25 From 74: My Favorite Films Of 1974
However, when one sees that the lack of funds does nothing to diminish the level of entertainment that one receives from Dark Star, it’s becomes quite obvious why it’s writer /director would eventually become one of the best when it comes to genre specific cinema such as science fiction, horror and adventure. Of course, I’m referring to John Carpenter, the man who will become responsible for such future classics as Halloween, Starman, Escape From New York, and The Thing (a remake of a 50’s cult film that Carpenter was able to mold into his own “thing”).
The first of these butt kicking femmes is Foxy Brown. In her first movie, she was named Coffy, but for whatever reason, the producers wanted to separate this film from that one, despite that the only differences between the two is the name and the fact that Coffy/Foxy dresses a little more "stylish" in this one.
But whatever you wanna call her, she's still played by Pam Grier, she's still hotter than hell and she still got her gun pointed where it counts.
Here she returns, but with her primary goal of vengeance already satiated from the original movie, she then sets her mind and her katana (although through circumstances not of her choosing) towards the political realm of espionage.
And as we all know, there's more than enough blood in that arena to quench the thirst of any modern-day warrior's (male or female) sword.
What many of today's young movie-goers don't know is that back in the 70's, there were a slew of films that were released strictly to fill the screens of the now practically extinct cinema venue known as the drive-in. While most were just something to pass the time away as adolescent hormone-driven teens made out in the car, some of these movies were actually pretty entertaining.
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry was just one on the long list of sub-genre B-list flicks of crazy car movies who's main driving thrust was to let out a clarion call to all those in positions of authority to simply and unabashingly "eat my dust".
A sentiment that when shared by the loved-crazed couple in this flick, made him crazy, and her dirty.
Or is it the other way around.....?
I completely agree with the title of this film.
We truly need to simply just let sleeping corpses lie.
Cuz if we did,
we wouldn't have to worry about all this zombie apocalypse craziness.
And there would be no need to have to publish any handbooks depicting how to handle the situation.
Not to mention that our delectable edible brains (a cornerstone of any zombie's nutritious breakfast) would be able to sleep alot easier at night.
No, no, this isn't that one film that starred Madonna and became infamous as one of the worst in cinema history.
This is the original movie, an Italian produced rough-edged romantic romp on a deserted island that is considered by a film connoisseur or two as one of the best foreign releases of 1974.
Which, when you think about it, only helps to drive the later ravaged Ritchie english version deeper into the pit of pitifully pulverized remakes.
Now, as he contemplates the why's of his son's actions, he begins to delve into the nature of their relationship and into the nature of the crime.
A road of reflection that eventually leads the clockmaker into an internal confrontation with his own deceptions as a parent and now, must find a way to come to terms with his past.
L'horloger de Saint-Paul is a film that, while it may not live up to the levels of the New French Wave movement that preceded it, still makes a worthy effort into the introspective type of storytelling that put this kind of cinema on the map.
Simple. It's in his blood.
as in a vampiric metaphor....?
I know that some of you out there would be quick to remind me that vampires are not the the central theme of this list. Frankenstein monsters are.
To which I can only respond "Actually, it's pronounced Frankensteen."
To be honest (and if any of you Listophiles really knew me, you'd know that I have never been anything but truly honest with all of you, my fellow list-gathering bastards....) the only way I'd probably ever watch and/or revisit any of the other films from this series of "Broson Badassery" is if I was suffering from my own personal kind of psychological death wish.
In her a mid-thirties , a housewife and mother named Alice suddenly finds herself a widow and without a means of support. Packing up her son and their meager belongings, and with very little direction, she takes to the road in search of a better life.
(BTW, you guys ever notice how many on-the-road movies there were during the 70's? I mean, there seemed to be a lot of 'em. Heck, there are five just on this one list alone ....!)
Originally a story that was meant to be a bit smoother around the edges, Ellen Burstyn's Oscar-winning performance, with the addition of director Scorcese's street sense, this comedy/drama/romance/road picture comes off as greasy spoon that is sharper, brighter and not as "polished" as it probably first read on paper. And I mean that in a good way.
This is one of those movies that I have fond memories of watching and immensely enjoying when I was a little kid. Mel Brooks' penchant for getting a laugh from his audiences by throwing everything but the kitchen sink was exactly the type of humor that appealed to the sensibilities of my age back then. These days, while the laughs aren't as hardy whenever I watch a Brook farce, there's still enough in the satirical content and racial undertones of Blazing Saddles to make my now grown-up ass crack a chuckle or two.
A Woman Under The Influence handles the subject with a much more intimate and introspective portrayal, one that surpasses gender and leaves the viewer to feel the same slow but staggering feeling of incomprehension as all the characters involved. But this story's subject matter doesn't end there, as the material also extends into themes of societal roles and expectations of women in and out of their family relationships.
And if all that makes this film sounds a bit deep, it is. But that is what is expected from the typical John Cassavetes film. A movie that is directed more to those who love film for the exploration of the human psyche more than it is to those who go to the theater just for the empty calories that come from sensationalistic escapism and a bucket of popcorn.
So it was inevitable that the two would meet.
Add in the promising directorial debut of Michael Cimino (a director who's who high-profile potential would be responsible for The Deer Hunter, but then quickly spiral towards critical and commercial disasters like Heaven's Gate and Year Of The Dragon...) and the scene-stealing performance of Jeff Bridges,
and what you end up with is a road picture that, when compared to other films of the genre, seems to get better mileage than the rest as the years go by.
Take a few steps forward into the 70's, and we walk into a period of time when the movie business was considered to be on it's last legs. The town of Hollywood was experiencing a financial and artistic depression.
What does this have to do with Lenny Bruce?
