Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer of 70's (Bonus Round)

While we’re doing the Summer of 70’s films, I wanted to be sure to mention some films that I would definitely add to the list but which have already been reviewed at the site. Here is a list of those film you should add to your film library:

Soylent Green (1974). This is a great dystopian film based on a very faulty premise. The premise is that the human race would keep breeding and breeding until there are so many of us that the world simply collapses in a dead, polluted mess. Now those who are left are starving, and their leaders have turned to the unthinkable to feed everyone. The story itself is about NYC Detective Thorn who is investigating the death of a food company executive and comes to discover the truth. This film does an excellent job of presenting its mystery and an even better job of making you feel like you are living in this forsaken hell hole.

Vanishing Point (1971). This barely known film is essentially one long car chase. You had a lot of these in the 1970s. What makes this movie work so well is the divine overtones as the hero seems to be guided by a blind radio DJ who can see more than a human could and a fascinating ambiguous ending... plus a great soundtrack.

Alien (1979). This is simply the best horror-science fiction film ever made.

Deliverance (1972). This seemingly simple tale of four city-folk from Atlanta who go rafting on a dying river in hillbilly country effectively defined the urban, rural split that still influences much of our culture and our politics today as the panicked snooty elitists start killing what they think are butt-raping hillbillies... but might not be.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). This musical could be the first true “cult film” and it’s something everyone should see at least once to understand the same subculture that gave birth to modern cos-play.

Rollerball (1975). Perhaps the most conservative film of the 1970s, this film brings a strong warning against collectivism to the big screen by telling us that the collectivists cannot afford to allow a single talented athlete to give people the idea that they can succeed through individual effort.

Smokey and the Bandit (1976). Although seemingly just another car chase film, this film announced to the country that the American South had moved beyond Jim Crow and joined the modern world. I think it is no understatement to say that this film heralded the South’s rise as an economic and political power that rivaled any other part of the nation and saw the sunset of the once-dominant Northeast.

Silver Streak (1976). This film wasn’t really consequential, but it is perhaps one of the top comedies of the 1970s and I would say that it was a high-water mark for Gene Wilder. It was also Wilder’s first collaboration with Richard Pryor.

Make sure to check these out, and enjoy the films! Anything you would add to what we've already reviewed? And why?


ScottDS said...

Hmm... I wouldn't call The Parallax View essential viewing but since you mentioned Three Days of the Condor, I'm gonna have to throw in All the President's Men.

Network, which I'd like to review one day but I kinda feel like I'm not smart enough. :-) It's actually one of my favorite movies but I can see why it might put people off. It's one of those movies where people talk AT each other, and not TO each other.

You reviewed Close Encounters and Alien, so I'll throw in Star Wars and Jaws.

Coppola's quartet: The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now.

Animal House, the father of the modern gross-out comedy.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I'm not a big fan of Network. I'm not sure why. You should definitely review it.

Star Wars and Jaws definitely need to be there and The Godfather.

Anonymous said...

I was talking to my brother once and he said "The seventies were the high water mark of American cinema." I happen to agree with him, and not just because he's my brother. Every decade since movies got started has produced great films. But in the decade of the seventies there were just so many great films from so many genres and so many directoral perspectives that it's never been equaled. And another big factor was that political correctness had no influence. Writers and directors could tell any story they wanted to without having to neuter their script to get approval or worrying about being blacklisted if they managed to get it made. I didn't get my drivers license until 1981. That means that I didn't get to pick and choose what movies I would watch until the eighties. My seventies movie experience was limited to what I saw on tv. I didn't discover a lot of seventies films until Later on. But in my opinion my brother was right. It was the high water mark of American cinema. The eighties was a slam bang ass kicking decade and I miss the hell out of it. It was the pinnacle of human accomplishment in music and in my opinion politically it was America's peak. There were some great movies made in the eighties but it was a different kind of greatness.
Continued below

Anonymous said...

