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Added by The Mighty Celestial on 26 Sep 2013 12:29
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20 From 79: My Favorite Films Of 1979

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        At the end of the 1970’s, the world of science fiction entertainment was raging with Star Wars. Not just the movies, but also with the merchandise which was making more money than it took to build a fully operational Death Star. As a result, film production companies from all over the motion picture industry were scrambling to ride the wave and come out with their own version of the Lucas franchise. Disney, tried their hand at creating a clone like franchise in the ill-fated The Black Hole box office bomb. Universal Pictures, which owned the rights to the Buck Rogers television show, decided to take their made-for-TV movie of Buck and put it out as a silver screen release in theaters instead. And obviously, the most successful attempt at this formula was Paramont Pictures made the decision to also try to revitalize their Star Trek small screen property into a big time film franchise. Backed with the budget required to follow through saw the release that Trekkies had been dreaming of ever since the TV series was cancelled. 

  This 1979 big screen reunion of the original cast in a full feature length premise was the end result.
And okay,
so maybe the very first motion picture update of Star Trek isn't the most exciting sci-fi film ever,
and not even the best of the Trek franchise.
 But as someone who wasn't a fan of the TV show,
for me it was kinda cool to see it updated on the silver screen with a blockbuster budget.
 And, for what it was, I did enjoy it.
 Besides, it did eventually lead up to the Wrath of Khan, Voyage Home (my personal fave) and, of course, the awesome 2009 "reboot". All of which demonstrated that the franchise of Capt. Kirk and crew now had a new future ahead of them, one in which would them to live long and prosper.
People who added this item 1960 Average listal rating (1290 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9
Mad Max (1979)
       Look, I’m not gonna lie here, for a movie that is called Mad Max, I really expected this story to be a lot more violent and way more action packed than it was. I was rather surprised to see how much more tame it was than I expected, even by late 70's standards. The other thing that was unexpected for me when I finally got around to watching this was how very little dystopia there was in this dystopian world. I mean, I know that it takes place in an small obscure part of Australia, and from my point of view, there’s nothing wrong with that, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason for the story of Max to take in the future. Especially when you really can’t tell visually that it’s the future other than the flashy design of the police vehicles (and even those designs look like they can pass off today instead of some time frame that is flinging far ahead from now). Don’t get me wrong, I realize that this is a small, almost indie film that was most likely limited by a budget that was small even by Aussie standards, but based on the premise of the movie, the question still arises “Did this Mad Max vehicle really need to take place in the future?”. What makes it even more of a head scartcher is that it's an element to the film that makes the sequel look and feel like it's a totally different cinematic universe.
 All that said, at the same time, this is, in the end, the flick that introduced the character who would eventually become one of the most bad-ass personas to ever race across on the big screen. And it is the story that provides a look into what it was that "drove" the "Road Warrior" during his "pre-post apocalyptic" days.

 So, even though, on its own, it is still a solid dystopian story about the not so far flung future, I don't even have to go into further detail as far as describing this Mad Max, other than to just to give it major props as the first chapter in the saga of one my favorite cinematic characters ever.
People who added this item 213 Average listal rating (141 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.2
Meatballs (1979)

  When I was going through that life-defining period that we share at one point or another known as adolescence, there two very spicy things that I loved to consume regularly.... meatballs and Saturday Night Live. 
  Whether they're on appetizer sticks, in a sandwich, on top of spaghetti or in the form of a movie, I really do like me some meatballs.
 As far as SNL, the very first two seasons are and always will be my favorite. And as this movie makes pretty obvious, my favorite Not Ready For Primetime Player was Bill Murray. Therefore, knowing that this movie was going to be his big screen debut, I was really looking forward it. And after my initial viewing, I knew instantly that I liked me some Meatballs.
  Now back during this time, which was the late 70's and early 80's, summer camp was a very popular theme with teenage-targeted flicks. And TBH, even when I was sophomore, I normally found this particular brand of humor as  just plain sophomoric. But, directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Mr. Murray, Meatballs, despite it's theme, didn't go down the low road that we were used to seeing from this kind of comedy.
 The story itself was pretty lightweight, but with his laid-back approach to both his humor and his acting, Bill added the kind of poundage that was needed to make me smile that same kind of smirky smile that he himself always seem to carry on his face, whether he was doing a skit, a movie role or simply conducting an interview.

