Posted on January 22, 2019
by Steve Janowick
Can you remember the first time you saw The Godfather?
Or more specifically, can you recall how it affected you afterward? For me, it was as a 16-year old in the 80’s, and I was forever changed in my opinions and feelings of both filmmaking and life itself. That’s how much of an impact that movie had on me-and I’m guessing millions of other men as well. After all, this is the consummate man’s movie. At its core it is a Shakespearean tale about the transference of power. About the importance of tradition and old-world values in a changing time. About loyalty, honor and integrity as revered and necessary underworld codes.
But, most importantly, The Godfather, to me, is the perfect case study on the familial relationships that exist in both the personal and professional realms of 1940’s Mafioso.
And The Don himself, Vito Corleone, is the patriarch of patriarchs in said family.
Even as a teenager, I was captivated by Brando’s portrayal. He wasn’t playing The Don. He was The Don. He was larger than life. And I was equal parts captivated by, and petrified of, him. This was a man who commanded and demanded respect (without lifting his finger or raising his voice) from his family, friends and even his adversaries. He was self-made and self-assured. He was revered and feared. He was the walking contradiction of both good and evil.
And he was all this while oozing class, machismo and a killer aura of cool mystique.
I’ve often pondered the thought of a man like him existing in 2019. I mean, we’ve moved so far away from his values that it’s almost impossible to fathom. Hell, he flipped out on his own flesh and blood son just for showing his hand during a business meeting. Imagine what he’d do after spending a day with the likes of Pauli D and The Situation. Or better yet, imagine what they would do, how they would carry themselves, in his presence. My guess? They’d suddenly be men of honor, respect and character or…they’d be dead. Each waking with a severed horse’s head in his bed before becoming food for the fishes.
Ha, I love it!
Yea, I know all the do-gooders will righteously point out that Don Vito was still a ruthless murderer underneath the olive oil smile. Sure, he was. No denying here. But the only people who died by his hand were people who deserved it. Fellow gangsters who broke the sacred codes. Civilians were safe during his reign.
Look, I’m not going to have a back and forth over the virtues of a mythical mob boss. But right or wrong, there’s no denying that the world today could sure benefit from the existence of a few Don Corleone types. A little honor among thieves. A little fear to help keep the peace. And if some fake-tanned, pumped-up, wannabe type should try and buck the trend?
He’d get an offer he couldn’t refuse.
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