Some of these were truly great and others were just great fun, but here goes.
Dirty Harry. There was a discussion here about the Dirty Harry series but I can't remember if this film was individually reviewed.
Magnum Force. The answer to the critics of it's predecessor and a great, thoughtful film in it's own right.
The Exorcist. In my opinion this is the best film ever made about the struggle between good and evil.
The Deer Hunter. 3 hours long and I never blink when I watch it. Deniro's finest performance. Tragic, beautiful , painful and ultimately hopeful. An understated but powerful performance by Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken wasn't at the stage of his career where he could just play Christopher Walken. A few years ago at Big Hollywood John Nolte went on a big kick about how Streep was overrated. I posted "Watch her in the Deer Hunter." I got a lot of downticks but it was worth it.
Rocky. Nominated for 9 academy awards. Iconic. 39 years and countless viewings later, whenever I'm walking by a tv and the scene is on where Creed knocks him down I stop and watch to make sure he gets up,
Rocky II. In my opinion better than it'spredecessor. And the greatest ending in the history of film.
Across 110th Street. Raw. You can see the frustration,hope and fear in the characters as they choose their responses to the situation. Unforgettable.
Big Wednesday. If this doesn't make you cry you're an android.
Breaking Away. See my comments on Big Wednesday.
The Warriors. Already reviewed here but any seventies film discussion without it is incomplete.
Hard Times. The directorial debut of the great Walter Hill. And what a cast! Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Jill Ireland and The man,the myth, the legend his own self in the flesh, Charles Bronson. Watch him take his shirt off. Then tell yourself that he was 54 years old. And that was before there was a gym on every corner. And the score to that movie was an all timer. A damn near perfect film.
The Outlaw Josey Wales. On the surface just a revenge western. What it was really about was the struggle between pure justice and forgiveness, and how empty violence really is.
High Plains Drifter. The other side of the coin. Josey Wales chose civilization. In High Plains Drifter Clint Chose pure justice. And one of the best endings in any movie ever. "I never did know your name." "Yes you do."

Backthrow said...

One that you've already reviewed, and liked, though you hated the 'slasher' genre that it helped popularize:

Halloween (1978) - and I would generally agree with your assessment... slasher films are among the laziest, most slap-dash of genres, but Carpenter's movie does it as well as is possible, and is a well-made film that is still effectively engrossing and creepy today, unlike 99.9% of the horror films of the last couple of decades.

And I'd add:

Dirty Harry (1971) - Eastwood's and director Don Seigel's Coogan's Bluff (1968) anticipated it, but Dirty Harry's success was a big game-changer, both in popularizing (with The French Connection) the tough-cop-on-the-edge, as well as a popular rebuke to the Left's 'cops-bad/criminals-misunderstood' mantra. The film drove a lot of big film critics nuts, especially since it brought in the crowds.

The Exorcist (1973) - Not universally-loved, of course, but an intelligent, well-made and extremely well-acted film, that finally (after a couple of isolated hits, like The Haunting and Rosemary's Baby) brought scary movies out of the ranks of kid-appeal B movies and second features, that studios and A-list talent would take seriously. I'm pretty sure that Jaws might not have been mounted as it was, were not for the huge success of The Exorcist. Also, like Dirty Harry, it asserted that true evil exists in its own right, not due to something 'society' did.

Paper Moon (1973) - Very well-made, still funny and engrossing.

The Sting (1973) - Another popular success in its day that still holds up perfectly. About as perfect a con-man movie as can be made, and one of a tiny handful of Robert Redford roles that are actually worthwhile, especially since Robert Redford and Robert Shaw are there to prevent it from being merely a Redford vehicle.

Carrie (1976) - Even though he's made a few films prior, and is a big Lefty jerk, this really put Brian De Palma on the map as a skilled director of thrillers, and also helped popularize Stephen King (another Lefty jerk). Like Halloween after it, it still holds up quite nicely, and has retained a persistent presence in pop culture.

Marathon Man (1976) - Still a top-notch thriller, with everyman Dustin Hoffmann confronted with the chilling White Angel, Sir Laurence Olivier. "Is it safe?"

The Outlaw Josie Wales (1976) - Self-explanatory; one of Eastwood's very best movies, and probably the best Western made in the 1970s.

Breaking Away (1979) It owes something to Rocky, but what a great movie about achieving one's goal through hard work and perseverance... I have a hard time imaging anyone not rooting for our slightly-kooky hero as he seeks to enter the college bicycling tournament, despite the snobby attitudes of some of the college kids.

