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The Godfather

The Godfather

Image credit: The Godfather, 1972

This week is Thanksgiving, and I don’t know about y’all, but I am ready to eat, drink, and watch movies. Sure, we’ll come together with loved ones and enjoy some mashed potatoes and stuffing, but post-meal is where the real magic happens. Because that’s when you settle in with a good film. If you’re smart, you’ll choose something that celebrates, eating, drinking, and above all, la famiglia. This Thanksgiving, I’ll be watching The Godfather (DVD/Download).

I’m not going to rehash the plot of The Godfather because really, it’s been almost 50 years, and if you don’t already know that this is a movie about a large mafia crime family, heaven help you. What I will say, however, is that as a fan of late 60’s/early 70’s cinema, this film encompasses so much of what I love about the era. You have the faded Hollywood icon in the form of Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone contrasting with the brash, exciting newcomer Al Pacino as Michael Corleone.  Then there are the 1940’s period sets that still feel a bit like 70’s gritty NYC, and Francis Ford Coppola’s blend of cinema verite mixed with grandiose storytelling. You see the wine and the red sauce and the piles of wedding cake that scream ITALIAN, but also the quiet, subtle moments that pull the viewer in and make you feel the story.  Hollywood was still figuring out what it wanted to be when this film was made, and The Godfather said it loud and clear- the old studio system was dead, long live the auteur.

If you find yourself cooking for a large crowd on T-Day, you may just want to keep things simple and enjoy a nice bottle of red wine with this film (Sicilian or Southern Italian-origin would be my choice for authenticity’s sake). But if you want to go a little further, pick up a bottle of Sambuca and digest your dinner like the Corleones. While watching The Godfather, I recommend drinking The Closer.

The Closer

1 oz White Sambuca

1 oz Coffee liqueur

1 oz half-and-half

Star Anise for garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, blend well, then strain into a glass with a large ice cube.  Garnish with star anise.  

I’ve set the ambitious goal of watching ALL THREE Godfather films in one day, breaking only for more drinks and dessert. We’ll see how far I get (feel free to check in with me on Twitter @cinemasips to see if I’ve started swearing in Italian yet). I will leave you with this quote from Mario Puzo’s The Godfather: “Time erodes gratitude more quickly than it does beauty.” So take that gratitude you feel on Thanksgiving, and let it stay with you for a while. Cheers!

Top Five Movie Trilogies

With Thanksgiving upon us, I know I’ll soon be in the market for a good excuse to relax after the big meal. If you’re willing to commit to a comfy sofa, and total radio silence from relatives, I suggest you select a stellar movie trilogy and settle in for the night. What follows is my list of Top Five Movie Trilogies. These will get you past the initial food coma, through leftovers/second dinner, and eventually cocktails and pie. Timing is key. Cheers!

  1.  The Godfather trilogy
the godfather

Image credit: The Godfather Part II, 1974

This is how trilogies should be done. Family drama, a dead horse, and a lot of red sauce. Cannoli anyone?

2.  The Bourne trilogy

bourne identity

Image credit: The Bourne Identity, 2002

I’m not typically one for action flicks, but when it includes Matt Damon and glamorous European capitals, I can’t resist. More tortured and damaged than Bond, Jason Bourne could be any one of us. You know, anyone with insane “kill a man with his bare hands” skills.

3.  The Ocean’s trilogy

oceans

Image credit: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

This trio of movies featuring Danny Ocean and his crew of Hollywood A-listers will certainly keep you awake even after the tryptophan begins to take effect. And with scenes of Brad Pitt CONSTANTLY eating, you may feel the urge to join him. Go right ahead.

4.  The Before trilogy

before sunrise

Image credit: Before Sunrise, 1995

Perhaps an unconventional choice, but sometimes a person just wants something small, intimate, and wonderful.  Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight are quite possibly the most romantic films ever made, and I can’t think of anyone better than Jesse and Celine to share an evening with.  Je t’aime.

5.  The Star Wars trilogy (IV-VI)

Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford

Image credit: Star Wars, 1977

I’m including the original Star Wars trilogy because I fear there might be a mutiny among my readers if I didn’t. Contrary to public opinion, yes I have seen Star Wars, and sorry, it’s just not my thing. However, watching the original trilogy films back-to-back is the only way I would want to see them again. It keeps you in the moment, tuned in, and invested in the fantasy. Plus, young Harrison Ford. Enough said.*

(*Gotta admit, if my only goal is to watch 6 hours of Harrison Ford, I’d personally opt for the Indiana Jones trilogy instead.  But I know- Star Wars is a big deal).