Monday, March 3, 2008

Absurdity from the fog of sickness

The fog is starting to lift, although you might disagree by the time you finish reading this post. Blogging is therapeutic to me. I don't remember being this sick in a very long time. It makes me very grateful for health. There are several people in our church who suffer from chronic illness. One man has had Lyme's disease for over 10 years and describes feeling like he has the Flu on his best days. I know God promises sufficient grace, but I can't imagine that kind of ongoing suffering.

One good thing has come from the past three days, I have been able to lay around with my baby son Jordan (5 years old) and recover with him. During the day hours and through the lenses of 101.5 and 102.5 degree body temperatures respectively, we watched several movies together, than at night I watched a few more of my favorites, namely The Godfather trilogy.

Two things strike me when comparing George Lucas' "Attack of the Clones" (Star Wars Episode II) with Francis Ford Coppolla's "The Godfather".

First, I was amazed with the utter awfulness of the dialogue in the Clones movie. I am not sure there could be more hideous script-writing. Obviously one does not watch the Star Wars saga with high expectations concerning the dialogue, but it takes work to make the lines as bad as they are in Episode II. I caught myself physically wincing when Anakin says "You are so beautiful" and Padme responds, "Only because I'm so in love". Just plain awful writing.

Second, I was amazed with the absolute brilliance of Copolla and Puzo in putting together the script for The Godfather. Talk about making every line count. Interspersing the heavenly language (italian/Sicilian dialect) throughout the movie was all the better. Just think of all the classic lines that come from that movie.

I just don't get to watch many movies, let alone see them close together like this. I won't argue that comparing these two films is fair, however, There is a chief similarity that makes the bankruptcy of Clones' dialogue more disappointing.

Both movies boasted tremendously talented casts. Clones posessed several accomplished actors and some solid newcomers- Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Jimmy Smits, Hayden Christiansen, Ian McDiarmid and Natalie Portman. Godfather, of course, had the likes of Marlon Brando, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall, and Al Pacino.

It is a crime for George Lucas to have done what he did to these great actors. Its like handing a stratovarius to a toddler and watching him play it like a guitar. Too bad the actors agreed to read such bad lines. Have they no pride? I am disappointed in Samuel L. Jackson for agreeing to say something like "This party is over" when dropping in on Count Dooku (and why not Lord Poopy-head for a name also?). I wish Jackson would have rebelled and unleased with one of his Scripture-reciting lines from Pulp Fiction instead. Then, to have the great Christopher Lee (of Saruman fame in the Lord of the Rings Movies) be reduced to the kind of drivel he had to speak...oh the shame. If it would have been a cast of no-names maybe I could take it, but it wasn't. Have you seen Hayden Christiansen in "Shattered Glass"? The guy is a very good actor, don't let his role as Anakin unduly taint your impression of him. Yet, in Clones he came off as an unjustifiably unstable person. The leap from the sweet little kid on Tatooine to the enigmatic, seemingly spoiled, "I killed them all", Anakin of Clones was totally artificial.

Wait a I trying to compare a Star Wars film with The Godfather? Good grief. I am very sorry. The words of Solozzo to Tom Hagan about Vito Corleone might suit me in my current semi-conscious state- "Admit it Tom...the Don is slippin'."


GUNNY said...

What's the matter with you? You can act like a man!

That dialog between Anakin and Padme beats me down like you've never known. His character's lines in general are subpar.

What about all the inconsistencies in the 3rd movies? What about Obi Wan's ridiculous line when he's fighting the greatest midchlorian count force hound of all time and he says, "I have the high ground" and then cuts Anakin in two?

What about Palpatine telling Vader, "You killed her. In your rage." with regard to Padme.

My intelligence was so insulted early and often.

Of course, I hear you on putting poor lines on great actors, but could you beat poor Alec Guiness having to have that dialog with Luke in Jedi where Luke rebukes Obi Wan for lying to him about his father and Obi Wan turns into a teenager trying to say, "So ... you see ... what I said was true ... from a certain point of view."

I am just so grateful Luke has my reaction, the incredulous, "From a certain point of view?!"

Luke calling B(aloney) S(andwich) on Obi Wan is so wheels off.

Get well soon. Some of these movies need some sense knocked into them.

I feel dirty now dwelling on that Star Wars dialog. I think I need to go watch Goodfellas to get my mind right once again.

Whatdaya mean, "funny"? Like I'm a clown? Like I amuse you?

AJF said...

Gunny, right on. You just made me madder.

Rick Calohan said...

Luke: I got him! I got him!!
Han: Great shot kid. Don't get cocky!

Look forward to you comparison of GoodFellas and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home when your are you well rested, tanned and ready.


Henry Hill: You know, we always called each other good fellas. Like you said to, uh, somebody, :You're gonna like this guy. He's all right. He's a good fella. He's one of us.: You understand? We were good fellas. Wiseguys. But Jimmy and I could never be made because we had Irish blood. It didn't even matter that my mother was Sicilian. To become a member of a crew you've got to be one hundred per cent Italian so they can trace all your relatives back to the old country. See, it's the highest honor they can give you. It means you belong to a family and crew

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home:

Federation Council president: [In an emergency transmission] This is the President of the United Federation of Planets. Do not approach Earth. The transmissions of an orbiting probe are causing critical damage to this planet. It has almost totally ionized our atmosphere. All power sources have failed. All Earth-orbiting Starships are powerless. The probe is vaporizing our oceans. We cannot survive unless a way can be found to respond to the probe. Further communications may not be possible. Save your energy... save yourselves. Avoid the planet Earth at all costs. Farewell.
[Transmission distorts and fades away]

The Crazy Bus said...

