Sunday, April 17, 2011

Guest Post: Watching The Godfather with Dawn

My name is Taylor Ferguson and I am both Dawn's husband and Zoe's dad. Dawn has been asking me to write something on this blog ever since she created it, but I really didn't have a topic to write about... until now. Dawn recently got on this classic movie kick and has been wanting to watch some older, great movies. Now about three years ago I decided to watch every movie on the AFI top 100 list and Dawn watched most of them with me, but there were some movies on the list that I had already seen so we didn't watch them. (And as a side note, we watched Gone with the Wind back then, but apparently it didn't take. Now she is waltzing around this house like it is Tara and threatening to leave me for Rhett Butler, who I keep reminding her is a fictional character.) Despite me lobbying for our first trip into movie classics being Star Wars, Dawn decided she wanted to watch all three Godfathers. So I figured I would give a review of this classic.

All in all Dawn did a good job watching the movie. She had already seen Good Fellas, so I think she was expecting a little more of an up-tempo movie, but I explained to her that while Good Fellas follows one character's rise from street hoodlum to a member of the mob, the Godfather tackles a different era and viewpoint of the Mafia, how the familes gained and maintained power. What I love most about this movie is how it hides the plot until the last 15 minutes. When the movie starts it has a 30 minute scene covering the wedding of the daughter of the Don, Vito Corleone. It is an incredible scene that sets the tone for the importance of family in the Mafia, but also lays out the framework for the level of respect the Don commands. In my opinion this scene right here makes this movie a classic, because Hollywood will not allow movies to do this anymore. (If this scene were done in a movie today it would have been 8 minutes tops).

Now after this scene the stage is set for what you think will be the story of Vito Corleone, and this is where the movie fools you. It fooled Dawn, because I kept having to stop the movie to explain what was going on. In her defense the movie can be confusing and hard to follow. What I found funny was I kept telling Dawn "pay attention to this scene, this scene is important" to the point that she said "you keep saying every scene is important."

That is what is so great, because the plot of this movie is not the importance of Vito, but rather transformation of Michael from war hero to ruthless Don. All along the way, the movie gives you signs and sets things up, (the scene in Vegas with Mo Greene is a perfect example of this) but doesn't really pay out until the end with the final scene between Michael and his wife where he lies right to her face. In fact, the most entertaining part of watching the movie was watching Dawn finally realize this, when she turned to me and said "I thought Michael was a good guy, but he is cold-blooded." All I could say to that was it's not personal, it's strictly business.

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