June 11, 2014

The List: The Godfather Edition, Part III

Continuing with The List, The Godfather Edition, Part III. In this four part column, we've been looking at my Top 20 favorite scenes from The Godfather Trilogy, with commentary. Here is #9-#5:

#9. The Scream (The Godfather, Part III)

Why It's Cool: There is a lot to NOT like in The Godfather, Part III ... but there is a lot TO like as well. In the end, all three films are basically the same thing: they open with a party and end with an assassination tango. Godfather III's assassination ending isn't quite as iconic as I or II's but it contains some amazing moments: Connie putting out her own hit, an Italian assassin laying waste to all of Michael's bodyguards, an intense opera nearly mimicking the action ... and the scene above.

A lot of The Godfather is emotional but Parts I and II hardly ever go for the tear jerk. This ending scene, though terribly acted by Sofia Coppola, is the first moment in the entire trilogy where I cried from the intense emotions swirling around me. The temporary silent scream from Pacino is just ... soul crushing.

Best Line: It's all in Michael's scream. It seems like it takes decades to come out. Powerful.

#8. Horse Head (The Godfather)

Why It's Cool: Does this even need an explanation? It's a fucking horse head in a bed.

Best Line: "Ahhhhh. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Ahhhh. Ahhh. Ahhh. Ahhh". -- Jack Woltz

#7. The Birth of the Godfather, Part 3 (The Godfather)

Why It's Cool: This is when Michael goes from 'civilian' to made guy, a lot more than a soldier; a prince on his way to the throne.

What really sticks out about this scene is its naked brutality. For a movie released in 1972, this assassination scene is pretty graphic: full on head-blood spray and a dude choking on a bullet (literally) ... this is not just impactful on a character level but also on a visceral one.

Best Line: Why did I even put an option for 'Best Line'? I'm realizing most of the best moments in the trilogy involve something NOT being said. The blood says it all in this scene.

#6. Sick Mind, Sick Body (The Godfather, Part III)

Why It's Cool: Another great moment from the much maligned film. You get iconic lines and some of Pacino's most intense acting. The Godfather, Part III does an excellent job of showing Michael's guilt and how it becomes a large factor in his body breaking down.

Best Line: It's easy to say the now classic line, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in", but to me, the reason this scene is so powerful (and why it displays some of Pacino's most under appreciated acting in his career) is his loose mind letting his emotions just spray out. When he screams, 'FREDO! FREDO!', it sends shivers down my spine.

#5. Father and Son (The Godfather)

Why It's Cool: Another quiet, but important, scene in the trilogy. In a world where men can't seem to say exactly what they want (thanks to those pesky, unmanly emotions), Vito Corleone can't decide if he wants to be biological father or mob mentor. I think Marlon Brando's wide range of emotions here is what won him the Oscar.

Best Line: "Whoever comes to you with this Barzini meeting ... he's the traitor". -- Vito

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