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Mike’s Top Ten of 1973

1973 has a good case for it to be considered the strongest year of the 70s. Nine out of my top ten are straight up all-time classics. Inarguable classics. And then 11-20 are all just incredible movies, with some great gems sprinkled throughout the rest of the list.

The 70s are in full swing here, and I think ‘iconic’ is the way a lot of these are. One of the most iconic characters of all time, iconic horror movies, iconic uses of music, iconic performances by famous actors.

There’s nothing more to add. These movies are great, and you should watch them.

Mike’s Top Ten of 1973

American Graffiti

Badlands

The Exorcist

The Last Detail

Live and Let Die

Mean Streets

Paper Moon

Papillon

Serpico

The Sting

11-20: Bang the Drum Slowly, Charley Varrick, The Day of the Jackal, Don’t Look Now, Emperor of the North, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, High Plains Drifter, The Long Goodbye, The Spirit of the Beehive, Westworld

Tier two: Amarcord, Cinderella Liberty, Day for Night, The Day of the Dolphin, Enter the Dragon, Fantastic Planet, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Iceman Cometh, Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing, My Name Is Nobody, O Lucky Man!, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Robin Hood, Save the Tiger, The Seven-Ups, Sleeper, Soylent Green, A Touch of Class, The Train Robbers, The Way We Were

– – – – – – – – – –

1. The Sting

“Can you get a mob together?”
“After what happened to Luther, I don’t think I can get more than two, three hundred guys.”

There are a finite number of movies I would label as ‘perfect’. This is one of them. From top to bottom, everything about this movie is flawless. You’d think Newman, Redford and George Roy Hill wouldn’t be able to topple what they achieved with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid… but they do.

The film, for those just getting into movies (since I cannot imagine anyone but those people hasn’t seen this), is about a con job. Redford is a small time grifter and pickpocket who does a job with his best friend, only to have it turn out that the mark worked for a big time gangster. The friend is killed, Redford barely escapes alive, and he travels to the big city to find legendary con man Paul Newman, and enlists him on a ‘big con’ to take down the gangster who killed his friend.

Redford (surprisingly) got his only acting nomination for this. Newman is awesome as always. Robert Shaw is great as Doyle Lonnegan. Charles Durning is awesome as the cop chasing down Redford throughout the film. The writing by David S. Ward (who also wrote Major League, which to me is like finding out that the guy who wrote the Power Rangers theme song also wrote the X-Men theme song. That makes him royalty in my house) is so, so good. One of the best scripts ever written.

How does this movie not make you smile? It’s incredible. It’s impossible not to love this movie. Truly one of my fifteen or twenty favorite films of all time.

2. Paper Moon

“I got scruples too, you know. You know what that is? Scruples?”
No, I don’t know what it is, but if you got ’em, it’s a sure bet they belong to somebody else!”

Oh god do I love this movie. Peter Bogdanovich’s best film, and yes, that includes The Last Picture Show. Go ahead, say something. I’ll repeat it. THIS is Peter Bogdanovich’s best film.

Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, father and daughter, star in this absolutely delightful movie. He’s a traveling con man, basically, who goes around, finding the families of the recently deceased, saying the person who died had ordered an engraved bible with their names in it just before they died. Here he is, delivering it and collecting his money, and oh no, they died. So of course the gullible and grief-filled people are gonna pay the ridiculous price to honor their loved one’s “last wishes.”

The film begins with him attending the funeral of an old girlfriend, and finding there her young daughter, who may or may not be his. (It’s never officially said whether or not she’s his, but it doesn’t matter, which is one of the joys of the film.) He’s coerced into taking the girl to her aunt’s house, where she’ll stay, which leads to a road trip between the two, which becomes great almost immediately. She sees him conning a dude out of money and basically blackmails into cutting her in. And he soon realizes having a little girl with him greatly increases his revenue streams, because who wants to send him away when he’s got such a sweet girl who won’t get to eat if he doesn’t sell that bible?

This movie is incredible. Tatum O’Neal became the youngest Oscar winner ever for her performance, and she’s just amazing here. And Ryan shows his well-earned leading man status here. Madeline Kahn shows up in an absolutely hilarious supporting performance as a stripper Ryan picks up along the way.

This is one of the funniest and sweetest movies of all time. Do not miss out on this one. Look at all the films I’m ranking this over. Trust me, it’s worth it.

3. The Exorcist

“What an excellent day for an exorcism.”

