Re: Cavellaria Rusticana: Raging Bull or Godfather III?

#11
Detective Hunt wrote:To me, this was one of the most beautiful moments in the episode. Sil and Tony having one last laugh with one another to the music of a memorable film they both love.

Just a sad and beautiful moment between them. The calm before the storm.


And, with Bobby watching with a smile of amusement sharing the moment. Sad to think that Tony was sitting at the table with two men he would soon lose.

Re: Cavellaria Rusticana: Raging Bull or Godfather III?

#12
Others have pointed out, however, that Carmela has worn orange a lot this year, possibly even in every episode. She's the one whose death has been foreshadowed to me since season 5.

How about that shot of her alone at the restaurant? and of course the Carm as Marie Antoinette picture, which seemed esp. ominous in an episode where Phil used the word 'decapitate' to describe taking out Tony.

Re: AJ, in watching recent as well as old episodes I'm struck with how often sleeping is brought up in reference to AJ
from the episode where Meadow tells him point blank that sleep can symbolize death - to her oddly pointed 'try to stay awake AJ' comment in S5 - to the constant lines about AJ sleeping or finally being 'awake' in recent episodes. I realize this could just be a way to show his depression - but all in all AJ has been quite the sleepy little guy these past seven years!

Re: Cavellaria Rusticana: Raging Bull or Godfather III?

#13
Terrence Winter, on Slate today:

"On to the music. First, the use of Cavalleria Rusticana is Raging Bull and Raging Bull only. Godfather III does not exist for me. It ceased to exist at 3:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, 1990, when I walked out of the first ever showing at the Kings Plaza Shopping Center Multiplex in Brooklyn, utterly heartbroken at what I had just witnessed."

I share Winter's assessment of this film.

Re: Cavellaria Rusticana: Raging Bull or Godfather III?

#14
De Novo Parte Due wrote:Terrence Winter, on Slate today:

"On to the music. First, the use of Cavalleria Rusticana is Raging Bull and Raging Bull only. Godfather III does not exist for me. It ceased to exist at 3:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, 1990, when I walked out of the first ever showing at the Kings Plaza Shopping Center Multiplex in Brooklyn, utterly heartbroken at what I had just witnessed."

I share Winter's assessment of this film.


That's priceless. I couldn't agree more. I put GFIII in last night just because of this discussion and it played like one of those Leslie Nielson-type parodies. As soon as George Hamilton showed up I couldn't stop laughing. No, actually as soon as Al Pacino (and his haircut) showed up I couldn't stop laughing. By that time he'd already become a parody of himself. We couldn't even finish it. Made me have even more respect for how good The Sopranos is.

Coppola violated my own personal rule, which I call the Elephant Man rule. If a piece of music has been used so effectively in another movie that it's associated with that film, or has become iconic, then you should find something to else to use in your film. I thought David Lynch used Barber's Adagio for Strings so perfectly in The Elephant Man that Oliver Stone should not have used it in Platoon (it's now one of the most overused pieces in history, which is sad, because it's so good). Clearly I'm the only one who thinks this, as everyone associates the Adagio with Platoon, and it hasn't stopped Coppola and everyone else from recycling stuff.
Oh, there's my coffee. Well, didn't you bring me
any donuts or sweet rolls?

--Hank Quinlan

Re: Cavellaria Rusticana: Raging Bull or Godfather III?

#15
"All due respect" to clementine, De Novo, and Terrence Winter, I am siding with Massive G on this one. "I think the third one was misunderstood.":icon_biggrin: I also think that Raging Bull is as painfully overrated as Godfather III is over-hated, but then I find Martin Scorcese films in general to be incredibly overrated. The most important tribute I can pay to any of them is that Goodfellas greatly inspired David Chase, who channeled that inspiration into a work the scope, importance, gravity, and artistic vision of which dwarfs Goodfellas by comparison.

I do agree that in about 75% of respects, GFIII paled in comparison to the first two, but it also was quite remarkable in the other 25% and provided a certain emotional "oomph" that cannot be found anywhere in the first two movies IMO. I thought the architecture of the story integrating the corporate scandal of Imobilarie, the Vatican Banking scandal of the late 70s, the oddly brief life/tenure of Pope John Paul I, and the quest of an aging, once-reluctant mobster to gain respectability at long last was incredibly creative. Its execution was at times very elementary and awkward, but the larger vision itself was very good, on par with the the attempt to integrate the Cuban revolution into GFII IMO.

