Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

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Re: Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Postby Don Lope de Aguirre » Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:35 am

Fair enough. I respect that.
Don Lope de Aguirre

Re: Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Postby Anasazie » Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:36 am

Not right now, it's like spending my valuable head space formulating all the reasons why Citizen Kane is not the greatest film ever made either. I just feel these films have had too much focus and don't want to contribute to too much more.

Re: Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Postby wpqx » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:41 pm

I don't, you're in the minority. Please explain why Citizen Kane isn't the greatest film of all time, and what's better. Unfortunately I believe I've lost my most recent review of the first two Godfathers which I'd be happy to use as support for my argument considering their greatness. You should try not to hate something because its popular, there's a reason certain films have a reputation, its because they've earned them. And I didn't have to read a host of critics to enjoy the Godfather, they didn't make me watch it 6 times, but irregardless critical opinion can help you to find some films, makes it a lot easier than just blindly going to a video store and renting something with a pretty box.

Re: Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Postby wpqx » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:44 pm

Here are my somewhat odd comments on One From the Heart, figured I don't want to start another Coppola thread, and since I've mentioned the film it seems appropriate. I'm not particularly pleased with the review, but its certainly favorable which not many reviews of this film are.

One From the Heart (1982)

Hail that magnificent folly. Every director has an inkling to go over the top, and the public just waits for their eventual downfall. Francis Coppola (who dropped the Ford for the credits here) seemed incapable of failure in the previous decade. Apocalypse Now (1979) was a nightmare to make, but the film was still well received, and ended the decade on an extremely high note, complete with yet another Oscar nomination. The gamble on that film had paid off, and today most people still regard Apocalypse as a true masterpiece. History has not been as kind to his follow up.
Today, nearly 25 years after the film first premiered it has not found its audience. Even in the glorious midnight movie circuit the film hasnt quite caught on, and it seems perfect for it. One From the Heart is a film dying for reappraisal and reevaluation. A disastrous bomb, that forced Coppola to close his dream studio and set him in a decade long downward spiral, that some people still argue he never fully recovered from. It isnt right though, sure you can see why the film failed, but that doesnt mean that it should have failed.
It is a simple film of complexity. The story is just a love story, a mix of musical comedy, romance, and drama. Yet that seems to be the only thing simple about it. Just looking at the stills from the film you wonder if the whole picture is a dream sequence. Watching the film it stays in its own world. There is nothing really fantastic or absurd about its construction, but it looks like no other film. A monument to set construction, art direction, brilliant lighting schemes, and of course an absolutely flawless film score.
One From the Heart is groundbreaking in its style. A film that attempted to be digital, electronic, but still doomed. Watching the film today though you just sit in awe. The images are powerful, theyre memorable, but there is something else in the film. There is a story, a heart, and characters that you care about and root for. The pace is quick, and when the plot slows down, there is enough in every frame to carry it through. The music is just as vital as the cinematography. Tom Waits provides the score here, and it is a gorgeous array of lounge music but with that impeccable Waits charm that leaves it somewhere left of center. He shares the singing duties with Crystal Gayle, and the two compliment each other perfectly.
The comedy isnt really funny though. There arent a lot of laughs, and the few attempts at deliberate comedy such as Frederic Forrests entanglement on top of the motel. But there is an absurdist charm, in the same way that Rules of the Game (1939) is a comedy. Yet the film got to be made Coppolas way, even though today we might laugh at the huge budget of $26 million dollars. Hell one actor alone can get almost as much for his work today. Despite being a failure it did still get released in its original form. There might be large tales of the films financial disaster, but it stayed in tact. This isnt a studio butchered piece of a directors vision being undermined.
The acting is first rate in the film. Forrest was a veteran of Coppola films, and I cant think of a film where he was better utilized. Terri Garr likewise hasnt had nearly as much of an opportunity to shine. Natassia Kinski and Raul Julia are both charming as the exotic tempters. Kinski seems to be from another planet here, and that makes Forrests attraction utterly convincing. Even Harry Dean Stanton and Lainie Kazan are perfectly matched as the comic best friends. Their performances have been somewhat overlooked because of the overpowering visual splendor of the picture. So by all means see the film, give it a shot, sure its a love it or hate it film, but I think that time will eventually catch up to it, and just praise shall be rewarded to it.