One of the five or ten best horror movies ever made. It’s so impeccably crafted. Interestingly enough, it really takes some detours from how you’d expect a horror movie to progress. Which somehow makes it work even more.

The first like, ten minutes takes place in the Middle East, which most people forget. There’s the whole beginning with Max von Sydow. And then we go to Georgetown and Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair. And then there’s like, 90 minutes before they really get to the actual exorcism. They spend most of the movie seeing creepy stuff happen and then diagnosing the fact that she’s actually possessed. You watch most other horror movies, and they do the intro, have the creepy stuff, and diagnose the possession/uncover the monster within the first act. And then the rest is all the shit going down. This movie takes its time and really grounds it.

Plus, Friedkin directs the hell out of it. You forget just how contained this movie is, once they get inside that house. Yet it feels utterly terrifying and he makes it work completely. Plus, he sets up so many things in those first ten minutes with Max von Sydow that come back later in the film, it’s just masterful work. Not to mention the iconic imagery and moments. That demon face that flashes a few times is now seared into my retina forever, it was so scary to me when I saw it the first time (as a twelve-year-old when they re-released into theaters, which feels about the proper time to have the shit scared out of you by this movie).

This is one of those movies everyone sees because it’s really famous and everyone knows it’s scary as shit. Usually you get it from older siblings or friends and see it when you’re between like, 11 and 15. And then it’s only later, if you get into movies, that you realize just how great a film it is on top of being scary as shit, and how big a part of film history it is. Which is nice.

4. American Graffiti

This was an American phenomenon. “Where were you in ’62?” was the tagline of the decade, it felt like. If you thought Star Wars was the first time George Lucas profoundly influenced American culture and entered the lexicon, you’re incorrect.

This movie is Dazed and Confused before Dazed and Confused. One of the ultimate hangout movies. Simple plot — bunch of friends, going around, cruising, looking for girls, and figuring out what they’re gonna do with the rest of their lives just before college. The cast includes Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, and a great cameo by Wolfman Jack.

This movie is just amazing. You put it on, see all the colors, great period cars and sets, and the awesome soundtrack. One of those movies you could just sit with at any time, because it’s just good, and just eminently watchable. You don’t need to be in a mood to watch this. This is a winner any time of day.

Also, something else that’s totally nuts — they made this movie for less than $800,000. And it grossed over $100 million. Not a bad decade for George, guys.

5. Badlands

Talk about a debut. This was Terrence Malick’s first film. A lot of people still consider it his best, something with which I will not argue, even if I probably would disagree in the end. Not that his first five films aren’t all masterpieces, because they are.

This is a simple story that’s been borrowed from for years. The main theme was basically stolen for True Romance, which Tarantino clearly based off this movie. It’s not even subtle. It’s Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek as two people who fall in love… and then end up going across the country on a bit of a crime spree. But it’s not like Bonnie and Clyde. It’s much more sublime. Just beautiful images amidst occasional moments of violence. It’s just a beautiful film (one of the most visually stunning movies ever made), and showed what a tremendous talent Malick is.

6. Papillon

“It seems so desperate. You think it will work?”
Does it matter?”

Somehow I continue to feel that this is one of the most overlooked movies of the 70s. This movie is just near-perfect. Franklin  Schaffner directed it, coming off Planet of the Apes, Patton and Nicholas and Alexandra. It starts Steve McQueen at the height of his stardom, and Dustin Hoffman, who at the time, if he wasn’t right there with McQueen at the top of Hollywood, he was there within a year or two of this.

The film takes place within a prison colony in French Guiana. McQueen and Hoffman are both prisoners, and we see them during their time there, as McQueen begins to plot an escape. That’s the movie. A prison break movie. And it’s fucking riveting. Two and a half hours and it goes by like that. It’s so, so good. Those who’ve seen it know the greatness that it entails, but I feel like it so often is never seen by people, because there’s so much other great 70s stuff around it that it gets lost in the shuffle. But trust me, do not miss out on this. One of the greatest movies ever made, and one of those movies that’s so broadly liked by all that it’s almost impossible to go wrong by putting it on.

7. Mean Streets

“You don’t make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit and you know it.”

When Martin Scorsese came onto the scene, he made sure people noticed. He’d already directed Who’s That Knocking at My Door? and Boxcar Bertha, but this is where his career took a turn (one of many turns, I will point out). After Boxcar Bertha, John Cassavetes told him he should make films that were personal to him, rather than directing other peoples’ material, so he came out with this, based on his own experiences growing up. And I can only imagine what this was like at the time. This must have really widened some eyes. Even now, you can see how wide-ranging its influence is on film and television. And that’s before all the other movies that are so clearly influential, like Goodfellas and Raging Bull and Taxi Driver.

