Author Topic: 70's US  (Read 9230 times)

roujin

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 15342
  • it's all research
    • ssmvc
70's US
« on: January 29, 2015, 08:01:08 PM »
As a way to familiarize myself with 70's American cinema (an area of film history that I've previously completely dismissed), I'm starting this thread. The following is a list of historically, critically or otherwise significant titles and my reactions to them (don't expect more than a blurb, if that). This will act as a sort of a watchlist. Let's see how many I can watch in 2015!

For reference, these are a few of my favorite American films of the 70's.







Rating Guide

★ - has redeeming facet
★★ - worth seeing
★★★ - a must see
★★★★ - masterpiece
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 11:17:32 AM by roujin »

roujin

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 15342
  • it's all research
    • ssmvc
Re: 70's US
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2015, 08:13:55 PM »

01. The Opening of Misty Beethoven (Radley Metzger, 1976)

Whereas other Metzger films elongate their pleasure by meting out sex judiciously, making the waiting part of the structure and also the appeal, this hardcore film, shot by Metzger under the name Henry Paris, literally opens with a couple engaged in cunnilingus before cycling through various other positions - the licking and insertion of genitals proudly displayed in frequent in closeups. Metzger's adaptation on Pygmalion is frequently witty in its dialogue and scenarios (the airline where stewardesses give head is pretty funny), but stylistically, it's just boring. The hardcore obligation forces Metzger to default to a lot of zoomed in shots of crotches, tongues and jizz. Which, you know, great, but it gets monotonous pretty fast.

★★


02. Carnal Knowledge (Mike Nichols, 1971)

Twin portraits, framed by POV confessionals, of corroded male sexuality. Nicholson's wannabe lothario is blustering, broken; "tell me my thoughts" becomes focal point of his inability to be emotionally understood, thought of that way. Garfunkel is possibly the most odious character in the movie; sensitive, passive, willing to mold himself to the other, but needy and desperate in a way that's unctuous. The film is funny in a toxic sort of way, and then becomes personal in a way that's worse. Nichols stays out of the way mostly, electing to frame for psychological acuity, not pictorial pleasure, but he somehow finds meaningful compositions regardless (Ann-Margret's far-off stare framed with her head in the low-right corner, unknowable to us and to the other characters).

★★★


03. Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)

A string of anecdotes awkwardly forced to a breaking point. So many scenes here feel like something that has actually happened. Mean Streets is great because of how specific it is - the boredom of lounging around a bar where no one wants to play blackjack, the baby tiger, the endless parades of restaurants, bars, everyone and everything familiar. Pretty sure everyone in the film is a cousin of each other. Scorsese forces the modern saint aspect it, or rather overplays it, with his deep crimson lighting when Charlie submerges into the lifestyle or with the oven-top flames acting as an immediate source of penance. Cinema as confession, remembrance; "Be My Baby" tells it all. Sorta like a home movie that just happens to be stylistically bold and happens to have a narrative. So, yeah, it's pretty great.

★★★★


04. Vigilante Force (George Armitage, 1976)

Armitage zips through his scenario with remarkable speed, letting the implications of his character's actions do all the heavy lifting. However, stylistically, he never asserts himself in anyway. Feels like the whole thing is passing by without comment, inflection; almost feels anonymous. It's as blank as Jan Michael Vincent's expression.

★★


05. The Last Run (Richard Fleischer, 1971)

Very smart and nuanced direction at the service of a script that announces its own hackneyed intentions from the very start. The film just seems bored of its own character dynamics, its trajectory, everything. A better film would underplay the Scott/car dynamic, not highlight it with a sudden edit back to the car at film's end. At least we got Clint singing in Gran Torino. What do we get here?

★★

roujin

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 15342
  • it's all research
    • ssmvc
Re: 70's US
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2015, 08:24:06 PM »

06. Gimme Shelter (Albert Maysles + David Maysles + Charlotte Zwerin, 1970)

Don't feel that great about it, but I could never get past my own ambivalence regarding the Stones. Tina Turner's powerhouse performance overwhelms the rest of the movie.

