Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Godfather Part 2 (1974)

"You're my brother. I love you. But I'm still going to kill you. Sorry."

Nominees: "Chinatown" "The Conversation" "Lenny" "The Towering Inferno"

He Said: This is a movie you can't refuse

Okay, first off I must say this will probably be a somewhat biased review. I love mob movies, and love the first two Godfather movies, the third one is best missed,although it does tie up some loose ends, but not worth the three hours of confusion.

Basically this movie comes down to Michael Corleone (the Don of the Corleone family) trying to legitimize the family but a hit narrowly misses him and he goes around trying to figure out who it was and take revenge on those responsible (read: lots of dead bodies at the end of the movie). There are also a few lengthy parts of his father, Vito Corleone, as a young man in New York and how he was able to make it from a nobody child immigrant to The Godfather.

Overall it is a very good movie, with good acting and an interesting portrayal of a crime family and their inner workings, and excellent characters that you can't help but get attached to. The only thing that I didn't like is how the basic story is such a small part of the overall crime family, it really comes down to a revenge movie, which I find surprising that it is so good and an Oscar winner when it is basically a rather simplistic plot.

The parts with young Vito Corleone were good, especially for me to see where he came from having watched the original some time before. They leave out some of the more specifics in the young Vito parts, like how exactly he went from nothing to the big wig. They show small parts of this but not enough specifics and this is what I am wondering about. But like most things perhaps it is better left unsaid and it just leaves our imagination to work its magic. I find it odd how much we develop a caring relationship for these characters and how we like them in spite of all of their heinous crimes and lying, but for some reason they come out looking like the good guys. Perhaps the only real criticism is the quiet talking/whispering in many scenes as they are trying to plot against each other, and the quiet talking combined with babbling on about various names of characters leads to some confusion, though not enough to really disrupt the movie (unlike The French Connection or Godfather Part 3).

So that's pretty much it, sorry for the uninspiring review. It's a really good mob movie that stands on its own completely separate from the first one. I haven't seen any of the other Oscar nominees from this year, I know Chinatown is supposed to be really good, but I can see why Godfather Part 2 won, and I would have to agree until I see the other nominees.

Another thing about this Oscar movie review blog is how I feel I watch movies differently than before. Before I would just sit back and enjoy them without too much concern for critique and what have you. But now, I am constantly critically looking at what is good and bad about the movie and what the story ultimately boils down to. I'm not sure if this is a good thing, bad thing, or no thing at all, just something I noticed in the last couple weeks.

Next up, American Beauty; Kevin Spacey at his creepiest.

She Said: Never Go Against the Academy.

Okay, so that has nothing to do with the movie. It's not even a parody of a line from the movie (it's from Part 1, I think). But I thought it was funny. Maybe The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will come after us for this blog...

But I'm supposed to be reviewing the movie. For starters, I've never seen Part 1, and hate Mob Movies in general. We had a big debate as to whether or not we should watch Part 1 first, but then my good friend Annabelle of The Year of Shoppig Detox pointed out that the movie is supposed to be THE BEST OF THAT YEAR. It's supposed to stand alone as a GOOD MOVIE in and of itself. So, I watched it, fully expecting to be lost.

But I wasn't. Underwhelmed, yes, but not lost. Except for the odd time where I had to check with Kurt as to who was who (which seems to be a reoccurring thing lately), I found I didn't really need to know what had happened before. Sure, maybe I would've had some greater understanding of the characters (especially Michael Corleone), but it didn't really matter. The movie stands well on it's own, without needing to summarize the whole story of the first one.

{As an aside, I hate it when books/movies do that. If I'm reading/watching the 2nd or 3rd one in the series, I've probably read/seen the first one. In fact, I'm so anal that if I go "Hey! I want to read "The Order of the Phoenix", I have to start at "The Philosopher's Stone" and work my way through them. Pathetic, I know, but true, hence the fact that I've read the first 4 Harry Potters 24 times)... but I digress. Besides I obviously don't stick to that, because we just watched Godfather Part 2, but trust me: a little bit of me died when we did it.}
Where was I?? Oh yeah, underwhelmed. The movie was beautifully shot and it depicted both time periods (the 10s and the 50s) quite nicely. I didn't really see the connection between Michael's and Vito's story, though. I kind of wish it had just been about Vito, cause I'd like to know more about him. Then Part 3 could've been about Michael, and they could've made a Part 4 with the stuff from Part 3, which I haven't seen and won't have to, because it didn't win (though it was nominated). I guess that means Part 2 and 3 would've won and Part 4 nominated... so what movie would have lost???... my head's starting to hurt.

The acting was pretty good, though I kept thinking both Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro were Christian Bale (especially DeNiro). Which is impossible, because he wasn't alive when it was filmed. But they all have the same looking lip. I like that lip. It's weird: I think Christian Bale is hot, but I don't like Pacino or DeNiro, and not just because they are old now.

Umm... this review makes no sense. The movie was good. I wanted it to be better. I think The Academy was probably right. And I'm not just saying that so they don't order a hit against me.

Verdict: The Academy was right. We guess.