"He ain't heavy, he's my brother." - The Hollies
Since I don't have a brother (I have a younger sister), I find it hard to believe how easily my mind went to brother-brother relationships. Maybe it's because I don't have one. I never really thought about wanting one. My sister is awesome!
Anyway, my picks this week are sort of all over the place, but they all share that strain we all know if we have siblings, the difficulties of getting along with (and even understanding) the closest family member we have.
So, here we are, another edition of Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. This week it's an All in the Family Edition: Sibling Relationships.
Here are my picks:
The Godfather, Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
"I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart." - Michael Corleone
The Godfather, Part II has to be the best sequel ever made, right? I mean, where the first movie is an epic look at the glory days of the Sicilian mafia, this one is an epic look at the diverging power of time and how the world of the mafia evolved. There is so much going on in this film, but its most lasting, iconic image is the one above. When the evil in Michael continues to emerge upon his finding out that his own kid brother Fredo (the great John Cazale) has betrayed him, and he says that line above and then kisses him hard on the mouth. The fate of this relationship is perhaps the most tragic element of this immense tragedy.
Twins (Ivan Reitman, 1988)
"Oh, obviously! The moment I sat down I thought I was looking into a mirror." - Vincent Benedict
When I was young, probably 7 or 8, I was staying down at my Aunt Nancy's house in Dalton, GA. I remember distinctly, at that time, how everyone loved Arnold Schwarzenegger. Terminator 2 was like the one movie I so wanted to watch, but my Mom wouldn't let me. Aunt Nancy had Twins on VHS tape. She said, "This one has a nicer Arnold in it. Let's watch this one." She put it on, and I loved it. I loved it so much she gave me that tape, a tape I cherished for years. I seriously must have watched this movie a hundred times. It has elements of the Buddy Movie, the Road Movie, and the Crime Comedy, but is, in the end, a charming, funny story of two brothers figuring out how to be brothers.
A River Runs Through It (Robert Redford, 1992)
"Long ago, when I was a young man, my father said to me, 'Norman, you like to write stories.' And I said, 'Yes. I do.' Then he said, 'Someday, when you're ready, you might tell our family story. Only then you will understand what happened and why." - Norman Maclean (from his memoir A River Runs Through It)
The way Robert Redford's voiceover narration sells Norman Maclean's simple, yet filled-with-love, prose is what makes this film a masterpiece. This movie is literally about brothers and the river that bound them. Maclean (Craig Sheffer) is a real guy, a writer and English professor at The University of Chicago, who grew up in Montana in the early 1900s under the tutelage of a stern Presbyterian minister and fly-fisherman (Tom Skerritt). He's the prodigal son, the dependable one, the one who left Montana for Dartmouth, then came back without much direction. His younger brother Paul (Brad Pitt) is the hometown pretty boy, a newspaper man, a bit of a rabble rouser, a gambler and lover of that good Prohibited mountain hooch. The first part of the film follows them as boys into their adolescence and then reconnects them as young men in the mid-1920s, where one fateful summer will ultimately decide their futures.
"I am haunted by waters." - Norman Maclean
TV Bonus Picks (for my sister)
Friends (David Crane and Marta Kaufman, 1994-2004)
For the best of Monica and Ross as siblings, see Season 5, Epiosde 15: "The One With the Girl Who Hits Joey" and Season 6, Episode 9: "The One Where Ross Got High."
The Sopranos (David Chase, 1999-2007)
For one of the best TV moments ever and one of the most touching moments between always-fighting Tony and Janice Soprano, see Season 2, Episode 12: "Knights in White Satin Armor." Man, I miss James Gandolfini. Such a sad loss.