This movie is just a classic. Overshadowed by the mega successes Scorsese made after this, but none of that diminishes just how incredible a piece of work this one is.

8. The Last Detail

“I am the motherfucking shore patrol, motherfucker! I am the motherfucking shore patrol!”

So much you can bring up about this movie. Starting with the people involved. Let’s Robert Towne. 1973, 1974, 1975. The Last Detail, Chinatown, Shampoo. Three of the greatest scripts ever written. This was also directed by Hal Ashby, who was in the middle of a run that included The Landlord, Harold and Maude, Shampoo, Bound for Glory, Coming Home and Being There. As good a run as anybody’s ever had. Then there’s Jack Nicholson — Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, Chinatown, The Passenger, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. These three men are three of the biggest parts of the decade, creating some of the most enduring pieces of cinema together and apart.

All that stuff alone should make you want to see the movie, but on top of that, the movie’s great. Nicholson and Otis Young are Navy men who get assigned a shore patrol duty — they are to escort Randy Quaid, a young sailor, to prison for a petty crime. They decide to show the kid some fun before he gets locked away for a ridiculously trumped up sentence. So they get him a hooker, go out drinking, all the fun stuff. It’s a great, great movie. Nicholson goes “full Nicholson” for the first time, and Randy Quaid delivers the dramatic performance of his career.

This is one of the ‘classic 70s’ movies that epitomizes the decade and also works as a hangout film. One of those movies you can put on and just chill with.

9. Live and Let Die

“Whose funeral is this?”
“Yours.”

I’m almost always gonna skew toward a Bond movie in my top ten. I just love the franchise. Even the weaker ones are awesome to me. This is Roger Moore’s first Bond, and honestly, the one with the most flavor of all the ones he did. This one feels like the 70s. Definite blaxploitation vibe, takes place in New Orleans and Harlem. It’s got a lot to like about it.

Roger Moore’s introduction as Bond is solid, and this doesn’t devolve completely into camp the way his later films did. The way they dispatch Kananga is a bit nuts, but there are some really fun moments throughout that make it work. I love the fake funeral assassination trick. They use it enough times to where, by the end, when they pull it out again, they don’t even need to show you the death, because you just know. It’s really well done.

Definitely one of the better-looking non-Connery Bond films (I’d say this and Moonraker are top two for Moore, with Spy Who Loved Me in third), directed by Guy Hamilton, who had previously directed Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever, and would direct The Man With the Golden Gun right after this. I, personally, would rate this as Moore’s second best Bond movie, after The Spy Who Loved Me.

10. Serpico

“The reality is that we do not wash our own laundry, it just gets dirtier.”

Iconic film, iconic character. Al Pacino in the 70s just could not miss, could he? Though if we really wanna talk about not being able to miss in the 70s… Sidney Lumet, man. He directed 11 movies between 1970 and 1978. Here are seven of them: The Anderson Tapes, this, Murder on the Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Equus, The Wiz. Fucking nuts.

The film is about Frank Serpico, a real cop who went undercover to expose corruption within the police force. Pacino plays him in such a way that he’s the antithesis of every cop you’d ever seen portrayed on screen before. Hell, he goes by the name “Paco” for most of the movie!

This is one of those movies that epitomizes the decade in film. It’s a classic, and it’s just great.

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11-20:

Bang the Drum Slowly — One of the great, underrated sports movies of all time. Everyone knows Brian’s Song. This is that, but for baseball. Michael Moriarty and Robert De Niro are best friends. Moriarty is an ace pitcher, and De Niro is his catcher. De Niro isn’t particularly good, but he’s also terminally ill. Moriarty leverages a contract, saying the only way he signs is if De Niro comes with him. Even though De Niro is a detriment to the team, Moriarty makes them start him whenever he pitches. And it’s a beautiful story about two friends, just the way Brian’s Song is. This, though, has a great supporting performance by Vincent Gardenia as the foul-mouthed manager of the team. Really terrific movie, and one of the better sports movies of all time.

Charley Varrick — Awesome crime film. Walter Matthau robs a bank and comes away with much more than he anticipated. Only, when much less than that is reported as missing, he realizes the bank was involved in money laundering, and some really bad people are now after him. Joe Don Baker plays a mob hitman and John Vernon plays the manager of the bank. Wonderfully directed by Don Siegel. One of those great hidden gems that people always really like when they come across it.

The Day of the Jackal — This movie blew my mind the first time I saw it. Because the entire movie is shown from the point of view of the antagonist. It’s about an assassin who is preparing to kill Charles de Gaulle. Hired by the French underground, we watch the assassin (named ‘the Jackal’. We never find out his real name) prepare for his job. That’s it. We watch him take on different identities and wait for the right time to strike, as the police try to pin him down before he can do so. It’s incredible. One of Fred Zinnemann’s best (and most underrated) movies, and this is the dude who did The Sundowners and From Here to Eternity and High Noon. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough.

Don’t Look Now — A real classic. Always referred to as a thriller, mostly because of the ending, but to me it’s more of a study in grief than anything. Directed by Nicolas Roeg (probably his best film), it stars Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as a married couple who move to Venice after their daughter drowns. Sutherland is there to restore a church, but they soon meet a woman who claims to be clairvoyant and can communicate with their daughter (and also says they’re in danger), while a serial killer seems to be on the loose in the city. It’s great. One of those movies that’s deservedly a classic and definitely has an impact on those who see it.

Emperor of the North Pole — THE hidden gem of 1973. Why? Because I’m about to tell you what it’s about, and almost all of you are gonna go, “I need to see that movie right now.” This film is about hobos who hop trains in the Pacific Northwest during the Depression. Ernest Borgnine is a cruel train conductor who refuses to let the ‘bos (that’s what they call themselves) ride his train. He kills anyone he finds on his train. Enter Lee Marvin, the best train hopper in ‘bo-dom, trying to be ‘King of the ‘bos,” who is determined to ride Borgnine’s train to the ‘end of the line’, which of course will lead to an eventual heavyweight showdown between man and ‘bo. Honestly, after that, I don’t know what else you need, because that makes me wanna go watch that movie right now. Also, directed by Robert Aldrich, who had one hell of a career (Vera Cruz, Kiss Me Deadly, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, The Flight of the Phoenix, The Dirty Dozen and The Longest Yard).

The Friends of Eddie Coyle — One of those classic crime films that everyone who loves movies eventually comes across. It’s one of those movies that’s just… cool. Robert Mitchum is a low level gunrunner who is facing some serious jail time. So, in stead, he decides to snitch on his friends. It’s incredible. So good. Also stars Peter Boyle and is directed by Peter Yates, coming off Bullitt and The Hot Rock. He had a hell of a career within the genre.

High Plains Drifter — One of the classic Clint Eastwood westerns. This and Pale Rider are similar movies. Eastwood essentially plays either a ghost or an angel, depending on your interpretation. It’s much more overt in Pale Rider, but it comes through a bit here too. He’s a mysterious stranger who shows up at a town where a wrong has taken place. He’s hired to protect the town from some gunmen who are coming. But instead, he… well, if you don’t know, I won’t ruin it. But his purpose there is much different from what they want it to be. This is the second movie Eastwood ever directed, and his first western, and it’s really impressive. He displays, in the westerns he’s directed (this, Josey Wales, Pale Rider and Unforgiven), a mastery of the genre. All four are full-stop classics of the genre, and two of them are legitimately two of the ten or twenty best of all time.

The Long Goodbye — I wanted to say how Robert Altman films seem to always get swept under the rug. Outside of the big, like, four, all of them are always overlooked, and so many of them are just great. This one… it’s one of the great detective movies. It’s Elliott Gould playing Philip Marlowe! This is the only film adaptation of this novel, and is just a wonderful piece of work. Gould’s take on Marlowe is amazing. You can barely hear him throughout the film, because he’s just mumbling and acts like he doesn’t give a shit about anything the whole time. It’s amazing. Altman had that laid back style that just made certain genres so much more interesting because you’re not used to it. This is one of Altman’s best. Also has Sterling Hayden in it and an early cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger!

The Spirit of the Beehive — One of the masterpieces of Spanish cinema. It’s about a young girl who is profoundly changed after seeing Frankenstein for the first time and uses it to make peace with her reality. It’s incredible. Clearly a major influence on Pan’s Labyrinth too. But also one of those movies that, if you love cinema, you must see.

Westworld — Now that the show version has come out, people have more of an idea of what this is about. A futuristic theme park where people can live out all their fantasies. You get to go and live in the old west, where all the hosts are robots. So you can fuck the prostitutes and kill people, but there’s no real repercussions because they’re just robots. Only malfunctions start to occur that remove the part of the coding that prevents the hosts from hurting the guests, so now all the robots begin murdering the park guests. Yul Brynner plays a gunslinger robot who hunts down our protagonists throughout the film. It’s awesome. Written and directed by Michael Crichton. Really terrific, and only 88 minutes long!

– – – – – – – – – –

Tier two:

  • Amarcord
  • Cinderella Liberty
  • Day for Night
  • The Day of the Dolphin
  • Enter the Dragon
  • Fantastic Planet
  • From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
  • The Iceman Cometh
  • Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing
  • My Name Is Nobody
  • O Lucky Man!
  • Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
  • Robin Hood
  • Save the Tiger
  • The Seven-Ups
  • Sleeper
  • Soylent Green
  • A Touch of Class
  • The Train Robbers
  • The Way We Were

Enter the Dragon. Bruce Lee. Everyone knows this movie. It’s awesome. Robin Hood is Disney. Made during their dark years. A lot of reused animation from The Jungle Book. Little John is basically Baloo. Peter Ustinov as Prince John is basically doing George Sanders as Shere Khan. But it’s fun. A couple of nice songs. And Andy Devine. Middle of the pack for them all time but definitely good enough to be considered a classic. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is Sam Peckinpah. About (insert title here). Co-starring and featuring a soundtrack by Bob Dylan. Famous for “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” which was written for this movie. Kris Kristofferson plays Billy and James Coburn is Garrett. It’s a really strong western and one of Peckinpah’s best.

The Day of the Dolphin is one of the more batshit films you’ll ever see. Directed by Mike Nichols and written by Buck Henry — there’s class here. George C. Scott stars, fresh off multiple Oscar nominations and a win. But the plot… he plays a scientist trying to figure out how dolphins communicate. He’s trying to get them to understand him and train them. Only we soon realize… the fucking dolphins can talk. They sound like baby Elmos. It’s the craziest shit. The first half of the film is him trying to break through and get them to speak, and the second half is even more crazy — there’s a plot to kidnap the dolphins and use them to fucking kill people! The dolphins are gonna be used to commit an assassination! Just talking about it makes you go, “What the actual fuck?” And that’s what’ll get you to watch it. But what you realize when you watch it is — it’s actually good. Not like, Badlands good, but like — you can watch this movie and get pretty invested in it despite all the weird shit that’s going on. I have a soft spot for this movie… I’m pretty sure it’s the one that dolphins have that allows them to hear sound.

The problem with Soylent Green is that everyone knows the twist at the end. As soon as you hear the title, you basically fill in the rest of the quote on your own. But that aside — it’s a really strong sci fi movie. Featuring Edward G. Robinson in his final role and starring Charlton Heston. Even knowing how it’s gonna end, it’s still a really solid film. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a great little movie about a brother and sister who run away from home and sleep inside the Natural History Museum, trying to crack a secret code regarding one of the museum’s artifacts. Exactly the kind of movie that I respond to. Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing is Alan Pakula’s third movie. He’s coming off The Sterile Cuckoo and Klute, and after this will make The Parallax View and All the President’s Men. So as you can tell, you can probably trust him to give you something worth watching. It’s about a shy kid who gets sent on a trip abroad in the hopes that he’ll finally come into his own. It doesn’t quite work. Though while he’s left all by himself, he meets Maggie Smith, who also looks like a loner. They strike up a beautiful little friendship/relationship. It starts off so innocently and then blossoms into something beautiful. I really like this movie a lot. It’s a gem of the romance genre that not enough people know about.

A Touch of Class is essentially a remake of The Facts of Life. Instead of Bob Hope and Lucille Ball, we have George Segal and Glenda Jackson. She won Best Actress for the film and it was nominated for Best Picture. It’s about an affair. She’s divorced and he’s married. But they agree to an affair and go off on a trip together… which goes horribly wrong just about the entire way through. But despite that, they continue the affair, and it begins to get serious. It’s a really solid film that’s incredibly well-written. This, for me, is the kind of film I respond to. It’s loaded with great dialogue and witty exchanges between characters. A real gem of the 70s. The Iceman Cometh is based on the famous play, and a four hour film. It’s the whole megillah. Directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Lee Marvin, Fredric March, Robert Ryan and Jeff Bridges. Both March’s and Ryan’s final film. It’s worth it to at least see a version of the play and for the people involved.

