Godfather 3

RORY: Oh, we have to rent Godfather 3 on DVD.
LORELAI: You’re kidding.
RORY: In the audio commentary, Coppola actually defends casting Sofia.

The Godfather Part III, the 1990 crime film that is the third of the Godfather films, previously discussed. Although packaged as a trilogy, director Francis Ford Coppola himself considers the first two films a duology, and the third film as their sequel.

The film was a commercial success and received positive reviews, although it is generally regarded as a lesser work than the first two. Critics praised Al Pacino and the screenplay, but criticised the convoluted plot, and Sofia Coppola’s performance as Mary Corleone, Michael’s daughter. It is the only film in the franchise not to win any major awards, while Sofia Coppola received two Razzies for Worst Supporting Actress and Worst New Star.

Francis Ford Coppola answered his critics by writing a letter to the New York Times in 1991, and in several interviews. Sofia was not his first choice for the role, but Winona Ryder had arrived late on set so exhausted from filming Mermaids that doctors advised she be sent home to recover. With no other suitable actresses, and filming already delayed by Ryder, he decided to cast Sofia as she was the perfect age and already knew the script. Furthermore, he had originally based the character of Mary on Sofia.

In 2019 while promoting the 2020 director’s cut of the film, Francis Ford Coppola insisted that Sofia may not have been a professional actress, but she was beautiful, touching, and authentic. His defence of his daughter has remained ongoing and heartfelt – way more than just one remark on the DVD audio commentary.

It’s interesting that in an episode where Lorelai hears from Christopher, hoping to see Rory, it opens with a mention of a Godfather film, and a fond father. Not only that, it is Rory who wants to watch the film specifically so she can listen to the audio commentary of Coppola’s defence of his daughter Sofia.

“Just checking”

LORELAI: I don’t have very many people in my life who are in my life permanently forever. They will always be there for me. I will always be there for them, you know? There’s Rory, and Sookie, and this town and … you. I mean, at least I think I’ve got …
LUKE: You do.
LORELAI: Good. Just checking.

At the end of the episode, Lorelai lets Luke know that she sees him as someone who will be part of her life forever. She does sort of throw him in after the rest of the town, but nevertheless, lets him know that he is part of the family she has managed to find in Stars Hollow. He confirms he has no intention of leaving. For now, that is enough, and all is harmony between them.

“Don’t you understand that Luke is so into you?”

LORELAI: One minute he’s all sweet and building me a chuppah, and the next he’s being a total jerk for God knows what reason.
SOOKIE: For God knows what reason? Come on Lorelai … Don’t you understand that Luke is so into you?

By this point, it’s pretty unbelievable that Lorelai doesn’t realise that Luke has feelings for her. Does she really need Sookie to spell it out for her yet again?

“You might want to hold a phone up to your face”

RORY: I think act three is starting up.

LANE: Henry’s act. Um, how do I look?
RORY: You might want to hold a phone up to your face so he’ll recognize you.
LANE: Okay. [walks away]

Quite a bitchy comment to your best friend from “the sweetest kid in the world“. I think we can now assume that Rory has had enough and isn’t going to be helping Lane and Henry any more.

“It makes me think about our first kiss”

TRISTAN: Well, it’s just, with this being our last kiss and all, it makes me think about our first kiss. You know, at the party.
RORY: What? …
TRISTAN: You remember the kiss. In Act 1 at the Capulet’s masked party?

Tristan promised not to say anything to Dean about the kiss he and Rory shared at Madeline’s party. However, he finds a fiendish way to allude to it, by talking about the first kiss their characters shared at the Capulet’s masked ball in Act 1, and suggesting that perhaps Juliet should cry during their kiss. This serves to delay the actual kiss, as he leaves Rory dangling while he pops up to ask for opinions. She’s clearly dreading being kissed in front of Dean, and he doesn’t let her get it over with quickly.

Rory naturally panics at where this slow reveal may be going, and begs Dean to leave, as he is making rehearsal more difficult. This situation is basically all Dean’s fault. He shouldn’t be at rehearsal – Rory is doing schoolwork, and he is at best a massive distraction. Dean knows perfectly well that he and Tristan get on each other’s nerves, they almost had a fist fight the first time they met. The rehearsal could never be anything but a disaster with Dean there.

