Last night I watched two and a half episodes of The Offer, the Paramount + series about the making of The Godfather. The early reviews had been mostly negative, so I was semi-intrigued by the fact that it seemed fairly competent. Michael Tolkin‘s script struck me as above average. Alas, I began to lose interest during episode #2, and then I started to impatiently fast forward. I was hoping that the Marlon Brando videotape audition sequence would turn up in episode #3, but nope.

And yet — AND YET! — I quickly fell for Matthew Goode‘s portrayal of Robert “The Kid Stays in the Picture” Evans. Having been a moderately close journalist “friend” of Evans in ’95 and ’96 and having spent a lot of time at his French Chateau home on Woodland, I knew the guy pretty well and right away I was nodding appreciatively at Goode’s performance. He nails the murmuring voice, the improvisational smoothitude, the wit, the street cunning.

The last time I was genuinely turned on by a famous-person-impersonation performance was Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen‘s Midnight in Paris (’11).

Why did I lose interest early on? Simple — seething guineas aren’t very interesting.

The New York Italian-American community was pissed and paranoid about Mario Puzo‘s best-selling 1969 novel being made into what they presumed would be a run-of-the-mill gangster film, and for whatever reason nobody (not Evans, not Francis Coppola, not producer Albert Ruddy) was able to sell them on the possibility that The Godfather might become the greatest Italian-American epic ever made, and that it would romanticize Italian-American culture more than anything — a movie that would be much more about family and culture than crime.

The history is the history, but listening over and over to Giovanni Ribisi‘s Joe Colombo, Frank John Hughes‘ Frank Sinatra, Danny Nucci‘s Mario Biaggi and Anthony Skordi‘s Carlo Gambino bitch and moan about “what a disastuh this fuckin’ film will be”….Jesus, guys, give it a rest.

Having hated Dan Fogler for years, I was a wee bit surprised that I liked his performance as Francis Coppola. I was also more or less okay with Miles “don’t be a pervert, man” Teller‘s performance as Ruddy.