Things My Godfather Taught Me

Well, OK. He wasn’t really my godfather but whenever I sit down in front of the television and pop the DVD in my VCR, a small part of me wishes that I too were a Corleone. The rest of me wishes that I had put the disk into the DVD player. The intricacies of the technology aside, The Godfather Trilogy is perhaps my favourite chunk of cinematic entertainment of all time.

The trilogy was not like most films centered around organized crime in that there was not really a whole lot of violence considering each film was about three hours in length. Heck, there was almost as much bloodshed at my wedding reception. And almost everyone who did get whacked (in the films, not at my wedding) deserved it — there were very few innocents killed compared to other films of this genre. All the undeserving non-combattants were women for some reason… Michael’s Sicilian wife Apollonia, the woman in bed with a man during Michael’s get-even campaign, and the prostitute that Senator Geary supposedly killed in Fredo’s cat house (frankly, I think it was a put-up job and that the good senator was set up). All in all, the violence was quite restrained.

The characters really draw you into wanting to be part of the Corleone Family, don’t they? I’m just about as meek and cowardly as they come but had Don Vito asked me take care of Sollozzo, I’d do it. Happily. And not out of fear of what would happen if I didn’t but because I would understand that if Don Corleone asked me to do it, it was just “business” and for a good reason. Also, I’m pretty sure the post-assassination party would have been wonderfully catered.

Beyond the sheer spectacle of these near-perfect films lies a message — several in fact. Here are just a few of the life lessons I’ve learned from these epic films.


"The man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."

Oranges are evil and bad things seem to happen whenever they're around. Avoid them at all cost.

Even The Godfather has a "man cave".

"Don't ever take sides with anyone against the family."

Some people are not likely to be impressed by an iPhone... they already have something much, much better.

Don't get too attached to Sicilian chicks, even if their "type is more Greek than Italian". They never seem to stick around for very long.

If you've gotten yourself into a situation where you feel the need to ask someone to get you off the hook for old time's sake, it's probably too late for them to be able to help you.

Have the exact change ready before you arrive at the toll plaza.

Never order the veal.

If you accept a letter addressed to someone else, a court of law can prove you have knowledge of their whereabouts.

Don't believe the lyrics to the song "As Time Goes By" from the film Casablanca. Sometimes a kiss is not just a kiss.

Don't go fishing with a hitman.

Every family has a Fredo.

What did you learn from the Godfather films? Do you have a favourite quote from one of them? Let me know!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my lovely and talented technical advisor Simona “The Canary” Peron (she’s an authentic Italian so she’s got to have a nickname preceded by the word “the”) for her invaluable assistance in the production of this blog entry. She and I are Paesan, in as much as we both lived in the TMR suburb of Montreal when we were teens. Grazie mille!

[The images in this post were used without permission but due to the satirical and fanboy nature of this work I believe, con tutto rispetto, that their inclusion herein constitutes Fair Use. If you hold the rights to these images and beg to differ, please don’t send Luca Brasi around to make me an offer I can’t refuse. Just drop me a line using the e-mail thingy on my Contact Page.]


About HoaiPhai

I'm up late digging up the dirt. View all posts by HoaiPhai

14 responses to “Things My Godfather Taught Me

  • Simona Peron

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. Very entertaining 🙂

    Simona ( The canary)

  • nancyfrancis

    OMG – I KNEW Oranges were trouble!

    • HoaiPhai

      Watch The Godfather again. Everytime oranges appear, something bad is about to happen — like the rebels overthowing the Cuban government, Don Vito getting shot, etc. I find the same thing at home — everytime my wife brings the little bastards home, she’ll either force me to eat them raw or make me whip up a batch of beef capama or orange chicken.

  • xeriouslywtf

    Poor Fredo.. still one of my favourite moments of cinema ever. Thanks for reminding me how good the Godfather Trilogy is… well 2 out of 3 isn’t bad. Compartively, I completed the Transformers trilogy last night (watching the 3rd awful installment) and realised how I discarded 2.5 hrs of my life with zero return.. should have just watched Godfather Part 2 again. Sigh.

    • HoaiPhai

      I agree about poor Fredo. Not even chanting “Hail Mary!” in the boat would have helped him. I think that just about anyone not disillusioned by overconfidence sees a little bit of themself in the guy. The most we can hope for in life is that we don’t find ourselves in too many fredo-esque moments, especially being alone in a boat with a hitman.

      And, to be honest, I only watched parts I and II as research for this entry. To borrow a phrase from Seinfeld, not that there was anything wrong with Part III but six hours was enough. Besides, it’s a little like The Marx Brothers, isn’t it? Nobody ever thinks of Zeppo. I like to think of Godfather Part III as Zeppo Corleone.

  • Ape No. 1

    I love these movies and the books. I must start wearing more caramel turtle neck sweaters with plaid suit jackets. Badass look. If anyone complains about your images just let me know and I will make a call to a “friend” on my gold iPhone.

    • HoaiPhai

      You’ll never make “Capo” in a get-up like that. I have a big Tupperware clothes bin filled with dark shirts and light-coloured silk ties just in case I’m discovered by a Mafia recruiter. Gold iPhones are OK, I guess, but I have a funny feeling the 17 pound solid gold PC phone in the photo would cost less. Er, would your “friend” happen to be Lance “The Spy” Link by any chance?

  • The Hook

    Fantastic post! I wish I’d written it!

  • goodbyereality411

    I really enjoyed reading this. It makes me want to go and see the Godfather.

    • HoaiPhai

      I’m proud to have been able to bring a little enjoyment to your Saturday afternoon. By all means head out to the theatre to see The Godfather. Just don’t go with a hitman and if you see any oranges at the snack concession, run!

  • The Good Greatsby

    I love the Godfather. I don’t know why it works, but I probably think about it more than any other series. I was just thinking about watching it again tonight when I read this.

    • HoaiPhai

      The best thing about it is that you can watch it with little kids or adults that don’t like violence. Every time an orange rears its citrus head, you just cover the person’s eyes. Thanks for dropping by!

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