Monday, June 27, 2011


The previous post was deleted because it was published in wrong blog. Obviously it should have been published in Need More Fiber. The error has been corrected now.

I don't know if I said it here, but I have realized that I suck at writing novels, at least at this point of my life. There is something I'm better at, and that is screenwriting. Movie scripts are shorter and I can use my strengths; creating characters and writing dialogue, better. My biggest problem with novels is that I have really learned to kill my darlings and use as few words as I can to say it. I just cannot fill in a novel. Perhaps I'll try again in some twenty years or so.
I am planning on changing my novel ideas into movie scripts.

Now, I was reading the Writers' Guild of America's list of 101 best screenplays... and there are both Godfather I and II. I don't get it. I would really like you to explain to me why it's supposed to be so great a movie? What's good with the script?

I find the movie boring and depressing, filled with angst, and... well... It HAS some great acting performances, I don't say anything about cinematography, editing, directing, lights and camera... I assume those are okay, but the SCRIPT IS INCREDIBLY DULL, BORING, UNINTERESTING...
I don't find any of the characters in any way interesting, I don't care one bit about any of them - or perhaps a little about daddy Corleone. I find Michael whiny and weak, and his wives are... pale. What I remember best from the movies was the horse's head and the girl blowing up in the car. I have seen all three movies. I saw them as an adult, just a few years ago, just to see what's the big deal with these movies, and I had to force myself sit by the television and keep watching.
I didn't laugh and cry, I yawned and murmured about being so stupid that I decided to see these movies. That's nine hours I'll never get back.
Perhaps there was metaphors, allegories, parabels and deep wisdom and what ever, but it was hidden so well I missed it. And what's the plot? What's the hook? What's the theme of these movies? A story of a spineless mafia boss who doesn't agree with the ideology, but is forced to take upon the responsibility, and the kills, mames and rapes crying all the way to the bank. I mean... what's the purpose with these movies? Mafiosos are people too? What? There are good reasons for people to do what they do? Huh? What? I don't get it.
So I really need you to tell me why this is supposed to be a good movie and a good movie script.

Best cast in movie history? Doubtful, but the actors cannot save a crappy movie.

"there is certainly no denying that The Godfather was a very well made film and innovative in some ways due to it's cinematography, editing and certain camera effects"
I have seen extremely well made movies with all the best editing, "cinematography" and camera effects, but those things don't make a crappy movie good.

"It is near flawless."
In what way? I can find dozens of flaws. The worst flaw being the crappy script, which for some reason has been voted as one of the 101 best movie scripts the last 100 years - by WRITERS.

" no one is more attractive than Al Pacino as Michael Corleone."
I can come up with 100 guys who are more attractive as Michael Corleone by Al Pacino. On the other hand, I'm not into that kind of guys. Nevertheless, an attractive main character doesn't make a movie script good.

"The only movies that can even hold close to The Godfather Part II are Raging Bull and Once Upon A Time In America.  Yes, I just listed three movies with De Niro.  That man is a legend, a genius, and a godsend.  The day he the day that true cinema dies.  Same goes for Scorsese."
Frankly, Scorsese is responsible for some of the worst movies in the movie history, like The Age of Innocence. The scenography is amazing, the costumes, make-up, lights and camera, absolutely delicious, but the script! The movie made me hate Daniel Day Lewis and think he must be one of the worst actors ever. The girls did their best to save the movie, but not even they could rescue it from Scorsese. Yuk.
But - if you think Scorsese and De Niro are "true cinema"... you think there was no cinema before 60's and there will be none after 2030's, probably even earlier. Your loss.

" a masterfully shot movie with tremendously powerful and unforgettable performances."
Probably masterfully shot. I don't know much about that. What I do know is that there are dozens of movies that are just as masterfully shot.
Unforgettable performances? Can't remember any of them. Marlon Brando had mouth full of tissue for some weird reason. I thought he was better in Streetcar Named Desire. Al Pacino was better in The Scent Of A Woman. Robert De Niro is lovely, I agree, but he isn't in the movie that long time. On the other hand, I assume he made some impression to me, as I find daddy Corleone most likable of all the characters in the movie.

