Why I waited 26 years to watch The Godfather…

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Yes, you read that correctly.  If you, like everyone else (apparently), can’t believe I waited so long to watch Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece(s), well I did.  Twenty – six whole years, well let’s call it 8 years from a legal point of view as it’s an 18.  For quite some time now, whenever I’ve said, “I’ve not see The Godfather,” people either exclaim, “What?  But it’s my favourite film!” or give me a look of disgust.

My fiance LOVES The Godfather 1 & 2, he likes to pretend that the third never existed, and he’s managing to marry me knowing what I’ve not (or had not) done.  Quite honestly, I have a problem with the whole expectation of ‘cult’ films.  It irritates me when people say to me, “But it’s my favourite film!” – like it should make me want to watch it right there and then!

I still get it now with Breaking Bad.  Brace yourselves guys…

I never finished it and…

(make sure you’re sitting down for this one)

I DIDN’T LIKE WHAT I SAW.  

The hype that everyone gave it, the pressure that everyone put on it, it just wasn’t for me.  Granted, some TV and film absolutely deserve the anticipation- but how do we expect these things to live up to the expectation before we’ve even set eyes on them?  It seems apt. to talk about this now, since La La Land is getting so much buzz and winning so many awards.  It’s the same with ‘classics’.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cinema.  I love escaping, I love the music, I love how directors use that music, I’m a huge fan of cinematography (Roger Deakins – yes please!) but what I don’t love, is being judged upon the films I’ve watched or books I’ve read.

Truth be told, I was scared of watching The Godfather films.  I didn’t want to watch them and be disappointed after all I’ve heard.  It’s almost like meeting your idols – they say you should never do it.  So should I really listen to others and watch their favourite films?!

Well…

I did watch.  I sat through all 6 and a half hours (approximately) within 48 hours of one another.  Did I like them? Nope.  I LOVED them.  I shut out all of the noise from everyone else and I just watched.  I was hiding in my dressing gown, too nervous to see what was going to happen next.  The development of Michael’s character is possibly one of the best I’ve ever seen, and the transformation of a 48 year old Marlon Brando was quite something.  The music used created tension and heightened suspense and the lighting complimented the characters’ light and shade.

Do I feel like I’ve been missing out?  Hell no.  I waited until I was of an age where, after studying film for a time at Uni,  I appreciate everything in the whole frame now.

Do I think you should go and watch it if you haven’t?  Sure.  Will I judge you for not wanting to?  Nah!  Watch it in your own time.  Set aside the time to really watch it.  Don’t watch it so you can say, “I’ve watched The Godfather, I’ve watched Pulp Fiction, I’ve watched Fight Club.”

Watch it because you want to.

x

“George Bailey, I’ll love you until the day I die…”

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If there are two things that I love in this world it’s the festive season (the build up Christmas, the cold weather, winter clothes etc.) and films!  Last week a colleague of mine asked me for my top 5 Christmas films that I will be watching throughout December (usually more than once!).  It’s taken me all week to carefully consider each Christmas gem one by one.  Before we begin, a note.  There will be no Elf appearing in this list.  Will Ferrell does not receive a mention and I stand by my hatred of the lack of talent the man possesses…let’s begin!

5. Home Alone

A strong start with Macaulay Culkin and his ‘quirky’ family who leave him behind whilst they head for a festive frolic in Paris.  I have lots of issues with the fact that they don’t realise he’s missing until they’re on the plane, BUT I pretend to put those thought to bed for the 102 minutes of wonderful-ness that is a young lad home alone, fighting off burglars, stuffing himself full of pizza and encouraging and old man (who genuinely looks like he could be the serial killer that Buzz thinks he is) reconnect with his son…naaaw what a warm fuzzy Christmas feeling!

4. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Yes, that’s right folks, the sequel is better!  Only have such things been argued about The Godfather, Back to the Future and Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back is by far the best one!)  Anyway, I digress.  This time Kevin’s family aren’t to blame.  If you’re old enough and bad-ass enough to look after your family home whilst fighting off 2 ragamuffins trying to steal the last slice of pizza, you’re old enough to keep up with the pack.  Whilst changing batteries in the middle of a busy airport, Kevin loses his family and boards a flight to New York instead of the other end of the East coast, Florida.  Of course, who else would you expect to bump in to in New York apart from your criminal pals Harry and Marv – hilarity ensues.  In the tone of Joey Tribiani…What’s not to like?

Christmas. Good. Pigeon Lady. Good.  Two turtle doves. Goooood.

3. Love Actually

I was surprised when I put this film at number 3, because it’s usually my first go-to.  I love this film.  Richard Curtis is a genius.  Interwoven stories, Hugh Grant as our Prime Minister and Rowan Atkinson sprinkling lavender and springs of holly in to a cellophane bag.  When I think of December, I think of watching this film, whilst putting my tree up and sipping on some gluhwein.  There’s something that everyone can relate to in this movie, even if it is the teacher’s dancing reminding you of your parent’s moves at a family do.  Every year I wait with baited breath to see if Sarah and Karl will finally get together, only to realise that after 13 years of waiting…she still answers that phone.

2. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol

I often say that, when a cold wind blows it chills you, chills you to the bone, but there’s nothing in nature that freezes your heart like years of being alone.  It paints you with indifference like a lady paints with rouge and the worst of the worst…the most hated and cursed, is that one that we call Scrooge…I can’t get away with pretending I wrote such a wonderfully descriptive passage there can I?  Did you read it to the tune of the song?  My other half knows every.single.word.  It really is a Christmas joy and gem and one that gets played at least once a week on my watch.  Michael Caine singing to a party of muppets, skating penguins and the ghost of Christmas present – absolutely the best career move he’s ever made.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life

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What else could it have been?  I have to admit that up until maybe 4 years ago, I had never watched Jimmy Stewart contemplate his life on a bridge on a snowy eve.  Thanks to my in-laws, I was introduced to this gem of a movie.  It really is heartbreaking and heartwarming!  Now, I’m not one to cry at films, and this is yet to make me weep, but I truly appreciate how lovely the story is.  Jimmy Stewart gives a stunning performance, as does every other child (excluding Zuzu – I have issues with that child!) and adult actor.  If you’ve never seen it, make it your goal to watch it this Christmas.  There’s nothing better on Christmas eve than Jimmy, Chambord and stollen.

Although they are my top five, there are some other favourites that I’ll be sticking on this December:

  • Jingle All the Way
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
  • The Holiday
  • Santa Claus
  • All of the Christmas episodes of The O.C. (it’s tradition now!)