By Megan Reilly
It’s a strange feeling, to approach a canonical film equipped with a pseudo-knowledge of its meaning as informed by parodies and quotes detached from context. I waited twenty-two years to watch a film that ends up near the top of most “Best Films of All Time” lists, so I had to filter my appreciation of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 magnum opus The Godfather through a host of cultural references. I turned it on knowing Tony Montana and Tony Soprano, but not their forebear, Michael Corleone. As I watched Don Corleone’s iconic conversation with Bonasera at the beginning of the film, visual cues from the referential opening of the Coen brothers’ Miller’s Crossing popped off the screen, distracting from the scene’s essential power. I couldn’t block out the sound of Dom DeLuise’s gauze-mouthed impersonation of Don Corleone in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights, so Marlon Brando’s Oscar-winning turn as the original Godfather was lost on me, a victim to parody.