GODFATHER PART III: Big Sprawling Mess of a MOvie?

I just saw this turd on AMC…and it was appalling! No sense in the plot at all, horrid performance by FF Coppola’s daughter. Al Pacino looked weak…and, the Catholic Church: run by criminals?
Here’s the plot as I saw it:
-Michael is now a sick old man, and he wants to finally leave the Mob…so he sells the Las Vegas casinos and moves back to NYC. He desires more respectability. so he gives $100 million to a catholic charity, and gets a memebership in some order. Meanwhile, his old gang cronies want to take over, so they start a war. The guy who is like John Gotti (Joey somebody), tries to kill Michael’s nephew…meanwhile, the crooked cardinal (Cardinal Marcinkus) has bankrupted the Vatican Bank (by bad loans to the Mafia?). He asks Michale to lend the bank $700 million, and make the bank solvent. As the result of this he can take over a big Italian company (Immobilauire?) and loot it for his own gain.
Michael goes to Sicily, to see his son Anthony sing opera in Palermo? Meanwhile, the Pope dies, and an honest Italian cardinal becomes the new pope. He (the new Pope) is cleaning up the corruption, and discovers the Mafia deal…he determines to clean the Church up, but is poisoned by the crooks.
-Michael is marked to be killed… but his daughter catches the slug…Michale then retires to Sicily, and craoks while peeling an orange!
As I say, the plot is a confused mixture of actual fact (the so-called “P3” affair), and total fiction. Although, I must admit, Puzo always lets you know when somebody is abouyt to die (or get whacked)-there are always ORANGES present!
So, was Puzo off his rocker when he wrote this mess? :frowning:

Many say G3 is only a poor movie in comparison to the remarkable other two, but I think even in its own right, it’s pretty bad. Sure, Sofia’s ineffective, but she’s a strict amateur acting-wise, so I can’t really blame her. But what excuses do Talia Shire, Eli Wallach, George Hamilton, and Bridget Fonda have? They’re all just as bad (and Keaton and Mantegna have been much much better elsewhere). The only standout is Garcia–he brings a volatility that is reminiscent of Jimmy Caan, who’s always been undervalued in Part I.

Ultimately, though, we’re supposed to somehow sympathize with Pacino, but are given very little reason to do so. I think I read that Coppola wanted to cover the religious sphere after hitting the social and political ones in the other two, but there’s little interest in the rote mechanizations of who’s-doing-what-to-whom, and Michael’s spiritual crisis is not as engaging nor tragic as it wants to believe it is. A bad film–and one that generally set the pattern for everything we’ve seen from Francis since.

Don’t forget the helicopter attack.

That was stupid.

Reminiscent? In my oh-so-humble opinion, it’s COPIED, and it’s not so much volatility as it is “I can only act in one of two ways: trying to get laid, or pissed off - and I can portray both just by narrowing my eyes.” Garcia is not one of my favorite actors, and I’ve stated elsewere on the SDMB that his character in G3 shouldn’t even exist, so yeah, I’m a bit prejudicial here, but to single him out for praise in this crapfest of a film just seems wrong. Of all the actors in this film, the only one who seems to have done a really good job was Don Novello. How sad is that…

And I don’t think Caan has ever been underrated in Part 1. At least not by me. Sonny was so much a catalyst and a driving force in the family, and Caan was outstanding - he did a fabulous job showing Sonny’s temper, his great love for his family, his ambition and his very human failings. Any decent actor could have played Michael, but NO ONE else could have played Sonny.

GF III has it’s problems. Sofia Coppola is awful. The talents of Diane Keaton and Bridget Fonda were wasted. And as Ross said, the helicopter attack was terrible.

But there were some excellent parts. The corrupt Archbishop-banker Gilday was played with reptilian brilliance by Donal Donelly. That character was played as well as Richard Castellano’s Pete Clemenza in GF I or Michael Gazzo’s Frankie “Five Angels” Pentangeli in GF II. The crooked Archbishop sets up Michael Corleone like no one else ever has.

I’m one of the only people on the planet, apparently, who thinks that Sofia shouldered her oversized burden pretty admirably.

That said, the movie infuriated me. Mostly because Coppola spent the first two movies giving us one of the most complex and fully fleshed character portraits in movie history, helped along of course by Pacino’s incredible performance, and then in the third, he totally betrays what that character was all about. Cheap.

Hmmm… Director’s Cut?

