too many shit movies… I guess I watch too many short, silly Youtube things and not enough full-length movies.

There are too many films streaming on the various film streaming things… what to choose. I am working on it.

I have started a DAILY NOTES notebook – attached a pen holder to it and placed a couple of useful fountain pens (a Kaweco Sport and my Pilot Capless) on the notebook.

Also, I found a Youtube channel, Flick Connections, the guy has current recommendations from the various genres and streaming channels. So I’m working my way through some of his offerings, sitting there with a pen and my DAILY NOTES notebook and writing down what he recommends that I haven’t seen (or saw so long ago I don’t remember) and may be interested in.

The first two are: 20 Stunning SCI-FI Movies to Watch on HBO Max This Weekend and 18 Fantastic ‘FUCKED UP’ Films to Watch FREE on Tubi Tonight!.

I typed up the list from my notebook, added brief comments from my scribbled notes (can’t vouch for the accuracy of these), and emailed it to Candy. I was surprised how many she had already seen.

Here’s the text of my email – for your education. Some (one at least) are already gone – but will Shirley pop up somewhere else (or maybe not, and please stop calling me Shirley). Yeah, I know, there are some on here that I should have seen already – so sue me. Or, better yet, send me your ideas and recommendations – put them in a comment.

The one film that I really want to see is the first one – the Ann Hathaway monster movie – Colossal.

So many movies (and even more books) and so little time.

* – movies I want to watch soon

—-HBO+ (Science fiction)

* Colossal – Ann Hathaway clever monster movie. Supposed to be really good.

FAQ About Time Travel – Silly British comedy – satire of science fiction

Birth – Reincarnation – not much SF – Art Film, slow Weird

Limitless – Bradley Cooper – PG13 crowd pleaser

—-Popular films you may have seen and I should have seen:

* Vanilla Sky I have seen the Spanish version, Abre los ojos, but I don’t think I’ve seen Vanilla Sky all the way through in one sitting.

* Moon

* Ex Machina

—-Tubi (Fucked up films)

The Invitation – Thriller

* Goldstone – remote locations, Mystery

Wind River – neo noir mystery, by the director of Yellowstone
* Cold in July – Slick, set in Texas
* All the Money in the World – Ridley Scott

* Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead – Philip Seymour Hoffman
Arizona – Danny McBride

Radius – low budget – Twilight Zone Like

Kill the Irishman – Mob Movie

Bone Tomahawk – Australian Western

Red Hill – Modern day Australian Western

* 68 Kill- Dark Comedy – lot of blood

The Chaser – South Korea – pimp thriller

Hunger – Michael Fassbender’s breakout role – Irish Prison – very disturbing


“Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until we’ve loved them, left them, or fought them.”
― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

Chihuly Glass, The Dallas Arboretum

A long time ago, i stumbled across a crazy YouTube video that had a long scene from a Bollywood Movie. It showed an attack by a merciless, horrible army on the Good Guys©. There was a lot of emotional looks between characters that I had no idea who they were – but the most handsome of all the Good Guys© seemed in command of a third (or so) of the army. He had catapults and proceeded to throw giant, round stones connected to a huge, red cloth over the attacking enemy. Once it settled onto the evil swarm a flaming arrow was fired and the cloth turned out to be soaked in a flammable oil – burning the evil heathens to death.

It was amazing, cheesy, and so much ridiculous fun. It took a little searching until I found out the scene was from part one of a two part movie series called Baahabuli. I watched bits of it and it was as glorious as it could be. I never had time to sit down for the whole six hours it would take to grind through both installments – plus, viewing little bits here and there with no idea of the overall plot or who these people were was kind of exciting.

Now, however, I have more opportunities for allocating big chunks of time (though not as many as you would think – it is possible to be very busy doing nothing) and over a couple of days I have been able to sit down and watch part one of Baahubali. Now it (sort of) makes sense. I had watched some of the over-the-top action scenes… but being Bollywood it had some equally fantastic musical numbers – and romantic dancing. I really enjoyed these – probably more that the blood slaughter.

In particular, there is a scene in a bar where three sexy dancing girls emerge from a giant coil of rope to dance with the hero and distract the dastardly bad guys for a few minutes – very imaginative and unexpected.   

Some friends of mine once came up with the idea of Bollywood watching parties – I would love to try and pull this off – find a place with a big television (ours isn’t giant enough). Baahubali would be perfect – both parts one and two. Crazy action, melodrama, politically incorrect dancing and romance (there is actually a scene where the hero, while holding his breath underwater, tattoos his love’s arm while she sleeps trailing her arm into a lake –  that’s a me-too moment).

Now onto part 2 – there’s a lot of unanswered questions.

