Forty Years After: Remembering The Godfather
I first watched The Godfather when I was 14 years old. I still remember that night. There was a trilogy screening on cable. The trilogy will be showed back to back from 10 pm until 8 am. I watched the first film out of curiosity. I had always heard that The Godfather was a good film so I tried watching it. To my surprise, it was very good. So I stayed and watched the second film. Halfway, I got sleepy. It was three in the morning, so no matter how good a film is, you must feel sleepy at some point. But for The Godfather, I stayed. I boiled some water and made instant coffee, two times. That made me stay awake until eight. By the time 8 am came, I was tired and quickly fell asleep. Thank god it was a holiday so there was no school.
After watching all three films back to back, I slept with only The Godfather in mind. In my dreams, I was Michael Corleone, son and successor of the Corleone Family. But in the dream, I didn’t kill people. Far from it, I made peace. But hey, it was a dream after all. No one said it had to be logical. I still don’t know how all the Five Families made peace with me in the dream but because I just watched three Godfather films, the dream of being Michael Corleone was truly vivid. When I woke up, I was scared. I didn’t want to be Michael Corleone.
“Michael kills people,” was what went through my mind. I hate people killed but then again, who likes it?
But being the protagonist, you can’t not look at Michael in a different way. In my eyes, at the time, Michael kills people for the good of the Family. He kills but for the Family’s sake. I think that’s when my rebellious teenage years started. I was always a good kid, or so I liked to think. But watching The Godfather Trilogy changed me. I became more brave, I became aware of the world and its injustice, I was slowly turning into Michael. I was scared, true but I was starting to feel alive.
It took me awhile to realize that Michael was not a good role model. He was cold-hearted and a murderer. He was a war hero, a pure-hearted man who evolved into someone who kills and threatens people without mercy. His transformation in The Godfather was so shocking that even I shook my head when I saw what Michael had become. He was the opposite of what a good human should be. But still, there are some qualities in him that should be commended. Analytic, business-minded and a couple more. So I decided to make him a partial role model. I both respected him and loathed him. I took in the good and threw away the bad. And for some time, I also talked like Michael. The slow, calm demeanor he had was one of my favorite characteristic of Michael. My friends always laughed at me when I followed Michael but I payed no attention. Michael was cool so why be embarrassed?
Its been 40 years now since The Godfather first aired in March 15, 1972. People are still watching The Godfather because of the timeless messages that is embedded deep in the film. The Godfather brought was was known as The Godfather Effect towards Americans and American immigrants in 1972. The Godfather shattered the American Dream. It opened the eyes of everybody and told them that the American Dream is a bust. The American Dream hurts people, let alone help them become rich. If it weren’t for The Godfather, I think that there are still plenty of people who still carry the American Dream.
The Godfather is a legendary film. Someday, I hope that my little brothers can watch it and feel the same way that I did. But not now. They are too young right now. Some days, I regretted watching The Godfather too early. 14 years old is an early time to watch the violent Godfather. I have a brother who is 15 right now but I decided to show him The Godfather later when he is older. The teenage years is too young an age to understand The Godfather and interpret it to be a life lesson. Watching it at 14, it took me years and countless of repeats to truly understand The Godfather.
On a final note, I wish The Godfather a very happy 40th anniversary. For everyone else, never take sides again the Family.
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