Dear Pastor Tony...
We are glad to see a post from you today, no matter what you write! We are just glad to see you and your family are on the upswing, and we hope you are fully recovered and back to "normal" very soon! :)
The Colarusso Family

Danielle said...

Dear Pastor Tony...
We are happy to see a post from you today(no matter what you wrote!). We are just glad to see you and your family are on the upswing, and pray that you have a full recovery and are back to "normal" soon! :)
The colarusso Family

Frontier Forest said...

I know you are just coming out from under the fog! But I was going to bet that today’s blog would be some heated Scriptural enlightenment about Obama’s latest pathetic attempt of “tolerance.” Now, using the Bible, he has exposed his ignorance with some more of his liberal statements that clearly “wrongly handle the Word of Truth.” Anyone who would be so presumptuous as to make a claim that Jesus’ teaching on the B-Attitude, being more important that an ‘obscure passage’ in Romans on homosexuality and abortion, is for sorely ignorant of Biblical truth.
Kind of reminds me of John Kerry’s poor attempt to use the Bible for his own gain! One would have to laugh when he boasted in 2004, that his favorite Scripture was John 16:3. (Meaning to say John 3:16) Read the later and see the self-fulfilling prophecy made by Kerry.
I am hoping to hear from you on this latest Obama bomb!

AJF said...

Woody,I read the Obama thing this morning and had several people send me various commentators taking him to task. I'm a bit too foggy just yet...maybe tomorrow. This thing has knocked me for a loop.

Frontier Forest said...

You are in His loving and caring hands and many are standing for you and with you!

jeff in nj said...

Tony, Tony, Tony...

I must agree with my wife's earlier post about being happy that you're on the upswing, but, really, The Godfather and Episode 2 together??? I'm dumbfounded!

Don't you know that fine movies are like wine and food? You have to pair them together properly. Just like you wouldn't have a fine shiraz with a bologna sandwich.

Here are some more fitting pairs:

Godfather & Goodfellas
Godfather & Bronx Tale
Godfather & My Cousin Vinny
Godfather & Rocky (the first one of course)

I'm glad to see you had somewhat of a moment of clarity at the end of your post ;)

Seriously though, we're glad you're feeling better!

AJF said...

Jeff and Danielle, thanks for the kind words. I know your family was getting nailed with sickness here recently also. Hope you guys are all better.

Hey Jeff, what can I say? Maybe the pairing was due to an adverse reaction between Nyquil and some other combo of legal medications I was taking? I don't know. My Cousin Vinny is one of my all time favorites!

M. Jay Bennett said...

I agree.

The only Star Wars character with good lines is Yoda, the puppet!!!

C'mon George!

M. Jay Bennett said...

I take that back. All of Chewbacca's lines are excellent too.

AJF said...

Good point Jay, credit must be given where credit is due. The Wookies as a whole deliver quite a performance.

Andrew said...

The flu has been making its rounds out here in Virginia too. I was struck down with the flu and then strep throat, which caused my neck to swell up such that my jaw disappeared and all I had was a chin sticking out from my face/neck. Thankfully, I appear to be recovered.

With regard to Star Wars: why does everyone rag on SW for the lines? First, what if we compared the the special effects of The Godfather to Star Wars II? SW is the clear winner.

But more to the point, I've never understood how people criticize the acting (or in this case, the lines spoken by the actors) in movies unless they can offer some outside authority on how the characters were supposed to act. Maybe Anakin and Padme are skilled warriors but not silver-tongued poets? Also, with regard to your particular example of "'You are so beautiful.'...'Only because I'm so in love.'": How many couples in real life say stuff like that? Quite a few I would wager. And moreover, Anakin and Padme are teenagers. Do you really think teenagers exchange profound lines when they're talking to the guy/girl they love? (And as a further aside, is it not true that few things are as beautiful as a woman in love? Just think how the bride glows on her wedding day!)

Was the dialog in Star Wars I-III as good as IV-VI? Probably not in terms of memorable lines. But, overall Star Wars is an epic saga spanning two generations--both in the lives of the characters and in the real world. People don't watch Star Wars for the dialog just like people don't watch The Godfather for the special effects. People watch both for the stories they tell, and they both do that well, which is why both movies will be watched for generations to come.

AJF said...

I don't know dude. You raise some interesting points, but I never spoke like that as a teenager. Further, are you telling me the horse head in Woltz's bed wasn't cutting edge special effects? How about the single shot through Mo Green's eyeglasses? Come on now?

But seriously- I really think every generation will look at the dialogue in Star Wars, especially the prequels, as totally lame. Still, the movies will get a pass because they are so significant culturally. They are special effects masterpieces, no doubt.

On the other hand, I think every generation will recognize Godfather as one of the best films ever with very few flaws.

GUNNY said...

It's true. The Godfather is not perfect.

Sure, take the cannoli. But why leave the gun?

I don't get it.

But that's probably why I would be passed over for consigliere.

AJF said...


There are multiple reasons for why Peter Clemenza instructed Rocco to "leave the gun". Taking the cannoli is a no-brainer. We Sicilians don't leave food, plus, that was Clemenza's wife's instructions before they left the house.
Regarding leaving the gun-
1. It could have been traceable to someone they wanted to frame (like the Barzini's or Tattaglias).
2. There was a general rule about using a gun once and only once, for such a thing. If #1 is wrong, perhaps the gun wasn't traceable at all.
3. With much of the police force on the payroll of one of the families, they wouldn't be trying to trace the gun too hard, it was a statement that it was a mob on mob killing, so no need for the fuzz to pursue too hard.

So, I wouldn't count the classic statement of Clemenza (which isn't in the book) as an imperfection. I do think the movie has a few (mostly James Caan lines...he's really not at the level of Brando, Pacino, or Duvall), but not many.