People who added this item 185 Average listal rating (130 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
No matter what I read or heard of this movie before I ever saw it, the one thing that came up in every instance was the word "enchanting". Let's see if I can up keep that long standing tradition...
The story of a boy and his horse, The Black stallion combines intelligent yet simplistic storytelling with exceptional cinematography, along with great performances (particularly by the two little humans who headline this cast, Kelly Reno and Mickey Rooney.... although the horse ain't none too bad either....) to do an excellent job of establishing and delving into that rare kind of relationship between man and animal. In the tradition of Ol' Yeller and National Velvet, The Black Stallion is an enchanting (there ya go!) tale that shows that family friendly pet movies, if handled sincerely and artistically, still have the ability to become classics.

People who added this item 308 Average listal rating (196 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Al Pacino's begins to show signs of his over-the-top type of yelling acting that will become his tried and true signature during the latter half of his career.
"....And Justice For All" is a courtroom flick that shows that despite the intent of a fair trial, due to err-ridden tendencies that all us humans are subject to, the legal system will always be subject to a flawed type of justice. And when you really think about it, based on that universal ability to be imperfect, no matter if we find ourselves in a small claims court or in the Supreme Court, in the end, we are all out of order.

People who added this item 216 Average listal rating (136 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7
It's the status quo vs the status I-don't-know as a bicycle race becomes the coming-of-age vehicle for a group of local boys (known as Cutters) in a match-up against the more future-assured college kids.
Can the working class sons of Bloomington Indiana, stuck in a "quarry" of adolescence, take advantage of this opportunity to finally break away?

Breaking Away was a movie that had gained some fame at the time of its release for the wit and smarts with which it was writ. It took me several years before I finally got around to actually see it based on it's reputation. Now I think that the passage of time and the advent of popular script-writers like David Mamet has diluted the sharpness of this movie's dialogue. That's not to say that Breaking Away isn't worthy of a viewing today. It has a combination of a well-drawn cast and a quick narrative that allows the film to shine with enough of an intelligence and of a down-to-earth homey feeling that's makes it an above satisfactory watch for the even the more discernible modern-day viewer.
People who added this item 670 Average listal rating (408 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8
So how does a man who has been totally sheltered, physically, mentally and emotionally, from the existence of everything outside his whole life, make it out in the real world?
Simply by showing up and being there.
That is a state of being that this film shows will not only help a person walk through even the most proper of circles successfully, but might also have him, in the end, walking on water.

People who added this item 693 Average listal rating (401 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6

After finding widespread success on the Streets of Sesame and then on the studio of a weekly puppetted TV show, the world renown anthropomorphmic amphibian Kermit T. Frog (the "T" stands for "The") packs up his talent (which is really all he has to pack considering that he has no clothes.... or genitals...) and heads out West, where the stars shine brightest.
An up and down journey that eventually that will lead Kermy to his fellow felt-fabric friends and will help to reveal the true source of his belief in himself. Oh, and it'll also reveal his legs (something that, up to that point was rarely ever shown).
A film whose child-like innocence does not overwhelm its adult sensibilities and therefore truly defines the phrase "family fun for all ages".

People who added this item 125 Average listal rating (81 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.6
A borstal was a kind of youth detention center that was commonly used in Great Britain and it's commonwealth up until the early 80's. And in 1979, this was a film that depicted the kind of brutality that had a tendency to rear it's ugly head in this particular kind of reform system. That's not to say that this was the movie that sparked the removal of borstal centers throughout the U.K., but considering the controversy that arose at the time of it's release, I'm sure that it didn't help.

