Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Best of 1975

This begins the second phase of the My Favorite Era series as I look a little more closely at each year covered in the series.  These will be more or less capsule reviews unless I have a little more to say, mainly because some of these pieces will cover quite a ton of material.

1975 was a landmark year for film as the era of the blockbuster truly began.  Now this article, as others here will be, is not going to be the run of the mill "Oh god, look at all these great movies" sort of piece.  You won't always get the classics you might expect, mainly because I haven't seen all the movies ever made but also because I don't want this to be like any other list.  In a less roundabout way, I'm trying to say that I haven't seen One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest or Dog Day Afternoon.

10. Rollerball

A solid science fiction film with a great James Caan performance as the star player of the most popular game in a dystopian future.  It has an interesting plot and some brutal action but there are some pacing issues that pop up.  Overall though, it's a nifty flick.

9. Terror of Mechagodzilla

The last of the first cycle of Godzilla movies is a rather somber affair peppered with the occasional burst of solid giant monster action.  The film is a change of pace from the more cartoonish 70's entries in the series and while I enjoy those more, this is a worthy finale to the first run of the series as we get the big green guy in a rematch against his best opponent.

8. The Man who Would be King

Sean Connery and Michael Caine stand out in this entertaining adventure directed by the great John Huston.  Based on a Rudyard Kipling story, it tells the tale of two British soldiers who look to attain wealth by getting their own little kingdom.  The two leads are fantastic and as one would expect, Huston does a solid job of directing.

7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

It's been quoted to death, yes,m but  this is still one of the best things Monty Python ever created.  Chock full of memorable moments and lines, it stands as a classic of comedy.

6. Hard Times

Walter Hill's directorial debut is a rousing, entertaining movie that stars Charles Bronson as a bare knuckle fighter in the Depression who hooks up with promoter James Coburn to make some money.  Bronson and Coburn are in fine form and the fight scenes are quite brutal given that the film is a PG affair.  Good stuff.

5. The Eiger Sanction

This is a fun adaptation of an equally entertaining novel by Trevanian that stars Clint as an assassin assigned to carry out a hit on one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.  The novel was more satirical than the film lets itself be but Eastwood has always been dryly humorous to begin with so that little issue sort of solves itself.  Gleefully un-PC, wonderfully shot (the mountain climbing stuff is amazing), this is a bit of an underrated gem in the Eastwood canon.

4. Three Days of the Condor

Robert Redford and Max von Sydow are great in this engaging spy thriller that stars Redford as a civilian working for the CIA who comes back from lunch one day to find his entire office has been murdered.  The mystery of why drives the story and Sydney Pollack directs the William Goldman script with confidence.  It's a real winner.

3. Deep Red

One of Dario Argento's best, this twisty giallo thriller is a great proto-slasher movie about a musician who witnesses a brutal murder and then is targeted himself.  Argento's visual flair in in full force here and the killings are especially effective.

2. Death Race 2000

Few things are harder to pull off than satire and in the case of this Roger Corman production, it is safe to say that it pulls it off to near perfection.  A fantastic, simple plot about a futuristic road racer where you earn points by running down innocent bystanders, this has a fun cast including David Carradine and a young Sylvester Stallone, some amazing car stunts and a wickedly nasty sense of humor.

1. Jaws

Not really a hell of a lot more to say about this one.  It's simply one of the best action/horror films ever made with great acting, directing and music.  A damn near perfect movie.

Guilty Pleasures

I've written about this cheesy little piece of crap before but I still have to say it's one of the most enjoyable bad films I've seen in a while.  Bad acting, bad action, cheese all the way.

I have a bit of a soft spot for this crappy Joe Don Baker vehicle made famous on MST3K.  Honestly, apart from the sex scenes where we unfortunately have to see Joe Don Baker rutting like a weasel, the film isn't that bad.  It's certainly no worse than any handful of other crummy cop films from the period.

1975 was a very important year for film.  Steven Spielberg really came into his own, there was a nice selection of the older style films mixed with the newer style that came to prominence in the late sixties and it was just a very solid year in general.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.