Monday, January 15, 2007

Wintry Mix

That's what they're calling it -- a wintry mix. And since that's pretty rare in these parts (these parts ebing central Texas, where the mix we usually get is heat mixed with more heat), I thought it was worth mentioning. It rained a lot the last few days (my backyard has turned into a swamp), and it finally got really cold last night, so we woke up to ice on roofs and pretty much every school in the region closed (though my kids' schools, and Baylor for that matter, were already closed for MLK Jr Day).

So I'm holed up at home, trying to stay warm, and preparing to talk about The Godfather with my Mavericks of the 70s American Cinema class tomorrow (assuming the ice melts).

What can you say about The Godfather? Since I'm half-Italian and grew up in a family that embraced its Italian heritage (which happens when it's your mother's family that's Italian), The Godfather is almost like a home movie for me. Not that anyone I know was in the mob, of course. But growing up in Staten Island, one of our neighbors was the son of a noted mobster, and besides, The Godfather put a lot of Italian culture on the screen. Watching it, I remember my grandparents, and my mother's recipe for sauce (which is not dissimilar from Clemenza's).

And after all, "Leave the gun, take the cannoli" is one of the great lines in movie history. To me, that line defines the movie more than the classic "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." The latter line is all about the Corleone's power (an important image, no doubt); the former contains within it the family's brutality mixed with its humanity -- which is why I think it conveys the films themes so efficiently.


Blogger DanBuck said...

One of the things we're looking forward to if this whole move happens... school closed for ice and snow and not for Hurricanes!!

1/16/2007 5:46 AM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

well, i have to say, school closings for snow and ice are pretty rare around here, because snow and ice themselves are pretty rare.

but not too many hurricanes. the natural disaster of choice around here is the tornado.

1/16/2007 7:28 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Enjoy your class discussion on "The Godfather"--I'm sure it will be great.

Do you mind if I ask you a question? Do you consider "The Godfather" (and maybe its sequel too) to be pro-violence or anti-violence, and why?


1/16/2007 11:09 PM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

You know, I haven't really thought about it like that. I'd have to say that the film seems fairly neutral towards violence, though it uses violence to advance our understanding of characters and situations. Violence seems to be just a part of these people's lives, and they take that for granted, which I find interesting. Everyone except Michael, who becomes one of them when he is touched by the violence himself (when his father is shot, and then when his first wife -- in Italy -- is killed).

1/17/2007 4:57 PM  
Blogger DanBuck said...

I think the violence is what makes gangsters so interesting. They're okay with crime and murder, but they have a strict moral code which includes a voracious loyalty to family.

It's like us all. We're neck-deep in our own sin and wrong-doing, but that doesn't mean we're incapable of honorable and even noble acts.

1/18/2007 8:49 AM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

that's a very good observation, dan, and very applicable to a spiritual perspective on this excellent film...

1/18/2007 7:14 PM  

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