1973: Movies Sorted By Tier
Submitted by jim on Mon, 11/01/2004 - 12:35
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.
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.
- None Yet
Could Have Missed
Should Have Missed
- None Yet
El Sucko Grande
- None Yet
Godzilla vs. Megalon
Live and Let Die