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The Film List #1: The Godfather: Parts I & II

Welcome to the first official Film List post!

This past week, I knocked out two movies on the list: The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II. I'm pretty surprised that it's taken me this long to watch these films, especially considering how often they're referenced in pop culture. I mean, these movies are everywhere. When I was in high school, they sold t-shirts with the poster on them that had our principal's face in place of Marlon Brando's. Now that I think about it, I wish I had bought one.

I think two things kept me from watching The Godfather earlier. First off, it's a mob movie (well, the mob movie), a genre I've never really been interested in exploring. I always assumed that mob movies were hours of mindless violence, with quick scenes of someone eating spaghetti mixed in. Some of them are. Clearly, though, these movies are different.

The other thing that turned me off was the length. The Godfather is 175 minutes long, and its sequel spans 202 minutes. I can barely wait the two minutes it takes for my coffee to brew, let alone sit through that long of a movie.

Instead of sitting through each all at once, I watched about an hour a day, letting myself soak up what I had just seen. I also had to study.

The movies blew me away. I was never bored like I usually am while watching a long movie, and I was completely invested in these characters. I think a lot of that has to do with the actors cast in each role, some of whom are my favorites (Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, and Diane Keaton to name a few). The stories really make these characters into people, instead of the typical soulless crime machine that we often see in these types of films. That's why these movies are the standard.

I have to confess that I had never seen Al Pacino in anything other than Angels in America up until now. I was only aware of his legend, and now I see why. I'm going to have to watch some more of his work soon.

There was something else completely separate from the movie itself that I was paying attention to. These movies are 42 and 40 years old, respectively, which means all the actors, many of whom are still working consistently, have aged a little bit since then. For someone like me, who is used to seeing an older Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, seeing them in their 30s is a bizarre experience.

That's the cool thing about movies, though. They're frozen in the time they were made. They're moving history. I think that's something I'm really going to enjoy as I go through this project.

I'll leave you with the theme song to the movie. Maybe you should eat a cannoli in a dimly lit room as you listen.

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