"Mix that in with an unflinching look at organized crime rising in the early 20th century of American culture, as well as more themes than you can shake a stick well as one of THE most memorable closing scenes that decides a character for LIFE..."
Why would anyone want to look unflinched at organized crime rising in the early 20th century of American culture? Godfather, Goodfellas and Scarface made mobsters "fashionable".  Every "gansta" says Scarface is their favorite movie and they act like him. These movies are idolising crime, that's what they do, with "unflinching look at organized crime". Bull.
"More themes than you can shake a stick at" is not a very good idea. Keep it simple. When people try to say thousand words with every screen of a movie, all we get is a confusing soup of boredom.
THE most memorable closing scenes that decides a character for LIFE. I can only remember the closing scene of Godfather I.

"To truly appreciate this film you need to watch it start to end in a dark room with no1 bugging you and break down the film scene by scene and take note of the camera work, acting and dialogue. Withing the first 30 minutes you realize why Marlin Brando was one of the greatest actors to ever live, then to watch Al Pacino be born as the next greatest actors of our generation in the restaurant scene moments later. Truly an amazing movie."
I saw it in a dark room with no-one bugging me and my idea of a good movie is not one where I CAN break down the film scene by scene and take note of the camera work etc. A good movie is one that makes me forget that it's actually people saying what they are paid to say, written by someone - in some cases a lot of someones - thought of hours, days, months, even years -  in world constructed just for the make-believe... when I start noticing scenography, acting, clothes, camera and lights, editing and such, it's because the script stinks to high heavens.

"Engrossing motion picture that features some of the finest editing, cinematography and performances ever. There is a wonderful theme of family that runs through this film and its later sequels. No one is truly judged. Love is unconditional. God is the one who truly judges."
Oh? I didn't see unconditional love. I saw unconditional love die, because people considered their obligation more valuable than unconditional love. I saw people being judged for petty things, judged and condemned to be killed, betrayed, left, degraded... punished in different ways. The people who we are supposed to believe are unconditionally loved are being judged for failing The Code put in place by someone else. People are being forced to follow someone else's rules, Michael, Sonny and Fredo, but also everyone connected in any way to the family. Daddy Corleone does care about the people, everyone of his "subjects", but Michael doesn't care...
I also didn't find the movie the least "engrossing".

""The Godfather" is a huge piece of film entertaining, involving sentiment, nostalgia, filial affection, pride, integrity, loyalty, corruption, honor, betrayal and crime"
It wasn't entertaining; I missed the sentiment; nostalgia, perhaps, for mafiosor; I'd say possessive "affection" instead of filial; pride for something not worth being proud of; not much integrity, loyalty or honor but corruption, betrayal and crime, yes.

"an exquisite Mafia epic"
A Mafia epic, sure. But, frankly, most epics are terribly boring and pompous. So also Godfather.

"their steadfast loyalty, love for blood relations, and code of ethics"
 With other words, sense of self-preservation, possessiveness and... er... I assume even questionable ethics are ethics.


Hart Johnson said...

teehee. Careful. Somebody might send you fish wrapped in paper for that...

I like Godfather, but I don't LOVE it and i think a lot of your criticisms are right on. I think PART of the problem though, is looking at it TODAY instead of in its 70s cultural spot. At the TIME it was fresh and different--the characters were more nuanced than characters of early cinema or most of the 70s frivolity. But SINCE THEN even DEEPER development has become more of a norm... there has been a lot more demand to understand motivation.

And while I agree the crime world should make us flinch... I think it succeeds there, but it does it by immersing us deep in the PoV of people living in it. That we the viewer can make her own assessment, rather than feeling like we are being led to carefully.

Helena said...

One of the big problems with saying that something is the best movie or book or whatever is that there's a big dollop of subjectivity involved. This is why I seldom give "Best of..." lists much respect. But I've gotta confess that I like The Godfather and I can see why it's considered a good film, even while I've never been swept away with it. My own take on the Godfather movies is that the gangsters in them were trapped and doomed, so it's hard to understand how some people can still come away with the impression that it's a glamorous life. Hardly.
You make a good point about glamorizing crime with these movies, and it reminded me of Hollywood's long history of gangster films -- I think it was Warner Brothers that especially concentrated on churning out gangster films with actors like James Cagney, and they were wildly popular back in the 20's and 30's. So maybe the times haven't changed much.