The Black Stallion (1979) - One of the most beautiful films ever made, starring a kid who comes across as both real and non-annoying. Scores as both an adventure-drama and a sports competition story.

Oh yeah, and The Battle Wizard (1977) --actually just a shameless plug for my own film blog. ; )

Anonymous said...

Halloween. The best horror film ever. Period.
When A Stranger Calls. An underrated film that is in my opinion brilliant.
Walking Tall. Not great, but great fun! "I got a warrant. I keep it in my shoe!" Even though his exploits were embellished and his flaws diminished, the real Buford Pusser deserved a movie. I'm glad he got it. And Joe Don Baker is just fun to watch.
Serpico. He deserved a movie too. I'm glad he got it.
Superfly. More than just a blaxploitation movie. A damn good film. Ron Dellums was one of my favorite actors. I saw him in a lot of things and I never once saw him phone in a performance.
Coffy. Across 110th street was the best of the blaxploitation genre. Coffy was the most fun. And it was the most fun because Pam Grier got her bra ripped off in a several seconds long shot and then later went the full monty. In the scene where her bra comes off the guy on top of her goes "GAAAAAAAWWWDAMN!" My sentiments exactly sir. And thankyou Pam.
Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can. Stupid as hell but just as fun.
The Culpepper Cattle Company. A cowboy movie shorn of all sentimentality. But I like it. And speaking of my last 3 entries and High Plains Drifter, I just found out that Geoffrey Lewis died. He was 80 years old but it still made me sad. RIP.
The Cowboys. I always liked this one. John Wayne played a real character that was much more human than his usual persona, and this film would have worked even without Wayne in the lead because it was a great story.
Big Jake. Fun to watch. As one reviewer on Amazon said "Not a great film, but a great movie." I know what he meant.
The Shootist. Wayne's last film, and he didn't disappoint. It still holds up, and it represents the end of an era of american film, what with being Wayne's last.
Star Wars. One of the most influential films ever made, and still fun to watch.
Jaws. It was on a while ago and I decided to watch it. All I remembered was the hype. I was surprised,watching it as an adult, how good it was. Robert Shaw's speech about the Indianapolis is one of the greatest scenes in any movie ever. Period.
Those are in addition to all the great films from that decade that you've already reviewed.
Thanks for this series.

djskit said...

Wow, my "movies to watch" list just grew quite a bit.

Backthrow said...

Oops, I meant in the part of my post about The Sting to read: "...especially since Paul Newman and Robert Shaw are there to prevent it from being merely a Redford vehicle."

Stupid, independently-operating, easily-bribed-by-Redford fingers!

Anonymous said...

I knew what you meant Backthrow. And while I'm here how could I forget:
Death Wish. The series turned in to live action cartoons but they all came later. The first film was a thoughtful response to crime in the seventies. Harry Callahan was a member of the police force. Paul Kersey was a private citizen. But they both faced the same question. What do you do when the law fails? What is more important, the letter of the law or the spirit of the law?
Saturday Night Fever. All the glitter aside it was a look at urban America in the seventies.
And Enter The Dragon. Bruce F--kin' Lee! Nuff said.

AndrewPrice said...

Nice additions folks. :D

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, The 1970's really were an awesome decade for films. Not only was it unprecedented, but nothing since has compared. The closest we've come is a couple years in the 1990s, but that period was much more limited.

Totally agree about Shaw's speech in Jaws. That's an amazing moment on film.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, Nice list! I love The Sting, and I agree that the key was Newman and Shaw to keep Redford in check.

AndrewPrice said...

djskit, These are all great films that are worthy of being seen.

Anonymous said...

Doh! Headslap!
Slapshot! How the hell could we miss Slapshot!? So many great lines! The scene where Paul Newman gets Strother Martin to tell him who owns the Chiefs is wonderful. Newman's confrontation with the Chief's owner is a classic. "We're human beings ya know." I won't print his retort as he goes out the door but if you haven't seen it you need to.
Billy Jack. Tom Laughlin was to the left of Joe Stalin and Delores Taylor was more wooden than a picket fence but it was fun watching Billy go berserk. And it had a great ending. And let's not forget Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

AndrewPrice said...

