The Offer Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Kiss the RingCarissa Pavlica at .
The logline for The Offer is "The greatest movie almost never made."
There were many moving pieces that took a lot of finagling to get it all together.
Al Ruddy was the man moving all of the pieces. That alone would have been enough for the series.
Ruddy was the last lone producer who just so happened to produce arguably the best movie of all time.
But Ruddy's role gets muddled with the mob stuff, which, frankly, isn't that interesting.
Al's best moments are working the system and manipulating situations so that everything comes together.
The mob is a part of that, but corralling the studio execs is far more interesting.
Of course, that's just my opinion, but with The Offer Season 1 Episode 5, it got tiring watching Al get spun in circles by the mob and the local politicians.
Anybody with that kind of power just annoys the hell out of me. Nobody should have it and use it that way.
And it's hard to believe that Ruddy fell into their hands so frequently.
Showing up for Colombo's League speech wasn't bright, but his kinship with Colombo also allowed the mobster to unveil two things without warning.
First, Colombo threw his support behind Biaggi to clear a path for Godfather permits to be restored. Second, Colombo arranged for payment of services rendered by proclaiming on live TV that all proceeds from the premiere would be donated to the League.
This is as budgets are pinched, and money was the focal point of all Gulf & Western execs. That wasn't just crafty; it was annoying.
It's no secret that I find Robert Evans to be the lynchpin of The Offer. Matthew Goode's portrayal gets more nuanced with every episode, and as an entertainment buff, how Bob pushes buttons to get what he wants affects me more than the mob ever will (sorry, mob).
So, forgive me if I mostly skip over those parts. If you are into them, I'd love to know your thoughts.
Now, the budget issues and how they played into how close the film got to never being made and the entirety Paramount Studios getting sold is another story.
Even with the mob pulling strings, there are some things that Al cannot accomplish on his own. I noted in The Offer Season 1 Episode 4 review that he'd reach out to Bob again.
Francis unraveled after learning of Pacino's unavailability. Francis is very particular in how he directs, and he needs everything he pictures in his head to stay the course.
Whether it's a $75k kitchen for less than a handful of scenes or the actor he's imagined as Michael Corleone since he first got involved with the picture, concessions had to be made to keep him happy and the movie on track.
One concession was Al, tail between his legs, visiting Bob to beg for help scoring Pacino. Bob didn't make the promise easily or without effort.
He roped Ali into watching a movie she couldn't stand so they could check out Pacino in action. His effect was obvious on Ali.
She couldn't take her eyes off of him.
Bob's next move was to try to trade actors DeNiro for Pacino. Bob was one-upped at Chasen's when the MGM studio head got there before him, making the negotiations tense from the beginning.
But DeNiro stayed, and a Harold Robbins book left Paramount's arsenal. Bob also discovers word on the street is that Paramount is about to be sold, aggravating Bob that he's in the dark and caught unaware.
What that really did was light a fire under his ass. Bob was up in arms.
Bob: I'll tell you what they're doing, Peter. They're using my success against me.
Peter: Nothing's set in stone.
Bob: They fought me tooth and nail. They told me not to make Love Story. I put my balls on the line. I knew people wanted a romance. I knew Ali was a star. I knew people would fall in love with her. I fuckin' delivered the biggest movie ever, EVER. And now, they're taking my baby away? Selling her off for spare parts? I don't think so. Fuck that!
There were all kinds of historical Evans shout-outs during Kiss the Ring. Peter pitched him Chinatown, which Bob later produced. And Bob did an about-face regarding Ali working with Steve McQueen, something he'll someday regret.
The Godfather budget is getting squeezed pretty tight, and the writing is on the wall when Bettye questions Charlie during one of their dinners.
Charlie: They say movies are magic, but they don't care about magic, they care about money. And so do I.
Bettye: You're selling Paramount.
Really sealing the deal in Bob's eyes was receiving a call from Barry with an actual compliment. That's like a kiss on the cheek from the mob before they put a hit on you. There's no love lost between Barry and Bob, so for Barry to say Bob was right about Love Story, shnits about to get real.
In the midst of the business side of The Offer, we got a very entertaining scene that set most of The Godfather cast in one room, showing them having what I can only call a method dinner, where they were in character as much as they were not.
With Brando at the head of the table, the various players gruffed and groused about little family things, and Francis was on cloud nine.
He looked around the room at the cast growing into the characters and felt it was all worth it. He must have seen all of the film's kitchen scenes and family dinners coming alive.
It's moments like that, showcasing the magical side of moviemaking, that make The Offer shine. That's why Bob is central to the series, as the bridge between the business and the dreams it creates.
Agent Richmond: So, why did you walk away from Hogan's Heroes?
Al: TV's too limiting. You can't tell real stories on TV. It's fake. And Marlon Brando doesn't do TV.
Those moments also make you think of the days when movies were so much larger than life and television a lower rung on the entertainment ladder.
So much has changed, but revisiting it this way makes every episode worth watching.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.