“Criticism is often wrong, as we know through history. Carmen, which is now the most popular opera in the repertoire, was a tremendous flop [when it premiered]. Why did they hate it?”
Francis Ford Coppola
“What I look for with critics is more that they’re going to write about something I did and I’m gonna read it and not make those mistakes again, I’m gonna learn something from it. Often, though, they don’t do that: they say, “It’s a muddled mess.” “It’s pretentious.” I can’t learn a lot from someone saying “It’s pretentious.”
Francis Ford Coppola
Movieline interview with Kyle Buchann
Being a big name film writer/director must feel somewhat like being the head of a Mafia family.Someone is always gunning for you. I don’t know if they have a class in film school these days to equipment young people with the down side of success, but they should. After a week of blogging about the movie The Godfather and Francis Ford Coppola I’ve learned a lot about Coppola and his 40 year career.
And perhaps the thing I’ve learned most is my conformation that if you’re looking for respect, the Internet isn’t the best place to look for it. (Even if you have a handful of Oscars.) Since Saturday’s are my slowest days, I’ve decided to try something a little different and write a little Internet drama loosely based on some of the conversations I’ve read as people discussed Coppola and his work.
Blogger Post: Francis Ford Coppola is the greatest writer/director in the history of cinema.
Reply 1: Really? Are you nuts? Take away The Godfather I & II and what did Coppola really do over the last forty years?
Reply 2: REALLY? R U SERIOUS?
Reply 3: Yeah, it’s like that Orson Wells guy who everyone makes a big deal about just because of Citizen Kane.
Reply 4: Coppola is exactly like Orson Wells, fat and hocking wine in his later years.
Reply 5: Shut up. Coppola rocks.
Reply 6: Coppola isn’t even the greatest writer/director in the greater Bay area.
Reply 7: The Godfather Part II is really just self-indulgent crap. The Godfather is his only masterpiece.
Reply 8: Yeah, and what did Neil Armstrong really do after he walked on the moon?
Reply 9: Aren’t you guys forgetting Coppola did Apocalypse Now?
Reply 10: Overrated.
Reply 11: Rumblefish, The Outsiders, The Conversation?
Reply 12: Overrated, overrated, overrated.
Reply 13: Who cares? (And for the record it’s Rumble Fish)
Reply 14: I loved Dracula.
Reply 15: Dracula bites.
Reply 16: U SUCK
Reply 17: Are you guys forgetting that Coppola has won five Oscars?
Reply 18: Yeah, but what has he done this week?
Reply 19: Besides the Oscars are meaningless and just the product of a misogynistic, racist, capitalistic society.
Reply 20: Still The Godfather is pretty good.
Reply 21: The Godfather would have been better with Danny Thomas instead of Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone.
Reply 22: Who’s Danny Thomas?
Reply 23: Who’s Francis Ford Coppola?
Spend five minutes on the Internet and you’ll find that kind of uplifting conversation. Better to spend five minutes working on your script. But all that to say that if you’re looking to write the great American screenplay so that the world will love you and your work, think again. If you’re looking for unconditional love get a golden retriever.
From a perspective of increasing views The Godfather posts this week have been popular and I’ll compare them tomorrow with the spike I got from writing out Kevin Smith a while back. Coppola vs. Smith, tomorrow on Screenwriting from Iowa. And Monday we’ll look at Coppola, Castro and Capitalism.
Scott W. Smith
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