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#060 Francis Ford Coppola: The Godfather vs. Tonight for Sure w/ guest Jairo Benavides of “True Bromance Podcast”


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Francis Ford Coppola’s best and worst rated films, The Godfather (1972) and Tonight for Sure (1962), respectively. Nate experiences one of the worst films he’s ever seen, Austin isn’t a fan of Part III, and Jairo takes on another Coppola.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Sydney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957) and Gloria (1999), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with Francis Ford Coppola about The Godfather:


Tonight for Sure Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: On the Las Vegas strip, two unlikely men rendezvous: Samuel Hill, an ill-kempt desert miner, and Benjamin Jabowski, a John Birch Society dandy from the city.

  • Ratings: IMDb 3.2 | RT N/A C / N/A A
  • Released: 1962
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writer(s): Jerry Shaffer and Francis Ford Coppola (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Jack Hill
  • Notable actors: Karl Schanzer, Don Kenney, Marli Renfro
  • Budget: N/A
  • Box office: N/A
  • Fun Facts:
    • Director Francis Ford Coppola shot the film in a motel room in two days and slept in the same room after filming was done for each day.
    • Cast member Marli Renfro had earlier appeared as Janet Leigh’s nude body double in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960).

The Godfather Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

  • Ratings: IMDb 9.2 | RT 99% C / 98% A
  • Released: 1972
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writer(s): Mario Puza and Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay), Mario Puzo (novel)
  • Cinematographer: Gordon Willis (Annie Hall, All the President’s Men)
  • Notable actors: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Al Lettieri, Diane Keaton, Abe Vigoda, Talia Shire, Gianni Russo, John Cazale
  • Budget: $7 million
  • Box office: $245.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Lenny Montana (Luca Brasi) was so nervous about working with Marlon Brando that in the first take of their scene together, he flubbed some lines. Director Francis Ford Coppola liked the genuine nervousness and used it in the final cut. The scenes of Luca practicing his speech were added later.
    • During an early shot of the scene where Vito Corleone returns home and his people carry him up the stairs, Marlon Brando put weights under his body on the bed as a prank, to make it harder to lift him.
    • Animal rights activists protested the horse’s head scene. Francis Ford Coppola told Variety, “There were many people killed in that movie, but everyone worries about the horse. It was the same on the set. When the head arrived, it upset many crew members who are animal lovers, who like little doggies. What they don’t know is that we got the head from a pet food manufacturer who slaughters two hundred horses a day just to feed those little doggies.”
    • Marlon Brando wanted to make Don Corleone “look like a bulldog,” so he stuffed his cheeks with cotton wool for the audition. For the actual filming, he wore a mouthpiece made by a dentist. This appliance is on display in the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.
    • James Caan improvised the part where he throws the FBI photographer to the ground. The extra’s frightened reaction is genuine. Caan also came up with the idea of throwing money at the man to make up for breaking his camera. As he put it, “Where I came from, you broke something, you replaced it or repaid the owner.”
    • The scenes in which Enzo comes to visit Vito Corleone in the hospital were shot in reverse, with the outside scene shot first. Gabriele Torrei, the actor who plays Enzo, had never acted in front of a camera before and his nervous shaking, after the car drives away, was real.
    • There was intense friction between Francis Ford Coppola and Paramount, in which [Paramount] frequently tried to have Coppola replaced, citing his inability to stay on schedule, unnecessary expenses, and production and casting errors (Coppola actually completed the film ahead of schedule and budget).
    • Marlon Brando did not memorize most of his lines and read from cue cards during most of the film.
    • The cat held by Marlon Brando in the opening scene was a stray the actor found while on the lot at Paramount, and was not originally called for in the script. So content was the cat that its purring muffled some of Brando’s dialogue, and, as a result, most of his lines had to be looped.
    • The smack that Vito gives Johnny Fontane was not in the script. Marlon Brando improvised the smack and Al Martino’s confused reaction was real. According to James Caan, “Martino didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
    • According to Al Pacino, the tears in Marlon Brando’s eyes were real, in the hospital scene when Michael pledges himself to his father.
    • The scene where Sonny beats up Carlo (Connie’s husband) took four days to shoot and featured more than 700 extras. The use of the garbage can lid was improvised by James Caan.
    • Cinematographer Gordon Willis earned himself the nickname ‘”The Prince of Darkness,” since his sets were so underlit. Paramount executives initially thought that the footage was too dark, until persuaded otherwise by Willis and Francis Ford Coppola that it was to emphasize the shadiness of the Corleone family’s dealings.
    • According to Richard S. Castellano, he defended Gordon Willis during a disagreement Willis was having with Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola got revenge on Castellano by making him do twenty takes of the shots of Clemenza walking up four flight of stairs.

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down – Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0


 

The Best and Worst of the Best Podcast is a show where host’s Nate and Austin compare a film director’s best and worst rated movies to see where they went wrong.

