Archive for Talia Shire

THE GODFATHER (1972)

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2016 by cdascher

Godfather_ver1Well, here we are. This one had us stalled out a bit while we put off watching it. Not because watching would be a chore, or that we felt we’d have little to say about the movie. Quite the contrary. 1972’s The Godfather is a staple of best-ever lists and has achieved the cinematic triple crown of enduring critical regard, commercial success and lasting cultural significance both artistic and popular. I’ve heard it called the best movie ever made and I honestly can’t find an argument against that statement. This really is where it all came together. So while I quite looked forward to watching it yet again and discussing it yet again, we run into the problem of just what to say about it that hasn’t been said a thousand times over. I mean, this is normally where I’d summarize the story, but I can’t imagine you’d actually be reading a movie blog if you haven’t seen this film at least once in your life. So these two bloggers stalled and tried to find an angle to work that could manage a fresh viewpoint. We tried to secure an actual Italian-American to watch with us but that proved fruitless, despite our South Philly locale. But when we realized the blog could wait no longer, we declared this holiday to be an Italian-American cultural appreciation day, set to work on several recipes from Chloe Coscarelli’s Vegan Italian Kitchen and treated ourselves to a New Year’s Day viewing of a classic saga of organized crime.

Given how intimidated I feel making a stab at intelligently discussing The Godfather, I’ll pursue a more personal approach. I’ll bet everyone has story about this movie, and here is mine. The first time I ever saw it, I inadvertently rented a special VHS release that combined both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II into a single piece, edited into chronological order. I was about three and half hours into watching, with no ending in sight, when I began to wonder just how long this damn movie was? I somehow made it through that six hour, 15 minute beast only to learn the truth later.

Also, putting an orange peel in one’s mouth really can frighten a small child, something I learned personally by trying the experiment on my nephew. I have, in fact, photographic evidence of him fleeing in fear as I approach menacingly, citrus rind in mouth. Fans of The Godfather know that much of its content was inspired by actual people and events, but I’m living proof of real-world basis for that famous scene.

This was my second time watching the film, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. There is a lot that is emotionally compelling about this movie. It’s also my strongest experience with both Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. Mouse mentioned to me that one critique of the film centered on how it glorified organized crime – and I imagine that is a valid one. The original Don Corleone, Vito (played to perfection by Brando) is an extremely sympathetic character. He appears to have a moral compass and a deep regard for family, and as audience members we remain shielded from what I have to imagine are some of his worst actions. Continue reading

ROCKY (1976)

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2013 by cdascher

rockyI love living in Philadelphia. There’s so much to love here. Cultural districts like the Avenue of the Arts are the pride of the city, connected to neighborhoods by a network of bike lanes. And then there is that Center City skyline. Open the City Paper any given week and you’ll see how much is going on. It’s no wonder movies and TV are regularly filmed in Philly. From The Sixth Sense to Cold Case to Silver Linings Playbook, Hollywood can’t get enough of this town.  The Kimmel Center. The Gayborhood. The Barnes. What makes me appreciate it all the more is that the city I come from had none of this. Now, I certainly have a deep and abiding love for the town I was born in, but it was a place known more for post-War blight and depopulation than anything else. It was a place you move out of, not move to. And just where was this place I grew up in? That would be Philadelphia, of course!

As a native Philadelphian, I’ve tried to explain to my transplant friends is how different the city feels from when I was a lad, when it was the ne’er do well middle child of the I-95 corridor. Even in an outlying middle class neighborhood like where my family lived, there was always a certain ambivalence to our civic outlook. Sure, we loved this place (especially when the Phillies won), but then we looked around and wondered if our best days were behind us. To communicate this to the folks who weren’t around at the time, I always recommend they watch the quintessential Philadelphia Movie: Rocky. In case you’ve never had basic cable, or you’re confusing it with the sequels, the story goes like this. Rocky Balboa, AKA The Italian Stallion, is a nobody boxer who supplements his meager income working as a goon for the neighborhood loan shark; a job where he gets in trouble because he’s too nice to break thumbs. About the only bright spot in his dismal life is a nascent romance with his friend’s excruciatingly shy sister Adrian. When the flamboyant world champion Apollo Creed, decides to give an unknown fighter a shot at the title, essentially as a publicity stunt, guess who he picks. Yes, Rocky, primarily because he likes his name. The odds are so lopsided that no one outside of Balboa’s camp even considers it a real fight. To Rocky this is the one-time chance to earn the respect of everyone, including himself. With Adrian’s support he trains for his big shot.

We were thrilled when we drew this film – me, because I had never seen it, and Mouse, well – see above. I was not expecting a beautiful, shudder-worthy love story though. Fraught, complex, uncomfortable at times – to see two extremely shy, bumbling people begin to get close to one another was absolutely the best part of this movie for me. I also like seeing a film depict a character like Rocky as complex. Sure, he is simple in a lot of ways – but there are moments, these ACHING moments, when you can tell there is a lot going on inside. From

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