A lady never reveals her age. Unless, of course, she’s writing an article about the top five movies from her birth year. At which point, a gentleman should just assume that she is overestimating her maturity.
OK, fine. It’s not like I’m disappointed at being almost 39 years old. However, I admit that finding movies I knew from my birth year was difficult. Apparently, my birth was the popular culture event of the year since the majority of the movies made that year appear to no longer be in the general vernacular. A few notable exceptions, of course, would be Deer Hunter, The Wiz, Dawn of the Dead, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Unfortunately, those are only words on a page since it’s likely they weren’t movies I was allowed to watch as a kid and held no interest for me once I could choose. And no, I can’t stand Animal House. Yes, it makes me an abomination unto humanity.
The abject suburban sadness of my youth is obviously contained in the following five movies I chose. I fear the lack of coolness that emanates off of me as I write that these are the fundamental movies in my life from the year I was born.
I only know of this movie because of course like every teenage girl I had read and fallen in love with the idea of Love Story. At 12, the line, “loves mean never having to say you’re sorry” seems like the world’s most meaningful phrase. (Meanwhile, after nearly 15 years of marriage I not only know that “love means always knowing when to say you’re sorry” but find the movie line ridiculous.) The crossed lovers, the wealthy parents, the beautiful, brilliant, brazen heroine. Add into that a tragic death and a forlorn widower and of course, you have a recipe for the young heart. How could I not run to the nearest Blockbuster Video to grab the sequel, sit with a box of tissues, and watch… well, the lackluster sequel. I mean, it was certainly no Empire Strikes Back, know what I mean?
Revenge of Pink Panther
The only reason I know I saw this is that my dad loves mysteries. Somehow, I think my dad managed to trick me into watching this because it had a cartoon. I was always disappointed that the Pink Panther was live action and not a cartoon. All the marketing materials suck you in with this adorable little pink cartoon panther. Then, BAM! The movie is this weird looking dude. I still feel a little bit betrayed, sort of the way little kids feel after being told that Santa isn’t real.
Days of Heaven
I know, right? I don’t even know how I have a vague recollection of watching this movie. It probably explains my bizarre attraction to Mr. Gere. Although, we can all admit that during my formative years he was quite the catch. When I was flipping through movies from the year I was born, the images for this one struck me. The movie was acclaimed for its cinematography which perfectly captures why I chose this movie. One of my favorite paintings is “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth. Days of Heaven presents similar imagery and color palette to the Wyeth painting. In fact, a quick Google search even shows that there are other people who write about the influence of Wyeth, as well as another favorite artist Edward Hopper, on the aesthetic. The movie’s formative quality on my psyche therefore is obvious, at least to me.
Christopher Reeve will always be my Superman. Just like Linda Carter will always be my Wonder Woman (no disrespect to Ms. Gadot, she’s going to be awesome I’m sure!). As a kid, I never realized that it wasn’t lady like to enjoy superheroes. I also never realized that liking them was going to be something out of which I’d make a career, or at least part of a career. To me, they were just these amazing people who did great things. There’s something bright and hopeful about Christopher Reeve as Superman, something that I wish we could get back into our superhero movies.
You’re the one that I want! Do ah do wadda wahhh oooh oooh oooh HONEY! Grease comes in at #1 because it is one of my all time favorite movies and soundtracks. I love it so much that I can’t even take feminist issues with the sexist ways that the guys sing about Sandy in “Summer Lovin’.” I know that it’s terrible, but I just don’t care. My brain wants to care, my little heart just can’t. Simultaneously, it’s one of the most formative discussions of women’s rights issues from my youth. Rizzo singing “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” was my introduction to reproductive rights and almost inevitably makes me cry to this day. I’ll be honest, the reason I watched “The West Wing” the first time was because Rizzo done made good.
What is your favorite film from 1978? Comment below.