Tonight's article is going to be a little late. Sorry, it's been a busy day. It should be up tomorrow night.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, Great movie! I love the brothers as they wreck havoc on the league.

Backthrow said...

--And Paul Newman's disbelief when he sees the brothers playing with toys in their hotel room. LOL!

(Unlike today, this was at a time when grown men weren't usually seen personally owning, or playing with, kid toys, with the exception of WKRP in Cincinnati's Arthur Carlson.)

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, That is an excellent moment too. I love that he doesn't seem to have any idea what to do with the three of them at first.

Kit said...

I'll be listing a few films of mine in a few minutes. Until then, check over at Commentarama Politics for "Some Thoughts on America" by Yours Truly.

Kit said...

As for why the 70s were such a good decade in film. A part of me wonders if it is because it and the benefit of piggybacking on an enormous breakthrough in editing in American cinema (American New Wave) but they still retained enough of the old style of classical American cinema; the stage-y blocking of studio films.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

I'm not sure what has been reviewed but I'll fill in some blanks I didn't see above...

Sports: Bang the Drum Slowly and Brian's Song (TV movie -- but awesome) -- baseball and football tearjerkers; Bingo Long's Traveling All-Stars -- a who's who of 1970s Black actors in barnstorming baseball movie -- awesomely fun.

The Man Who Would Be King -- a great bridge movie from classical to modern cinema.

The Last Picture Show

Anonymous said...

The Longest Yard and American Graffiti.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Burt Reynolds was on a roll.... Hooper, The End, White Lightning and Gator

Backthrow said...


Charley Varrick (1973)
Smile (1975)
Duel (1971)
Dillinger (1973)
Emperor of the North (1973)
Harry in Your Pocket (1973)
Black Sunday (1977)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)
Sorcerer (1977)
The Great Train Robbery (1979)
Day of the Jackal (1973)
The Kentucky Fried Movie (1976)
The Outfit (1973)
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)
Bite the Bullet (1975)
The Sugarland Express (1974)
Meatballs (1979)
The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
Duck, You Sucker (1971, aka A Fistful of Dynamite)
Prime Cut (1972)
The Yakuza (1975)
Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
The Wind and the Lion (1976)
Mad Max (1979)
Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
Monte Walsh (1970)
Get Carter (1971)
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
Night Moves (1975)
Theater of Blood (1973)
Phase IV (1974)
The Eagle Has Landed (1976)
The Getaway (1972)
The Fury (1978)
The Deep (1977)
The Silent Partner (1979)
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Juggernaut (1974)
Gold (1974)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Midnight Express (1978)
The Andromeda Strain (1971)
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
The Laughing Policeman (1974)
Papillon (1973)...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Burt, don't forget Semi Tough.

Anonymous said...

Or Starting Over.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I think what made the 1970's so good were that they had just gotten over the point where directors were experimenting for the sake of experimenting (all the crazy crap from the 1960's), so they had a ton of ideas and creativity, but they also had a new found focus on story.

At the same time, you didn't have the studio system anymore trying to turn out made-by-the-numbers films and you didn't have the corporate focus-group types who were coming on board over the next decade.

Basically, it was an era of director freedom at a point where the avant garde stuff had become boring. So the then-new crop wanted to make really good movies.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Excellent additions. I've always been fascinated by The Man Who Would Be King.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, The Longest Yard is one of my favorite films. I will definitely be reviewing that. :D

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, Definitely a good list. There are a couple on there I will cover for sure.

Kit said...

You did have studios there but in the 70s they often did focus writers and directors and didn't let them go wild. Example: Star Wars

For an example of what happens when directors are allowed to go wild, see the Star Wars prequels 30 years later. Or the Hobbit trilogy.

Kit said...

re the Studio Era. I've noticed several movies where a darker ending would've helped but instead the studio or the Motion Picture Code office, it seems, insisted on something happier or more moral and the result is an ending that fails to jive with the rest of the movie and feels like a cop-out.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, There are many examples when having someone rein in a director proved to be a good thing. But there are also many examples where the suits ruined films.

I think what made the 70's work was that the studio system was broken, so there was a lot of freedom, but it wasn't a "crazy freedom" world anymore, as it had been in the 1960's.

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