Tag Archives: Robert Duvall

The Set of 400: #20 – My Favorite George Washington Bridge Joke

Today! Because the dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust –

Network (1976)

Directed by Sidney Lumet (x4)

Starring William Holden (x2), Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall (x4), Ned Beatty (x5), Beatrice Straight (x2), Darryl Hickman, Wesley Addy, Arthur Burghardt, Marlene Warfield, Jordan Charney (x2), Conchata Ferrell, Ken Kercheval, William Prince

The most prescient movie of all time, Network manages to reflect modern television far better than the handful of channels existing in its day. Sure, the writing may have been on the wall that news could someday be weaponized and rolled into general entertainment, but the likes of CNN and FOX News was still years away when Paddy Chayefsky penned his masterpiece and Lumet so brilliantly brought it to life. You may come into Network for the acting – because those are some powerful, towering performances – but it stays with you for the depiction of the rabbit hole nightmare decades before its full impact was evident.

Now, despite winning three of the four acting Oscars in ’76 (the second and most recent movie to accomplish this feat, after A Streetcar Named Desire), this is not a group of particularly well-rounded characters. They more represent ideals than actual human beings, and so no one is very relatable, and the script goes bonkers with the monologuing. Beatrice Straight won Best Supporting Actress for basically one long scene where she yells at her philandering husband. Ned Beatty was similarly nominated for his apocalyptic speech breaking down corporate America in near biblical terms. The most famous sequence of the movie is an almost uninterrupted missive to the viewing audience as Finch’s cracked newsman Howard Beale gets mad as hell. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

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?

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

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?

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #396 – My Favorite Southeast Asian Driving Range

Today! Because if I nail Hot Lips and punch Hawkeye, can I go home too?

MASH (1970)

Directed by Robert Altman

Starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall, Tom Skerritt, Rene Auberjonois, David Arkin, John Schuck, Gary Burghoff, Jo Ann Pflug, Roger Bowen, Fred Williamson, Bud Cort, Michael Murphy, Timothy Brown, Carl Gottlieb, Bobby Troup

For the longest time, the beginning and end of my interest in the entire MASH franchise was the play. Like the movie, it is based on the book by Richard Hooker, but except for the same basic plot and characters – football game and all – it shares few real similarities. The TV show is even further afield, again with the same characters, but even less like the play, movie, or book. All have different tones, different dialogue, and different interactions among the primaries. I was in the play my junior year of high school, having never really watched the show, and was pretty dismissive of the film at the time. I was Hawkeye, by the way, and I think it was a pretty decent show, as far as a high school production of a very adult war satire could be.

Not sure why the play pictures I have are in black and white, but here’s young me to the right, with pals young Phil and young Munchak

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies