Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Favorite Films Before My Lifetime: 1976

1976 had an Academy Awards Best Picture race that is just kinda like "Wow" when you see the list.  And then to see the triumph Rocky had over the rest is still surprising to this day.  It was the audience's champion.  As much of a incredible impact that film had in inspiring audiences to go big and root for the main character, it had that sort of feel with its Awards run too.  

Oscar Bout

WINNER - Rocky
All The Presidents Men
Bound For Glory
Taxi Driver

My turn

All The President's Men

The political thriller of all political thrillers.  Watergate was never so thrilling as this film would depict.  Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman also work so well off of one another and prove a great team as both their characters and as actors.  There are so many iconic moments in this movie, and ones that get borrowed plenty.  To me this is one of the best suspense/thrillers available as I think it still works fantastically.  Besides being a real story, if you enjoy suspense...Hitchcock...detective work...all that mumbo jumbo, you'll LOVE this.

Assault On Precinct 13

Not John Carpenter's debut (that would be Dark Star), but his first "professional" feature film.  Its a mesh of Rio Hondo and Night Of The Living Dead.  This low budget suspense/action film achieves plenty of nail biting, edge of your seat thrills.  What's awesome about going back to Assault, is to see how competent John Carpenter already was, and how established his skills and tropes already were in his first feature.  I honestly think Assault winds up being one of the very best action films of the 70s too.  Oh, and of course Carpenter gives us one of his awesome low frills, minimalist synth scores that stick in your head and are just so badass.


Another year, another movie with John Travolta right?  Just imagine if Urban Cowboy had made the 1980 list (It was indeed cut from that).  Anywho, this Brian DePalma/Stephen King collaboration is a thing of legend.  And if the boring new Carrie movie proved, you just can't recreate the work that has been done here.  DePalma directs the hell out of this movie and Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie give incredible performances to really boast and enhance this tale of terror.  In horror, there really is nothing like this movie, its an experience of its own.  I know it was knocked off a bit after it came out, but can you name me one of them?  This film has been late in the game sequeled, remade to a mini-series and remade as a big budget modern film.  All of them have failed to even sniff this movie's success.

Logan's Run

I'm a big big fan of Logan's Run.  As many of you know...my son is named Logan.  On my 30th birthday my wife made me this awesome cake:

One of the craziest things about this movie is to look at the special effects in it (which were Academy Award winning), and then just the very next year Star Wars comes out.  The films honestly look almost 10 years apart in terms of technological achievements in film, yet they are only separated by a year.  Watch Logan's Run and Star Wars back to back if you want to truly appreciate Star Wars much more and see what it did for movies.

Anyway, Logan's Run is a terrific little utopian tale, featuring a lot of groovy style and ideals.  There's a great chase and mystery central to this story.  One thing I've always thought though, is once they leave the dome, the film sort of drags a little as it makes its final reveal.  Its not bad, it just doesn't quite live up to the adventure to get there.  Its only a slight nit pick as I think the movie is still fantastic.  Not only does it have one of the greatest movie posters of all time, its one of the best sci fi films of all time as well.


Start to finish, I love this movie.  Maybe its more a "guy" movie or something, but there's just something real and emotional that seeps through with Rocky.  You feel it with the character and you also feel it with Stallone the person as he takes his "one shot".  And both wholeheartedly succeeded.  It developed into one of the bigger franchises in film history that wasn't horror or Star Trek (5 sequels), but don't count out how absolutely great this first film is.  I also think its triumph at the Academy Awards began a more positively outlook on the telling of movies to sort of come out of the gloomy 70s.  Following this would be more movies with heroes and crowd pleasing outcomes like Star Wars and Superman to name a couple.

Taxi Driver

From the more populist Rocky, to the doom and gloom of Taxi Driver.  One thing I've always about this movie is its depiction of New York.  Its really trashy and worn down, but in an almost beautiful sort of way.  There's an art to the dirty and gritty 70s New York.  I even joined a page on Facebook called Dirty Old 1970s New York that posts pictures from that era with regularity.  So, I guess I'm not alone in finding an art and beauty to the wear and tear of America's great city.  The film itself is one that I think has been misinterpreted over the years by some people, but I think most grasp onto what its telling.  It also garnered poor Jodi Foster a vicious stalker that tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan.  DeNiro is great, and its no doubt one of his most iconic and quoted roles.  For me its also one of Scorsese's best as well.  Funny side note...does anyone else see Harvey Keitel in this movie and think Tommy Wisseau?

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