Tag Archives: Mafia

Keep it in the family

I don’t like Mafia movies. I blame a college professor who made my film class analyze The Godfather for six weeks.

Six. Weeks.

But I was intrigued by trailers for The Family, a comedy about one such family in witness protection in France, starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer.  So this morning I bought a cheap ticket and took a peek.

The-Family-2013-Movie-Poster1I enjoyed the view.

The Family is a black comedy — lots of laughs, but an equal dose of violence and blood. As weird as this may sound, I was happy to see the women of the family were just as tough — if not tougher — than the men.

Word of warning:  Don’t leave a tennis racket within reach of the daughter (played by Glee‘s Dianna Agron).

And a star is born in young John D’Leo, who plays the son Warren.  I’ve never seen him in anything before, but now I’m pretty sure he’ll be everywhere.

Or the ‘family’ will have something to say about it…

Movies matter

Do movies change lives?

Mark Cousins of The Telegraph spent six years traveling the world compiling a history of film.  That process convinced him that movies do indeed make a difference.  (They did in his life.  Six years — geez.)

Here’s his list of the Top 10 movies that changed the world.

Me?  I don’t need to travel the globe to know movies make an impact.  I can’t imagine life without them, so my list is a bit more personal.  (Okay, it’s completely personal.)

Top 10 Movies that Changed My World

The Godfather (1972): Due to my youth, I didn’t see the movie when it was released.  But thanks to an overly enthusiastic film professor in college, I spent six weeks of my life watching it. And analyzing it.  As a result, I hate it and all things mafia.

The Way We Were (1973): This was my introduction to Robert Redford and movie romance.  I have been faithful to both ever since.  I’ve watched that film literally hundreds of times.  The opening strains of its Oscar-winning song start the waterworks every time.

Foul Play (1978): This Chevy Chase-Goldie Hawn comedy was Chevy’s first movie post-SNL and introduced Dudley Moore to American audiences.  It was also the first time I remember laughing with my mother in a movie theatre.  Cherished memory.

Airplane! (1980): I was sick when I left the theatre — facial muscles and ribs sore from laughing so incredibly hard.  I think I knew even then that I was witnessing the birth of a whole new genre of comedy.  “Ain’t that a pisser.”

Ordinary People (1980): I went to see this film because Robert Redford directed it — I told you I was faithful — and was stunned by the subject matter, the performances, the mood, the music.  Who knew Mary Tyler Moore could be so cold?  I have watched it again and again.

Amadeus (1984): My love affair with costume drama began with this amazing film.  I knew very little about Mozart before I saw it; it inspired me to learn more.  If it’s on television, my day is decided (and it takes about a day to watch — it’s that long).  Mesmerizing.

Broadcast News (1987): I was working at a television station and dating a news reporter when this movie was released, so it hit very close to home. Loved hearing a Southern accent on a leading lady, too. (Holly Hunter should have won the Oscar, btw.)

When Harry Met Sally (1989): I think this movie appears on most women’s Top 10 lists.  We all have those friendships with men that either have or could or should spark something ‘more.’  This was the fantasy with the perfect actors cast to make it come true.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994): A movie ‘bromance’ with Morgan Freeman in the mix to make it heartfelt and meaningful.  Everything about this movie is perfect — the setting, the script, the casting.  Another marathon, it takes up a whole day when it comes on TV, but it’s worth it.

The American President (1995): It was Aaron Sorkin’s warmup to The West Wing, and what a wonderful one it was.  Michael Douglas and Annette Bening make every word ring true, and Martin Sheen learned a few tricks — as Chief of Staff — that came in handy for his future role as President Jed Bartlet (also a Sorkin production).

In the more than 15 years since, lots of other great movies have had an impact on my life.  But these 10 laid the foundation for the films, filmmakers and stars to come.

I’ll be thinking of them today as I head to — where else? — the theatre.

Killer enthusiasm

This morning I saw Jon Hamm featured in a promo on AMC for “Thanksgiving with the Godfather.”  Apparently the cable channel plans to show Parts I and II on Turkey Day, and Hamm was talking about how much the series of movies means to him.

Oh, what a different story I would tell.

When I first saw “The Godfather,” I thought it was a great movie, too.  I’m not a big fan of Mafia subject matter, but you can’t deny the performances.

But then I took a college class in film criticism, and my instructor was a huge “Godfather” fan.  He liked the movie so much, we spent six weeks — count ’em, six weeks — dissecting every word and gesture and thought and whisper in that film.

His enthusiasm for that movie killed any warmth I might have felt for it.  I can’t  even look at it anymore.

The very strains of “The Godfather” theme music make me physically ill.

The only reason I could watch the promo for “Thanksgiving with the Godfather” is because Jon Hamm was so prominently featured.

We can only hope that whack professor doesn’t ever do a class on “Mad Men.”