Tag: al pacino

ACF #29: Scarface part 2


Today, @johnpresnall and I are wrapping up a discussion on tragedy — that is Scarface — with some political notes and also a view of the cycle of regimes presented by Socrates near the end of Plato’s Republic. Yeah, we’re working overtime to make the most despised or at least underrated of the masters, Brian De Palma, reveal his inner greatness. In the mean time, we’ll go to the shocking lengths of praising Oliver Stone and making a bit of fun of Sidney Lumet…

ACF #28: Scarface


The podcast’s going back to the great De Palma–our fifth, after The Untouchables, Blow Out, Body Double, and Carlito’s Way. You’ve got Al Pacino, cocaine, Miami, an Oliver Stone script, and the ’80s: So naturally everything goes crazy and turns into a tragedy. Scarface is both a rebuke to liberals who look at criminals as mere victims and to conservatives who look at them as failures. American liberalism–Jimmy Carter–invites immigrants on moral grounds; conservatism–capitalism–invites workers on economic grounds. But Scarface escapes both morality and business, revealing the weaknesses of an American society that cannot deal with the poor or with narco-capitalism.

ACF#23 – The Godfather: Part III


Today, John Presnall and I conclude our trilogy of podcasts on The Godfather trilogy. We defend the greatness of the film and of the tragic conclusion. This is the best tragic work done in Hollywood in at least the last two generations and it deserves its fine reputation. But to understand its greatness requires to see how the third movie completes the story by a turn to moral realism. It begins to explain all the suffering we see throughout the trilogy. And to stir controversy, John and I compare the Corleone family to the Adams family, with a hat tip to historian Richard Brookhiser, America’s own Plutarch.

ACF#22: Godfather Part II


Today, John Presnall and I complete our discussion of The Godfather. We look at how Part II reverses the structure of the original–we move from a young Michael and adult Vito to the reverse. Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola thus complete the portrayals of the two generations. Then we also discuss the all-American story of the immigrant Corleone family, of making it in New York, moving out West, and going international in Cuba. The Corleones rehearse American history and this changes the non-American Sicilian principle of “True Friendship” Vito tries to adapt to the New World.

ACF#21 The Godfather


Happy New Year! Here at the ACF, we decided to give you a great American family story for the season of feasts! Join us in exploring the exciting Corleone family, much-beloved of Democrats, because they’re immigrants, and of Republicans, because they’re business men, job creators, and family men.

ACF#14: Carlito’s Way


New podcast, new interlocutor, and a new departure — defending gangster films as middlebrow! My friend John Presnall, from storm-beaten Houston, and I are also defending Brian De Palma from a conservative point of view and we’re introducing lawlessness studies as a way to get at the desire to free oneself, to be self-made, and to chase the American Dream. Carlito’s Way is the most self-reflective gangster film, one of the last memorable roles of Al Pacino and, get this, we’re arguing this is a superior movie to Scarface. We’re nothing if not fearless and we hope you’ll listen to and share our discussion wherever you can. Help me spread the gospel of Middlebrow, Ricochet! Hashtag as far as the eye can see!