Ranking the Films of Francis Ford Coppola

*Written in 2014.

It has been a while since I’ve ranked a director’s films. In this edition, I tackle Francis Ford Coppola.

Coppola is a man that has made some of the best films of all-time, given birth to another accomplished filmmaker and created some fine tasting wines. He was also good friends with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and all three helped launch each other’s careers.

Here I rank the films that Francis Ford Coppola directed:

1. Apocalypse Now
2. The Godfather, Part II
3. The Godfather
4. The Outsiders
5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
6. Rumble Fish
7. The Rain People
8. The Conversation
9. Gardens of Stone
10. The Cotton Club
11. The Rainmaker
12. Dementia 13
13. Tetro
14. Jack
15. Tucker: The Man and His Dream
16. The Godfather, Part III
17. Youth Without Youth
18. New York Stories
19. Peggy Sue Got Married
20. Twixt
21. You’re A Big Boy Now
22. Finian’s Rainbow
23. One From the Heart
24. The Bellboy and the Playgirls
25. Tonight for Sure

Film Review: Tonight For Sure! (1962)

Also known as: Meet Me Tonight for Sure
Release Date: October 25th, 1962 (Los Angeles)
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: Francis Ford Coppola, Jerry Shaffer
Music by: Carmine Coppola
Cast: Don Kenney, Karl Schanzer

Searchlight Productions, Premier Pictures, 69 Minutes

Review:

“The Harem Club, home of the most beautiful girls in burlesque presents: The most beautiful girls in burlesque!” – Announcer

Every director has to start somewhere and for legendary auteur Francis Ford Coppola, this was his directorial debut. There is nothing to be ashamed of about this, however. It really just sort of fits in with the nudie cuties of the time – none of which are good movies.

Yes, this is an awful film but it is basically a softcore sex picture without any sex, really. It just follows two guys around doing dumb shit and then is constantly interrupted to show a girl shaking her juggies for no real reason other than people wanted to see bare boobies on the big screen after the motion picture industry wasn’t forced to adhere to outdated government mandated morality codes. Film was now free to be art and sexploitation pictures flourished.

To be honest, Coppola didn’t show any real signs of his talent with this movie. He hadn’t fully been exposed to the tutelage he’d get from B-movie King Roger Corman. Regardless, this still helped him develop the tools and skill set that would lead to his magnum opus The Godfather, just ten years later.

The cinematography on this film was handled by Jack Hill, a man that would go on to direct several pivotal exploitation films. His directorial work includes the Pam Grier movies Coffy and Foxy Brown, as well as a personal favorite of mine, Switchblade Sisters.

Compared to other nudie cuties, this one is pretty standard. Now while I don’t enjoy it as much as Ed Wood’s Orgy of the Dead, it still fits well within this bizarre and short lived genre. Also, it was a launching pad for one of the best directors of the last half century.

For this being what it is, even with such a low rating, I can’t run it through the Cinespiria Shitometer. It works for its genre, which was a genre not known for its quality. Plus, presenting a cornucopia of fabulous titties gets you off the hook.

Book Review: ‘Ed Wood: Nightmare of Ecstasy (The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr.)’ by Rudolph Grey

Nightmare of Ecstasy is the book that inspired the great Tim Burton film Ed Wood. If you are a fan of that film or just an aficionado of Edward D. Wood Jr.’s work, this is certainly a must read.

The book obviously goes more in depth with the life and work of Ed Wood. While the film covers the time from when Wood made Glen or Glenda?Bride of the Monster and his most famous work Plan 9 From Outer Space, the book takes a look at his entire life. It nicely bookends the film with Wood’s backstory as well as everything that happened after Plan 9.

The book isn’t written like a typical biography. It is comprised of quotes from Wood’s friends, colleagues and family. The quotes are organized into chapters specific to certain points or projects in Wood’s life.

Nightmare of Ecstasy isn’t just Ed Wood’s story, however. The book is the tale of all of those interesting characters he had around him. It shines a light on his collaborators and really gives them life and something more intimate to connect to than the Ed Wood biopic. It gives intimate looks into the lives of Bela Lugosi, Criswell and a slew of others.

Most importantly, it gives personal accounts of Wood’s passion and what he was like behind the scenes. It talks about the creation of his movies, more in depth than the Burton film and it also showcases letters written by Wood to several of his friends and professional colleagues.

Nightmare of Ecstasy is a fun and entertaining read, especially for fans of Ed Wood or filmmaking in general.

Film Review: Orgy of the Dead (1965)

Release Date: June 1st, 1965 (USA)
Directed by: A.C. Stephen
Written by: Ed Wood
Music by: Jaime Mendoza-Nava
Cast: Criswell, Fawn Silver, Pat Barrington

Crown International Pictures, 92 Minutes

orgy-of-the-dead1Review:

Orgy of the Dead is an unusual picture for the casual moviegoer. However, if you’re aware of the work of Ed Wood or an obscure film genre coined “nudie cuties”, then this odd film’s existence shouldn’t be a surprise.

It currently holds a rating of 2.7 on IMDb. It seems a bit low to me. I mean, if you go on that just based off of the film’s overall quality, I get it. But this is a pretty special picture and unique, even though it barely has a plot. Plus, it has a certain appeal due to how bad of a film it is. But it certainly isn’t as unwatchable as a 2.7 would have you believe, which is why I think it’s a low rating.

The plot sees a horror writer and his girlfriend driving at night on a highway. They are in search of a cemetery. The writer feels that it will help inspire him to write some new monster stories. The guy drives too fast, they crash and then they awake to discover that they are caught up in some heavy supernatural shit.

Criswell, a regular Ed Wood collaborator, and Fawn Silver (as Ghoulita) are a vampire pair with a squad that includes a werewolf, a mummy and two strong men. They sit and enjoy making the spirits of dead hot chicks dance around naked – each girl having her own unique theme and story. The nudie dancing is pretty much the entire film other than where they felt they needed plot.

The film plays like a topless burlesque show with a 1960s gothic twist. Most of these girls are pretty hot, by the way. So that’s a definite plus.

It is an interesting picture to watch, if you are a film buff or a fan of Ed Wood, even though Mr. Wood didn’t direct this. It is a good midnight movie to drink to and watch with some friends. It doesn’t have much replay value unless you are showing it to other friends who haven’t experienced it or if you have it playing on the TV during a party.

The film is amusing, often times hilarious and a cute little feature. It has that Ed Wood spirit where you know that the filmmakers were taking the movie serious but everyone on the set was having a good time and didn’t really worry about the quality of things.

A NSFW trailer: