Monthly Archives: June 2013

(0088X) Herbie Rides Again

Herbie Rides AgainJune 9, 1974 | 2 weeks at #1

Seen by Martin before? No

What did I expect? A cute comedy about a sentient VW bug.

What did I get? With a mise-en-scène not far removed from the campy Batman movie of eight years prior, Herbie Rides Again probably felt like a throwback the day it opened. The second movie in the sort-of-franchise kicked off by 1968’s The Love Bug, it’s easy to take but not very memorable. A precursor to Pixar’s Cars movies, Herbie Rides Again has something of that series’ essential ordinariness.
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(0087X) Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

Thunderbolt and LightfootMay 26, 1974 | 2 weeks at #1

Seen by Martin before? No

What did I expect? A diverting heist movie or western? Not much info going in here.

What did I get? The underappreciated Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is a 1970s movie in the truest sense thanks to its deep trust in the quirks of character to moor its plot. Riskily, it feels like a different movie every fifteen minutes, calling to mind, at least in this respect, Jonathan Demme’s 1986 masterpiece Something Wild. Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate would famously bring the director-centric (some would say self-indulgent) 1970s cinema crashing to a close, but in his first feature there’s much to admire.
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(0086X) Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry

Dirty Mary, Crazy LarryMay 19, 1974 | 1 week at #1

Seen by Martin before? No

What did I expect? A crazy road trip adventure!

What did I get? Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry is a grubby countercultural classic for greasemonkeys, it seems, but don’t let that exalted description fool you: engineered for the bad-trip post-Manson generation, it’s now scarcely intelligible to anyone else. Offering more screeching tires than a half-season of The Dukes of Hazzard, the movie founders on the levels of plot, characterization, and theme. Some onlookers extol the chemistry between the eponymous duo, but to me it adds up to a bunch of aimless attitudinizing.
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(0085X) The Lords of Flatbush

The Lords of FlatbushMay 4, 1974 | 2 weeks at #1

Seen by Martin before? No

What did I expect? Something about Brooklyn thugs, tone to be determined.

What did I get? The Lords of Flatbush artlessly combines the raw ethos of 1970s American filmmaking and the budding interest in 1950s America that had already manifested in Sha Na Na and American Graffiti and would soon spawn Grease and the popular TV show Happy Days. Even as it cribs many of the strategies of American Graffiti — particularly the soundtrack — the under-emotive Lords sorely lacks Lucas’s directorial verve.
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