Movies Of The Year: 1977

I’m missing more from 1977 than 76, but I really doubt any of them would break into my top 5.

Here’s the list:

11. Saturday Night Fever – Yeah the dancing is kinda cool, but this is a truly terrible movie. Painfully bad.

10. Pete’s Dragon – The first of several kid’s movies this year. Mediocre live action, partly animated Disney movie. Mickey Rooney’s in it.

9. Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo – I loved the Herbie movies when I was a kid. This is a Herbie movie. Ignore the Lindsey Lohan version.

8. Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown – Never one of my favorite Peanuts films, but it’s alright.

7. The Rescuers – A lesser Disney cartoon, but it does star Bob Newhart. So that’s cool.

6. The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh – A much better Disney cartoon. One of the best, in fact. There’s a big gap between 6 and 7 here.

5. New York, New York – A great, underrated Scorsese movie, it’s a very dark musical with the unlikely cast of Robert DeNiro and Liza Minelli. Basically the same story as A Star Is Born, but elevated by some of Scorsese’s best looking scenes. The opening set-piece on VE day is amazing.

4. A Bridge Too Far – More than the epitome of the Caine-Hackman Theory, it’s a great war movie in it’s own right. Really the last great classical war movie. All-star cast (Caine, Hackman, Connery, Caan, Redford, Ryan O’Neal, Olivier, Anthony Hopkins, Liv Ullman, maximillian Schell, Denholm Elliott, Elliott Gould, etc) epic scope, complex action sequences, interesting story, it’s got it all.

3. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind – Possibly Spielberg’s best movie. Great performance from Richard Dreyfuss. Chock full of visually stunning sequences. Francois Truffaut co-stars as a scientist. Classic That Guy Bob Balaban plays Truffaut’s assistant. This means something.

2. Star Wars – Very tough call between 1 and 2. Ask me ten minutes from now and I might reverse them. It’s fashionable to prefer Empire, but it’s Star Wars that is the truly revolutionary film. I refuse to blame it for the crap that came after it, or the effect it had on industry strategy (the creation of the blockbuster-event film).

1. Annie Hall – The best romantic comedy of all-time. Iconic performances by Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. One of my 5 favorite movies ever. Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum have cameos. We need the eggs.

The Unseen:

That Obscure Object Of Desire
Slap Shot
Smokey And TheBandit
The Kentucky Fried Movie
The Goodbye Girl
Oh, God!
Looking For Mr. Goodbar
Pumping Iron
Black Sunday
3 Women

Movies Of The Year: 1976

Starting a new feature here on TINAB, I’m going to countdown the top movies of the year for every year for as long as I can. I’m going to start with 1976, because that’s the year I was born and it’s as good a year as any. Each year will rank the top ten or so films from that year, along with some mentions of films I haven’t seen yet. What year a film is categorized as will be determined by IMDB.

So here we go, the top films of 1976:

12. The Omen – A truly awful movie, though it was a big hit and is interesting as a cultural relic.

11. The Song Remains The Same – A mediocre Led Zeppelin concert film. The introductions of the band members before the show are pretty cool, especially the devilish Jimmy Page. Robert Plant is really bad as he manages to butcher his own songs.

10. Rocky – I’ve tried to watch it many times, but I’ve only made it all the way through once. It’s a good movie. Stallone really isn’t that bad. And the story is terrific. The problem is that it is BORING. I put it in all-caps, so you know it must be true. Not even the best sports movie of the year.

9. Network – One of those movies that you’re supposed to like, so you watch it, think it’s alright, and then can never remember anything about it. I’ve seen Network 4 times at least, yet I can remember hardly any of it.

8. The Seven Percent Solution – A terrific cast (Alan Arkin, Laurence Oivier, Robert Duvall, Joel Grey, Nicol Williamson) stars in this Sherlock Holmes meets Sigmund Freud movie. I remember liking it quite a bit, but don’t remember enough to rank it any higher than this.

7. Bound For Glory – Hal Ashby’s biopic of Woody Guthrie,starring David Carradine, who’s very good in the role. Ashby’s a great underrated director, this isn’t his best movie, but is still pretty good. The biggest problem is that there just isn’t enough there. The film stops just as Guthrie’s career gets going.

6. Carrie – Perhaps the only good Brian DePalma movie. A dark version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wherein adolescence = freaky demonism. Great horror movie performances from Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek.

5. All The President’s Men – Another film that just isn’t long enough. Very slick, efficient film. Redford, Hoffman and Robards are great. Great script by William Goldman. But you only get the beginnings of the Watergate story. Maybe that’s where Woodward and Bernstein’s story ends, but it doesn’t make for a wholly satisfying film.

4. The Bad News Bears – A classic sports movie. The vicious anti-establishment humor still works. One of the great last scenes in movie history. I plan to avoid the remake at all costs. I recommend you do the same.

3. Marathon Man – The second Goldman/Hoffman pairing of the year is a near-perfect suspense thriller. It shares the lean efficiency of All the President’s Men, but manages to tell a complete story. One of Laurence Olivier’s last great performances as the Evil Nazi Dentist.

2. Taxi Driver – Please don’t take away my Film Geek Merit Badge. It’s a great movie, but the ending never really worked for me. After two hours of angry misanthropy, with a horrifically violent climax, the even more misanthropic satire of the coda is just too much. For a long time I just ignored it. Now I understand it’s supposed to be funny. I guess I’m just not demented enough to agree. DeNiro though, he’s good.

1. The Outlaw Josey Wales– Clint Eastwood’s second-best film as a director. A great revisonist Western, it makes the Western as chronicle of the development of civilization theme quite explict. But it does so with much more respect to Indians than any other Western I know of (especially Dances With Wolves). It’s the yin to Unforgiven’s yang.

Now the ones I haven’t seen:

Logan’s Run
Small Change
The Front
The Shootist
Family Plot
Assault On Precinct 13
Car Wash
Silver Streak