Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him.
Looking back on it from more than 30 years, it’s hard to imagine a time when Star Wars did not permeate our culture. It informs both our popular arts as well as high-level policy debate during the Cold War. It rewrote the rules of summer movies only two years after Jaws wrote them in the first place. This one movie took merchandising from a tidy little sideline to a stratospheric cash cow for Hollywood.
In short, a little movie made for less than $10 million, of which the studio thought so little that they willingly parted with all the ancillary rights that studios normally hang on to until hell freezes over, ended up being the greatest single act of creative destruction in the history of the business since The Jazz Singer. After Star Wars, the artistically ambitious films that were a hallmark of the early-to-mid-seventies were shuffled off to the independent filmmakers, while Hollywood became a factory for blockbusters.
At this juncture, it’s pointless to review this movie like I would a “normal” film, other than to offer my conjecture on why this little movie worked like no other movie before it and few since. And yes, I’m calling it Star Wars, not Episode IV or A New Hope. The movie that hit theaters in 1977 was called Star Wars, so that is the name of the movie.
The Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are enjoying a bit of renaissance at the moment, with modern takes on the character on television on both sides of the pond. This take, however, based on novel by Nicholas Meyer, is modernization of a different sort, inserting contemporary concerns into a thoroughly traditional Holmes story.
No pulse, no heartbeat. If condition does not change, this man is dead.
This is Neil Simon’s attempt to do a Mel Brooks number of the genre of detective fiction and it’s probably for the best that he tackle it, because I think that the director of Blazing Saddles and High Anxiety would have wielded too blunt an instrument to make it work. Even with Simon’s slightly more sophisticated touch, Murder by Death is comedy in broad strokes, but even if you’re not a fan of murder mysteries, enough jokes score to make it a diverting 90 minutes.
I don't think I want to know you very well. I don't think you're going to live much longer.
Never complain too much when it’s your turn to get lunch for your coworkers, especially when you happen to work for the Central Intelligence Agency. It might save your life when someone decides to exterminate you and your coworkers.
Rollerball is one of those movies that, once you dig down past the disco-era cheese, you might find very thoughtful and prescient science-fiction. On the other hand, you might just find another layer of that cheese. Norman Jewison’s 1975 fable of full-contact sports gone insane dares you not to take it seriously, to dismiss it as merely a more cerebral cousin of Logan’s Run.
Think of this movie like a long, slightly boring lecture in history class, only with explosions. This attempt to do for the attack on Pearl Harbor what The Longest Day did for the D-Day invasion of Normandy succeeds on so many technical levels that it’s a shame that it fails to engage the audience emotionally in its subject matter.
\However, while it was initially a failure at the box office, I wonder if the film ultimately managed to recoup its budget through royalties from licensing pieces of the film as stock footage. It’s hard to find a movie about World War II in the Pacific over the next twenty or thirty years that doesn’t reuse at least a few shots from Tora! Tora! Tora!
On Thanksgiving Night in 1976, the legendary rock group known simply as The Band said farewell to touring with a party at San Francisco’s legendary Winterland Ballroom. 5,000 turkey dinners were served. There was ballroom dancing and a poetry reading.
Theatrical and director’s cut: ★★★★★
1980 Special Edition: ★★★★★
What was it in the water in 1977 that directors of classic sci-fi movies couldn’t leave well enough alone? Long before George Lucas had turned the words “Han Shot First” into a fanboy battle cry, Steven Spielberg had already done a major facelift on his landmark UFO film. When Close Encounters was in production, Spielberg was aiming for a summer, 1978, release. Columbia Pictures, on the verge of bankruptcy, forced him to finish the movie for the fall of 1977, leaving unfilmed several of what he thought were key scenes.
Patton will lead the assault. I would prefer Montgomery, but even Eisenhower isn’t that stupid.
This movie serves as both an unofficial sequel and thematic bookend to The Longest Day. It has an undeserved reputation for being overlong, ponderous and dull. It’s none of those things but I can understand how it could appear that way to people expecting a more conventional war movie.
This story of a lonely man isolated from the millions of people around him could have been told in any city but Martin Scorcese’s movie could only have been made in New York City, and only in the city of the mid-seventies. Travis Bickle is as much a product of that time and place as he is a creation of screenwriter Paul Schrader’s imagination.
The New York City of Taxi Driver is definitely not today’s “Disney-fied” city. This is the pre-Giuliani Big Apple, the domain of pimps and drug dealers. Continue reading →
Remakes are rarely a good idea. Remakes of classics are even less likely to be a good idea. They rarely improve on the original and more often, to be blunt, they suck. But up with it I’m willing to put if it means that, from time to time, we get a remake like this one, which takes everything that was good about the original and turns it around so it is relevant to the present.
I'm not going to waste my time arguing with a man who’s lining up to be a hot lunch.
Many of you might not be old enough to recall but Jaws effectively invented the concept of the summer movie as we know it today. Two years before Star Wars, it was the first film to really demonstrate the power of all those teenagers, recently freed from school, to generate an ass-load of money at the box office.
Of course, this was also before the modern marketing machine was fully geared up, so in order for a movie to become a mega-blockbuster, it depended on a lot of word-of-mouth to get people’s butts into the seats. In those days, it still required that the film not suck. Mission accomplished, I’d say.