My Name Is Nobody is a spaghetti western starring Henry Fonda as an aging gunslinger who wants to get out. Meanwhile, Terence Hill is a young upstart who worships Fonda. He tells him he wants to see him go out in a blaze of glory befitting of his reputation. He basically follows him around and gets him into these horrible situations, trying to get him to live up to the legend he knows him as. It’s a weird, fun film. Definitely worth seeing. Also a score by Ennio Morricone, which — fuck yeah. The Train Robbers is a more traditional western with John Wayne and Ann-Margret. She plays a widow traveling to find the money her husband stole during a train robbery so she can clear the family name. She hires Wayne, a gunman, to help her find it, for a share of the reward the railroad has for the money’s return. Meanwhile, a Pinkerton is on their trail, as are her husband’s gang, who also wants the money. It’s fun and has some nice twists and turns. Also stars Ben Johnson, Robert Taylor and Ricardo Montalban.

The Seven-Ups is a loose sequel to The French Connection. Roy Scheider stars, playing the same character he played in The French Connection. The title comes from his group of officers, who wore plainclothes and engaged in whatever tactics they needed to in order to get their guys in jail for sentences that last a minimum of seven years. So there’s a lot of dirty stuff they do in order to get their collars. Also features a great car chase by the guy who choreographed The French Connection chase, which some people consider even better than that one. Oh, and he also did the Bullitt chase too. So there’s that. Highly recommended. The Way We Were is a classic romance with Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand. Directed by Sydney Pollack, just adding to his resume of great and classic films. It’s about their romance over the years, and how their differing political views keep driving them apart. Best remembered for Streisand’s title song.  Save the Tiger is the film that won Jack Lemmon his second Oscar. He plays a guy who feels lost in the current environment. He grew up in the 50s, where everything was ordered and made sense. Now, with hippies and this new culture, he doesn’t understand it and doesn’t fit in. He owns a failing dress shop and decides to burn it down for the insurance. It’s a fascinating character portrait and a great performance from him. Also directed by John G. Avildsen, who would go on to make Rocky after this.

Fantastic Planet is one of the great non-Disney animated films pre-1990 (which is when there were not a whole lot of options outside of Disney for animated content). It’s a French sci-fi about a planet inhabited by giant blue humanlike creatures who keep humans as pets or keep them in the wild. They’re basically treated like animals, and are often killed by the creatures. The film focuses on a human who is kept as a pet by one of the creatures and, by accident, is given all of their knowledge. Eventually the human escapes and uses that knowledge to survive. It’s really good and looks fantastic. Rene Laloux had a fantastic visual style and seeing this made me want to look into his other work because it’s so striking. This is one of those movies that I think will often show up on the list of the greatest animated films ever made. Sleeper is maybe the most famous of the early Woody Allen comedies. He gets cryogenically frozen for 200 years and wakes up in the future. The future is a dystopia, and he ends up joining the resistance against the oppressive government. It’s fun. Cinderella Liberty is a fun romance with James Caan as a sailor who takes up with Marsha Mason, a prostitute, and her young daughter during an extended stay on land because his papers aren’t in order and he’s unable to get back on a ship until things are sorted out. Eli Wallach has a fun supporting role as a sailor friends of Caan’s who keeps shirking responsibility at every turn.

Amarcord is Federico Fellini, probably one of his most beloved films. If you had to list the top five Fellini films that you had to see, I’d make a case this is probably on that list. 8 1/2, LA Dolce Vita, La Strada, Nights of Cabiria and this, I think, would be my five. It’s a film that’s about the residents of a small Italian town, and the film goes through various vignettes of the characters and their lives. It’s very fun and a classic. Day for Night is François Truffaut making a movie about making movies. He plays a director trying to get his movie finished even though it’s beset by problems all over the place. The film (the actual film, not the fictional one they’re shooting) moves through all the actors and the crew pretty seamlessly, and it’s quite probably one of the best films about filmmaking ever made. It’s really good. O Lucky Man! is a continuation of sorts to If…, also directed by Lindsay Anderson and starring Malcolm McDowell as the same character he played in the previous film. I don’t know how to describe this movie, because it’s a musical, with full musical performances throughout by a band, and it’s just all over the place with these surreal fantasy sequences and actors playing multiple roles. It’s a cult classic, and a great movie, but impossible to explain. Best if you see it, and best seen in conjunction with If…

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