This film is also known for being the big screen debut of Ray Winstone, a fine English actor, whom, to be quite frank, has a certain settled, rugged look to him that made it hard for me to believe that he ever was a young teenager.
And yet, as this movie proves, he was, once.
And although it was still burgeoning back then, the talent in his acting was apparent enough in this film that one could believe that, at even at such a young age, the not-yet amassed Winstone was really quite the "scum".
People who added this item 257 Average listal rating (160 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
A thriller that relies on conventional yet effective storytelling and on the concept of making the viewer decide which is more scarier:
the idea a nuclear reactor meltdown that can result in the China Syndrome or
the fact that the big corporate mindset is willing to do anything in order to hide from the public the truth that such a cataclysmic scenario is indeed a very real possibility.

A compelling "almost disaster" flick that tackles the issue of commercialism vs. environmental/international safety, topped off with the acting heavyweight trio of Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas and Mr. Jack Lemmon.
People who added this item 583 Average listal rating (387 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.1

Throughout his long and lustrous career, Steve Martin has been known as many things.
A wild and crazy guy.
King Tut.
The New Pink Panther (*groan*).
But for me, I will always think of him best as The Jerk.
Now obviously, I mean that in a good way.
Yeah, I know that nowadays he's usually considered as the innocently flawed yet perfectly PC humoristic dad in films like Parenthood, Cheaper By The Dozen, and father Of The Bride. But during the back-end of the 70's decade, Martin had an edge to his style of comedy. And after the monopoly that Mel Brooks had in the field of farce films up to that point, Steve's edge was exactly the type that was needed to bring back the against-the-grain antics that makes this particular brand of comedy the kind that'll bust a gut or two.
People who added this item 1031 Average listal rating (711 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6

After cementing his status a nameless cowboy in several westerns, and then establishing himself as a Magnum toting cop called "Dirty", Clint Eastwood tries his hand at a prison movie. Here, the stone carved actor portrays a convict with a good heart and who was the first successful (allegedly) escapee from the infamous island prison, Alcatraz.
Fellow cast members include the actor who played Remo Williams, the brit who was the original Prisoner, and that one guy with the droopy face who played the "other" Kramer in that one episode of Seinfeld.
You know which guy I'm talking about.....?
People who added this item 1195 Average listal rating (740 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.8
Yeah, yeah....
that guy.

BTW, for any of you who didn't pick up on the metaphor,
that pic is also a play on words for the title of this movie.
People who added this item 847 Average listal rating (515 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.4
I gotta tell you guys, I hate most remakes.
Or, more specifically, I hate remakes of quality classic films.
There's a reason why a classic is a "classic". If a film is considered a classic, there's very little reason to remake it. Because, most of the time, the remake will never be able to make the kinda mark that the first one did.
I don't even like watching remakes that are generally considered good. Because, even if they're good, they're still not as great as the original. I always felt why should I settle for watching something "good" when I can watch something "great".
As I said at the beginning, I hate most remakes.
Obviously, since this movie is on this list, I'm sure that you've figured out by now that Nosferatu the Vampyre is an example of one of the rare few that I feel does succeed as a successor to it's original.
Directed by the stylishly cinematic talents of Hollywood outsider Werner Herzog, it's no wonder that the updated Nos, despite being an outright rehash of the most famous of all bloodsuckers, Count Dracula himself, this 1979 version pays homage to the original quite faithfully, yet with just enough distinction to stand out on it's own.

People who added this item 154 Average listal rating (85 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.3
Norma Rae (1979)
Before I saw this film,
I always thought of Sally Field as either that one flying nun chick,
or as the one girl from those Cannonball Run movies (it is this point of the sentence that someone will remind me that the movies I'm really thinking of are really the Smokey & The Bandit's, not the CBR's....).
But after watching her in Norma Rae,
I came to realize that, as an actress, I like her.
I really, really like her.