★★


07. Up in Smoke (Lou Adler + Tommy Chong, 1978)

The humor this film is peddling was old hat in middle school, and there's simply nothing of interest now. Guess Jay and Silent Bob were these guys for me.




08. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Robert Wise, 1979)

Having little to no knowledge of the Star Trek universe, what registered most forcefully was the film's attention to its capturing its sets and special effects as best as possible (the long docking scene at the beginning is prime example of this). The rest is dramatically inert footage of people looking at screens, waiting for something to happen.




09. Welcome to L.A. (Alan Rudolph, 1976)

"I don't know anybody on freeways. I always know somebody on the streets. That's what Los Angeles is all about." A series of lonely hookups, daytime drinking, new connections done with with sensitivity, poise and understanding. Its soundtrack is a series of piano-based ballads that outside of this context would be godawful, but here evoke a yearning for love that's palpable. Could also be a documentary about Keith Carradine laying pipe to a bunch of ladies over a couple of hours.

★★★


10. Who'll Stop the Rain? (Karel Reisz, 1978)

Begins with theme music straight out of noir and then it continues pilfering from that playbook: disillusionment, anti heroes, etc. But Nolte is no Bogart, and there's zero charm or playfulness here. Hard to do with Nolte brutalizing everything around him (Tuesday Weld getting hooked on coke is collateral damage), and basically delivering seismic shocks to the film every time he does something. Truly some 70's shit.

★★★
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 08:26:36 PM by roujin »

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27724
  • Marathon Man
Re: 70's US
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2015, 08:27:39 PM »
I already love this Marathon.

Junior

  • Bert Macklin, FBI
  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27094
  • What's the rumpus?
    • Benefits of a Classical Education
Re: 70's US
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 08:31:28 PM »
This is really interesting because I don't love the 70s either. I'll check out the ones you love, probably, because I think our tastes match up on older stuff better than they do on the newer things.
Check out my blog of many topics

Im not a quitter, Kimmy! I watched Interstellar all the way to the end!

roujin

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 15342
  • it's all research
    • ssmvc
Re: 70's US
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2015, 08:40:42 PM »

11. Night Moves (Arthur Penn, 1975)

The mystery takes center stage, and yet it seems to exist outside the film, or at its edges, nipping away at the consciousness of Hackman's character. All the pieces are in place, and he thinks he's solved it, but he's looking at the wrong puzzle. A morose noir, brimming with sadness and disillusion, distracting us with a world we think we understand, while its true inner workings go unnoticed. "I didn't solve anything. I just fell in on top of it."

★★★


12. Hustle (Robert Aldrich, 1975)

"Don't tell me nobody cares. Sometimes we don't have time to care." Reynolds and company operate in a world where everyone knows their place, and hustles to survive. Deneueve is his hooker girlfriend, phone sexing it up while Reynolds fixes drinks around her; their moments of intimacy a bastion for the complexity of adult relationships. A dead girl shows up and soon enough the rules and boundaries that Reynolds has set for himself begin to crumble. All throughout the movie, Reynolds sticks to the party line, protecting the people who are "somebody," keeping the "nobodies" at bay, protecting his own interests, never rocking the boat, gazing at a calendar of Rome and dreaming of his own getaway. When he does finally make a choice, he obviously pays for it.

★★★


13. Lifeguard (Daniel Petrie, 1976)

Sensitively acted and directed, Lifeguard is almost completely unlike what its poster would suggest. Instead of "every girl's summer dream," the film sets out to show the various moral choices available to Sam Elliott's titular lifeguard. The film's humor and more 70's shit elements (little miniature stories like the flasher or the teen gropers) serve to balance the detours into moodier territory. That "territory" is ostensibly the film's actual subject, and here is where it excels. The film's ambivalent attitude towards its main character is there at every turn; instead of judging Elliott, it seems to be interested in what sort of decisions he'll make about the life he wants to lead. That's rare.

★★★


14. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)

Really fascinated by the attention that Hooper gives to objects here. Always finds a moment to take in skulls, bugs, filth; effectively sketching out environment by parceling out closeups. His camera both registers material facts and exploits them for maximum effect. Then grooved on weird tension between the stillness of certain shots or scenes, and camera movement and editing in others. Gets weirder and funnier the more horrific it gets building to an editing clinic where the surreality of the scenario overwhelms the picture and becomes abstract. Bonus points for never suggesting that ending means a return to normalcy.