Once Dean is gone, Tristan ends up storming out of the rehearsal in a temper, ready for trouble, and they have lost their Romeo the night before they have to perform the scene. By doing so, Tristan never does kiss Rory again. On some level, was he quitting as Romeo in order to protect Rory from a kiss she never wanted to have, to save his own pride if nothing else?

Beanie with a Propeller

RORY: How much older could [Paul] possibly look?
LORELAI: A lot! He’s usually a little scruffy, and then the baseball cap hides the funky hair thing.
RORY: He should’ve been holding a yo-yo and a lollipop and wearing a beanie with a propeller on it.

Rory is describing a stereotypical little boy as depicted by cartoonists in the 1960s and ’70s in particular, although it’s never quite gone away.

The helicopter beanie comes from the 1962 animated television show Beany and Cecil, based on the puppet show Time For Beany (1949-1955). Beany was a cherubic-faced blonde boy who wore a cap with a propeller on it that allowed him to fly, and as a result, similar caps became popular marketing novelties. Beany and Cecil had a revival in 1988, The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil, by the same people who made Ren and Stimpy.

Rory and the rest of the town tease Lorelai mercilessly for dating someone who is, at most, ten years younger than she is. Fans often say they wouldn’t have teased her for dating someone ten years older, which I think is correct, except in the case of Luke. He told her Ian Jack, the Chilton dad, was “too old” for her, and the actor playing him is ten years older than the age Lorelai is supposed to be. As Luke never even saw Ian, I’m pretty sure he would have objected to him whatever his age!

Monster Truck Rallies

LORELAI: Maybe Dean won’t even come tonight.
RORY: Oh, he’ll be there. There aren’t enough monster truck rallies in the world to keep him away from Miss Patty’s tonight.

A monster truck is a specially modified truck for competition and entertainment, given heavy duty suspension, four-wheel drive, and oversized tyres. Monster trucks developed in the late 1970s, and by the early 1980s were popular side acts at motocross events. Today monster trucks take centre stage at rallies, usually having races and stunt driving. In real life, there are regular monster truck rallies in Hartford and Bridgeport, so Dean wouldn’t have any trouble getting to one.

Somehow Dean has devolved from being a big city boy who liked classic films, Hunter S. Thompson, and Nick Drake into a country boy who likes BattleBots and monster truck rallies. How did he go from seeming pretty perfect for Rory into someone we barely recognise?

“I’m gonna have to bail”

RORY: Maybe Duncan and Bowman aren’t the best people to be hanging out with. They’re not as smart as you Tristan, they don’t have what you have going for you. They …
TRISTAN: You know, I’m gonna have to bail before we get to the whole hugging part. And ask your boyfriend to remind me when it’s coupon day, okay?

Rory tries doing a bit of bad boy renovation, but it doesn’t work on Tristan the way it seemed to on Jess. Unlike Jess, I don’t think Tristan is doing the bad boy act to impress Rory – they hardly seem to have interacted this term until now.

The major difference between her talk with Jess and this one with Tristan is that there is no anger (no passion) like there was when she berated Jess for making things harder for Luke. I think Rory does care for Tristan, otherwise she wouldn’t try talking to him seriously and telling him how smart he is, but it’s gentler and more pitying than the way she is with Jess, or even Dean. Tristan resents this, and is quick to leave (a foreshadowing of his final “bailing”).

Jess has had a much tougher life than Tristan, but Rory never pities him, mentions his past, or gives him a sweet sisterly talking-to, and I think Jess probably appreciates that.

“I don’t want anything to mess that up”

RORY: Look, things are really good for me and Dean right now, and I don’t want anything to mess that up. Especially not something that meant nothing at all to me and I wished had never happened in the first place.

Ouch. That genuinely hurt. If Tristan wasn’t already hellbent on making things difficult for Rory and Dean, I think that definitely sealed the deal.

I don’t think Rory is being entirely truthful that her kiss with Tristan meant nothing at all – it brought up so much emotion that she cried and was able to begin grieving the loss of her relationship. But that would be an incredibly awkward conversation to have, might be more insulting than what she actually said, and not really helpful in setting boundaries with Tristan.

(I don’t think she’s correct that things are “really good” with Dean either – he’s jealous and controlling, she’s scared to be honest with him because of how he’ll react, they have few interests in common, they have different values, she’s slowly becoming intrigued by another boy. But she’s not being dishonest, she just doesn’t have the experience or perspective to see these things for herself).