As someone who loves movies, it just seemed wrong that I had never seen The Godfather. I felt out of the loop on some of the pop culture references. Plus, it’s continuously named one of those ‘best movies of all time.’ I figured I shouldn’t spend many more years on this earth having never seen these films, so I added it to my ’30 Before 30′ list.
I called up my friend and resident-movie expert Mike and borrowed his DVDs and sat myself down to watch these lengthy films. I had many observations (if you follow me on Twitter I’m sure you saw some of them), but now having finished them, these were the five thoughts that stuck with me.
1. To me, the main storyline is Michael Corleone’s descent into corruption, which he does for his family. It all goes back to the family. It is a stronger bond than marriage, than the love of country, or friendship. It sorta broke my heart because in the opening scenes Michael is so wide-eyed and lovingly sweet. As a viewer, you understand why Kay falls so hard for him.
2. The script in Part I, which was my personal favorite, is pretty close to perfect. Though it runs just a little over three hours, every scene, every exchange of dialogue, every beat is so essential to the story. For writing nerds like me, this is just plain beautiful.
3. I had no idea about the multiple timelines and settings in The Godfather series. I knew the movies were “old” (the first two came out in the ’70s), but I didn’t know that Michael’s story took place after WWII, and I had no idea we’d see scenes in Nevada or Sicily.
4. Of all the great performances in the films (Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, James Caan, Robert Duvall), Robert DeNiro was by far my favorite. He does not appear until the second film where he plays a young Vito Corleone, fresh to America and barely speaking English, and he’s technically a supporting character, but oh holy Jesus he is amazing. His performance is on a whole other level that most actors will never even reach. He’s young and handsome, but he’s something else, too. He’s not Robert DeNiro. Everything fades away and he’s purely Vito, a man who just wants to make things better for his family in his new country.
5. Look how young everyone was!
I couldn’t get over how young Pacino, Diane Keaton, and James Caan looked. See?!
On that note, I’ll wrap this up. Cross another goal off my list. Only 27 to go…
* I didn’t watch Part III because everyone told me to avoid it like the plague.