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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:29 pm 
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I had long been avoiding watching this film due to its terrible reputation, but last night I finally sat down and watched it to see for myself. And while The Godfather Part III certainly pales in comparison to its predecessor, it's not a trainwreck either. The parts of the film that work, work incredibly well. The relationship between Michael Corleone and Kay continues to fascinate as does his guidance of the protege Vincenzo (Andy Garcia is quite good).

But the film largely sags because the parallels that Coppola draws to the first two films are poorly conceived and ineffective. The mirrored parade/assasination sequence of Joey Zasu (Joe Mantegna - who I wish was in the film more) is not as compelling as the the nearly identicle sequence in the Godfather Part II. The overlong and drawn out opera sequence at the end has far too much going on and doesn't have the gravitas it really needs. It's poorly edited and shaped.

As for the script, it's probably the worst thing going. Coppola really tries to make some kind of statement about ambition and power corrupting everybody but he ends up making a statement about humanity that largely amounts to something along the lines that we are born into sin and none of us are redeemable (particularly augmented by the Cardinal's parable about the stone in the fountain). I really don't think this is his intention. And while Sofia Coppola gets a lot of blame for being a terrible actress in the film - and I agree, she's not great - she is also given some of the worst dialogue in the film. Her character is also poorly drawn, falling somewhere between a naive believer in her father and a petulant brat. I also found it exceedingly difficult to sympathize with her love for Vincenzo as it was merely announced but we learn nothing of its foundation (that and Bridget Fonda was introduced and thrown away haphazardly in the opening of the film).

But for me, the biggest problem I had with the film was the absence of Robert Duvall. Apparently, the studio wouldn't meet his salary demand ($5 million) and that's why he was written out of the film. But to me, he is one of the most important characters of the first two films. His role as consigliere and quasi-confessional for Michael Corleone is fundamental to our understanding of him and to his growth. Also, with so much importance put in the first two films on how meaningful it is to be an advisor to the Don and Michael's early wish for his son to be a lawyer, it's bizarre that the rest of the Godfather Part III has Michael using his lawyer so little. We learn pretty well nothing about the guy or why he is being trusted with the Corleone business.

Anyway, I'm curious what other members of the forum think of the film...


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:01 pm 
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It's good, for the most part, but you bring up several good points about what was wrong with it. It rambles in places, and the whole subplot involving the Pope I didn't think was necessary. The idea of it is appealing, because it basically brings Michael back to who he was in the beginning of the first picture. Someone who despised the life he was groomed to live in has grown to someone who despises what he'd become. I would qualify the confession scene and the climax of the opera sequence as some of Al's most brave performances.

Also, it speaks to something I've always found very interesting in drama. The idea of someone waking up to realize that the environment he's created for himself is everything he hates about the world and himself, and what he does to try and change that. The famous example of this in film is in Network when Howard Beale goes off-script on his last day.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:57 pm 
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It's not a terrible film per se,but for me it's the most disappointing sequel.
The godfather part II is one of the greatest film ever,while this film feels tired,rushed and operaic.
Granted probably I would have liked it more if they kept the original title "The Death of Michael Corleone "(so to dissociate it partially from the other two)".It's no secret Coppola did this film solely to solve his financial issues which had troubled him since One from the Heart.I agree that the absence of Duvall can't be forgiven,Paramount has always tried to be cheap with the cast of the series..Apparently they made Strasberg a ridiculous first offer,before Coppola step up and manage to convince them he had to be in the film. Garcia brings some energy to the film,but he also has pretty much a thankless role.The whole idea behind it could have made a much better film,but alas the result is flat.Even Willis' photography failed to impressed me,and Carmine Coppola is no Rota!
That said,I liked the twist on Talia Shire's character and the melodramatic ending.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:32 pm 
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I too only recently (within the last few weeks) finally saw Godfather Pt III and while I don't the think the film is bad, it certainly lacks the sweeping ambition and carefully considered camera work of the first film and to some extent the second. The problem with the film is that it feels like any other film from 1990, and it's this lack of reach, of proper scope, that makes it ultimately a disappointment. I agree about Mantegna, but he's pretty much great in anything.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:37 pm 
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I remember seeing Robert Duvall interviewed at the time and I believe his direct quote was "Parity, I'm just asking for parity", meaning he demanded the same salary as Al Pacino.
I don't care if an actor occasionally does it just for the money, but, it's a damn shame when they won't do a quality film because the money is not quite enough.
And, this is a quality film, even though I more or less agree with every criticism voiced so far. Coppola always strives for quality and has proven willing to risk everything he owns to achieve his vision.
I also remember the late Gene Siskel's review although I can't quote it directly. After acknowledging that the film was the weakest of the three, he said something like "there is still a richness and depth here that transcends anything else you are likely to see this year."