Well, one of the benefits of that period of cinema's catatonic state was that there were many cutting edge directors and film makers outside of the regular major studio system who now had the freedom to do work that, just like Mr. Bruce's comedy "routine", delved into the modern way of living in a manner that had never been penetrated into as deeply before.
Therefore, it seems it was only fitting that a film about his life in the stand-up circuit was made during this time of when certain parts of cinema, instead of concerning itself with breaking box office records, was more about opening doors for voices of singular expression and analytical social commentary.
Which, as many satirists of today would admit to, was probably Lenny's biggest legacy in the world of telling jokes.
When other reporters who were on the scene start to mysterious die, he decides to go underground to investigate. An investigation that leads him to to the Parallax Corporation, a company that heavily incorporates corruption, brutal brainwashing and political conspiracy into it's business model.
Starring Warren Beatty and directed by the same "Paluka" who is responsible for All The President's Men and Sophie Choice, this is a high quality tale of political espionage that is woven with a webful of deceits that shows why the 70's were such an excellent decade for these kinds of paranoid thrillers.
Question: "Just how long is the longest yard?"
Answer: "Trick question.... a yard is a yard is a yard..... it's always 36 inches."
Unless, of course, you're talking about this movie.
Then the answer would be more like this "The Longest Yard is about 121 minutes".
I mean, that is, if you're not watching it on TV. If so, then the commercials would add more to the running time. And for that, you'd have to check your local TV listings.
Lou Jean and Clovis are the Poplins, a married couple with their fair of minor criminal records. Because of this, they stand the chance of losing their baby son to foster care. In order to prevent this from happening, they quickly find themselves in a set of circumstances that will lead them across the big state of Texas. A journey that will make them wanted, not just by the police, but also by media hounds and fans of their cause.
The Sugarland Express is a ride that starts out with a car chase that shows just a glimmer of the type of fast-paced action scene that will make Spielberg the blockbuster king that is his destiny.
As everyone knows, this was the decade of the disaster picture. And in terms of quality, most of 'em tended to go the extremes. They were usually really good or usually really bad. Fortunately, the multitude of big names that starred in this one made a good decision in choosing to be stuck so high up in this scorching skyscaper of a flick. The Towering Inferno is considered a pyre in the genre and is a good example of a movie that excellently fits the bill when it comes to providing the kind of quick popcorn theater experience that is generally expected from this type of entertainment.
Highjack a subway, make the passengers your hostages and the proceed to murder one for every minute until the Big Apple coughs up the dough.
And I'm sure I'm not spoiling it for anyone one out there reading this by pointing out that, if you look at the success ratios that these types of get-rich-quick schemes have had over the years, you can pretty much put one and two together to figure out how this one is gotta play out.
Still, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a fast-paced and entertaining thriller none the less, with Walter Matthau delivering a last line of dialogue at the end that's bound to make you smile.
However, as far movies go, there are barely any that I can remember putting on any of my Fave Movies lists.
That's probably because, murder mysteries tend to read much better on the written page than they do on the movie screen. Especially for someone like me, who likes to read stories wherein the caper is so thick and chunky with questions, that the detective's ability to solve it comes off almost superhuman (like with Sherlock or in this case, Poirot). The medium of film is usually too short, for my tastes anyway, to contain the kind of complicated caper that, IMO, makes for a good whodunnit.
Orient Express, while obviously can't match that kind of mystery make-up, still managed to add enough twists and turns with it's plot, and integrate it with the dubious depth and intriguing motive to each of it's colorful cast of could-be culprits to make everyone on board seem like a prime suspect.
never starred in any movie rated less than an A+. Add all that up and what you end up with is a film that's defintely worth talking about, no matter what the subject of conversation is.
And when you think about it, aren't those the type of qualities that usually make a classic film a classic?
If anybody in this household (particularly, the one wears a mask of that gives this clan their namesake) ever wants to borrow any of your tools (particularly any that you have to yank to get started), don't expect to ever see it again.
As someone whom is often very frustrated with most horror flicks, I was very pleased that this movie's plotline came off as very genuine. While most slasher flicks tend to make it's audience yell things to the screen like "Idiot! Run outside, not to the upstairs!" or "Don't go in there, you moron!", this movie actually made the situation of the onscreen victims seem logistically believable. Therefore, their fright and inevitable demise doesn't come off as deserving as the mindless teenage victims featured in other films, who make the viewer feel that their stupidity justified their grisly end. The intent of TCM's story was aimed more at making the observer feel the fear thru the fright of the victim, not just thru the singular idea of a mad demonic slash-object-wielding maniac.
In this second chapter, Francis Ford Coppola continues the saga of la famiglia Corleone. And even though this one lacks the presence of the trio of exemplary actors I mentioned above, those empty spaces are superbly filled up by the strength Al Pacino's complete grasp and laser-beam portrayal of the lead character,
along with an interjecting prologue story starring a Sicilian speaking Robert Deniro.
After lightning struck once with the first Godfather film, it was almost impossible to believe that it could strike twice in the same series, especially with the absence of Marlon Brando, James Caan and Abe Vigoda (oh c'mon! Y'know his presence added a certain dimension to the whole of the movie.....).
Yet strike it did.
And with even more intensity than could be expected.
BTW, I know that the rest of the planet says that this one is the superior film, but personally, I like the first one better. Now don't get me wrong, The Godfather Part II2 is practically a perfect movie.... however IMO, G-1 is just a bit more perfect. That being said, The Godfather Part II is a piece of cinema that is so good, that I believe that if all sequels could match the quality ratio that this one did with its predecessor, the world would be a much better place, in a way we probably couldn't even imagine. Heck, I'd bet that there probably wouldn't even be any more things like wars an' stuff.
B'cuz that's the power of a really good sequel.
- Thieves Like Us
Other Fave Movies Lists By Year: