This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Lee, or El Duderino, if, you're not into the whole brevity thing’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
"Leave the gun, take the cannoli."
A simple, hilarious, highly memorable, and easily missed line delivered by Richard Castellano's all around goodfella and chef, Clemenza. For the sake of not regurgitating what every other viewer of this undisputed classic and top 1% film of all time, I figured I'd just wax a little on two brief moments that stood out to be on this umpteenth rewatch. Sure, it could merely be jolly Clemenza's wish to insure his wife's demands and satisfaction by not forgetting the cannolis. Perhaps like myself, he's just a fan of the classic Sicilian pastry. Or does it have a [places cinephile glasses on] underlying double meaning that film students can apply analysis to. Like Don Corleone playing happily and carefree in the tomato garden with his nephew, we witness this man's unwavering loyalty and love to one thing above all else: family. Every single action he's done and ever will do, is always at the end of the day to insure the safety well-being of his family—more so when we witness his past in Part II. This is all a means to an end, his American Dream, and to establish the legacy of the Corleone name. So those tomato plants could represent all the nurtured and groomed roots Vito has planted, taken care of, and grown all his years. The fruits of his labour enjoyed with his nephew—the future of the family—just moments before his sudden death. The death reminding us that crime never pays, and that no amount of power will ever allow you to circumvent and avoid your punishment one day or the other. But unlike Sunny, Mo Green, and the like, Vito does not perish concerned, in a rage or fear, shocked, nor gunned down to a pulp. Vito dies by someone who loves him, with love in his heart, and a lemon smile on his face. What's the point of working so hard and endlessly lending an ear during your daughter's wedding day, if you can't enjoy a little bit of what you worked so hard to establish. So come on kid, put that watering spray gun down Anthony; put it down and enjoy this moment with your grandfather and his food tricks. One day your time will come to step down and let another fill your shoes. The day will arrive where you leave the gun, leave the life of crime and violence behind and take that which you love with you, the cannoli.
The other brief miss able moment is when Michael and Enzo the Baker are pretending to be guards at night, in front of the Don's hospital. In Enzo's fear and overwhelming shock of how he just managed to avoid being gunned down by a possible drive by shooting through Michael's sudden and unexplained plan, he fails to light his cigarette with a lighter. Hands trembling, body shivering, and eyes wide open, Enzo is as they say, like a deer in the headlights. Fresh babyfaced Michael on the other hand—with coat collar popped—calmly takes the zippo, and in one go flicks the flame to life, lighting poor yet loyal and brave Enzo's cigarette. As Enzo nervously takes a drag and police sirens begin to wail off-screen, Michael's deadpan gaze lingers on the zippo's flame in his palms. It's in this moment where it feels like he acknowledges how capable and easily he functions under immense pressure and death, despite in that moment being a civilian in the turf war. He sees how simply he could enter this life of crime, how he can join the family business, how cool and collected he is, and perhaps how dangerous and calculated he really is. That maybe, just maybe, this is his destiny whether he likes it or not.
[Takes cinephile glasses off, places them in limited overpriced edition A24 x Criterion case]
PS: I'll never turn down the opportunity to snatch someone's G-Card (™️), as we showed The Godfather in its entirety for their first time to our friend today. This is one of my all-time fave films, and it's ingrained in my mind from the myriad of times my father has shown this to me as a kid. I've also luckily been able to see this and Part II, twice in theatres each. I for one will never take sides against the family.
CHRISTMAS TIME (I always forget that part of the film takes place during Christmas)
THAT 👀 SCENE (Baptism)