F. Coppola said about Tetro (according to imdb.com): "I think Tetro (2009) is the most beautiful film I've ever done in terms of how it was made". Apparently a little bit earlier, he said that his favorite movies from his own personal filmography are The Rain People (1969), The Conversation (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), Rumble Fish (1983) and Youth Without Youth (2007). Note that the most popular and acclaimed "The Godfather" trilogy is missing from this short list, and only one big production is present, Apocalypse Now. But even "Apocalypse Now" is not a big studio production. It was produced by his company "Zoetrope Studios". "The Godfather" movies were produced by Paramount Pictures (starting with the second part, Zoetrope also participated).
Moreover, F. Coppola claimed that Tetro is the kind of film he set out to make as a young man, before he was sidetracked by fame and fortune.
All this should be taken into account. If you are a fan of "The Godfather" movies, then it would be only natural to respect the opinion of their creator, and watch his own favorite movies.
As a result of browsing the web, I watched recently The Rain People. I was stunned. It happened to be much better than I expected, simply perfect and terrific, a true diamond gem (while "The Godfather" movies, if compared to "The Rain People", look like monstrous skyscrapers out of steel and glass). I turned to other small Coppola projects. First of all, I watched Rumble Fish for the 3rd time, and concluded that I hardly understood it for the first two times (would I grew up in a place like Tulsa, Oklahoma, I, probably, would understood the movie at the 1st viewing). The next one was Tetro.
Watching “Tetro” was as spellbinding as watching “The Rain People”. It is a wonderful movie. Right after watching, I gave him 12 stars out of 10. Now, few days later, I agree to 10 out of 10. The movie tells a rather mysterious and twisted story of a family, but it does this not in the “epic” style, but rather through a very tense interaction of two estranged brothers. The story is twisted, but entirely realistic. Even if nothing like this ever happened, the story is possible and tells us a lot about the human nature. The excellent acting, cinematography, and directing turn this story into a highly emotional experience for a viewer. Vincent Gallo (playing the main character, Tetro) is superb. Not too many Oscars-winning performances are up to his one in “Tetro”. I must admit that I underestimated him. But so did and still does almost everybody.
As of now, I value “The Rain People”, “The Conversation”, “Rumble Fish”, and “Tetro” orders of magnitude more than any other Coppola movie I had seen (which include, of course, all “The Godfather” movies and “Apocalypse Now”).
I wonder how any movie by such an acclaimed director can get so limited release as, say, “Tetro”. Of course, it is not summer blockbuster and not a blockbuster at all. Still, most of the movies on the screens of any multiplex are not blockbusters either. But the studios, or, in this case, the distributors and the owners of the movie theaters have their own idea of what is allowed to be seen on the big screen. They believe that the target audience of every movie should be teenagers. S. Spielberg discovered and promoted (his choices of what to film are quite sufficient) this idea. Fortunately, the Blu-ray technology ameliorates this problem substantially. Still, the quality of a presentation in a movie theater is about 10 times higher than of a Blu-ray disc on a Full HD TV.