Tag Archives: John Cazale

The Set of 400: #24 – My Favorite Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Today! Because I believe in America –

The Godfather (1972)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola (x3)

Starring Marlon Brando (x2), Al Pacino (x5), James Caan (x4), Robert Duvall (x3), Diane Keaton (x5), Talia Shire (x5), John Cazale (x3), Richard Castellano, Abe Vigoda (x3), Sterling Hayden (x2), John Marley, Richard Conte, Al Lettieri, Gianni Russo (x2), Al Martino, Morgana King (x2), Lenny Montana, John Martino, Alex Rocco (x2), Julie Gregg, Simonetta Stefanelli, Franco Citti

As mentioned at some length back in #82, The Godfather was my dad’s favorite movie. While I often saw it growing up bookended by the past and future sequences from II, the original movie would run intact and in order, and so didn’t require any mental gymnastics to track. And no, this is not a kid’s movie any way you look at it, but that didn’t stop me from seeing this film from as far back as I can remember. I don’t have the slightest guess the first time I watched The Godfather, which seems weird in retrospect.

What did child Joe make of Sonny’s excessive demise?

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The Set of 400: #82 – My Favorite Fishing Strategy

Today! Because when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we’ve chosen –

The Godfather: Part II (1974) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola (x2) Starring Al Pacino (x4), Robert De Niro (x5), John Cazale (x2), Robert Duvall (x2), Diane Keaton (x4), Michael V. Gazzo (x2), Talia Shire (x4), Lee Strasberg, G.D. Spradlin, Bruno Kirby (x3), Gastone Moschin, Richard Bright, Morgana King, Troy Donahue, Dominic Chianese (x2), Joe Spinell (x2), Abe Vigoda (x2), Gianni Russo, James Caan (x3), Harry Dean Stanton (x4), Danny Aiello (x3), John Aprea (x2)

The Godfather was my dad’s favorite movie. To be more specific, what he really loved was the collection he referred to as The Complete Novel for Television – which came to be known in a variety of different ways on home video and re-airings over the years. This compilation, first aired on network TV in 1977, pulls apart The Godfather: Part II and rearranges the whole thing chronologically, while removing some of the violence and nudity. And this was the most frequent way Rosco (not his real name, or the customary spelling) would watch it. You know how I’ve mentioned before about series of films in my early life blending together into one mass? I think it can all be attributed to seeing The Godfather movies meshed together like this almost exclusively for years. He preferred this huge, six-hour version of the story to the separate films, so that’s what he’d watch. I’m not sure I actually saw The Godfather: Part II the way it was originally intended until I was in my twenties. And, yeah, it probably works better in the original format – with young Vito’s rise set opposite Michael’s epic struggles. As iconic and basically perfect as the first film is, my favorite part of the whole series is early 1900’s Vito arriving at Ellis Island and clawing his way up through New York organized crime.

It’s everyone’s favorite, isn’t it?

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The Set of 400: #160 – My Favorite Wyoming as a Country

Today! Because I’m a fuck-up and I’m an outcast. If you get near me you’re gonna get it –

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Directed by Sidney Lumet (x2)

Starring Al Pacino (x2), John Cazale, Charles Durning (x2), Chris Sarandon (x3), James Broderick, Lance Henriksen (x2), Penelope Allen, Carol Kane (x4), Sully Boyar, Susan Peretz, Marcia Jean Kurtz, John Marriott, Dominic Chianese, Judith Malina

The bank robbery movie against which all others are forever judged, Dog Day Afternoon very basically serves as a template for how to sustain tension in a locked-in heist film where everything immediately goes wrong and negotiations drag on for hours. However, what Dog Day does different from nearly all similar films before or following is that it manages to continue throwing twists and bizarre surprises into the plot straight through to its sudden, stunning finish. Most bank hold-up films go for explosions and constant action to keep the audience engaged – here, it’s the wonderfully nuanced performances of Pacino, Cazale, Sarandon, and Durning, all masterfully guided by Lumet at his best.

It’s also a wonderfully sweaty, sloppily dressed film

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