1973: Movies Sorted By Tier

  • Loved

  • The Sting

  • The Three Musketeers

    ... First of all, if you haven't seen this movie yet (or even if you have), you must see the DVD version. I had a hard time deciding where to list this: here with the action movies, or with the Lightweights (comedies). I had forgotten how funny this movie is! It runs the comedic gamut, from witty to slapsticky, but what I always take away from this movie is the no-holds-barred approach to swordfighting portrayed in this movie. No hand-on-hip dancerly parry-and-thrusting here; it's definitely brawling with swords, but it works so well, and seems so realistic (well, perhaps not counting that clothesline flip). The cast is terrific, never takes themselves too seriously, and does the source material credit. While Oliver Reed's Athos is one of my favorite portrayals/characters, I noticed Richard Chamberlain for the first time on my latest viewing. As my wife said, "you know, I've never really given Richard Chamberlain much credit for anything, but he's really terrific in this." I couldn't agree more.
  • Really Liked

  • Badlands

    ... Having just come off A Thin Red Line, my expectations were low. What a pleasant surprise! Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek were terrific, and Terrence Malik's scenery-to-action cuts worked much better for me here. Where TTRL was preachy, this movie was anti-preachy. It felt downright objective, even. It seemed like it must be a true story of a killing spree, even though the credits indicated it was fictional.
  • Enter the Dragon

    ... A silly movie that is redeemed by showcasing Bruce Lee to good effect. He was taken from us much too soon.
  • The Exorcist

    ... In my experience it's rare to find a horror movie with good character development, but The Exorcist is a fine example. And I love the ambiguity of the ending.
  • High Plains Drifter

  • The Long Goodbye

    ... Who's going to hate me for preferring Eliot Gould's Marlowe to Humphrey Bogart's? Okay, fine then, forget I said anything. Sure, his Marlowe has to be the most passive PI in all of film (for the most part), but somehow he's more interesting for it. I enjoyed him more in the first 10 minutes with his cat than anything Bogart did in The Big Sleep. Oh wait, I'm making it hard for you to forget I said anything, aren't I? A thousand apologies. Well, at least you won't argue with me when I say this is one of the all-time great endings (so great that when Altman read it he insisted on a contractual clause that it couldn't be changed or edited before he agreed to sign on).
  • Paper Moon

    ... I love the Bible scam. Making it a win-win proposition for the con man and the mark is genius, especially given the themes of the movie, and not really knowing how tender our "hero" is going to be towards his unwanted (?) protege/surrogate (?) daughter. Getting real-life father/daughter Ryan and Tatum O'Neil was a coup, especially as young Tatum delivers in a big way. I hope Bogdanovich thanked Ryan for letting his 10-year-old daughter smoke and almost get thrown from a moving car. The O'Neil family was very strong, and I'd hate to break up the act, but according to IMDb trivia: "originally starred Paul Newman and daughter Nell Potts, but this changed when original director John Huston bowed out and was replaced by Peter Bogdanovich." Tatum was too good to let go, but I love imagining a Paul Newman/Tatum O'Neil casting.
  • Glad I Saw

  • Mean Streets

    ... It was interesting to see this relatively early Scorsese effort - it's very unpolished, perhaps by intent, but the honesty and skill shine through. Harvey Keitel was very good in the starring role, and it was fun to watch Robert De Niro not only play a supporting character (I had assumed he starred), but a loser at that. He was such an effective loser that I don't think the ending had quite the impact for me it was supposed to.
  • Guilty Pleasures

  • None Yet
  • Could Have Missed

  • Robin Hood

  • Should Have Missed

  • None Yet
  • El Sucko Grande

  • None Yet
  • Unranked

  • Godzilla vs. Megalon

  • Live and Let Die

  • Sleeper

I'm really happy you thought The Long Goodbye was very good, Jim! One of a handful of overlooked 1970's gems that I discovered over the summer and really loved (others being The Last Picture Show, Lenny, and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie).

According to the IMDB, Bogart only played Marlowe in one movie - The Big Sleep. While I did like The Long Goodbye much more than The Big Sleep, I think it'd be hard to compare the two Marlowes. Bogart's performances is one of the best things about the movie in my eyes.

I coulda sworn he was Marlowe more than once! Pardon me while I update my review accordingly...

There, thanks for the catch! I feel even more qualified in preferring Gould now that I know I've seen every Bogart/Marlowe movie. :-)

One of these days I'm going to have to revise my opinion of the 70s. I really do like plenty of movies from that decade, it's just that I fail to grok some of the big ones.

Enter the Dragon is in the 'very good' tier because Bruce Lee's got good moves in there? Wouldn't Day After Tomorrow be thusly redeemed for its impressive special effects, then? (other examples abound)

Not really. I haven't see Day After Tomorrow, but I assume it will suck (but I'll still see it). From that assumption, I make these analogies:

Enter the Dragon is a cookie. Bruce Lee is the big gooey chocolate chips. The dough is otherwise unremarkable. Before you know it, you've eaten the whole batch.

