FALL 2004:

A Satisfying Newbury Lunch
When It Felt Like Home

SPRING 2003:

The Big Boys
The Fine Art of Urination and Defecation Al Fresco
The Golden City
Inside Looking Out
The Soup Game

FALL 2002:

All the Hearts

SUMMER 2002:

Being Family

SPRING 2002:

An Alternative to the Common Use of Forks
Memoir Lead
Two Weeks in New Mexico

FALL 2001:

The Anti-Valentine's Girls

SPRING 2001:

Amour de Soi
The Day Music Let Me Go
The Force
Lucky Me, I'm Gifted
My Green Canyon
A Painful Passion
Point of Departure
Sail the Sea
Smile and Nod


FALL 2004:

Lola Takes Us For the Sprint of Our Lives

FALL 2002:

Arlington Road: A Thriller with Thought
A Big Fat Fairytale Wedding
Border Patrol: The War Against Drugs Continues
Not the Stereotypical Shoot 'em Up Gangster Flick
Punch Drunk Love

SPRING 2002:

The Complexity of Artificial Intelligence
Monster's Ball
Monster's Redemption
Royalty Runs in the Family

FALL 2001:

A Hard Day's Night: A Rock 'n' Roll Joyride That Never Runs Out of Steam
Too Many Potholes in Riding in Cars with Boys

SPRING 2001:

Requiem's Melody Lingers
New-and-Improved Horror


FALL 2002:

In The End, Everything is Crystal Clear
A Match for Success
They Will Follow Him
A Very Bostonian Hotel
What's an A?


The CO201 program hosts special Coffee House Readings periodically throughout each semester. These stories have each been selected by 201 professors for reading.

SPRING 2002:

Death and Board Games
Resurrection of a Ghost
The Tool Man

FALL 2001:

Bits of Daylight
Leona's House
This is Spinal Tap: No Need for Painkillers
The Toad and the Giant

SPRING 2001:

The Movies
Solving the Equation: The Trials and Triumphs of International Adoption


FALL 2002:

Her Face is Red
Smoking a Cigarette
Stories and Lies
Sumit Ganguly: He, She & It


Proposals are group projects in which 201 students propose and create an ad for a non-profit organization or cause.

SPRING 2002:

Christian Solidarity International


SPRING: 2007

Riches to Rags... to Riches
Man of the House
A 'Special Education' Defined

SPRING: 2006

For Never Was There a Story of More Woe, than This of Mr. Thomas A. Marcello
Pei-yeh Tsai finds harmony in opposites at the keyboard

SPRING 2005:

Colorado Peaks and Iraqi Deserts: A Paramedic's Story
The Consequences of Drunk Driving
America, Open Your Eyes

SPRING 2004:

A Fine Balance: The Life of an Islamic Teenager
A Genetic Link to Identity: Dr. Bruce Jackson and The Roots Project
Rebel With a Cause


FALL 2004:

The Amah’s Revenge
Circle in the Sand
It’s How I Walk
School Bus

SPRING 2002:

Death and Board Games
Resurrection of a Ghost
The Tool Man

FALL 2001:

Bits of Daylight
Leona's House
Nonfiction Story
This is Spinal Tap: No Need for Painkillers
The Toad and the Giant

SPRING 2001:

The Movies
Solving the Equation: The Trials and Triumphs of International Adoption



“I believe in America,” are the first husky and accented words of The Godfather that establish the theme which runs rampant through the course of the movie – a family trying to survive in America. The Corleone mob family is not only riddled with bullets, but also with problems like anyone else’s: adultery, domestic violence, competition, death, and clashing personalities. Director Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now, Bram Stoker’s Dracula) co-wrote the screenplay for this monumental movie adapted from Mario Puzo’s widely read novel of the same title. Puzo was the second half of the screenplay duo.

Paramount released The Godfather DVD Collection last year, which contains all three of the series’ movies and an extra DVD with more than three hours worth of fun-filled movie facts for the whole family. This DVD Collection was released in today’s hypersensitive society where people bully anything that has to do with the Mafia, like HBO’s series The Sopranos. Some Italian Americans, like Marty Piccillo of the National Italian American Coordinating Association, claim that these sources of entertainment are “fictional and negative.” The Godfather DVD Collection emphasizes the fact that this movie is not meant to promote negative “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” stereotypes. The Godfather illustrates a family’s intricate and complicated story with unprecedented character quality (thank the movie gods that Joe Pesci had no part in this flick) and striking cinematography and lighting.

The acting and well-written characters are the glue that holds the viewers’ attention in The Godfather while the plot takes twists and turns that can only be straightened after multiple viewings. The DVDs definitely make it easier to go back and watch those “huh?” scenes.