Ok, there is a YouTube movie reviewer named The Critical Drinker. He is apologetically nasty towards modern shit movies and the useless crap mendacity that has invaded what passes as entertainment – but every now and then he finds something that swims against the stream to recommend. 

Today he reviewed and liked a recent Bollywood extravaganza called RRR. He does a very good job of explaining how odd these movies look to Western eyes and why you should put your preconceptions aside and enjoy what dances across your eyeballs. A very interesting review (not too many spoilers).

RRR is streaming on Netflix. So its Baahubali Part 2 – and then it’s time for RRR. Sounds like a party. 

It Does Taste Better in a Pulp Fiction Cup

“Don’t you just love it when you come back from the bathroom and find your food waiting for you?” — Mia, Pulp Fiction

My Morning Coffee

I woke up looking forward to my morning coffee even more than I usually do (If that is possible – does a heroin addict look forward to certain fixes more?) because I would drink it in my swag Pulp Fiction coffee cup.

Most mornings I make a double strength coffee in my Aeropress , dilute it with hot water, and put it in a vacuum container (either a thermos or, as today, in a Contigo insulated cup that fits in my bicycle water bottle holder). I like that because I can pour it into a real cup a bit at a time and control the drinking temperature.

So, the question is, did it taste better in the swag cup?

Sure did, I mean this is some serious gourmet shit.

I Luv Ya Honey Bunny

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides
By the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men
Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will
Shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness
For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children
And I will strike down upon thee
With great vengeance and furious anger
Those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers
And you will know my name is the Lord
When I lay my vengeance upon thee

—-Eziekiel 25 17, Pulp Fiction

Swag from the Alamo Drafthouse Pulp Fiction Party

Tonight Candy and I had tickets to a Pulp Fiction Party at the Richardson Alamo Drafthouse.

I haven’t seen Pulp Fiction in a theater for a long, long time – it was time to see it again.

There were a few things that made this showing a “Party.” An employee came out in a bathrobe with a coffee mug before the showing and gave an enthusiastic and F-Bomb filled introduction. They had a Jackrabbit Slim twist contest – I was disappointed that no couple showed up dressed as Mia and Vincent. The winner received a genuine Bad Mother Fucker wallet.

Coolest of all, everyone received some swag – A Serious Gourmet Shit coffee mug, a pack of candy cigarettes, and a Zed Keychain (Zed’s Dead, baby). Now I have a place to keep my chopper keys.

The Before Trilogy

“Listen, if somebody gave me the choice right now, of to never see you again or to marry you, alright, I would marry you, alright. And maybe that’s a lot of romantic bullshit, but people have gotten married for a lot less.”

— Jesse, Before Sunrise

Bachman Lake, Dallas, Texas, after sunrise

1995 was not so long ago – what? twenty seven years? That may seem a long time ago to you, but it doesn’t to me.

Even in 1995 it was hard to see odd, independent, or foreign films. It was before streaming, before really diverse rental options, and sort of after the death of repertory cinema. Also, I had two small kids at this time – so I was not able to go out searching for unique cinema.

I was still watching movie review shows at the time (I have since quit, too many spoilers). I remember seeing a review, probably on Siskel and Ebert, of a movie called Before Sunrise starring July Delpy and Ethan Hawke. It sounded unique and interesting and I wanted to see it, but never was able to pull it off. It apparently was a conversation movie – sort of like My Dinner With Andre – except with a young couple meeting and spending one single night (before sunrise) in Europe walking around and talking to each other.

Over the years I read that a sequel was made… and then a sequel to the sequel.

A few days ago I noticed that there was a set of three movies on The Criterion Channel titled The Before Trilogy. It was the Before Sunrise and its two sequels – Before Sunset and Before Midnight. I’m not a big TV bingeing person, but I decided to watch the three movies one day after another. I had to skip one day because I felt like shit and couldn’t even get up the energy to watch a damn movie streaming on The Criterion Channel. I realized that the two sequels were both made exactly nine years apart from each other.

The second movie was better than the first. It was about the stripping away of a person’s facade – and the first movie was about getting around a person’s facade – although the facades were very strong with those two. The second movie was much more complicated with more at stake – mostly because the characters were nine years older and forced to be more serious and introspective and their choices were more important with more at stake.

I’m afraid that I was disappointed in the third film. It was well made – but I felt it was a re-hash of the same sort of arguments every long-term married couple has on a regular basis. Maybe an important subject – but not entertaining to watch. It could be seen as the answer to the more interesting second chapter, but again, not worth the nine years’ wait.

It’s been more than nine years now since Before Midnight was made. There has been talk of a sequel, but the three Linklater and the two stars seem to have run out of ideas.