Tag Archives: francis ford coppola

The Best Picture Project — The Godfather Part II (1974)

Godfather part ii.jpgDirected by Francis Ford Coppola

Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo, based upon the novel by Mario Puzo

Starring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, John Cazale, Bruno Kirby, Lee Strassburg, Robert Duval, G. D. Spradlin and Harry Dean Stanton

It strikes me now that as I’ve come to the homestretch on the Best Picture Project, and looking to start my final kick,[1] I’m facing down what might be the toughest stretch of movies, having inadvertently saved some of the longest, and some of those I’d been dreading most, for last.  The streak started a few movies back with Crash (dreading), continued to The Departed (long), then on to My Fair Lady (long), leading right up to this one (long).  To come, Schindler’s List (dreading for emotional reasons and my discomfort at feeling feelings), Return of the King (massive length), Cimarron (saved for basically being unavailable), and Million Dollar Baby (dread because when I saw it in the theater, the bait-and-switch made me downright hostile with it).  Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project — The Departed, dir. by Martin Scorsese (2006)

Departed234.jpgDirected by Martin Scorcese

Screenplay by William Monahan, based on the film Infernal Affairs

Starrring Leonardo Dicaprio, Matt Damno, Jack Nicholson, Vera Farmiga, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg

Martin Scorsese should have an Oscar – Martin Scorsese should have a fistful of Oscars.  A fistful in both hands.  He is a legend of cinema, with talent enough that he can hop genres and eras with relative ease, making his style fit them all, no matter how disparate then may be.  Better, he’s been consistently good for more than four decades, without the flameout in quality you get from many other so-called legends.[1]  Add to that he’s a student of film and treats it legitimately, and reverently, as art, and you can see why he should have more Oscars than he know what to do with.

But he doesn’t have more Oscars than he knows what to do with – he only has the one.  Not for directing Raging Bull or Goodfellas, but as director of The Departed.

Let me ask you a question – which is worse: Continue reading

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Ten Drive-In Scenes To Remember

Recently, my wife and I took our kids to a drive-in theater about an hour from my house.  As I kid I remember going to the drive-in several times, seeing such classics as Jaws 3:D and Kenny Rogers/Diane Lane/Erin Gray vehicle Six Pack, but my kids had never had the experience.  We saw Brave, which was substandard Pixar, and The Avengers, which was slightly better than all right.  Anyway, in honor of the event it seemed like a fun idea to look back at the ten most memorable Drive-In scenes in the movies – at least memorable to me. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Godfather (1972)

File:Godfather ver1.jpgDirected by Francis Ford Coppola

Written by Coppola and Mario Puzo

Adapted from the Puzo novel of the same name

Starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Talia Shire and John Cazale

I like The Godfather.  I don’t love it, I like it.  It seems reasonable to me that it’s routinely hailed as one of the best films ever made, because I can see how it’s loved, it’s just not a film I’m all that passionate about.  For all the good things said about it the thing that keeps me from loving it is the incongruity of a pulp novel adapted as opera.  Perhaps if The Godfather had followed the lead of Psycho – pulp novel becomes pulp film – I might have had a bigger thing for it.  Still, just because I don’t love it, doesn’t meant it’s bad either, because it’s not. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Patton (1970)

 Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner

Starring George C. Scott and Karl Malden

Written by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North

Patton, the film, like the man, is a curious oddity. Whereas war movies that came before it were usually rather jingoistic and made dying for one’s country a heroic act – think John Wayne in Green BeretsPatton makes clear that dying for one’s country is idiotic. Losers die for their country, we are told; winners make the other guy die for his country. It might be a conceit that’s pretty standard nowadays but at the time it must have been a watershed idea. Continue reading

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