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Thursday, March 15, 2012

What defines EPIC!

The Godfather turns 40.

Epic generally refers to a long poetic composition, centered upon a hero, a series of great achievements or events; Homer’s Iliad is an Epic poem.  In one dictionary it actually said of Great size or extent: a crime wave of epic proportions.

40 Years ago today March 15th, 1972, Francis Ford Coppola’s, “The Godfather” opened at theaters.  A three hour epic chronicling the lives of the Corleones, an Italian-American crime family, adapted from the bestselling book of the same name by Mario Puzo.

I feel when a piece is adapted from a book, and not only survives, but is so universally well-known after forty years; it becomes not only epic, but an Iconic Masterpiece.  I grew up with my Scottish father quoting things from the Godfather to me.  Meg Ryan pokes at “What is it about the Godfather, which everybody knows about its references?” in the movie, “You’ve got Mail.”  Tom Hank’s character sums it up in his explanation to her.

Going to the mattresses.

It’s not personal, It’s just business!

The modern day Ti Chi for life and business.  – Which honestly is very accurate but also has a sad undertone for the commentary of the character of our times.

This film after four decades still comes in as one of the best movies of all time, making top ten lists everywhere.  Is the Godfather so great because it was so brutally honest about peoples base intentions, beliefs and the existence of the Mafia, that thing that as a child we would only whisper about.  Every culture has their form of this subculture which has existed through time whether it is whispered about or not.

As an author I often wonder where will our work be in ten, twenty, thirty or forty years from now.  Many authors work didn’t become accepted and generally considered great until sometime after the author’s death.  Some authors spend the entire life in almost complete obscurity.  At what point are we famous, successful, and established authors?  When does a piece of work become Epic?

What I find astounding about the movie, “The Godfather” is that whatever piece you look at, the music, the cinematography, the actors, the writing, the sets, and every piece was a masterpiece, a work of exquisite art in its own right.  All put together it is a mosaic of the plight and rise of the American Gangster and the Mafia legends.

I end with Nicholas Sparks’ apology being postponed again.  I am going to feel really awful if I happen to run into him, and get to meet him face to face before I publicly apologize for my posts about Why I hate Nicholas Sparks.  I do honestly feel he is a gifted and talented writer and would be greatly humbled and star struck to a degree by meeting him or any of the other great authors whose work I admire.  I would love to meet Jack Higgins, James Patterson (with company, frankly some of his writing scares me), Naomi Novik, Conn Iggulden, and mostly James Rollins a personal favorite of mine.  I don’t think I have read a piece of his work I didn’t enjoy immensely.


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