All first-time viewings unless otherwise noted.
1. Blue Collar (Paul Schrader, 1978) (cinema, 35mm)
2. The Landlord (Hal Ashby, 1970) (cinema, 35mm)
3. Car Wash (Michael Schultz, 1976)
4. In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni / We Spin Around the Night Consumed by the Fire (Guy Debord, 1978)
5. The Driver (Walter Hill, 1978)
6. Tinimbang ka ngunit kulang / Weighed But Found Wanting (Lino Brocka, 1974)
7. Frenzy (Alfred Hitchcock, 1972) (re-watch, probably 4th or so)
8. Le magnifique (Philippe de Broca, 1973)
(Milos Forman, 1979) (1001-2000 list)
Long story short: love the music, like some of the performances, don't much like the film. Something I'd planned on watching for a long time - the rock musicals of the 70s are a blind spot for me, and I love musicals more than most around here I think, so I'm finally slowly going through them, though it will continue to be slow as I'm not liking them for the most part (Saturday Night Fever
is a huge exception). Somebody, probably Rosenbaum, wrote that this hippie musical seems to come from a conservative viewpoint, and while I don't know that I'd agree with that (the "straight" folk in the film aren't presented in much better light than the long-hairs), it certainly isn't very sympathetic to hippie/drug/rock&roll culture. And while I know it's a musical and you have to accept a certain amount of narrative shorthand to fit in all the songs, the character arc for John Savage's Claude just comes off as incredibly stupid to me - only somebody who has never met a conservative white boy from the midwest would believe it.
But Treat Williams is pretty good and shows huge charisma, and it's easy to see why he became something of a star for the decade after this; and I do love the music, especially "Aquarius" and "Good Morning Starshine" even if the 5th Dimension's single version of the former is much better. So very mixed overall.
10. Mary Tyler Moore
Season 5 Episodes 17-18 (1975)
11. Mary Tyler Moore
Season 5 Episodes 19-20 (1975)
12. Mary Tyler Moore
Season 5 Episodes 21-22 (1975)
13. Mary Tyler Moore
Season 5 Episodes 23-24 (1975)
I had dim memories of watching this show as a kid - I was 9 when most of season 5 aired - and in memory it always ran a distant second to The Bob Newhart Show
but really I knew I wasn't fairly rating it, as little remained in those poorly-working neurons. So when the star and producer of the show died last year I took it as an opportunity to catch up and have been slowly going through the series - and I was probably wrong. I'd have to watch Bob again to be sure, but this strikes me now as probably the best American sitcom of the 70s - not that I know all of them, but it's an era I know better for sticoms than any other. What makes the show is first and foremost the cast, and first and foremost among that cast is Edward Asner as Lou Grant, who I think might be the best character in an American comic show, period. Asner can do so much with the smallest of gestures that on those occasions when he erupts (which are often) it's all the more shocking and funny, because he's actually more intimidating with a glare, so you can't help but be amused when he's actually shouting at someone. Like a terrier. And the writing is consistently good and much of the workplace interaction (more than half of the show) still doesn't seem dated, though Mary's love life often does come across as very 70s.
The fifth season improves on the first four overall by giving Mary a little more spine and having her neurotic blabbering - amusing usually but sometimes too much - cut down a little, and by the addition of Betty White as a regular character, and there are still a few episodes with Chloris Leachman this year though none with Valerie Harper. Highlights from this batch I'd say are episode 17 "The System" in which Ted proves to be a genius at gambling on football, to the severe consternation of Lou, and episode 23, "Ted Baxter's Famous Broadcasters' School" about which nothing needs to be said if you're at all familiar with Ted's character or the show generally. I will say that this episode offers a nice instance of an element that MTM used sparingly but well, the situation in which one non-regular cast member embarrasses the whole group and sort of takes over the episode. Moments like this look forward to shows like Seinfeld
I think, where a slightly off character with one weird trait can be used to build a whole episode around.
14. Un homme est mort / The Outside Man
(Jacques Deray, 1972)
Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself
, one of the films by "tourists". This is your basic gritty 70s crime-thriller, with Jean-Louis Trintignant in L.A. to perform and assassination, and finding out that it's not as simple a job as he'd been told, and of course also finding out that there are crosses, double-crosses, and lots of beautiful women who may or may not be femmes fatales to further trip him up. Trintignant is pretty good in a detached sort of way, and you can't fault the rest of the cast - Angie Dickinson, Ann-Margret and especially Roy Scheider as a rival hit-man, but really this is a film to see for the city, for the seedy side and occasionally high life in the city of angels. Not really a great film, and not really surprising in it's denouement, but for city-lovers it's a must, and there are a couple of pretty solid chase sequences in case you get bored also.
15. The Man Who Would Be King
(John Huston, 1975) (3rd or 4th viewing)
Every time I see this I think, this is going to be the time it all clicks and I finally admit that it's a GREAT movie and not just a GOOD one. Well, it didn't happen this time. I suppose it's some unease with the way colonialism is dealt with (or not) here, and I guess I just don't like the final act of the film all that much, when it gets more "serious" and dark. The fun parts are so fun that I suppose I just want it to keep going that way. But it is a glorious film for Connery and Caine doing what comes naturally for them.
16. Tout va bien
(Jean-Luc Godard/Jean-Pierre Gorin, 1972) (1001-2000 list)
Somewhat mixed feelings here; I generally love Godard, even his more experimental, non-narrative and difficult work, and I never find any of his stuff worthless, so there are things to admire here - many references, often funny, usually coy, occasionally overt, to his earlier work, self-abnegating portrayal of the artist in middle age by Yves Montand in a great sequence where he just addresses the camera and suggests that selling out and doing commercials is a more moral choice than making conventional films (perhaps a dig at Truffaut here as well), the conversations between Montand and wife Jane Fonda that recall Le mépris
and Une femme mariée
among others, the bold uses of primary colors, the great couple of very long shots that end the film...but overall, a little bit of a disappointment. The arguments - mostly about union and labor early on, then seguing into art and finally May '68 - come off as fairly prosaic and simply phrased, and the filmmaking is (apparently deliberately) not nearly as exciting or beautiful as in the earlier films. Still very worth seeing for me but probably only for serious Godard lovers when it comes down to it.
17. Time After Time
(Nicholas Meyer, 1979) (8th viewing or so)
I just love this film and am still rather surprised that it languishes in the 0-official-check universe, especially given the vast number of vastly inferior science fiction films that are on multiple lists. Sigh. Memory: I saw this in the fall of 1979, not long before my 14th birthday and around my brother's 12th, with him on the biggest screen in the multiplex we had here, and there were 2 other people in the room. And it only played a week as I remember and we probably saw it on a weekend matinee. Something didn't go right with the marketing/release/whatever here, though it has developed enough of a cult rep over the years to get a TV series last year (even if that also failed). Anyway, talking about the plot at all for this is a spoiler, so if you haven't seen it and like any of the cast or time travel generally, this time-travel obsessive can only warmly recommend it. One thing I noticed on this view is that Miklos Rózsa's score quotes Herrmann's Vertigo
not once but several times, and also that the credits on the film itself don't mention that it's filmed in San Francisco! Just Burbank! Weird. Also, the BluRay release isn't one of the best around - no extras apart from commentary and trailer, and the picture really doesn't look all that robust or sharp.