I’m one of those people who draws a blank when asked what my hobbies are. I don’t garden, crochet or bake, so my chances of coming up with a respectable answer to that question would not earn me a win on Family Feud. (Those would be in the top ten, right?) But I recently decided that I was going to take one of my favorite pastimes and carefully and deliberately hone my skills in it until it becomes a bona fide hobby. Ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration: movie watching.
(Applause, applause, applause)
To kick-start my shiny new hobby, this past weekend my husband and I treated ourselves to a marathon of The Godfather movies. Yes, even part III, the epilogue. I’d only seen that one once before, when it first came out in the theater. The other two I had seen numerous times, though not quite to the point of being able to quote the script along with the actors (though, really, how annoying would that be? I could never bring myself to be that kind of person. Mouth the words, possibly, but say them out loud, thereby disrupting the movie itself? Never.)
I must say, these films never disappoint. There is always something new I catch with each viewing, and find they strike a different chord depending on my mood, and possibly now my age. The first time I saw The Godfather, at about 13, my appreciation stemmed more from my focus on Michael than the gravity of the story. (No, I didn’t end up marrying a mobster. Don’t you know there’s no such thing as the Mafia?)
This time around, I found the series to be emotionally overwhelming. There was such tragedy and heartache in this tale of the anti-hero(es) we come to respect, identify with, and even love. We feel for the poor, bumbling Fredo, helpless in protecting his father from his would-be assassins; are shocked at the over-the-top-style slaying of Sonny at the tollbooth; despair at the senseless and sudden loss of Apollonia; mourn with Don Corleone at the loss of one son to the effects of their chosen life and the other to the pull of that life. The last scene of the second movie had never been more tragic to me, and I was ready to see an aging Michael in the third one, weighed down with guilt over what he had done.
Of course many classic lines come from this series, from remembering one’s pastries to The Sopranos’ favorite Silvio impression of never being able to break free. One of my favorites this time around came in the third installment, from Michael to his nephew: “Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.”
We can all learn a little something from not just our favorite family, but the storytellers behind all our favorite tales. And what better way to have life’s lessons presented to us than on the big screen? I think it’s clear I made the right choice.