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Everything posted by trukx

  1. trukx

    The Godfather Pt. II

    Thinking about the interview w/ Tom Santopietro about his book The Godfather Effect, the lack of true Italian-American representation before these Coppola movies. I think Frank Sinatra is one of the first big movie stars allowed to keep his Italian name, and to kind of show that kind brash swagger we associate with Italian-Americans. Both Dean Martin and Tony Bennett were Italian-American singers who changed their to something WASPier. If you take a look at this list of Italian-American actors, the bigger stars born before 1930 mostly had to change their names: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Italian-American_actors Seems like it was OK to have an Italian name if you were more of a character actor or villain, like Cesar Romero for example. There was a certain demand for the Latin lover type or antagonistic historical figures, so his name was sort of an exotic calling card for this niche. Ernest Borgnine, Vince Edwards, Aldo Ray, Guy Williams, and Don Amiche are all Italian-Americans who changed their names to seem less ethnic. Victor Mature is a rare example who didn't, but I suppose Mature is simply a name that doesn't look Italian even though the actor does. Marlon Brando, for the record, is not Italian. Sinatra is an absolute outlier of a star who was empowered to be ethnic. Maybe it was OK for him to be Italian b/c he had blue eyes. This all leads me to James Caan (not Italian either) being credited w/ "bada-bing." I'll repost this again for Part II, but in the original Godfather thread I posted a link to the Oxford English Dictionary giving the credit in 1965 to Italian-American comedian Pat Cooper (given name Pasquale Caputo). "1965 P. Cooper Italian Wedding in Our Hero (transcription of sound recording of comedy routine) (O.E.D. Archive) 'They never let go the envelopes. Ya gotta pull—bada-bing-a-bada-bang-a-bada-bing!'" https://www.oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/257595 After listening to Santopietro's interview, I'm guessing Caan picked that expression up hanging out w/ the Mafia preparing for his role as Sonny Corleone and just dropped it in. The fact the phrase didn't make it into mainstream media until 1972, and that it took a Jewish actor to do it, just says a lot about the lack representation in Hollywood everyone is talking about. If not for the tape recorder that caught Pat Cooper's act, there'd be no proof Caan didn't just make it up. I'm in favor of keeping both Godfather films on the list, but I'd like to add Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973) b/c it introduced a much realer, down & dirty look at the Mafia. For all of the authentic Italian touches Coppola brings to the pictures, the world of saga is cast in the nostalgia of that rich, warm & cozy "mahogany" feel Paul refers to in the previous episode. Scorsese has just as much if not more authentic Italian touches as FFC, but it just seems a lot more like real life and normal experience...plus that role is probably what nailed DeNiro getting cast in Part II. Of course, you have to give it up to The Godfather for coming the year before and being such a massive hit, while Mean Streets was a total flop ($41k global box office against a $500k budget). On that level, it's hard to compare the movies in their affect on Italian-American culture and its place in the mainstream. The podcast mentions the Godfather Saga TV cut, and just think of how often the movies have consistently played on television over the years. The movies are a part of our lives and I think the interview showed how proud it makes Italian-Americans and how much it defines their sense of nobility. Meanwhile, most people haven't seen or maybe even heard of Mean Streets, aside from Scorsese and DeNiro fans, and that's kind of a shame considering how big Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and GoodFellas are in the collective consciousness. For good or bad, I think the AFI 100 is really about deep culture penetration. That's why the Simpsons is such a good litmus test. The list is a greatest hits collection. It's not the best movies you've never seen. If you haven't heard of a movie on the list, it's probably b/c you're young. Every movie on the list was huge at some point, even if the movie had to fall into the public domain and become a hit on TV or something. It's a hall of fame, not a hall of justice.
  2. trukx

    The Godfather Pt. II

    I have some things to say about the Godfather movies and I don't want to fill up the thread w/ Marvel talk, but FFC did kinda bring this on, so let me say this 1st... I agree w/ Paul as far as Favreau finding key ingredients in the Marvel formula w/ the humor and the light touch, semi-improv character moments that Downey specializes in. To the point of Coppola, I also agree w/ Amy & Paul that the arguments are old. It was Spielberg & Lucas who really started the blockbuster theme-park trend in cinema (although they're not the first; think of old disaster movies & even some of Hitchcock's bigger set-pieces). I was at my snobbiest in the '90s and felt the same way about movies like Twister, Volcano, Armageddon, Deep Impact, and Independence Day that these old directors feel about Marvel movies. I thought they were designed to simulate big events w/ crappy CGI, and they didn't care about story or character. The other thing I have in common w/ these old directors is that I watched NONE of those movies, so I was talking out my ass just like they are. I thought they looked too "despicable" to see. These old directors obviously didn't grow up reading Marvel comics or they'd know they're all about character and relationships, and that's what set them apart from the "Distinguished Competition." For anyone who understands that, the MCU is better than words. There are so many crappy action movies being made these days, terrible stories and non-characters wasting the artistry and skill of stunt teams and CGI painters. THOSE are the movies the old directors really think they're complaining about IMO, and they're just showing how out of touch they are to pick on Marvel of all studios making action movies! I mean, really! Marvel is actually applying the theme-park techniques to stories & characters people really care about. It's just jealousy of Marvel's success, and anger that Hollywood doesn't want to make their types of movies anymore. I don't blame them and I agree w/ Favreau they've earned the right to their opinions. P.S. Marvel took a $500M loan to make Iron Man and Incredible Hulk (IMDB says $140M-$150M/each, but that doesn't include all the marketing). Hulk made $263M globally. Say Marvel gets half that take after theaters get their cut...If Iron Man had earned a similar amount, Marvel Studios is over. Of course, they didn't know Hulk was going to break even at best (probably lost money), but the reality is their future did depend on IM becoming a hit. They needed at least one of those movies to be a hit. They had nothing else in the pipeline. All the chips were on the table. If they made 2 movies like the Hulk out of the gate, it would've been over. If they make Hulk and Thor first, it's over. If they make Hulk and Captain America first, it's over. They had to make Iron Man in the first batch of movies, or it was over. If they don't cast Downey, it's over. Maybe if they don't hire Favreau, it's over, b/c what other director gives him the freedom to re-invent Tony Stark for the world? Part of the reason Thor and Cap did OK at the box office was two Iron Man movies primed the pump and got people excited for the Avengers, but neither of those movies did nearly as well as IM1 or 2. They did just well enough to keep the train on the tracks. Hulk, Thor, and Cap were all very shaky movies in the grand scheme. Only Iron Man was really leading the way. It was a brilliant idea Marvel had, build up the Avengers individually or no one will care when/if they come together. But I don't think any of that is possible w/o IM breaking through out of the bunch. Cap movies didn't start getting good until the Russo Bros, and Marvel didn't make a good Thor movie until Ragnarok. No, Marvel didn't plan for their success to be dependent on IM, but it's hard to argue that didn't turn out to be the truth.
  3. trukx

    The Godfather

  4. trukx

    The Godfather

    Oxford English Dictionary credits the stand-up comic Pat Cooper with the 1st documented use of "bada-bing" in 1965: "P. Cooper Italian Wedding in Our Hero (transcription of sound recording of comedy routine) (O.E.D. Archive) They never let go the envelopes. Ya gotta pull—bada-bing-a-bada-bang-a-bada-bing!""