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Added by The Mighty Celestial on 18 Sep 2013 03:35
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25 From 78: My Favorite Films Of 1978

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What does a massive Yuletide train-wreck look like? This one-time-on-air special that even George Lucas has avaricely denounced answers that question.
Big time.
And yet, as horrible as it is, every year on when the Christmas season arrives, I find myself still inclined to slip it into the VCR. Then, just as I resolute myself to turn it off and just throw the tape away, I always find that morbid curiosity continually prevents me from looking away.

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Hey, this is the look on your face when you saw that I put the Star Wars Holiday Special on this list.

I'm pretty sure that from here on end, every perosn reading this list is thinking to themselves "How can I take whatever this guy says seriously ever again?".
The truth is, this is a case wherein I really only had 24 movies to put on the list, so in order to make it an even 25, I included the Star Wars Holiday Special more as a bad (very bad) joke.
There are several films from this year (such as Days of Heaven, Coming Home and Pretty Baby) that I heard are very good but haven't gotten around to seeing yet. I'm sure that I'll eventually stumble across a motion picture that'll make the make this a more legitimate top twenty-five list.
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People who added this item 627 Average listal rating (353 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.2
Wow, look, it's the Lord Of The Rings saga in one movie. And what's even more, it's a cartoon.
Okay, so maybe it's nowhere near as good or as cool as the Peter Jackson trilogy.
But still, back at a time that was before the sophistication that CGI brought to the table of special effects, the number of films based on sword & sorcery was pretty minimal. So it was kinda cool to see any kind of serious effort (no matter how rudimentary) being put forth into a movie of this specific type of genre.
And during the late seventies, being that I was geeky middle school sci-fi/fantasy nerd, I took whatever I could get when it came to medieval-like magic-laden movie "epics".

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So where as the 1978 cartoon version of Lord of the Rings was cool because it was a big screen sword and sorcery saga, Watership Down is cool because it's an animated flick about a bunch a bunnies that creeped the heck out of me as a kid.
And if a cartoon about a bunch of bunnies can creep the heck out of me, even if I was a just a kid at the time, then you know that it's gotta be at least somewhat bad-ass.

The Mighty Celestial's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 61 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7
Fingers (1978)
Aspiring to become an accomplished virtuoso piano player while making a living as a loan shark collector, Jimmy Fingers is aptly named.
Lost in the shadow of films like Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, Harvey Keitel "shines" in this forgotten little gem about a dysfunctional thug being pulled in two completely opposite directions.

Letting his fingers fly on the keyboard by day and breaking fingers by night, Jimmy leads a schizophrenic existence between the high class road to Carnegie Hall and the low class street of grit level organized crime.
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People who added this item 291 Average listal rating (188 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.1
Game of Death (1978)

Even though Enter The Dragon and Fist Of Fury often interchange with this movie as far as my being my favorite Bruce Lee film, Game Of Death is the one that I find myself watching the most.
Maybe it's cuz, with since it actually remains unfinished (in my eyes, the post-Lee parts don't count... ) it leaves plenty of room for interpretation on what could have been.
After Lee's death, martial arts genre took a real nose dive as far as the kind of quality & especially the kind of integrity that Bruce seemed to be striving for.
And while lately, the genre has taken many strides forward as far as being taken more seriously as a cinematic artform, watching the ideas that Bruce set upon this early "kung fu flick" always make me wonder about the potential that the original Dragon must have dreamed, strived and hoped for.

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People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.5
Columbo's Peter Falk comes out to the other side of the trenchcoat to play the role of that of a low-level criminal mastermind instead of a low-level criminal catcher.
Instead of solving crimes, he's now solving problems to will allow him to commit crimes. Particularly, a crime known as The Brinks Job.
Now being that this is a movie that came out in the seventies, TBJ is a heist flick whose plot may not be at the level of creativity that the more over-the-top details that make today's outstretched cinematic bank jobs,
but considering that is based on a true story, it's still a pretty creative, if ill-fated, criminal endeavor for it's time. And still a pretty entertaining watch no matter what context you may put the movie's time frame.

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People who added this item 106 Average listal rating (59 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
Blue Collar (1978)
Three blue collar friends work at the same factory are continually frustrated by their jobs, their unions and by their respective home lives. After reaching a mutual breaking point, the trio plan a caper in which they break into their union's offices and rob the company safe.
An "outside" job that proves to have benefits that are neither rewarding or beneficial to their pockets, status or friendship.

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People who added this item 453 Average listal rating (287 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6

Now while I agree with most people that (Legend Of The) Drunken Master II was technically a better and more masterful movie, this film is the beginning, and my favorite one featuring Jackie Chan's comedic style of "combat". There are still times when I watch the action scenes of DM and they still seem as energetic, cool and creatively crazy today as back when this first came out.
And to this day, there are many times when those alcoholic induced martial arts moves inspire me to think "I bet I could fight like that too."
If I was drunk.
Really drunk.

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People who added this item 311 Average listal rating (212 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
In the first Omen, we are introduced to a little boy named Damien, who just so happens to be the hellspawn of none other than the Devil himself.
Yep, he's the Anti-Christ. But in the first film, we hardly got to know "Lucifer Jr." as the story and action centered more on the "paternal father" and how he deals with the fact that the boy who he thought was his son was in reality, "the Beast marked with the 666".
So in this follow-up, we now get to see what Damien the person is really like as he struggles thru the growing pains of anti-christ-like adolescence. And just like any boy approaching manhood (or half-manhood, half goat-hood), he soon finds that even a pathway towards a demonic destiny is bound to be paved with a few blemishes and pimples along the way.

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People who added this item 661 Average listal rating (390 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.9
I've never been a big fan of Terrence Malick's films. While most critics and connoisseurs like to defend his films as being works of "artistic expressionism", I find then to be aimlessly vague.
That said, I do like two of his earliest movies, Badlands and this one, Days Of Heaven.
In it, Malick manages to use the expansive scenery as thick brushstrokes of storytelling. Combined with the narration that is told by the POV of a young girl, the end result is a simple story with multidimensional layers, the kind that can keep true fans of cinema seated at their roundtables for hours.

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In reference to the title of this movie, not only can heaven wait,
but as far as I'm concerned,
hell can wait even longer.

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People who added this item 169 Average listal rating (85 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.3
Sally is involved with two military men.
Her husband, who is out in Vietnam fighting,
and a returned soldier whose war inflicted injuries has left him confined to a wheel chair. Married to the first, in love with the second, she must confront her her ambling life direction and decide which principles she will stand for. The hawk-like dedications of her betrothed or the dove-like protests of her beloved.
Coming Home is an emotionally intelligent movie for grown-ups that is full Academy Award winning performances, triangulated drama, and statements of after effects of conflict that can result both from the battlefield and from the home front.

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People who added this item 3694 Average listal rating (2294 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
After watching this stage to silver-screen adaptation of 1950's style high-school romance, I couldn't help but notice that many of the actors tended to look a tad bit more mature than the teenage students that they are supposed to be portraying. Maybe that's because older actors take the pressure, and they throw away the conventionality that belongs to yesterday.
Because, as we all know by now, this movie is the word.

After graduating from being a sweat-hog to become a disco-hopping, drug-popping hardcore dance machine, John Travolta continues onto his rise as the biggest megastar of the 70's by turning down it down a notch or two in this 50's revival teen musical.
So take if you prefer profanity ridden scripts that reflect the more real side of later adolescence, well pal, you can take all those cuss words and racist slangs, stuff 'em in your pants and "just sit on it".
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People who added this item 89 Average listal rating (52 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3
...and speaking of the 1950's teen scene and music....

A trio of Crickets decide to band together and end up creating more noise than expected, quickly rising through the early heirarchy of the Billboard charts. Led by the strong performance of Gary Busey, The Buddy Holly Story is an old skool ditty that is told with the kind of gosh-darn-honest sentiment and musical joyfulness that can make anyone believe that even a gawky, lanky nerd with thick-rimmed glasses can be a rock 'n' roll star.
That is, if he's got the soul.
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People who added this item 246 Average listal rating (120 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8.2
....and speaking of rock'n'roll bands and their end....

It's the last concert on the road for the band known as The Band, and for this last waltz, they're not going it alone. Featuring a score of guest recording artists like Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylan, plus, with Martin Scorsese directing the whole thing, is it any wonder why this music movie is considered one of the best concert films ever made?

As I was thinking about what to write in the entry for this film, it occurred to me that we don't see many concert films like this any more. These days, the mass marketed state of the film industry has resulted in acts like Katy Perry, Justin Beiber and the Jonas Brothers getting their latest tweener-centered tours made into movies. Because, nowadays, it's all about music merchandising as opposed to back when it was "all about the music, man".
Which gives me a strong urge to wanna get on my soapbox and lecture to all the kids out there how none of 'em would know good music if it bit 'em on the ass. But the truth is, I know better than that. Lecturing words to the youth, in any generation, will always fall on deaf ears and deafer minds.
So instead, I console myself to today's reality by remembering those famous lyrics that someone once sang, "the times they are a'changing".
It is only then that I feel that I can watch something as rockin' and as cool as The Last Waltz with as much peace of mind as allowed for an old skooler.
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 128 Average listal rating (60 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.4
Straight Time (1978)
At a time when Dustin Hoffman was at his height in terms of popularity and in the eyes of film critics, comes along one his least known/overlooked pictures, Straight Time.
A story about a thief who, after a stint in the joint, tries to live a life outside of crime. But soon finds that the path on the straight and narrow is often wide with crooks and crinkles. Making those bad habits that die hard even harder to die.

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Every once in a while, for some actors, there comes a role that defines their career, their talent or both. For Jill Clayburgh, it was that of an unmarried woman.
Erica Benton(Clayburgh) is a successful modern-day woman who seems to have it together. Until she suddenly finds herself no longer married. And thus begins the emotional roller coaster that will show her that she was never as together as she initially thought. A realization that she eventually finds makes her feel more liberated than any 70's national movement could.

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People who added this item 238 Average listal rating (132 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
In 2011, one of the films that appeared on most critic's "Best Of The Year" lists was Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks.
And while I thought it was a solid enough flick, the truth is, I was bit underwhelmed.
I was hoping more of what could've been an update of this 1978 Ryan O'Neal vehicle, The Driver.

A gritty crime film about a bait and catch plot to catch a criminal-for-hire driver-with-no-name (now that's what you call a job description!).
Now, I'm sure it comes off kind of shallow comparing Drive to The Driver based on cool car chases, but the truth is, I like the fact this film did not have to sacrifice fast-paced action scenes in order to keep the story elements strong. Behind the wheel, The Driver is fueled with a certain level of expertise in it's ability to maneuver through the back streets and alleyways of L.A. with the same ease as when it turns and weaves through the plot elements that reveal the underbelly of La-La Land when it sleeps.
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People who added this item 1019 Average listal rating (679 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.6
Check the "on button" to your brain at the door when entering the Animal House, pick up a handful of mashed potato, mixed greens or whatever your favorite choice of sloppy luncheon side order may be,
and then, prepare for battle.

Oh, and feel free to top this entry off by entering your own toga reference here.
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For me, Midnight Express is the film that explicitly revealed why the term "turkish prison" is always equated with hope-abandoned fear. And as a result, mercilessly dashed my dreams of ever entering into the field of drug muleology*.

*And if you don't know what that word means, don't bother looking it up. I made it up.
Instead, go find yourself some quality Turkish hash, smoke it,
and then reread that sentence. I guarantee you, it'll make a whole more sense then.
And if not, don't worry about it. You're still smoking hashish.
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People who added this item 2352 Average listal rating (1543 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8

While Texas Chainsaw Massacre introduce us the idea of an unstoppable masked maniacal force intent on making all mere mortals that it comes upon into it's chopped sushi bitch, Halloween introduced us the formula of this theme before it became formulaic. And also before the formula became stupid.
Pay attention to the handling of the characters, the situations of each victum and even the simplicity of the musical score, and you'll find that even though this film requires the usual suspension of belief that is needed to swallow the outrageousness of this genre, Halloween does not require that you hide your intelligence too much behind any kind of William Shatner mask in order to enjoy it.
Which is why, even though I'm not a big fan of the way the slasher genre is handled these days,
H-1 still is and always will be a classic for me.
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People who added this item 760 Average listal rating (510 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.7

Okay, let's get the obvious part out of the way:
This sequel does not and never stood a chance of being comparable to the original.
However as far as sequels go (particularly at the time it was made, when most blockbuster follow-ups were rarely any good at all),
Jaws 2 didn't pretty well with what it had.
Suspenseful, thrilling, and a story that explained the coming of a second shark in manner that didn't insult the viewer's intelligence.
It may have not kept as many people out of the water as much as the first film, but with that lack of big backing from Spielberg that it had, it kept it's fair share of beach-goers dry.
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People who added this item 1964 Average listal rating (1227 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1

An amazing ensemble cast of Robert Deniro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken and a very beauteous Meryl Streep join all their high-powered acting forces together to form a story that conveys what can happen when the effects of war comes to a small working class town,
leaving wounds, scars, broken relationships and lost friends.
Notice the sparseness of the dialogue and yet the effectiveness with which each actor brings to this film to effectively (not to mention, in a refreshingly unpreachy manner) portray a group of ordinary people trying to deal with the unordinary consequences that were the Vietnam War.

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People who added this item 1822 Average listal rating (1190 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Kal-El is the last survivor of Krypton, a distant planet that was destroyed thru ecological disaster.
Here are Earth, our yellow sun provides him with the power of a god.
Under the name Superman, Kal-El has the ability be fly faster than a speeding bullet, be more powerful than a locomotive and to leap over tall buildings with a single bound (his flying ability probably helps him with that). Not to mention x-ray and heat vision, withstand extreme temperatures, hurricane force breath and the ability to wear a wardrobe ensemble consisting of a cape, boots and colorful underwear worn over equally colorful tights.
And what does Superman do with all this power that would allow him to squash us mere mortals with not so much as a mere thought?
He uses it to protect us from all those who would mean us fair citizens harm through the violation of truth, justice and the American way.
Because even within an alien sentient being, no matter how distant his origins, or how impervious he may be to gunfire, there's always chance to find a heart of a hero.
And when it comes to the Man Of Steel,
that's just how he rolls.

Yep. The fact that this #1 of my favorite movies of 1978 is a testament of how huge of a comic-book nerd I am. And since admitting that usually doesn't garner much respect, I only expect the best when a project interprets my favorite medium up on the big screen. We comic-book fans don't need any more ammunition to makes us seem any more goofy
that we already are. We can do that all by ourselves.
ALL by ourselves.

Therefore, for me, no matter what anyone says, this is the original gangsta of superheroes. So it is only fitting that the last son of Krypton's big-budget movie debut should turn out to be the one that all others must be measured by. And while I know that this movie does have it's dated flaws, it was, just like the character whom it portrayed, the one that started on the idea of how epic the concept of a superhero could truly be.

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As the 70's decade begins to round its final stretch, we have a year that was big with grease, featured the last waltz of quality concert films of the era, and debuted a knife welding maniac who would begin the explosion of slasher franchise. And as comic book nerd, 1978 was also the year that made millions of nerdy fans believe that a man can fly.

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