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:38 pm 
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not that what critics think means anything but Ebert liked Pt III more than II.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:44 pm 
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Antoine Doinel wrote:
The overlong and drawn out opera sequence at the end has far too much going on and doesn't have the gravitas it really needs. It's poorly edited and shaped.

Both sequels seem to try to replicate the "Today we settle all family business" moment near the end of the original, with neither coming close to the excitement and power of that sequence. I'm not one of these people who romanticize the original film or anything, but that is a great moment and while I don't blame them for trying to recapture that magic, I just would rather have a new experience than be reminded of past ones.

Also, the assassin's trick of playing dead by bugging out his eyes is embarrassingly hokey.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:09 pm 
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I enjoy Coppola's commentary for this a lot more than the film itself. It's a really personal, heartfelt track.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:19 pm 

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I really like the fact that Michael is betrayed by the one thing over which he always assumed he had complete control: his own body. That's a painful and honest realization about aging, but it's even more horribly tragic when associated with a man whose whole life has been about consolidating power. Of course, the film handles this idea poorly, with Pacino stumbling around like Fred Sanford. "Fredo, this is the big one. I'm comin' Fredo!" And I'm always amazed at how quickly a carafe of orange juice and a tray of candy bars can be produced in the Vatican. They must have some kick-ass vending machines there.

Oh, and can anyone answer this: how does Diane Keaton know that Michael killed Fredo? Surely, Michael's guys would have covered that up very skillfully. Talia Shire says something about Fredo accidentally drowning while he was out fishing, but Diane Keaton--who was competely out of the family--seems to know the whole truth. That always bugged me.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:48 am 

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Kay knows because she knows that Micheal is evil. Micheal's sister is in denial, overlooking the death of her own husband and her brother at Micheal's hands.
I've always wondered how long it would take before people start declaring The Godfather III an underappreciated masterpiece (fortunately that doesn't seem to be happening yet--and it should be remembered that it received decent reviews when it was released and was nominated for several Academy Awards). The film has its moments but I really wonder how it could have been worse. Its most impressive feat, for me, was that it captured the look of the earlier films, even if it was more sloppily shot and edited. But bad performances, bizarre casting, a weak script, an absurd over-the-top plot, the lack of Duvall, an unsubtle performance by Pacino...it's a pretty sad way to finish it off. Coppola and crew give the film a touch of class, but it only barely hides the cynical, big payday nature of the whole project.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:52 am 
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I don't think it had to be spelled out to Kay that Michael had Fredo whacked.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:16 am 

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I always thought that the reason the film doesn't work as well as the first two is that it plays like a soap opera. It's not as bad a film as most people say, but there is no way it could live up to the first two films. And yes Ebert liked Pt III more than pt II because it dealt with Michael trying to buy this forgiveness for what he had done, and the sins of the fathers being passed onto his children.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:43 pm 

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montgomery wrote:
Kay knows because she knows that Micheal is evil. Micheal's sister is in denial, overlooking the death of her own husband and her brother at Micheal's hands.


There's a big difference between knowing someone is evil and knowing that they definitely without question performed a specific action for which the knower (Kay) had no reason to suspect the evildoer was capable of. Anyway, Kay doesn't think Michael is evil; if she did, she wouldn't be hanging out with him in Part III. She just thinks he's been corrupted, which is why she prays for his soul. As for Connie, there's no indication at all, as far as I can remember, whether she really knows the truth about Fredo--to say she's in denial suggests that she knows something. Why would she guess that Michael killed Fredo--Michael could have easily blamed his brother's death on someone who was retaliating for Hyman Roth. The drowning story is too obvious of a cover story, which is exactly why everybody would have believed it.

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
I don't think it had to be spelled out to Kay that Michael had Fredo whacked.


Michael didn't publicize that he was ever dissatisfied with Fredo, and if anyone saw that he was, then the public hug at Mama's funeral should have set their mind at rest. And even Kay wouldn't think that Michael would stoop to killing his own brother--surely this "Sicilian thing" would protect Fredo just as much as it would ensure that Michael's non-family enemies would get whacked. Also, Kay wasn't anywhere near Michael through all of these events--she just wouldn't have had any knowledge of what was happening in the family anymore.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 2:06 pm 
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THX1378 wrote:
And yes Ebert liked Pt III more than pt II because it dealt with Michael trying to buy this forgiveness for what he had done, and the sins of the fathers being passed onto his children.

This,and the fact he didn't like Blue Velvet because of the bad depiction on violence against women makes me question (even more) about Ebert's way of thinking.Did he really like pt II less just because it was more cynical and pacino showed no sign of remorse ? :|


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 2:21 pm 
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I have plenty of problems with Ebert, but have you seen his top lists from the 60s and early 70s? The man had (at one point) surprisingly good and at times eccentric taste in film: Ebert names names


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:01 pm 
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My huge problem with Ebert is his review for Fight Club, but it doesn't surprise me. That most anyone of his generation didn't like it was solidified after my dad said he didn't get it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:07 pm 
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I'm in my early twenties and I assure you, Fight Club is a piece of shit for all generations.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:33 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
I'm in my early twenties and I assure you, Fight Club is a piece of shit for all generations.