Brando’s portrayal of the road-map-faced and cotton-stuffed-cheeked Vito Corleone won him an Academy Award for best actor in 1972. Brando’s acting was so convincing that he could very well be that old guy in the corner at family reunions that scares the hell out of all the little kids. However sinful Vito’s actions, he is a quintessential family man. “I never wanted this for you,” Vito, the now ol’ wino, explains to the Michael, the new and improved next generation of mobsters.

Cinematographer Gordon Willis, or “The Prince of Darkness” as one co-worker calls him in an interview on the extra DVD, is responsible for the picturesque mobster essence of Vito’s character. While conducting a business meeting, Vito looms behind a desk petting an overly affectionate cat that sucks up to him as much as his clientele does. The overhead lighting hides Vito’s eyes – turning them into caves. This lighting effect makes you wonder what thoughts are running through Vito’s head, and if he is hiding any dead bodies in those caves. The DVD collection gives a much sharper, digitally enhanced picture of these techniques than video ever could.

The cinematography and lighting are characters all to themselves – even if they do have multiple-personality disorders. The lighting of the indoor scenes throughout the movie looks as if a few candles, or one tiny lamp, are trying to light up an impossibly large room with peepholes for windows. This overhead lighting technique and underexposed shots are successful in creating the gloomy dark side that pulls you into the mob meetings. In contrast to the underworld of the Corleone compound, Willis takes the movie out into ritzy California and the sun-scorched countryside of Sicily. The outdoor scenes have a brassy or yellow tone that gives the movie a stunning antiqued quality.

Willis is probably the only cinematographer who could turn an assassination scene into a thing of beauty with only a shiny black car, a dried field, and the Statue of Liberty. After the shot rings clear, Clemenza, a Corleone henchmen, most famously replies, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

Richard Castellano’s role as Clemenza is the most under-praised character in The Godfather. Clemenza is the comic relief in a world filled with serious drama. This pudgy dough-man casually delivers witty lines like “I left [the gun] noisy. That way it scares any pain in the ass innocent bystanders away.”

The extra DVD is chock full of the various Academy Awards given to the cast. The high caliber performances from James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Al Pacino won them each best supporting actor nominations. Not surprisingly, the role of Fredo (John Cazale), the brother who is obviously suffering from middle child syndrome, was not nominated. Fredo, the whimpering Corleone oddity, is more convincing as a sleazy lounge lizard called “Freddie” than a guy who can take care of business like his other siblings.

Pacino’s skill in developing Michael’s character is streamlined like a pistol’s bullet. Michael starts out as a round-eyed, Dartmouth educated World War II hero and aspiring senator who only has eyes for milk-toast Kay (Diane Keaton). Michael is sent to “off” his father’s attempted assassins and then fleas to Sicily for a year. That’s quite a career change.

In Sicily, Michael starts anew with a buxom new wife Apollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli), the polar opposite of Kay. Apollonia’s English vocabulary only consists of the days of the week (and not necessarily in the right order), contrary to the surprisingly well-educated Kay’s naïve jabber. Unfortunately, one thing leads to another, “badda-beep badda-bop,” and Michael settles for milk-toast, but this time Pacino has gracefully transformed Michael into a colder, darker, and meaner character than before.

The chemistry between Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), the Corleone family’s lawyer and adopted son, and Vito’s hot-headed son Sonny (James Caan) is captivating. Tom’s reason and Sonny’s passion meet each other with a fiery chemical explosion when arguments turn towards the well-being of the family after the Tattaglias attempt to murder Vito.

Tom: “Nobody wants bloodshed…you make the deal, Sonny.”

Sonny: “It’s easy for you to say, Tom. He’s not your father.”

Tom: “I’m as much of a son to him as you or Mike.”

Then, as if a clean-up crew was invisibly called to the chemical disaster, the argument subsides and they are once again loving brothers giving each other cheerful pats on the back. Okay, maybe they don’t go that far.

The only character who is unabashedly annoying is Kay. Keaton’s overacted interpretation of Kay’s naivety is nauseating. Kay berates members of the Corleone family with questions about their business, which everyone in the country knows the answer to, except for her. Doesn’t Kay ever read the newspapers? C’mon. Kay can almost get away with a sympathy vote, but someone needs to tell her to wake up. Yes, Kay, you are married to the Mafia. Now snap out of it.

To discount The Godfather because it may portray negative stereotypes of Italian Americans is ridiculous. The Godfather DVD Collection as a whole, and especially the extra DVD, shows how much brainpower was running this well-oiled machine of a movie. People who cannot move beyond stereotypes are missing out on a brilliant story about a family that remains close-knit through all of its trials, tribulations, and occasional assassinations.