OTB#7: The Godfather

The Godfather. Francis Ford Coppola. 1972. ⚄

I watched the second episode in this series a couple of months ago, and it was (to my great surprise) quite fun.

So I’m guessing this is gonna suck.

[five minutes pass]

I can’t stop staring at the huge wads of cotton they’ve stuffed into Brando’s face:

He can barely talk! There’s so much cotton in those cheeks!

Anyway! I mean, I’ve just seen a Scorsese movie, and Coppola’s interests here intersect with Scorsese’s single obsession, so it’s interesting to contrast these two. Coppola has made a huge variety of films, many of them really interesting. Scorsese has made a gazillion mafia/hard guy movies? Is that accurate? I’m just typing from memory without doing any research; whaddayawant. Getouttahere. Anyway, everything here is just like better than Scorsese, from the interesting editing, to the very unrealistic set design, to the Altmanesque dialogues.

OK, perhaps I should watch more than five minutes before I declare this movie a winner? Right?

[an hour passes]

This is a really fun movie. Sure, it’s pure escapist fantasy — the mobsters are really smart and cool and come up with really inventive ways to get what they want (e.g. the horsie) — but it makes for a really entertaining film. It’s like a 50s western in many ways. Cool showdowns.

The performances are spotty, but the framing makes it work.

[nine more hours pass]

I’m still entertained, but it does feel like they could have cut some stuff here. That is: There’s more than a few scenes in here that are less than compelling.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.

OTB#12: Raging Bull

Raging Bull. Martin Scorsese. 1980. ⚁

OK, we’re now in the final dozen movies in this blog series, and what’s striking about the final (i.e., most highly rated) movies is that they’re mostly box office smashes:

It is, perhaps, not surprising, exactly — but it’s definitely a thing. It’s not that the OTB list is full of experimental film or anything (quite the opposite), but in the final dozen we have five 70-ish-ish American blockbusters, and that’s not the ratio for the rest of the list.

So… I guess… directors like movies that other people like? Well, in the 70s.

And one other thing: I’ve seen absolutely all of these before.

But most of them I haven’t seen in a long while, because American films of the 70s isn’t really something that I’m really interested in. So I saw Raging Bull probably on rental VHS sometime as a teenager, and I remember nothing about it.

Perhaps it’s great! Let’s find out.

[two minutes pass]


I didn’t think it was possible to get such a feeling of boredom and loathing and revulsion from a simple dolly shot.

BUT IT IS!!1!!

[ten minutes pass]

It’s almost fascinating how unnatural and stilted the dialogue is. Like the scene where De Niro gets his brother to hit him in the face.

I can see guys creaming themselves at the tough guy talk (which explains the votes), but… it’s such a fantasy.

Everything is a cliché from the mobster lite talk to the shrew of a wife.

[fourty minutes pass]

OK, now I’ve changed my mind a bit. It’s like… it’s like… this is Italian social-realist film for dummies? I find all the conversations between people intensely uninteresting, though. And that’s perhaps because they never shut up? But I do like some of the shots. The discussion between the brothers in the kitchen (about how whether De Niro wins or loses against the new guy) is… it doesn’t feel real at all (it’s so erudite, but pretend-tough), but it holds some interest. Especially when the wives got involved (and summarily dismissed.)


Oh, Richard Ayoade voted for this one. I just read his Ayoade on Top (very witty), and here’s his votes:

Well, OK, that’s certainly a consistent point of view.

[half an hour passes]

So… this is a male version of The Housewives of Lon Guyland? The discussions the have are risible and annoying.

The perms are impressive, though:

[three more hours pass, apparently]

OK, now the protagonist is a stand-up comic. If there’s anything more boring than sports people, it’s stand-up people. This movie is just sublime!

I can’t even tell whether his routines are supposed to be really, really bad, or whether it’s supposed to be good, because he just does a standard stand up routine, as far as I can tell.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best series.