Monthly Archives: October 2012

(0073X) High Plains Drifter

High Plains DrifterAugust 26, 1973 | 1 week at #1

Seen by Martin before? No

What did I expect? A groovy, disturbing western? Not much clue.

What did I get? Forging an authentic movie of ideas out of what eventually ceases to be a “regular” western, Clint Eastwood continues to impress: High Plains Drifter is a gnomic and deeply unsettling allegory with meanings coming out the wazoo. In fact, it’s as rich an allegory as I have ever seen committed to film, suggesting a western written by Jean-Paul Sartre and directed by Ingmar Bergman — but even that astonishing description fails to capture its distinctively American directness of address. This is quite a movie — arguably Eastwood’s greatest.
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(0072X) American Graffiti

American GraffitiAugust 19, 1973 | 7 weeks at #1

Seen by Martin before? Yes

What did I expect? A better version of Happy Days.

What did I get? A teen hijinks movie niftily masquerading as a thoughtful character study, American Graffiti introduced George Lucas’s considerable narrative gifts to the world. Everyone my age (42) and younger experienced the shock of discovering that the dude who made Star WarsStar Wars! — had started out with this bittersweet, nostalgic love letter to youthful misadventure, but in truth, Lucas’s overwhelming command of the medium, penchant for trite profundity, and implacable lust for mindshare are everywhere evident. Like Star Wars, it’s an incredibly appealing contraption of surfaces; like Star Wars, its depth/lack of depth was central to its appeal.
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