My wife and I sat down to enjoy one of those Godfather weekends awhile back where the entire saga is played back to back. We gave up midway through III, just couldn’t take anymore. There was a helicopter attack? Bwhaaahaaa!

If you didn’t find Michael Corleone’s spiritual journey as portrayed in Godfather III interesting, then you were missing out on a large part of what made the first two movies work. Pacino’s performance is a wonderful continuation of the work he set up in the first two films, and a fantastic enrichment of the very last sequence of GFII.

Sofia Coppola was not good. There are reasons, and I don’t necessarily blame her, but that doesn’t change the fact that she does’t pull the weight necessary for her role. Andy Garcia suffers by being opposite her so often in the film. He was attempting to portray a chemistry that just didn’t exist.

I don’t know what the problem is with any of the other performances. Maybe there was nothing landmark about them (nothing like Brando in the first) but it was all good solid work.

And the scope of the story! We see for the first time how dreadfully interwoven each aspect of Michael Corleone’s life has become with the evil he has done. It affects his family on all levels, it’s the core of his business, it taints his charitible works and finally, when he at last turns to his God for help, he brings evil into that place too.

The film is laced with symbolism. Remember Don Altobello (Wallach) trying to make the peace with European mob, but dealing behind Michael’s back? As he walks away from Lucchesi, he says to himself “Blessed is the peacemaker, for he is truly the child of God.” And as he is dying in the theatre, the scene being played in front of him is the Passion.

And the beautiful thing about the third, is that it didn’t shy away from the morality of the first two. In the first film, we see Michael drawn in against his will, and ultimately accepting a ‘necessary’ evil to protect his family. In the second, we see him losing the family he was trying to protect, simply by continuing to try and protect them. In the end, his failure is absolute. There is no vindication or justification of his actions. His family is gone, the evil continues with a new face in Vincent, and Michael finds no absolution. He dies alone.

This is an operatic, epic tale, and stands as a fantastic movie all on its own.


A very articulate defence. Nonetheless… from this transript, for your attention, ladies and gentlemen…

The prosecution rests.

Okay… the helicopter thing…

Remember, this movie came out when John “The Teflon Don” Gotti was making headlines. Joe Montegna’s character of Joey Zasa is cut from this same cloth. A man trying to become a larger-than-life figure, not just in the closed circle of the mafia, but in the world at large. He himself makes a joke about being a ‘bella figura’. This is a man who behaves in a loud, audacious way.

So what does such a man do when he decides to make his move? Not for him the careful, grandmaster-like planning of a Corleone. All my enemies are in one place at one time? Buono. Fly in a helicopter and gun 'em all down. Zasa!

The attack was ridiculously over-the-top, of course. But that was the point. Joey Zasa was over the top, and his own way, ridiculous. And it his he that provides the counterpoint to Michael, so that we can track the change that Michael is trying to induce in Vincent. Vincent Manelli is much like Joey Zasa - impetuous, rash, egotistical - but Vincent Corleone is much more like his Don.


And yet, it’s one of the best parts of the movie.

There are three parts of this movie I like.

  1. The helicopter attack.

  2. The Festival ambush.

  3. The Opera.

The rest is forgettable, probably because I’ve seen the movie 4 times and still am not sure what the plot was about.

And I’m suprised nobody mentioned the guy getting stabbed with his own glasses. THAT WAS STUPID!

The Church used to do a lot of that stuff…and still has it’s own dirty laundry.

Not to mention the fact they really are the World’s Oldest Corporation…and a lot of people around here have no problems associating Corporations with criminals.

I learned about the oranges being around (when somebody dies) from an earlier thread…who invented this? Was it Puzo or Coppola? Anybody know the source of this rather strange imagery?

It was not intentional. It was pointed out after the fact by fans.

From what I’ve read, Coppolo just wanted something colorful, and there are a lot of nice colorful oranges in California. The fact that their appearance precedes a death, well, just about everything in these movies precedes a death. However, I do find it interesting that Vito starts out by bringing home a nice simple pear to his sweet little wifey, but there are oranges rolling all over the street when he is nearly killed, and in the scene where Michael insists he doesn’t want to kill everyone, just his enemies, he is taking a big bite of an orange without even peeling it first. Sure looks symbolic, even if unintentionally so, to me.

THat guy who hanged himself in GF III…that was a true event? I remember that an american cardinal (Marcinkus) from Chicago was head of the Vatican Bank…and he had to resign. That’s all I know…was the Mafia actually looting the bank? How big was the loss? :rolleyes: