The Cotton Club is Francis Ford Coppola's best film. I bring it up now because Tetro is opening in theaters soon. It's good, but really The Cotton Club's the only Coppola that's worth a damn. Well, maybe Bram Stoker's Dracula, too.
There's no betrayal in The Godfather, just pretty pictures -- but you can feel it in Maurice Hines' face and understand what's it's like to be the traitor in Gregory Hines' eyes. Richard Gere expresses more through his cornet than Marlon Brando ever could with his mumbling mouth. There are no moments in any of Coppola's other films like the Hoofers' Club tap-off, the screen test, the dance club slap. There is no tenderness like the half-second Gregory Hines kisses Loretta McKee's neck when they reunite after years apart, and no emotion more vivid than the tap dance number the Hines brothers share when they reunite in a Harlem club. No speech like the one Lawrence Fishburne delivers at the bar after being fucked over by the mob. It's Coppola's truest film.