★★★


15. Across 110th Street (Barry Shear, 1972)

Never quite lives up to its crackerjack explosive opening, getting stuck in a surprisingly talky affair that's more interested in highlighting its racial tensions than anything else. Quinn and Kotto are great together, but the film ends up spending way, way too much away from them.

★★

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 17060
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: 70's US
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2015, 09:50:53 PM »
Wow, what a great marathon.  These are the films I avoided in the 70s and continue to do so.  Nice to know I can still pick em.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

roujin

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 15342
  • it's all research
    • ssmvc
Re: 70's US
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2015, 11:34:39 PM »

16. Open Season (Peter Collinson, 1974)

Thoroughly unpleasant, which fine, but also just boring. Its sleaze content kept close to the vest and never really exploited. I'm sure there's a pink film version of this that wouldn't cut away when the sex starts happening. After that, a Most Dangerous Game rehash that isn't suspenseful at all, with a ending that brings it back full circle in a pretty annoying and stupid way.




17. Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978)

Is there any great movie that starts out with an animated credits sequence? Enjoyed some of the in-between moments. Specially the stuff with the Pink Ladies (hell, I'd rather the whole movie be just about Frenchie and nothing but "Beauty School Dropout"-type numbers). Alas, the musical numbers are rather stodgy; camera simply follows performers around in perfunctory fashion and it's not like there's great dancing or choreography to rely on.

★★


18. Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (Jeff Margolis, 1979)

I find it hard to judge stand-up films, but there's some brilliant, brilliant passages here. The blistering (auto)-critique of him shooting his car seguing into the ridiculousness of police brutality. This bit climaxes with a completely silly riff about dogs that extends and extends into him simply talking about his pets, impersonating anything and anyone involved, inventing the world one voice at a time.


19. The Landlord (Hal Ashby, 1970)

A patchwork of scenes and observations that range from frank depictions of race relations in America to cartoony depictions of wealth and opulence, all somewhat held together by Ashby. The jarring switches in tone and mode of address seem to be the point, eschewing coherency in favor of something more eccentric. Still, some of it felt haphazard, arriving almost by accident at interesting moments and tensions.

★★


20. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)

Usually like Spielberg, but the last 30 or so minutes of this film are essentially meant to engineer a response which reduces the audience to the status of a child, filled with awe and wonder, jettisoning the complexity of Dreyfuss's earlier character moments and replacing them with a false sense of validation.

★★

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27724
  • Marathon Man
Re: 70's US
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2015, 12:13:51 AM »
20. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)

Usually like Spielberg, but the last 30 or so minutes of this film are essentially meant to engineer a response which reduces the audience to the status of a child, filled with awe and wonder, jettisoning the complexity of Dreyfuss's earlier character moments and replacing them with a false sense of validation.

★★
This is why I love you so much. Some people claim I'm only looking for validation of my own opinions. I had a more positive response to the film, and the climax is one of the best examples of what They Shot Pictures likes to call a Cinematic Moment, but your critique is bulletproof.


15. Across 110th Street (Barry Shear, 1972)

Never quite lives up to its crackerjack explosive opening, getting stuck in a surprisingly talky affair that's more interested in highlighting its racial tensions than anything else. Quinn and Kotto are great together, but the film ends up spending way, way too much away from them.

★★
Do you remember what brought you to watch this? I'm sure it wasn't my recommendation and don't know if you listen to Filmspotting:SVU. I love the script and the dialogue so I preferred the talk to the action. I also think the side characters (some appearing in just one scene) give the film great texture.



roujin

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 15342
  • it's all research
    • ssmvc
Re: 70's US
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2015, 12:25:46 PM »
Thanks for the encouragement. I don't know if it's bulletproof, but the lights show at the end of Close Encounters just felt endless.

Across 110th Street has a ton of great supporting parts and character actors getting time to shine, but something just felt off about it. I've been meaning to watch it mainly cuz I love the song.

I don't know why verbals deleted his post, but all his movies that he mentioned are on a larger watchlist different from the one I linked to.

 

love