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#050 Martin Scorsese: Goodfellas vs. Boxcar Bertha w/ guest Brandon Calvillo of “The Last Job”


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Martin Scorsese’s best and worst rated films, Goodfellas (1990) and Boxcar Bertha (1972), respectively. Nate really enjoyed the extensive use of banjo music, Austin has a whole side episode dedicated to Leo, and Brandon asks a very simple question about Boxcar Bertha: why?

Brandon has a variety of other content that can be found on his Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Also be sure to check out his recent short film, The Last Job.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie (2001) and Alien: Resurrection (1997), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview of director Martin Scorsese discussing Goodfellas:


Boxcar Bertha Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: During the depression, a union leader and a young woman become criminals to exact revenge on the management of a railroad.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.1 | RT 48% C / 34% A
  • Released: 1972
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Writer(s): Ben L. Reitman (book), Joyce Hooper Corrington & John William Corrington (screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: John M. Stephens (Sorcerer, Billy Jack)
  • Notable actors: Barbara Hershey, David Carradine, Barry Primus, Bernie Casey, John Carradine, Victor Argo, Harry Northup
  • Budget: $600 thousand
  • Box office: N/A
  • Fun Facts:
    • After he finished this film, Martin Scorsese screened it for John Cassavetes. Cassavetes, after seeing it, hugged Scorsese and said, “Marty, you’ve just spent a whole year of your life making a piece of shit. It’s a good picture, but you’re better than the people who make this kind of movie. Don’t get hooked into the exploitation market, just try and do something different.” Scorsese’s next film was Mean Streets (1973).
    • David Carradine and Barbara Hershey were a couple at the time of filming.
    • Martin Scorsese personally drew about 500 storyboards for this film
    • The train sequences were shot first and they took about a week. This was done to get the most complicated element of the production, working with a moving train, out of the way first.
    • There was a rumor that Roger Corman’s wife Julie Corman obtained the film rights to the story from Bertha Thompson herself after tracking her down in a San Francisco hotel room; she never actually met Thompson–because Thompson wouldn’t open the door-but that rumor wasn’t true. It may haver been a pre-release publicity stunt or maybe even a trick played on the Cormans by the true owner of the story, author Ben L. Reitman; the afterword in the fourth re-issue of the book “Boxcar Bertha” explained that the book is a work of fiction, and that the character Bertha Thompson was an amalgam of at least three women that Reitman knew, but was mostly modeled on a woman named Retta Toble.

GoodFellas Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.7 | RT 97% C / 97% A
  • Released: 1990
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Writer(s): Nicholas Pileggi (book), Nicholas Pileggi & Martin Scorsese (screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: Michael Ballhaus (The Departed, Gangs of New York)
  • Notable actors: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Fran Sivero, Tony Darry, Mike Starr, Frank Vincent
  • Budget: $25 million
  • Box office: $46.8 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • The now-legendary Steadicam trip through the nightclub kitchen was a happy accident. Scorsese had been denied permission to go through the front, and had to improvise an alternative.
    • In a documentary entitled The Real Goodfella (2006), which aired in the UK, Henry Hill claimed that Robert De Niro would phone him seven to eight times a day to discuss certain things about Jimmy’s character, such as how Jimmy would hold his cigarette, etc.
    • According to the real Henry Hill, whose life was the basis for the book and film, Joe Pesci’s portrayal of Tommy DeSimone was 90% to 99% accurate, with one notable exception; the real Tommy DeSimone was a massively built, strapping man.
    • According to Nicholas Pileggi, some actual mobsters were hired as extras to lend authenticity to scenes. The mobsters gave fake Social Security numbers to Warner Bros. and it is unknown how they received their paychecks.
    • Martin Scorsese first got wind of Nicholas Pileggi’s book “Wiseguy” when he was handed the galley proofs. Although Scorsese had sworn off making another gangster movie, he immediately cold-called the writer and told him, “I’ve been waiting for this book my entire life.” To which Pileggi replied, “I’ve been waiting for this phone call my entire life.”
    • According to Ray Liotta, Martin Scorsese was so involved in every detail of the cast’s wardrobe that he tied Liotta’s tie himself to make sure it was accurate for the film’s setting.
    • Al Pacino was offered the role of Jimmy Conway, but he turned it down due to fears of typecasting. Ironically, that same year Pacino ended up playing an even more stereotyped gangster – Big Boy Caprice in Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy (1990). He admits he regrets this decision.
    • The movie’s line “As far back as I could remember I’ve always wanted to be a gangster.” was voted as the #20 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere in 2007.
    • Robert De Niro wanted to use real money for the scene where Jimmy hands out money. The prop master gave De Niro 5,000 dollars of his own money. At the end of each take, no one was allowed to leave the set until all the money was returned and counted.
    • After Joe Pesci’s mother saw the film, she told her son that the movie was good, then asked him if he had to curse so much.
    • Ray Liotta’s mother died of cancer during filming. Liotta says that he used his anger over losing his mother for certain scenes, the pistol-whipping scene in particular.
    • The studio was initially very nervous about the film, due to its extreme violence and language. The film reportedly received the worst preview response in the studio’s history. Scorsese said that “the numbers were so low it was funny.” Nevertheless, the film was released without alteration to overwhelming critical acclaim, cementing Scorsese’s reputation as America’s foremost filmmaker.
    • Although Scorsese and Pileggi collaborated on the screenplay (and received Oscar nominations for doing so), much of the film’s eventual dialogue was improvised by the actors.
    • The dinner scene with Tommy’s mother was almost completely improvised by the actors, including Tommy asking his mother if he could borrow her butcher’s knife and Jimmy’s “hoof” comment.
    • Paul Sorvino wanted to drop out of the role of Paulie, three days before filming began, because he felt that he lacked the cold personality to play the character. He called his agent and asked to be released from the film. Sorvino’s agent told him to think about it for one day before making a final decision. That night, Sorvino looked in the mirror and was frightened by the look on his face. He realized that that look was the look he needed to play Paulie.
    • Tony Darrow who plays Sonny Bunz, the owner of the Bamboo Lounge, worked in the real-life Bamboo Lounge where Henry Hill, and the people, on whom the film’s characters are based, would hang out.

