Tag Archives: Godfather

You don’t know what it’s like being male, middle-class and white.

38. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)

I have a theory that there is a list of about 7 or so movies that every angry or disaffected white teenage male loves, and cherishes into adulthood. These movies typically involve white people who are fed up or somehow alienated from the world around them, and act out in violent ways. Sometimes these movies are set in war-time, sometimes they are gangster films, and sometimes they involve just plain murder and random violence.

I think the key is that each film has a character that the angry white teenager can identify with, and that the character is able to offer pseudo-philosophical insights about the world. Another hallmark of these films is that they make up the core of the angry white teenagers DVD(or VHS) collection, and end up appearing en masse at your local Cash Converters(cause teenagers and later young adults are poor, and will need to hock something to pay their rent at least one time in their life). A third hallmark is they are directed by a reputed great director, or they a have someone like Al Pacino, or Robert De Niro as the star. Finally these films often have famous quotes and iconic scenes which the angry white teenager wears like a badge of honor, wishing they could somehow be so clever.

So here is my official list of 10 movies that angry white teenagers love and view as the greatest films ever made(in no particular order:

  1. Taxi Driver -Travis Bickle is the quintessential disaffected white male, eminently quotable, charismatic, and a vigilante. Plus he shoots people, and has a moral code that makes sense to young impressionable minds. Also has “are you talking to me?”
  2. Full Metal Jacket – Private Joker is the dichotomy of war of peace. He’s funny, witty, sharp, and loses it in the end. The kids love the blood the gore, the killing, and Private Pyle’s going crazy, they also like the “me so horny” scene.
  3. The Godfather – More violence, and a twisted moral code. Angry white teenagers identify with Michael Corleone. Also has “I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse”.
  4. Goodfellas – More violence, and a twisted moral code. Angry white teenagers love the “do I amuse you scene” with Tommy DeVito, and wish they could go around beating the shit out of people.
  5. Apocalypse Now – The spiritual predecessor to Full Metal Jacket. Mayhem, craziness, and nihilism are central to the angry white teenagers worldview, and this film has it all. Plus it has Brando in it, and the famous line “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”.
  6. Natural Born Killers – Because serial killers are the ultimate representation of nihilism, and are utterly fascinating to angry white teenagers. The more sprawling the film is the more likely the angry white teenager can fill in the blanks. The kids love the line “I’ll make ya famous”.
  7. Reservoir Dogs – This spot really represents all of Tarantino’s work(save for Jackie Brown, which no one cares about). The angry white teenager loves Tarantino above all else. Mindless killing, clever dialogue, blatant criminality. “The royale with cheese” scene from Pulp Fiction, and the “stuck in the middle with you” scene from Reservoir Dogs are representative of the things the kids love.

Honorable mentions include David Lynch films, Silence of the Lambs, The Living Dead series, and the occasional Hitchcock film like Psycho, and other Scorsese and Kubrick films(particularly Clockwork Orange).

Now I enjoy most of the films I have mentioned, save for Natural Born Killers which has no redeeming qualities save for Robert Downey Jr., and Rodney Dangerfield. Enjoyment of these films does not inherently mean you are an angry white teenager. The function of this post is simply to point out the films that angry white teenagers deem as classic, and what often represents classic cinema in their minds.

On filmaffinity.com I gave the film 8/10. It’s been ages since I have seen it, but I remember it well. It is something I want to revisit, but I haven’t really felt like doing so lately.

At least it doesn’t have Sofia Coppola.

17. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

My expectations were pretty high going into this one. A lot of people swear that this is best movie ever made, even better than the first one. I once heard someone describe it as having the best screenplay ever written. This film is so well-regarded it hurts. And unfortunately it was pretty underwhelming. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, because I did. It was good, just not Van Johnson good.

Most of the reviews I read offered much ballyhoo about the seamless transitions between Michael Corleone’s life in the present and Vito Corleone’s life in the past. But at times I found it very clunky. It would just sometimes happen out of nowhere, and there didn’t seem to be a connection between what was going on in past and present. Come on Coppola at least gimme some heavy handed symbolism man.

It seemed like it was almost an arbitrary decision to incorporate Vito Corleone’s story into the film. Somebody was probably like “hey lets get Robert De Niro to play that guy Brando played in the first one”. I think the Don Corleone sequences would have worked better in the context of the first film, as they would coincide with Michael’s own entry into the underworld.

I can’t help but think that Leone’sOnce Upon A Time In America” did the whole multiple time-frame thing so much better. Everything just went smoother, and being that it was only one character’s life being dealt with it just made more sense to tell his story with flashback sequences. Plus it has Robet De Niro too.

What I did like about the film was that it made me feel gangsta once again. It’s well acted and fast paced. Plus the sequence described below is pretty much the greatest shit ever:

Frank Pentangeli has made a deal with the FBI to testify against Michael, believing he was the one who organized the attempt on his life. At the hearing in which Pentangeli is to testify, Michael arrives accompanied by Pentangeli’s brother Vincenzo, brought in from Sicily, whose surprise presence causes Frank to recant his previous statements about Michael. When Pentangeli is pressed, he claims that he just told the FBI what they wanted to hear. With no witness to testify against Michael the committee adjourns, with Hagen, acting as Michael’s lawyer, loudly demanding an apology.

Vincenzo is pretty much awesome. He says nothing, does nothing but show up and look indifferent, and then he leaves. But he is so badass, the personification of intimidation.

On filmaffinity.com I gave the film 8/10 simply because I gave part 1 a 9, and I didn’t like this one as much. But really the only fault I have with film is just the clunkier aspects of the screenplay, which to be honest is a pretty small detail.