Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Bicentennial Movies

1976 was a transitional time in Hollywood.  Official censorship had been dropped in the late 60s, and the influence of European innovation was being expressed on screen by a new generation of filmmakers, leading to one of the most creative eras Hollywood had ever seen.  At the same time, the studios wanted to make money, and certain films--none bigger than Jaws in 1975 (until Star Wars in 1977)--pointed to the new direction, leading to an era of blockbusters in which we're still living.

That's the background.  Now let's see what films Jesse Walker chose as his top ten for 1976:

1.  Seven Beauties
2.  Taxi Driver
3.  The Outlaw Josey Wales
4.  The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie
5.  Television Assassination
6.  Harlan County U.S.A.
7.  The Tenant
8.  The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
9.  Network
10.The Shootist

Jesse calls this a strong year.  Based on this list, I don't see it.  Most of these films are pretty good (except Network, a film with a reputation I've never quite understood), but I'm not sure if any would make my top ten list.

Is #5 a 1976 film? (In general, I like Bruce Conner, and I like his short Crossroads, which I believe is from 1976.)

Here are Jesse's honorable mentions:

11. Mikey and Nicky
12. Small Change
13. Dôjôji
14. All the President's Men
15. Bound for Glory
16. Carrie
17. The Man Who Fell to Earth
18. Impressions of Upper Mongolia
19. Massacre at Central High
20. To Fly!

Mikey And Nicky and Small Change would make my top ten list.  Haven't seen Dojoji (which is a short).  All The President's Men is a well-done film, though I don't love it. Hal Ashby was on a tear in the 70s, but Bound For Glory is just boring--I have never been able to make it all the way through in one sitting, and I've tried more than once.  Carrie isn't bad, though I don't love it.  The Man Who Fell To Earth is too distant. The other three I haven't seen.

Other films that would make my top ten:

Allegro Non Troppo

The Bad New Bears

Next Stop Greenwich Village

The Pink Panther Strikes Again

Rocky (won the Oscar, though Jesse doesn't seem to go for it)

Shaolin Temple

Other films I like:

Assault On Precinct 13, Murder By Death, The Ritz, Stay Hungry, That's Entertainment Part II

Films of interest:

1900, Aces High, Alex & The Gypsy, All This And World War II,  The Amazing Dobermans, The Big Bus, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, Black And White In Color, The Bluebird, Breaking Point, Car Wash, Fellini’s Casanova, The Cassandra Crossing, Dona Flor And Her Two Husbands, Dr. Black Mr. Hyde, The Eagle Has Landed, Eat My Dust!, The Enforcer, Family Plot, Foxtrot, Freaky Friday, Gable And Lombard, Gator, The Gumball Rally, Gus, Harry And Walter Go To New York, Hawmps!, Hollywood Boulevard, I Will, I Will...For Now, In Search Of Noah’s Ark, In The Realm Of The Senses, The Innocent, Jonah Who Will Be 25 In The Year 2000, The Killer Inside Me, King Kong, The Last Tycoon, Leadbelly, Lifeguard, Lipstick, The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane, Logan’s Run, Mad Dog Morgan, The Marquise Of O, The Message, Midway, The Missouri Breaks, Monsieur Klein, Mother Jugs & Speed, Nickelodeon, No Deposit No Return, Norman...Is That You?, Not A Pretty Picture, Obsession, Ode To Billy Joe, The Omen, One Summer Love, Pardon Mon Affaire, Robin And Marian, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, The Shaggy D.A., Shout At The Devil, Silver Streak, A Star Is Born, The Toy, Tunnel Vision, Two-Minute Warning, Up!, W.C. Fields And Me, Welcome To L.A., Won Ton Ton The Dog Who Saved Hollywood


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely Rocky and All The President's Men, which were both good films and hits, but what about Silver Streak? Does no one like that any more?

1:20 AM, January 03, 2017  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Murder by Death is my favorite film from this list of 1976 movies, Glad to see it on your like list, but does it have a good reputation? Does anyone even remember it. It would be on my top 10 for comedies of all time. Of course, I really enjoy the old mysteries that it parodies.

4:38 AM, January 03, 2017  
Blogger Jesse said...

Murder by Death and Silver Streak are both good comedies. They might have made my top 20 in a year without so many other movies that I like. Same goes for Assault on Precinct 13, which is one of John Carpenter's best films. (The Pink Panther Strikes Again is my favorite of the '70s Pink Panther pictures—the sequence with all the assassins accidentally killing each other is a high point of the series—but I wouldn't rate it as high as the other movies we're talking about.)

Re: Television Assassination: There's at least three different versions, and it never had a mass theatrical release, so it's hard to nail down a "release date" for it. I picked 1976 because that seems to be the year it was actually publicly screened for the first time, though I could be wrong about that.

5:50 AM, January 03, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Murder By Death was a solid hit in its day, and I suppose is fondly remembered by a dwindling group of people. I wouldn't say it's considered a classic. It's also notable in that it's what Alec Guinness was shooting when George Lucas slipped him the Star Wars script.

Silver Streak was an even bigger hit, and helped turn Richard Pryor into a major star. Once again, I don't think it's considered a classic today (if it ever was considered a classic).

10:25 AM, January 03, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the fourth photo from? I can't even make it out.

10:40 AM, January 03, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

It's from a big moment in Logan's Run.

1:04 PM, January 03, 2017  
Blogger Bream Halibut said...

I loved Network and Seven Beauties when I saw them in High School and again in College, but now it's been about 15 years, so I can't really say for sure whether or not they'd make the cut. Carrie and The Tenant would, since they're two of my favorites of the decade. Probably Harlan County and Taxi Driver too (in that order). About the only thing I don't like in Taxi Driver is Jodie Foster -- I think the only thing I've seen her in where she didn't seem out of place was Silence of the Lambs. That makes The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane just about unwatchable for me. Other than that Taxi Driver might be the best thing Scorsese or Deniro have done (though not Schrader).

There are a bunch of big ones that I just haven't seen from this year, including Rocky and All the President's Men, and I barely remember The Man Who Fell to Earth so that's out.

76 is another year I have trouble filling out a list after the first few. Some likely choices include Heart of Glass, The Missouri Breaks, The Private Eyes, Master of the Flying Guillotine, Marathon Man and In the Realm of Senses, though plenty of years those would just make honorable mentions.

1:33 PM, January 03, 2017  
Blogger New England Guy said...

Interestingly enough, I saw or read about most of these films at the time. I was 13-14 and one of my good friends and a group of others at the time decided we were really going to get into film. We cut out full page ads and went to see everything ((movies were cheap and there were tons of suburban theaters with deals on Monday nights and also Wednesday afternoons in the summer too when we would catch the bus and go into downtown Pittsburgh(which had around 10-15 movie theaters and they got the first runs before they made their way out to the burbs).

That being said, apart from nostalgia, there are kind of meh. Massacre at Central High though was made for teens just getting into the study of politics and power. Haven't seen it maybe for 40 years but I remember it as disturbingly violent watching kids mow down rivals while spouting various claptrap slogans ("The student body demands order!") -was this before or after Warriors?- I think I remember a PTA-type outcry.

6:37 AM, January 04, 2017  
Blogger Jesse said...

MASSACRE is such a wonderfully weird artifact that I can't help loving it. "Let's make a revenge movie, but shoot it in this really ethereal style and bake in some sort of half-obscured political metaphor."

7:04 AM, January 04, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Massacre predate The Warriors by three years.

9:02 AM, January 04, 2017  

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