Grade A

Re: Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Postby Anasazie » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:55 pm

I prefer European and Asian cinema generally, i find it contains a bit more subtlety in it's exploration of the human condition. Why's that hard for you to understand?

I'd rate both Citizen Kane and The Godfather amongst the greatest USA-ian films of all time. That doesn't really mean i dislike them does it?

I'd say i'm probably in the minority amongst Western English speaking cineastes yes, but what does that mean? That my opinion is wrong?

It's got nothing to do with anything being popular, that's a really misguided and quite naive view to take. I rate of lot of highly regarded (popular?) films amongst the greatest. If i made a list of the 250 strongest films i've seen, i imagine both of the ones in question would be on that list. I just don't love them as much as you, it's all subjective WP, there is no fact of opinion.

Re: Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Postby A » Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:53 pm

Thanks again wpqx for your review. I've read quite a bit about "One from the Heart", and everything suggested an extremely interesting film. And the essays and reviews I read were, like yours, very positive. The one Coppola film I want to see most.
As to his other films, again I have seen them too long ago to rate most of them properly. I only revisited The Godfather trilogy last year, so I can say something about that.
Out of the films I've seen though, I'd probably rate Apocalypse Now and The Conversation the highest. And I enjoyed Dracula very much (seen it multiple times, but again too long ago). Will add more ratings in the future.

Though I like The first two Godfather films very much, personally - unlike wpqx and Anasazie - I would never include them even in an American Top 250, let alone an overall Top 250. Let me say that all the possible merits one may list... I would probably agree. Nevertheless for me they aren't quite enough to place them under the greats.

The Godfather (1972) 8/10
The Godfather: Part II (1974) 7/10
The Godfather: Part III (1990) 6/10

Re: Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Postby R6dw6C » Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:17 am

Having seen only a bit part of his work, I feel that Coppola is an extremely ambiguous directer whose love for cinema went into the right, modest direction regarding his way of referencing to the directors he
admires. However, I tend to find him a bit too "shy", too controlled and, though that may sound absurd, a bit too "un-egocentric" as well. It should be mentioned that I just watched the first two GODFATHERs within the last two weeks for the very first time (I purchased the newly "restored" box set as a Christmas gift) and was immensely impressed and consider both to be real examples of greatness, but, for a reason I don't know myself, wasn't overly enthusiastic about them.

1. [Dementia 13] (1963) 7/10
2. The Godfather (1971) 9/10 - 22/25
3. The Godfather: Part II (1974) 9/10 - 23/25
4. [The Conversation] (1974) 9/10
5. The Godfather: Part III (1990) 9/10
6. [Dracula] (1992) 8/10 - 21/25
7. [Jack] (1996) 4/10
8. [The Rainmaker] (1997) 7/10
9. [Youth Without Youth] (2007) 8/10 * - 11/25

* Note that this rating isn't meant to be serious and indicates the entertainment value of the film rather than its poor quality - definitely a guilty pleasure in the truest sense of the word. A, for example, didn't like it at all, unfortunately. The 11/25 is the more serious rating which displays my shock that a filmmaker like Coppola seriously unleashed an esoteric, ridiculous potboiler of that kind.

[ ] = German dubbed version.

Re: Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Postby wpqx » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:17 pm

No Apocalypse Now or One From the Heart?

Your opinion might greatly change.

Re: Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Postby R6dw6C » Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:36 pm

No, not yet - but I'm anxious to seem them - "Apocalypse Now" is said by many to include the most "Coppola Ego" and this certainly intrigues me. What is your opinion on the "Redux" version? Among my friends, there are many who prefer it to the theatrical cut but also some who dislike it strongly...
I believe you got a point in praising "One From the Heart" as underrated - Coppolas reputation probably already was a bit "single handed" at the time he made it and I put it on top of my to-see list of his films.

Re: Rate the Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Postby wpqx » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:39 pm

I though parts of Redux were a welcome addition, but I was one of many who thought the colony sequence was rightfully cut and it just comes out of left field, slows the film to a crawl and adds a painfully unnecessary "romantic" interest.


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