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down – Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0


 

The Best and Worst of the Best Podcast is a show where host’s Nate and Austin compare a film director’s best and worst rated movies to see where they went wrong.

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#048 Nancy Meyers: The Intern vs. What Women Want w/ guest Dru Miller of “Men Are Dogs”


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Nancy Meyers’ best and worst rated films, The Intern (2015) and What Women Want (2000), respectively. Nate’s an independent millenial who don’t need no man, Austin prefers Mel in the craft services department, and Dru has a new project he’s working on.

Dru’s kickstarter campaign for Men Are Dogs can be found here.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Guy Ritchie’s Snatch (2000) and Swept Away (2002), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this behind the scenes footage from The Intern:


What Women Want Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: After an accident, a chauvinistic executive gains the ability to hear what women are really thinking.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.4 | RT 54% C / 54% A
  • Released: 2001
  • Director: Nancy Meyers
  • Writer(s): Josh Goldsmith & Cathy Yuspa and Diana Drake (story), Josh Goldsmith & Cathy Yuspa (screenplay)
  • Cinematographer: Dean Cundey (Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Apollo 13)
  • Notable actors: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Alan Alda, Ashley Johnson, Mark Feurerstein, Lauren Holly, Delta Burke, Valerie Perrine, Judy Greer, Sarah Paulson
  • Budget: $70 million
  • Box office: $374.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • In the scene where Mel Gibson waxes his legs in his bathroom, he actually did wax his legs, and it did not hurt him nearly as much as it hurt him in the movie. He kept taunting all the women on set, saying “come on, this doesn’t hurt at at all!”
    • The Nike representatives are in fact the real Nike ad representatives and not actresses.
    • The film was originally titled Head Games and was pitched to Touchstone Pictures in 1996 as a star vehicle for Tim Allen.
    • The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei; and two Oscar nominees: Alan Alda, Valerie Perrine.
    • The color of the main characters’ wardrobe reflects their mood. Mel Gibson’s character wears black and dark colors throughout most of the movie, while Helen Hunt’s wears white and lighter colors. The opposing colors match their character’s being at odds with each other. It isn’t until later in the movie that both wear grey, singling their characters coming together.

The Intern Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.1 | RT 62% C / 74% A
  • Released: 2015
  • Director: Nancy Meyers
  • Writer(s): Nancy Meyers
  • Cinematographer: Stephen Goldblatt (The Help, Closer, Angels in America)
  • Notable actors: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Anders Holm, JoJo Kushner, Andrew Rannells, Adam Devine, Zack Pearlman, Jason Orley, Christina Scherer
  • Budget: $44 million
  • Box office: $194.6 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • In one scene, Robert De Niro’s character is confused as to who Jay Z is. This is an in-joke about the beef Robert De Niro and Jay-Z have had since 2012.
    • Nancy Meyers approached Jack Nicholson for the role of Ben Whittaker. Nicholson is mentioned in Jules’ philosophic rambling at the bar.
    • Reese Witherspoon was originally cast as Jules, but dropped out.
    • This was once set up at Paramount Pictures with Tina Fey starring.
    • In Anne Hathaway’s opening scene, she’s filling an order over the phone for a bride named “Rachel.” This recalls the title of her earlier film Rachel Getting Married (2008), where she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down – Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0


 

The Best and Worst of the Best Podcast is a show where host’s Nate and Austin compare a film director’s best and worst rated movies to see where they went wrong.