There were numerous dialog and acting flaws, and the sensational, soap opera-ish tone in places certainly contrasted to the subtlety of the first two films' most triumphant moments (Michael saying "I'm with you now," to Vito in the hospital, their talk in the garden, Michael's scene with Connie after his mother has died, etc.). Some of the methodology of violence was also way over the top (the worst of the bunch was when Mosca pretends one of the twins is strangling him by standing motion less before knifing the other twin in the chest). But given that the closing 20 minutes of the film was scored by and played in parallel to an actual opera, it's a tone that I think is acceptably different.

Where it succeeds most was in the moments that marked the truly personal portion of the film for Coppola: the death of a child. Coppola lost his eldest child in a boating accident and reportedly still writes this son a note every single day, a diary of communications he still feels compelled to make and keep some 20 or so years after the son's death. The reactions of Michael and Kay on the steps of the opera house are still some of the most painful moments I've ever seen on film, and I think the Mascagni Intermezzo was far more moving in aid to depicting their tragedy than it was in attempting to impart grandiosity to a decidedly un-grandiose character like Jake LaMotta in a movie that really strove to be a documentary about some really dumb, really unsavory, really uninteresting people. Of course, I'm not opinionated in the least.:icon_wink:

I loved the use of Barber's Adagio in Elephant Man, but that didn't stop me from also liking it in Platoon. That piece of music is so intensely emotional that it will always lure filmmakers to use it no matter how many others have already done the same.

I have to say that since 9/11, when an outstanding PBS documentary called "Faith and Loss at Ground Zero" used it to score the last portion that included photos and commentary about the people that held hands and jumped from the buildings, that's my favorite use of it yet. It's as if Barber wrote it for exactly that verbally indescribable horror, an infinite sadness and beauty wrapped together.

To try to get back on topic for just a minute:icon_biggrin:, I would quibble with Terrence Winter's personal take on the music, unless he was somehow specifically speaking for Chase. Chase picks the vast majority of music for the series and he co wrote the episode with Weiner. Winter had already commented in an interview a couple of weeks ago that he had no involvement with writing the last two episodes (beyond outlines, I presume, which all writers author as a group), so I'm not sure he had any input whatsoever into the selection of this music or the thought process behind employing it. Will have to read the slate article later to see if this is covered at all.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: Cavellaria Rusticana: Raging Bull or Godfather III?

#16
Fly, great post as usual. I share your sentiments on GF3. By no means was it great, but i thought it was good, and not nearly as bad as everyone says. I forgot to mention in my original post that along with the music and the sight of an 'old and broken' Michael, Copola also had the brief flashbacks of Michael dancing with his new bride in Sicily, then a shot of Michael dancing with Kay (ironically just after he told Kay the family would be legitimate in x years) and then finally they show him with his daughter. Very powerful scene. Its almost as if the camera was peaking into Michael's head. Then poof, he dies. Remember the startled dog that scampers away?

An equally cool flashback was the Vito surprise birthday scene at the end of
GF2, with Michael, Tom, Carlo (dead brother in law) Fredo, Connie and Sonny (dead). I believe Brando was supposed to make a cameo put wanted too much money.

-Bar

PS I thought I read Wynona Rider was supposed to play the role of Michael's daughter but pulled out. Copola's daughter was a late replacement. As bad as she was in the movie, I would have had a hard time with Ryder as Pacino's daughter. Oh well.

Re: Cavellaria Rusticana: Raging Bull or Godfather III?

#17
While it may be foreshadowing the death of one of Tony's children I think there are more parralells between the sopranos and raging bull. For starters both have frank vincent as a supporting character, frank plays the character Salvie Batts (and I am interested to see if any one can name all of the connections to bats with frank vincent in his most famous roles).
Here are some quotes used in different summaries at IMDB for raging bull:

"The boxing is just what he does for a living, and could be considered as a way to release some of his deeper, harbored anger."
"abusive life style and somewhat paranoid delusions"
"who basically destroys himself and those around him because of an uncontrollable temper and poor decision-making"
"La Motta is not in the least a nice guy. He is well, a jerk, who eventually drives any and everyone who has ever cared about him out of his life."
"From the story of a one time middle weight champion of the world and his apparent necessity for internal conflict and self destruction, "

You could use all of these quotes to describe Tony if you replaced middle weight boxer wityh heavy weight mob boss. Not only is Jake Lamotta's temper, anger, paranoia also seen in Tony you also see a need to destruct the relationships with those around him as he himselfe crumbles. And in both cases their downfall starts with an attack on Frank Vincent. In the sopranos Tony Blundetto attacks Phil leotardo killing billy which ultimately is the start of a series of thing that leads to the predicament we are in now. In raging bull Jake lamotta' brother confronts jake lamotas wife who is out with frank vincent and some guys and beats the tar out of frank vincent for being out with his brothers wife and for trying to have sex with her. That action leads to jake lamotta throwing a fight and his spiriling downfall.