Day After Tomorrow is a cookie. The effects are big gooey chocolate chips. But some schmoe put too much baking soda in the batter, so they taste all alkaline and gross. You take one bite and throw the batch away, and you're pissed off that you wasted millions of dollars worth of perfectly good chocolate chips.

Not to mention overblown CGI is ubiquitous and generic, while Bruce was one of a kind.

Fair enough. For me, the utter stupidity of 99% of Enter the Dragon is a much more bitter batter than the unremarkable, tasteless batter of Day After Tomorrow (I haven't seen it either :-) - but that's what I've read).

Enter the Dragon is like Kung Fu Theater with a few really cool moments from Bruce Lee. Utter garbage that Bruce Lee elevates to "just plain bad."

Well, since you didn't like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, it's hardly a surprise you don't like the older stuff. Me, I like Kung Fu Theater. :-)

You like The Exorcist! But it should be #1!

I didn't see the 'ambiguity' (what is that?), but I love that my name dude won!

Ambiguity. To me, it is unclear who "won."

Pazuzu! I always see the glass half-full...Of blood! lol

I didn't think the ending of the Exorcist was ambiguous. Unless you and I have differ in our interpretations about what was being fought over. My assumption is that the battle was fought over Reagan and Damien won because he got the devil to leave Reagan's body and enter his own. If that was the contest then Damien won.

Your interpretation makes sense. But does he throw himself out the window, or does the devil throw him out? And as he is only fleetingly possessed (it seemed), what happens next?

My take is he throws himself out of the window. And since he is Catholic I assume that what happens to him is whatever happens to Catholics who commit suicide. Is that Hell or Purgatory? Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with Catholic dogma.

I haven't seen the film in some time, so forgive me if my memory fails me (as it often does), but I think the director pasted an ending on the film that the audience would feel was a good ending, but upon further inspection is anything but. When Damien first mets the demon, the demon tells him that he will gladly leave Regan to come into him. The demon apparently has a grudge match against Father Karras. By the end of the film, both men are dead. I suspect Regan was simply an means to an end; the demon won, and he won partly by making the Fathers believe they had won when all along they simply did what the demon wanted in the first place. Pretty depressing, really.

Well, at least I think that is my take on it... I obviously need to see it again sometime soon. :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Oo, I like that interpretation.

I'm glad you liked Badlands; it's easily my favorite movie of all time. It's just so strange and atmospheric that I become completely entranced.

Johnny Waco

I believe I saw it due to your recommendation, so thanks for that! Good stuff.

Yipee! You watched Paper Moon!

Great review.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Thanks! Man, Peter Bogdanovich really directed some winners, didn't he?

Early on, he seemed invincible. Targets, The Last Picture Show, What's Up, Doc?, and Paper Moon... That's how you start a career.

Of course, he also offers plenty of examples on how to stall a career as well (though I do remember liking Mask at the time)...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

The only one of those I'm missing is Targets, which I've queued, thanks! I too recall liking Mask.

Oh, I have this vague recollection that one of the Uncut reviewers liked The Cat's Meow, but somehow I can't quite work myself up to queue it. At least not yet.

Targets was very celebrated upon release and oddly forgotten nowadays. I love it, and if memory serves me well, so does Johnny Waco. Perhaps it faded in The Last Picture Show's shadow...

I read several fairly positive reviews for that newer flick, but like you, I see the twirling bait but have yet to bite...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Heh heh, I thought you guys were talking about the Jim Carrey movie. Needless to say, I was surprised to find out that Peter Bogdanovich had directed The Mask.

But no! A quick trip to the IMDB shows that that film was directed by Chuck Russell, whose debut film was Nightmare on Elm Street 3. That is not how to start a career.

But yeah, Bogdanovich is awesome. I love the Last Picture Show and remembered loving What's Up, Doc? (though it's been a while), so I should definitely check out Paper Moon and Targets.


It is a dangerous thing to assume a definite article when I am rarely anything but tentative...

I can't remember if it was the second or third Nightmare on Elm Street, but I distinctly recall skipping one when the only thing my friend could say to promote it was that a hot woman takes off her shirt onscreen...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

No, you're probably thinking of The Last Picture Show, which thematically is very similar to Nightmare on Elm Street 3. You should still see it, though, because Cybill Shepherd is really hot.

You're telling a Moonlighting fan this?

I even sat through Daisy Miller, a pathetic film version of an awesome novella. It was directed by some unknown. Pete something. Cyb did not open her blouse, but my, did she ever open her trap...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs


I think Paper Moon is a can't-miss recommendation for you (famous last words).