Posts Tagged ‘the Godfather’

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The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films – Volume 5

July 22, 2010

Remember this old thing? 

If you don’t, get un-rusty here:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4 

Diane Keaton was informed that this would be her "career" wardrobe and was to be worn in every film thereafter.

31. Annie Hall (1977)
Local hero Woody Allen makes good, abandoning his earlier wackiness in favor of subtle comedy, a style more likely to pair him with women out of his league. In this case, his comedic foil and unbelievable girlfriend is played by Diane Keaton, who continues to acquit herself well in lightweight comedies, all the while looking like she hasn’t aged a day since Annie Hall, in which she looked to be about 50. 

One of many Oscar-winning films directed by Allen, who has yet to actually pick up a single statuette as he is otherwise occupied every single Tuesday (in perpetuity) playing his clarinet (in a not pretentious at all sort of way) in some boho New York club. This shows that he is a real artist who creates out of love for the medium, rather than for the acclaim and access to women he wouldn’t otherwise be dating. 

(Note: in his latter years, Allen leapt from women he “wouldn’t” be dating to women he “shouldn’t” be dating. Although there was some fallout from this unfortunate turn of events, he still continues to faithfully blow his own horn every Tuesday night for the rest of whatever.) 

Trey Stone and Matt Parker often cite Coppola's use of "angry marionettes" as an influence.

32. The Godfather Part II (1974) 
Easily twice the film the first one was, but somehow well more than twice as far down the list. The only explanation for the 29-spot difference is the notable lack of noted AFI pre-req Marlon Brando.

Followed by a prequel (1972) and a sequel (1990). The standard against which all other gangster flicks are judged, including The Godfather Part III, which by comparison is Uwe Boll’s cutting room floor. 

Just another "stoner" classic.

33. High Noon (1952) 
Laconic and square-jawed Gary Cooper plays a put-upon marshal faced with the task of taking on a gang of local baddies. To make matters worse, he is forced to drum up support for a this suicide mission in real-time, without the aid of useful montages or fades. 

Finding the townspeople reluctant to serve as bullet-catchers, Cooper laconically decides to face them on his own, aided only by his square jaw and some guns. The tension becomes nearly unbearable as the projectionist has problems switching reels, delaying the solid black and white action for nearly two “real-time” minutes, giving Cooper’s character 120 seconds of darkness with which to escape town and star in a livelier picture. 

Take it from someone who's lived around them: mockingbirds kick in around 10 pm at night and never shut the fuck up. So, I view this title as a suggestion or a list of imaginary instructions.

34. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) 
Based on Harper Lee’s bestselling book, To Kill a Mockingbird is a treatise on racism thinly disguised as a courtroom drama. Gregory Peck plays attorney Atticus Finch, who uncovers the town’s unsightly attitude and generally plays himself, only nobler. 

A young Robert Duvall plays local introvert Boo Radley, who finally blossoms into a 4-piece Britpop group thanks to the ceaseless intrusion of Finch’s children. Has done more to improve race relations in this country than any film since Roger Corman’s groundbreaking action flick, Malcom X-Men: Last Stand

Gable's moustache secretly envied Colbert's amazing eyebrow length.

35. It Happened One Night (1934) 
As the Great Depression wore on, filmmakers (in conjunction with “New Deal” legislation) sought to distract viewers from the epic grimness of their lives, utilizing a series of “screwball” comedies. This film, along with other classics of the genre (Bringing Up Baby [#97], Meatballs Pt. 2 [#51]) delighted moviegoers nationwide while relieving them of their last few nickels. 

Remade several times, the most recent being Abel Ferrara’s nun-killing reimagination, Bad Night and David Mamet’s tense but stagey drama, It Happened One Fucking Night.

Thanks to a contractual dispute, Hoffman and Voight were forced to appear under each other's names.

36. Midnight Cowboy (1969) 
Much has been made of Midnight Cowboy’s status as the only X-rated film to win an Oscar. Tame by today’s standards, the most offensive element of this film is its crass portrayal of New York City as a cruel, heartless metropolis populated by rude, self-centered citizens. 

Much has also been made of Dustin Hoffman’s “method” portrayal of Ratso Rizzo, in particular his ad-libbed “Hey! I’m walking here!” Widely considered to be one of several small touches that “made” the role, the larger-than-life legend overshadows the fact that this heavily quoted line is actually a studio overdub, done in post-production. Hoffman’s original ad lib was, in fact, “Hey! I’m acting here!” 

Of course, Jon Voight’s baby face and intensely blonde looks aided Hoffman in their own way, as the contrast between the two leads gave credence to the idea that Rizzo/Hoffman was as ugly on the inside as he was on the outside. 

Thanks to the advent of upskirt photography, the ensuing years were pretty great indeed.

37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) 
Nostalgia-thon in the mold of The Big Chill and Dazed and Confused, The Best Years of Our Lives follows the wistful reminiscing of its protagonists as they wax semi-poetic about their younger days, when they were big fish in an easily impressed small pond. 

Powerful performances aid the viewer in living vicariously through these human time capsules. Thrill along as they still listen to the same music, sport the same hairdos and drag out the same bitchin’ Camaro periodically. Superbly cautionary and infinitely sad. 

Yeah, bro. We’ll keep using “rad” if you want us to. 

[Ed. – Wow. Just wow. Not only have you clearly never seen the flick, but this is like a the review of Smells Like Teen Spirit that no one was asking for.] 

Because nothing says "brutally spare noir" like a pink-as-fuck poster.