What I think is ironic is that when Tony ans Sil hear the music they mimic the boxing in Raging Bull with a kind of joy having fun with it. This leads me to believe that they think Raging Bull is a fun movie about a tough guy, a boxer, a manley man, when it is really about the self destruction of man who's growing paranoia and anger is unleashed on those around him until he is alone.

Will Tony be quoting on the waterrfront like Lamotta could he have been a contender, but instead end up just a bum?

Re: Cavellaria Rusticana: Raging Bull or Godfather III?

#18
BarRoma wrote:
PS I thought I read Wynona Rider was supposed to play the role of Michael's daughter but pulled out. Copola's daughter was a late replacement. As bad as she was in the movie, I would have had a hard time with Ryder as Pacino's daughter. Oh well.

You read that right. Ryder dropped out after suffering "exhaustion" and was recast with Sofia Coppola.

And nice look at Godfather III, Fly. I too think it not near as poor as so many others, but then I have found a new respect for Rocky V so let that say what it will. But I must really quibble at the thought that Scorsese's only input into popular culture is inspiring The Sopranos, and further, that The Sopranos is far and away better than Goodfellas, as well as suggesting that Raging Bull is overrated. Now, this is from an actors POV, understand, but performances in both films are so top notch as to be iconic. Further, you will never see another script and film that shows so well what it is like for a "general wise guy" - not the boss like Tony or Michael, but an underling with no chance to get made and how even still the life draws them in. This is Goodfellas. And DeNiro in Raging Bull? Ooof. It is considered, by many, the finest film of the 1980's. Reasonable minds can argue that, to be sure, but I'd be careful at simply dismissing it just as quickly as I'd counsel those attempting to dismiss Godfather III. :icon_wink:
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Re: Cavellaria Rusticana: Raging Bull or Godfather III?

#19
FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:"All due respect" to clementine, De Novo, and Terrence Winter, I am siding with Massive G on this one. "I think the third one was misunderstood.":icon_biggrin: I also think that Raging Bull is as painfully overrated as Godfather III is over-hated, but then I find Martin Scorcese films in general to be incredibly overrated. The most important tribute I can pay to any of them is that Goodfellas greatly inspired David Chase, who channeled that inspiration into a work the scope, importance, gravity, and artistic vision of which dwarfs Goodfellas by comparison.

I do agree that in about 75% of respects, GFIII paled in comparison to the first two, but it also was quite remarkable in the other 25% and provided a certain emotional "oomph" that cannot be found anywhere in the first two movies IMO. I thought the architecture of the story integrating the corporate scandal of Imobilarie, the Vatican Banking scandal of the late 70s, the oddly brief life/tenure of Pope John Paul I, and the quest of an aging, once-reluctant mobster to gain respectability at long last was incredibly creative. Its execution was at times very elementary and awkward, but the larger vision itself was very good, on par with the the attempt to integrate the Cuban revolution into GFII IMO.

There were numerous dialog and acting flaws, and the sensational, soap opera-ish tone in places certainly contrasted to the subtlety of the first two films' most triumphant moments (Michael saying "I'm with you now," to Vito in the hospital, their talk in the garden, Michael's scene with Connie after his mother has died, etc.). Some of the methodology of violence was also way over the top (the worst of the bunch was when Mosca pretends one of the twins is strangling him by standing motion less before knifing the other twin in the chest). But given that the closing 20 minutes of the film was scored by and played in parallel to an actual opera, it's a tone that I think is acceptably different.

Where it succeeds most was in the moments that marked the truly personal portion of the film for Coppola: the death of a child. Coppola lost his eldest child in a boating accident and reportedly still writes this son a note every single day, a diary of communications he still feels compelled to make and keep some 20 or so years after the son's death. The reactions of Michael and Kay on the steps of the opera house are still some of the most painful moments I've ever seen on film, and I think the Mascagni Intermezzo was far more moving in aid to depicting their tragedy than it was in attempting to impart grandiosity to a decidedly un-grandiose character like Jake LaMotta in a movie that really strove to be a documentary about some really dumb, really unsavory, really uninteresting people. Of course, I'm not opinionated in the least.:icon_wink:

I loved the use of Barber's Adagio in Elephant Man, but that didn't stop me from also liking it in Platoon. That piece of music is so intensely emotional that it will always lure filmmakers to use it no matter how many others have already done the same.

I have to say that since 9/11, when an outstanding PBS documentary called "Faith and Loss at Ground Zero" used it to score the last portion that included photos and commentary about the people that held hands and jumped from the buildings, that's my favorite use of it yet. It's as if Barber wrote it for exactly that verbally indescribable horror, an infinite sadness and beauty wrapped together.

To try to get back on topic for just a minute:icon_biggrin:, I would quibble with Terrence Winter's personal take on the music, unless he was somehow specifically speaking for Chase. Chase picks the vast majority of music for the series and he co wrote the episode with Weiner. Winter had already commented in an interview a couple of weeks ago that he had no involvement with writing the last two episodes (beyond outlines, I presume, which all writers author as a group), so I'm not sure he had any input whatsoever into the selection of this music or the thought process behind employing it. Will have to read the slate article later to see if this is covered at all.


I actually agree with a lot of this, and I'm not a huge fan of Raging Bull either.

There was a review of Matrix Reloaded where they called the movie "part miracle, part mess," and that describes an awful lot of movies, including GFIII to an extent. It has its moments, and its fascinating elements. If it weren't about the Corleones and didn't have Sofia, Garcia or Pacino on the verge of his "hoo-ah" old-age awfulness, it would have been a really, really good movie.

However, IMO, the mess trumps the miracle and turns the movie into a blight on the series, especially considering how extraordinary the ending of II was -- Michael alone at the top, power consolidated, family gone, shell of a man. That would have been the way to end Sopranos, if it hadn't already been done so effectively.

Re: Cavellaria Rusticana: Raging Bull or Godfather III?

#20
Detective Hunt wrote:But I must really quibble at the thought that Scorsese's only input into popular culture is inspiring The Sopranos, and further, that The Sopranos is far and away better than Goodfellas, as well as suggesting that Raging Bull is overrated. Now, this is from an actors POV, understand, but performances in both films are so top notch as to be iconic. Further, you will never see another script and film that shows so well what it is like for a "general wise guy" - not the boss like Tony or Michael, but an underling with no chance to get made and how even still the life draws them in. This is Goodfellas. And DeNiro in Raging Bull? Ooof. It is considered, by many, the finest film of the 1980's. Reasonable minds can argue that, to be sure, but I'd be careful at simply dismissing it just as quickly as I'd counsel those attempting to dismiss Godfather III. :icon_wink:


When opinions strongly collide, communication is always a delicate matter.:icon_wink: But just to reprise what I wrote, with emphasis on the words that convey its subjectivity:

I also think that Raging Bull is as painfully overrated as Godfather III is over-hated, but then I find Martin Scorcese films in general to be incredibly overrated. The most important tribute I can pay to any of them is that Goodfellas greatly inspired David Chase, who channeled that inspiration into a work the scope, importance, gravity, and artistic vision of which [IMO] dwarfs Goodfellas by comparison.


The last bolded and bracketed portion wasn't originally included but should have been to make it 100% clear. As worded above, I'm afraid I wouldn't change a single word. That's how completely forgettable I found Raging Bull. And, mind you, I watched it twice, once in the theater when I was pretty young and once 10 or more years later, when I rented it to see if new maturity would change my relatively low opinion of it. (It didn't.) Two 80s films have already been mentioned in this thread that I thought were better, Elephant Man and Platoon. I would say Scarface is far better and Sophie's Choice is light years better. But that, of course, is entirely my personal opinion.

I think as a visual film artist, Scorcese is highly accomplished and has earned his reputation of excellence. But he's really not a writer (he's a co-screenwriter on a few movies that had screenplays adapted from novels, as I recall) and, in that sense, not really a fundamental storyteller. He's certainly not one of the caliber of a Chase or Coppola or Oliver Stone.

And that has to be a large part of why I find his films so overrated. Most of his movies are not grounded in what I consider to be compelling characters or (at least) interesting characters having compelling experiences. His sensibilities tend heavily toward a documentary feel, lots of vignettes not terribly connected by any narrative. That style can be compelling if the characters or situations are inherently compelling (ala Taxi Driver, which, for me, is his finest film). But I just find the characters and/or narratives in his most well-regarded films to be much less engaging than the same elements of the best films of the other writer/directors I've mentioned.

Goodfellas may well be the most realistic gangster film every made (although I think Donnie Brasco would give it a run for the money.) But it's not even close to being the best, IMO. Perhaps that just shows that gangsters really aren't as interesting as Puzo/Coppola, Stone/De Palma, and Chase have led us to believe.:icon_wink:

All that said, I agree with you 100% about DeNiro in Raging Bull. Certainly as authentic a performance as you are likely to find on film. And I think any actor who willingly gains that much weight for a part should get special commendation. It's a leap of faith to believe you'll be able to take it back off.:icon_biggrin:
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"
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