People who added this item 56 Average listal rating (29 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2

The Great Santini is a hero, an honored war veteran and an iron fisted father who thinks everyone should be as passionately competitive as he is.
However, his oldest son is growing into an adult. And in the process, he's getting tired of following orders, being called a sports fan and having his head used as a basketball court. But through it all,
what he really wants is to find out what is it that truly makes his dad, "Santini", so great.
People who added this item 864 Average listal rating (602 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5

  In some parallel world close to this one, the streets and subways of New York City are besieged by hundreds of members from various, themed-based street gangs. With turf battles abounding, the biggest gang of 'em all calls for a summit to arrange a city wide truce so that the gangs can take over the island of Manhattan. But the weapons free gathering is interrupted by a lone gunshot and as the resulting chaos ensues, the group known as the Warriors are wrongly fingered for the hit. Now, in order to make it back "home" these Warriors must transverse through various enemy turfs, packin' nothing but a bounty on their respective heads.

"Can you dig itttt...!!??"
People who added this item 1506 Average listal rating (1038 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.3

While this movie couldn't match the spontaneous quality of it's predecessor, back when this came out, it was still rare for a sequel to reach the level of both box-office and financial success that this one did. The romance between the Rock nd Adrian flows wonderfully into it's next level as two people trying to form a unity based on each other's distinct personalities. Carl Withers is not forgotten as Apollo Creed as this installment enters deeper into the life of the champ who's titleship comes into question. And even Mickey manages to surprise us by revealing some of the heart that seemed hopelessly buried beneath his years-long thick crust of curmudgeon hide.
As a follow up to the the first film, the plot in Rocky's 2nd. crack at the worldbelt felt like an natural extension of the story that had begun in the first film and not just as a sequel out to cash in on the success of that initial effort.

People who added this item 4789 Average listal rating (3376 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.4
Alien (1979)

Ridley Scott directs a tale of "in-your-face" first contact, followed by a fatal game of hide and seek between a interstellar search party crew and a xenomorph, just one of what will turn out in following sequels to be a hive-race of double-mouthed acid-blooded slick black visitors who take the role of their hosts quite literally.
Never have the film genres of horror and science fiction been so perfectly blended as in this stylish, dark and damp first entry into the franchise which first introduced what is, in my opinion, one of the most unique and simply bad-@ss alien life-forms ever produced for film.

Any other year, this could've very easily made it as my number one film of the year. But, as much as I like the first Alien movie, as it turns out, what I like just a little bit more, is the smell of napalm in the morning......
People who added this item 3927 Average listal rating (2448 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
Apocalypse Now is kind of like the "2001: A Space Odyssey" of the war genre in that it's a story of a long, far away journey that culminates into a meeting with a strange godlike figure. And even though you might not know what it all meant, what you do know is that whatever it was, it was pretty damn epic, pretty damn trippy, and in the end, pretty damn cool.

The imagery and the surrealness throughout this film all lead up into a piece of work that could've easily been a number one film fave on any other director's filmography. And yet, for Francis Ford Coppola, the fact that there are still two other movies of his that are (not just in my opinion, but in many others as well) even better than this grand "arty" 'Nam epic (obviously I'm referring The Godfather Parts I and II of course), it is a great testament that the 70's was a period of time that showcased FFC's abilities as that of a great director in his prime.

BTW, Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, a documentary that follows the true story of how Apocalypse Now was made, is not only a great companion piece to this film, but a also a great work of cinema in it's own right (definitely worth it's own watch).

My favorite films of 1979. As the final year of the decade, I ddn't realize just how many movies from this decade I had watched until I compiled these lists of the70's. After which, when I finally put the last entry on this list, made me notice that, for me, the seventies was a period of cinema that was the last era of the pioneering film spirit (I mean, y'know... a spirit defined more by my personal tastes that any thing else). A spirit which, by my observations, had taken a backseat to the formulaic blockbuster craze, by the time it reached the 80's.

Updated Entry:
- 10
- The Haunting of M
- Real Life
- The Electric Horseman

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