38. Double Indemnity (1946) 
The harrowing tale of actuarial tables and the damage done, Double Indemnity is a spare noir masterpiece filled with hard-boiled women and easily duped men. Shot in black and white for maximum impact and film availability, Billy Wilder’s film takes viewers on a twist-filled ride through the greed damaged psyches of a claims adjuster and the two protagonists who wish to “game” the “system” through a reckless combination of murder and quotation marks. 

Hailed as “not even the best film of 1946.” 

The Russians are fond of their bristly makeout sessions. They also dig tiny horsemen emerging from somewhere around their shoulders...

39. Dr. Zhivago (1965) 
As is the case with most long-winded epics, this classic film is dense, Russian and exceedingly long. Packed wall-to-wall with pathos, snow and moustaches, Dr. Zhivago is easily the 39th best film on this list. Exceedingly long. 

Unfortunately, Grant is no match for the spray attachment and soon finds himself hurtling through a series of rectangles.

40. North by Northwest (1959) 
The second of over 50 Hitchcock films on this list, North by Northwest is an unparalleled thriller dealing with a case of mistaken identity. Everyman stand-in (as if) Cary Grant plays Richard Thornhill, an ad executive mistaken for another devastatingly attractive clotheshorse who has apparently found time in his busy schedule of being adored and aging immaculately to attempt to smuggle some state secrets out of the country. 

The film follows Grant’s handsome escape from his comparatively unattractive pursuers, which takes him everywhere from the Heart of America (an airplane-ravaged cornfield) to the Nose and Upper Lip of America (Mt. Rushmore). Contains approximately one (1) thrill per minute (TPM). 

-CLT

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The Fancy Plans Guide to AFI’s Top 100 Films – Vol. 1

May 26, 2010

Following up on Fundamental Jelly’s dare from a few weeks back, it’s the first volume of our guide to the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest American films. In this volume we take on the top 5 movies of all time, with an eye on quick readability and some general laziness on my part. Enjoy!

Welles' larger-than-life portrayal of Kane was made simpler by his being four times the size of the rest of the cast.

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
The movie against which all other movies are measured. Features a twist ending in which William Randolph Hearst tortures Charles Foster Kane to give up the location of the Rosebuds, a husband-and-wife team of Communist co-conspirators. They are then burned in front of Kane to prove a point. Followed by a sequel, The Third Man. (See also #57, possibly months from now…)

A Berkeley film class re-edit relegates Bogart's role to a cameo. A cameo of supportiveness.

2. Casablanca (1942)
Loosely translated as “White House,” this bilingual romance classic still remains an all-time favorite thanks to the iconic performances of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. To wit:

“Cuando la preocupación en cuenta la forma final al comer también Rick causa estado simple pianoman, especialmente por la noche esquina programa de Nazis difíciles del día la muerte el Thundercats. Ofrecen objetivo elección enlace a veces de llegar públicos básicos murderkill del paso central por el bolsillo, porque la adhesión recta muy thoughtcrime cadena de tratar se sitúan el movimiento pequeño regalo por su vestibule. La introducción circunstancia se makout session con la influencia Rick James necesita saltar los ojos del techo de búsqueda principal deseo enseñar Superfreak de nuevo paquete de clave de bienestar recoger mar diputado kilo of cocaine.”

The Godfather strongly hints that you would be happier with a different long-distance carrier.

3. The Godfather (1972)
The prequel to the best gangster flick of all time (Casino), The Godfather is a true Italian classic, beloved by millions for its stereotypical depictions and large amount of scenery-chewing. Features brilliantly murky cinematography, a surprisingly poignant rape scene and some of Ray Harryhausen’s finest stop-motion animation. (Especially evident during Sonny’s [James Caan] ill-fated tollbooth stop on Monster Island.)

Francis Ford Coppola proved to be an “actor’s director,” coaxing brilliant performances out of otherwise unremarkable thespians as Al Pacino, Marlon Brando and Abe Vigoda. Unfortunately, Brando’s ridiculous demands for “more pastries” resulted in his character being written out of the script via an orange-related mishap. Exceedingly long.

Rhett Butler seals his "cad" reputation by briefly setting Scarlett O'Hara's hairdo on fire.

4. Gone with the Wind (1939)
Praised for its gorgeous hand painted photography and long line of collector’s plates, Gone with the Wind tells the age-old story of an ill-fated romance between a bitch and an asshole.

What sets this masterpiece apart from comparable films such as You’ve Got Mail and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane is its sweeping vistas and Civil War backdrop, the latter of which aids the thin analogies that “love is a battlefield” and “ill-fated romances are the equivalent of Sherman’s March to the Sea, only in our hearts.”

Notable for its reckless use of color, colorful language and an actual colored person in a non-singing, non-dancing role. Exceedingly long.

With the invention of aviator glasses still several years off, some privileged gentlemen battle the sun's intense rays with Lasik eye removal.

5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The purportedly true story of D.W. “Lawrence” Griffith, a swashbuckling director/racist whose love of colonialism was unbridled, much like a majority of the horses in this film. A grand epic in the tradition of Gone with the Wind and Epic Movie, Lawrence of Arabia utilizes its breathtaking locations and romanticized portrayal of the main character to distract viewers from the fact that they’re leaking free time all over the place while watching it. Exceedingly long.

(A note to viewers following along at home: AFI apparently tabulates their ratings via a voting system that rewards exceedingly long films. [Known as QPM, or Quality Per Minute, to insiders.])

-CLT