The difficulty to find words to describe Godfather II is overwhelming, so bear with me. The Godfather Part II is a wonderful, amazing film. It’s up there with Casablanca and It Happened One Night and All About Eve and Midnight Cowboy as the best of the best, Godfather II is so great, it’s better than the original. And The Godfather is one of the best..And Godfather II, Roman numeral be damned, never feels like it’s a sequel. It’s an expansion and a continuation. And a miracle. Great writing-great cinematography- total masterful actors’ showcase–Al Pacino in his absolute prime; Robert DeNiro so young, so beautiful, so perfect, speaking Italian throughout (and, hey he beat our sentimental fave Towering Inferno’s —nuff said-– Fred Astaire for best supporting actor) . And John Cazale, astounding. He breaks your heart. Amazing, too, that just the next year Al and John were holding up that New York bank together in Dog Day Afternoon.
I remember being really surprised when Godfather Part II won the Oscar for best picture. Sequels never win best pictures. That’s crazy talk. But thank heaven it did. And thank heaven it’s the only one. I don’t think that the third Lord of the Rings counts as a sequel.,..or does it?
When I was out shopping at a mall I saw a middle aged man with a fancy leather jacket that had a Godfather logo embossed on the back. The Godfather has remarkably entrenched it’s way into American pop culture. You cannot escape from it. Okay, these are great movies–well 2 outta 3–but so was Casablanca and so was Sound of Music but I don’t see the latters’ logos on the back of leather jackets.
Oscar winners that spawned sequels: Before Godfather
Broadway Melody — Broadway Melody of 1936, 38 & 40 (all better than the original, because the orignal was really, really, bad)
Great Ziegfeld — Ziegfeld Follies —on the same par as original, par being mediocre)
Going My Way — Bells of St. Mary —great addition of Ingrid Bergman as a love interest nun for Bing Crosby’s Father O’Malley.
In The Heat of the Night –They Call Me. MISTER Tibbs – —shouty title and lack of Rod Steiger make this not as good as the original.
After Godfather II
French Connection — French Connection II (well it’s hard to come up with something new to match the original)
Rocky –They’ve made so many Rocky movies I’ve lost count. And I’ve never seen a single one of them. But 1976 is looming. Crap.
Terms of Endearment – The Evening Star–so not up to the original
Silence of the Lambs — Hannibal –needs Jodie Foster, badly.
To sum it all up: sequels to best picture winners before Godfather II = good after = pukey
Since The Godfather part II was a 2 disc DVD we watched the movie in two nights. And had two simple meals. The second night we hade simple Italian–baked mostaciolli. But, the first night we went with Michael and Hyman Roth (played by Al Pacino’s acting teacher, Lee Strasberg) to Cuba and had some lovely Cuban Sandwiches with fried plaintains.
from Rachael Ray:
Pork tenderloins, Cuban style:
1 2/3 to 2 pounds pork tenderloin, 2 pieces, the average weight of 1 package, trimmed
Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil, for drizzling
1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 limes, zested
1 large orange, zested
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oreganoCuban sweet rolls:
8 crusty rolls, such as Portuguese rolls, torpedo loaves or muffuletta style round rolls
4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup corn oil, 4 turns of the pan
4 black (ripe) plantains
1 teaspoon fine salt
Relish for sandwiches:
6 dill pickles, chopped
1/2 cup sweet red pepper relish
2 scallions, chopped
1 pound shaved ham, from the deli counter
1 pound shaved Swiss cheese, from the deli counter
4 tablespoons butter, for toasting sandwiches
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.Coat tenderloins with oil. Combine onion, garlic, citrus zest, salt, pepper and dried oregano in a pile on your cutting board. Pack this coating equally and evenly onto the tenderloins. Heat a large skillet. Add a drizzle of oil and sear tenderloin on all sides. Then place in hot oven to roast 20 to 25 minutes. Wash hands.
Brush rolls with a little warm water and sprinkle the tops of the rolls with 1/2 teaspoon sugar each. Pile rolls on a baking sheet and place in oven with meat for 5 minutes to crust rolls and set sugar. Authentic Cuban rolls used for this sandwich are sweet. This sugar wash process gives a similar effect to store bought rolls. When rolls come out of oven, split and pile on serving plate.
Preheat a stovetop griddle over medium high heat.
Heat 1/4 cup corn oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Peel plantains and cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then slice each 1/2 into thirds on an angle. Arrange plantains in pan in a single layer and cook until crisp, continuously flipping for even browning. Remove from skillet to paper towel lined plate and season with fine salt.
To assemble sandwiches: Thinly slice meat on an angle. Place ham and Swiss cheese on a serving plate, separating and fluffing up the shaved meat and cheese. Assemble sandwiches with desired fillings and place on a hot, buttered griddle. Use a heavy pan to press the sandwiches together. Toast until golden brown, then flip and toast the other side.
Combine chopped pickles, sweet red pepper relish and scallions in a small bowl.
Spread the relish on the tops of the rolls and pork slices, ham, and swiss cheese on the bottoms. Press the sandwiches together. Put about 1 tablespoon of butter on the hot griddle and spread to coat. Put 2 sandwiches at a time on the griddle, and top with a heavy cast-iron skillet. Toast sandwiches on the griddle, turning once, until golden, hot, and cheese is melted, 2 or 3 minutes per side.
For dessert, in honor of the three Godfather movies we had a little something called Jello 1-2-3. Jello used to have this product as a mix back in the 70’s (and then again in the 90’s, briefly) but I found a recipe from a great blog called The Food Maven and made it myself. As yummy as a young Robert DeNiro.