Quick-Thoughts: Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part III (1990)

Some may say that the amount of times the word “legitimate” is said in this movie is enough of a reason to bring it down a half star. Sheesh, Michael, could you be any less of a parrot? 

Rant time. 

First off: The Godfather Part III is a screenwriting bomb! The dialogue is concernedly mediocre if not at times genuinely appalling. Examples…

“Hi, Vincent. I remember you.” – Mary

Well, considering you know his name, I would assume so…

“I did what I could, Kay, to protect all of you from the horrors of this world.” – Michael

“But you became my horror.” – Kay

You really walked into that one, Michael, almost as if you were the “screenwriter” looking for loops to get a savage line out of someone and not the actual character “Michael.”

“My coat! It’s my lucky coat! It’s my lucky coat!” *while being shot at by machine guns on a helicopter.* – Some Rich Old Dude

Either that is the most genius line in cinematic history or the most misplaced comedic timing I have ever witnessed. 

“Mary, you’re such a warm-hearted girl, you always were.” – Michael

“I love my family.” – Mary

“Even your cousin, Vincent?” – Michael

“I really love him.” – Mary

“He’s your first cousin.” – Michael

“Then I love him first.” – Mary

“Mary, you can’t see him. Just don’t see him anymore.” – Michael

“He’s right. It’s too dangerous.” – Anthony

“Mary, you can’t see him anymore. Not in that fashion.” – Michael

“No.” – Mary

“Please, promise me.” – Anthony

“No.” – Mary

“Obey me on this.” – Michael

“No, Dad!” – Mary

I swear to you, no family in the history of humanity has ever had a conversation like that unless they were being held at gunpoint by a diabolical maniac obsessed with cheap theater. THIS IS THE ROOM (2003) LEVEL OF WRITING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. THE FREAKING ROOM. Even when there wasn’t dialogue in a scene something as ridiculous as all the ear biting, panic attacks, or donkey noises wouldn’t help this film feel any less like it was torn out of a twisted Mafia version of The Room. If you’ve seen Part III, you unfortunately know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, good… just pretend as if I’m sheerly talking nonsense. 

And, not to just throw jabs at Sofia Coppola’s plate — who has been critically massacred over the years for her performance in Part III — but nearly everybody’s acting, including even a few returning performers, zig-zag from “solid” to “passable” and all the way to “over-the-top amateur.” 

The threats to pose conflict in this third chapter of The Godfather trilogy usually reckon as DCEU-leveled villains with slimmly explicated motivations and campy diabolical speeches — your fancy suits and accents can’t fool me! Part III is, furthermore, keen on its few action sequences being written like they were stripped straight out of B-rated blockbusters. I suppose the violent finale of Part III could’ve been good if it weren’t written or performed so cartoonishly given the respectable editing construction of it — but, man oh man, I am definitely going to hell for laughing at “that” death scene. What a predictable tragedy the ending is though! People waited 16 years for that? Mamma Mia! 

Big words such as “Immobiliare” — the film’s magical entity that’ll supposedly bring Michael to the right side of the law finally — begin melding into this film’s desperation for end goals but by the time you pass that two hour mark you don’t really know what these characters are aiming for. The drama and conflicts are always either altering or suddenly leaping back in at an unsystematic progression. Like the vague “Immobiliare,” things that are established to be important are bound to randomly disappear at any given moment of this anonymity. The Godfather Part III also loves to circumvent logic as much as possible such as with its last minute “dying popes” to impose barriers, “secret nephews” to stir up dilemmas, or a “panic attack” to disable the main personality (Michael) from deciphering the film’s dyer issues at hand quickly. Characters just randomly know key details whenever the film needs them to too like they were magically crapped out of the sky. Not to mention, character continuity isn’t too consistent in Part III, as well; examples: Connie’s new-founded love for her brother/brother’s career is awfully suspicious, oh, and Kay just can’t make up her mind on how she wants to treat Michael! I thought that you said you “dreaded” him, honey? Now, you’re spending quality time with him at festivals? Aye-yai-yai, what a mess! 

The Godfather Part III is constantly scrambling for ideas on what it wants to contribute to the Corleone legacy, plopping sequence after sequence of uncertain moments of thematic desires like a 30-person storyboard committee jotting each bullet point possibilities on a whiteboard. Does the film want to be an adversity on Michael’s attempt into purity? Does it want to be the tale of Michael finally confronting his sins? Does it want to be a firm explanation of Michael’s past actions? Does it want to be a convincing Romeo and Juliet tragedy of a young adult relationship but with… incest? Does it want to just be a successful cinematic stigma on karma? Or, was it meant to be a whole conglomeration of these failed ambitions? Insight is telling me: “no!”

In truth, The Godfather Part III managed to stretch itself three hours long and yet, I felt like I had learned nothing knew about Michael Corleone’s character that I hadn’t already picked up on from the first two magnificent Godfather films. Part II managed to improve the context of Michael’s actions and ambitions that were shown in Part I, so as a sequel, what does Part III do to contribute to its two other relatives? Besides maybe blurring the line of characters more, nothing really; it just tackles on an epilogue of Michael’s “grand consequence” through some abysmal execution and two-and-a-half pointless hours of teetering to get there. At any rate, it also bored me to f**king death! So yeah, to even mentally register that this sequel is related to both The Godfather I and II is an insult of its own. Conclusion: I kinda hated it! 

Verdict: D+

The Coppola’s Ranked

“The Godfather Part III” is now available to rent on Amazon Prime.

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