I love Alien. What it does with pacing and atmosphere is excellent, elevating it high above it's b-movie aspirations. It is one of, if not the, best sci-fi horror films of all time, which is evidenced by just how many times Hollywood has essentially remade it as other titles (Event Horizon is the first to come to mind).
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, this was easy for me. All due respect to AFI and Sight and Sound, but as much as I love Citizen Kane and Vertigo (both movies I may ultimately vote against this round), the Godfather has always been my personal pick for best movie of all time. This is a nearly 3 hour movie in which I can't imagine cutting anything out. It is an epic in every sense of the word, and yet it is simultaneously a small character driven drama. And those characters... The thing that has always set this film above part 2 for me, despite how much more ambitious that movie is, is the characters. Michael has a true arc. This is a character who is different at the end of the film, despite being able to see hints throughout. And I have always felt that part 2 was at a disadvantage for not having Brando and Caan.
Between these two films, this is the one I could not live with falling out of existence.
Maybe it's because my high school history teacher forced our class to watch the Godfather, or maybe it's my love of well-done horror and space -- I had to go with Alien here. Ridley Scott's masterpiece, ridiculous characters and all, simply cannot be destroyed. Don't get me wrong, I love the Family. At least I can rest easy in the knowledge that Godfather Part II, which is in my opinion the superior film of the two, is still around. Or does this break the rules, Adam?
This is actually pretty easy for me. Don't missread my next statement Godfather is a good movie. But is revered as this holy piece of cinema that it just isn't. On the other hand very few movie (if not to say no movie) have utilized space and the isolation of traveling in space as well as Alien. All while still creating a story instead of just having "a horror scenario in space"! In an age where space movies are so often just normal movies with technobable, laser effects and mroe makeup my vote can go to no other movie.
I voted for Alien. It wasn't until I began writing out my rationale for the choice that I realized I'd just fed Marlon Brando's Vito Corleone to the void. My God... what have I done!
It's funny how sometimes you don't realise you want something until you see it in front of you. So here's what I want:
I want an Alien Godfather mashup. Imagine Jack Woltz waking up, his bed sheets smouldering and ruined by acid, to discover a xenomorph head lying beside him, a gift from Don Ripley. Now that, my friends, is pure gold.
But until that day, there can only be one (oohhh...Highlander Godfather mashup is also a good idea). And that one can only be Godfather.
(From Melbourne, Australia)
Over the last few weeks Adam and Josh have quoted multiple versions of the sentiment that Citizen Kane is the favorite film of those who either don't watch a lot of movies, want to sound smart, or haven't seen Citizen Kane. I think it's safe to say the same is generally true for the Godfather films, especially the original. But the last time I rewatched this movie (about 6 months ago), it really settled in for me that this is one of those rare category of films that is simultaneously overrated AND underrated. Which is to say, you can agree that a film is fairly regarded as one of the best ever, and still not really personally appreciate just how fucking amazing it truly is. I think at any given time, the vast majority of film fans are in some stage of this process of underappreciating the Godfather. If Alien wins out, it can only prove my point. And that's not to say Alien isn't a work of genius in its own right, only that the Godfather deserves to win but probably won't simply because nobody wants to see another list with Godfather at the top.
There are a couple of reasons I'm voting ALIEN. (1) Of the two it's the I remember beat by beat, moment by moment, yet every time I watch it still feel the tension and exhilaration of a first time viewing. (2) As with movies like The Exorcist it can sometimes get lumped into the ghetto of genre film making, but ALIEN is as much a family drama as THE GODFATHER... sci-fi via Robert Altman freewheeling ensemble pieces, but helmed by one of the most design-driven directors of all time.
I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I can't believe I voted for Alien against The Godfather. I can't believe I did this. But let me explain. First, I voted for Casablanca against Taxi Driver ( I hated that too). So, what I had to reason was, did I want to have to pit Casablanca against The Godfather? I did not. So while I watch The Godfather burn, and my father disowning me for erasing his favorite film of all time, I weep.
ALIEN is a masterpiece, but THE GODFATHER is just one of those films that runs through my veins.
I fell asleep watching the Godfather, nuff said!
Tough choice but I am going by Adam's criteria of one movie being more quotable than the other. "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse", "Revenge is a dish best served cold", "Leave the gun, take the cannoli"...going with the Godfather.
Both films are immeasurably influential. I count Alien close if not in my top 10. However, I feel that if I never watched Alien but saw some of the work inspired by it, I could get a lot of the essence of Alien. If I never saw the Godfather and saw some of the work inspired by it, I would be deprived of much more than has been successfully immitated. I take this to mean this beautifully crafted film is harder to distill and denser in every positive aspect of the craft. I would say both films are equally satisfying, but I think I made the right choice.
Also, I don't care that the Godfather II is in the bracket, that is no reason not to vote for the original. If the Godfather is a piece of buttered bread, The Godfather pt II has more butter on it, but both are amazingly delicious.
Both of these films have always been amongst my all time favorites, and I have revisited each within the last two years. Each one was even better than I remembered, which means that they are both securely and permanently in my personal Pantheon. It also means that I am thrilled that each has made it this far, a fact that is a little surprising given Alien's genre and not at all surprising but still gratifying in the case of The Godfather, the sequel of which seems to have more support amongst the posters here.
I remember that as a teen and young adult, the prevailing opinion among sci-fi-loving males was that Aliens might be better than Alien, with its heart-pumping action and epic grand finale. I always loved the atmosphere and tone of Alien, however, and, like the first Terminator film compared to its sequel, its leaning toward suspense and horror rather than action. Excitement and justice resonated within me as I listened to Filmspotting's Sacred Cow episode of Alien a couple of months ago and I began to realize that Alien is much more critically revered than I ever knew. Upon rewatching it last year, I was delighted to find that the patient, patient, patient pacing and the immortal art direction by H.R. Giger held up even better than I had hoped. How many horror or action movies spend practically half of the two hour running time just building up to the *very first* encounter with the real enemy? Talk about delayed gratification, but boy, once the action comes, it comes. Ripley remains one of the greatest female heroes we have, and here's to more like her (why haven't we had many more yet?) - she's just a brilliant human being who knows what to do and, when looking death straight in the multi-mouth, summons a courage we can all aspire to. The score subtly crushes it, the robot, with his magazine-to-mouth murder attempt, is unforgettable, and whenever I hear a relentless alarm and feel the pressure of the emergency signified by its droning wails, I think about the climax of this movie and seeing an anamatronic Ripley hiding behind a corner, steam flying left and right, just out of reach of the xenomorph in Disney World's The Great Movie Ride, one of my favorite childhood memories.
That said, I believe in America. This is one of the hardest polls for me as each film is absolutely flawless in doing what it sets out to do, but here I suppose I fall victim to the bias of rating drama as "more important" than suspense, horror, or sci-fi, as brilliantly as Alien combines and exemplifies each of those genres. I am confident The Godfather will move on and I will write about it more next round, but the fact that it's a three hour family drama that feels like ninety minutes every single time I watch it says enough for now.
I've listened to a consistently informative, insightful podcast going over ALIEN 1 minute at a time, with ~20 minutes per episode. It wasn't jokey & pokey as a goal, like some other "...a minute" podcasts can be, it never got dull, and the hosts occasionally even left some paths untrodden. I think it came out to over 35 hours... on that film.
I know I can probably find 35 hours on The Godfather in the form of commentaries, documentaries and podcasts... but not from the same two people, not repeating themselves, and talking seriously about the film as a film.
The vote is ALIEN.
Round 3 is about voting strategically and looking ahead. Meaning this vote is more about Godfather 2 beating Godfather than Alien. So the slimy survivor lives on to yet another sequel of the bracket.
The speed at which you both voted for THE GODFATHER hurts my heart but I suppose most folks are automatically programmed to say, "How high?" whenever "The Godfather" says, "Jump!" I think the sequel is a masterpiece. I think the original meanders a bit too much for my liking. ALIEN, however, is an absolute masterpiece of genre, tone, and directorial precision. It really is the only horror film left in FS Madness and the genre needs SOME sort of representation in the later rounds. Maybe one day you guys can tackle a horror only version of Filmspotting Madness to make up for the way you've mistreated the genre this go-round. I might be the only one who votes but that is fine by me.
Alien is such a great film - but I suspect this is going to be one of the biggest blowouts of this round, if not the entire tournament. Badda-boom, all over its nice ivy league space suit.
I would not want to live my life without seeing Alien ever again. But I couldn't bear to continue without Pacino's performance, without the haunting cinematography... I voted Godfather and now I'll have to have someone place my head in my wife's bed.