You sound like my brother.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:38 pm 
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I'm all over the map with "3", as the Sopranos would say. I do think it's somewhat better than its rep, but yeah the casting is weird in some key places and too much of it feels redundant and therefore a touch boring even in the well-conceived pieces/developments. And then we go to Rome and I get very happy for all the wrong reasons - as soon as Michael declares that the Corleones need to save the Pope's life, I'm in Bad Movie Heaven. It's guffaws straight to the finish line!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:42 pm 
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LionelHutz wrote:
THX1378 wrote:
And yes Ebert liked Pt III more than pt II because it dealt with Michael trying to buy this forgiveness for what he had done, and the sins of the fathers being passed onto his children.

This,and the fact he didn't like Blue Velvet because of the bad depiction on violence against women makes me question (even more) about Ebert's way of thinking.Did he really like pt II less just because it was more cynical and pacino showed no sign of remorse ? :|

Ok, I know Ebert gave Part II something like three stars at the time of release, but I clearly remember him mentioning that his opinion of the movie has considerably improved and I have little doubt he now considers it superior to Part III (unless there is something I've missed).

Yeah, and while I don't agree with his take on Blue Velvet either, his problem with the movie is considerably more complex and intelligent than your summary would have us believe. It's certainly a criticism that fans of the film should address. His review of Once Upon a Time in the West, on the other hand...

Which is to say, a critic's dislike of one or two movies that you happen to like is terrible grounds for dismissal.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:30 pm 
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Mr_sausage wrote:
Yeah, and while I don't agree with his take on Blue Velvet either, his problem with the movie is considerably more complex and intelligent than your summary would have us believe. It's certainly a criticism that fans of the film should address. His review of Once Upon a Time in the West, on the other hand...Which is to say, a critic's dislike of one or two movies that you happen to like is terrible grounds for dismissal.

It's not a matter of dislinking a film I appreciate (the guy seems to like so many movies I absolutely loathe,but he also gave Citizen Kane an enlightening commentary) it's the motivation behind it which I sometimes find strange.

I couldn't find the original review but this short bit, which also appears on the dvd if I'm not mistaken.

I'm not questioning his intelligence or knowledge,it's just the fact that I respect him a lot as a critic that makes me puzzled a bit (that and picking Crash as his best film last year).


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:12 pm 
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LionelHutz wrote:
I'm not questioning his intelligence or knowledge,it's just the fact that I respect him a lot as a critic that makes me puzzled a bit (that and picking Crash as his best film last year).

You're right to be puzzled, but I don't see why the above should be surprising. You're merely confronting the puzzle that is the arbitrary nature of taste in another person, with all of its inexplicable eccentricities growing out of similarly inexplicable bits of personality. The whole of one person's judgement naturally makes little sense to another person--but by a certain age this should be commonplace.

Anyway, here is Ebert's full review for Blue Velvet.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:31 am 

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domino harvey wrote:
I'm in my early twenties and I assure you, Fight Club is a piece of shit for all generations.

I was in my early twenties when the film was released and I felt it captured the zeitgeist of American male youths in the 1990s. It's interesting how polarizing that film is among cinephiles, but we should probably move this to the appropriate thread before we go any further.

RE: The Godfather III

It's my least favorite of the trilogy but I think it's a pretty good film overall and I liked how it took the Michael character full circle back to the good person he used to be before in the beginning of the first film. I've heard quite a few people say they dislike Part III because Michael is a bastard and as such he should've continued being a nasty fellow until it destroys him. That to me sounds like the conventional approach.

Probably the most frustrating element of Part III is Sofia Coppola's character/her acting,

[spoiler]although I loved her death scene at the end in all it's melodramatic glory.[/spoiler]


Last edited by Roger_Thornhill on Sat Jun 30, 2007 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:35 pm 
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Mr_sausage wrote:
You're right to be puzzled, but I don't see why the above should be surprising. You're merely confronting the puzzle that is the arbitrary nature of taste in another person, with all of its inexplicable eccentricities growing out of similarly inexplicable bits of personality. The whole of one person's judgement naturally makes little sense to another person--but by a certain age this should be commonplace.

Can't argue that. I think that,as many others,I tend to expect less eccentricities from a famous film critic and more objectivity. Which makes me very naive I know :) Thanks for the link though!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 4:48 pm 

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LionelHutz wrote:
Can't argue that..
I think that,as many others,I tend to expect less eccentricities from a famous film critic and more objectivity.

How can any film critic be objective when our likes and dislikes are based on a plethora of things such as personal experiences, mood, our environment, level of knowledge, age, etc...?


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