The year is 1977. Movies are red hot. Hollywood has bestowed upon us poignant and riveting gems like Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There is the shrewd candor of Annie Hall. Of course, it’s hard to ignore the epitome of Lynchism in Eraserhead. What a majestic and magnificent movie year for the world of motion pictures. Spanning all genres and types, all hearts can be swept away in the glory of film canon.
Well, we could talk about those gems, but we won’t. You’re in my list. It’s not going to go down the way you think. As a rule of thumb get used to that.
The Spy Who Loved Me
To say that the Sean Connery Bond is my favorite Bond is redundant in the universe of Bond fans. Captain “This IS a Spanish accent.” is at his best being the mysteriously STD free spy who’s gun is more than just allegory. Connery notwithstanding, I have a soft spot for Roger Moore. Who in a Bond bouquet with Daniel Craig’s lilies, Pierce Brosnan’s orchids, Timothy Dalton’s baby breath, and Connery’s magnolias (just imagine him saying it), usually comes up pansies. Yet in this flick, he finally for one of those brief shining moments comes up roses.
We’ve got implausible gadgets, ridiculous premises, and a sea of unbangable for the likes of non-Bond Roger Moore. I will not delve into the sheer utter ridiculousness that is Jaws. I get it. The time period, the lack of cool villainy; it seemed like a good idea. Not to knock Richard Kiel at all. He almost makes foie gras out of Spam. You can’t do that any finer. I suppose this is where taste comes in because it is these reasons exactly that this movie is on my list. Every hero is only as great as his villain. So if you need to get your hero up the charts in no time flat, make the villain even less plausible and bam. Hollywood makes the best recipe for relational pie. It’s hard to notice that flashlight isn’t sunlight if you’re in an underground bomb shelter. Good on ya.
Saturday Night Fever
How can I not love this disco Technicolor fever dream? It is literally Abba’s Dancing Queen the movie with a West Side Story side car. This thing was made for greatness and to last. I think this movie is why the 80’s 90’s music movies came to be. Ask yourself would we have even had a Breakin’ or Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo without John Travolta’s gyrating hips. I’m sure we would never have ventured to 4 house parties. Dare I say we wouldn’t have any business to Step Up to. That my friends is a world I cannot thrive in.
There are times when a movie gets to be self-indulgent. Sometimes we need to invest our time and energy in the ones that provide a reasonable yin and yang instead of the full Shakespeare of tragedy or comedy. Ignore the bad plot device that pretends rape always is and see the struggle to define oneself. Nothing is more reaffirming than setting that to the Bee Gees. It’s ok for a film to offer all of the emotions that life can press into two hours of glaring music disco lights and the fairy dust of your city leaving dreams.
Try to ignore the obvious reasons a slightly unbalanced heterosexual woman would like this film and see beyond. Also, try to be generous with the term film. Often overlooked because of the subject matter, it should not be for that very reason. This one is obscure but groundbreaking. If someone would’ve told me that someone would have Pumping Iron as one of their list of five fav movies of 1977 I would’ve checked them for bath salts. Yet looking back this is the start of a fascinating genre we now call reality TV.
This industry very rarely films itself. It would be like looking into the eye of the abyss. Where do I begin where do you end? This very nature is captured in haunting detail in this half documentary half scripted yarn revolving around the world of competitive bodybuilding. In almost macabre mimicry each aspect tries to be more of what the other side is. The real leans to the fiction as the fiction leans to real. It is in truth one of the primary Rosetta stones to all that has followed. From this rip in the grand design, out of the pit you get everything from American Idol to modern professional wrestling. Drink it in man.
Star Wars: The New Hope
Well, we all know this treasure trove of pop culture myth phenomenon. Well, pop culture period was spawned by this one. Instead of boring you with the list of why this was all amazing, I can now be ok with this because Rogue One settled the most confounding aspect of this otherwise rather cleverly plotted little flick. WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU MAKE IT THAT EASY TO DESTROY!?!? It was by design. Oh, it all makes sense. Back to Anakin Skywalker asthmatic jokes by all means.
The greatness of Star Wars is not in story or plot. I dare to say it isn’t even the How to Create a Nerd Dynasty George Lucas edition we’ve been watching for decades now. The greatness of Star Wars is what it inspired and gave birth to. The story reinfused a genre with life and energy we didn’t realize we were missing. It did all the big things. The film captured imaginations, hearts and inspired scientists and writers alike. As well as a story canon that has produced stellar highly-focused, critically-acclaimed nuanced graphic novels, literature, animation and artwork. Here we are in all of its creepy fanfic, comic-con, merchandising glory. This was the mothership. This is why we’re all here. So it earned the number two spot for me.
Smokey and the Bandit
I’m from Texas. I can’t lie. The whole movie was like a documentary to me. This is my all-time favorite because of one simple fact. When traveling in the north of the United States I’m asked what is growing up in Texas is like. In true Texan fashion, I ask, “Ever seen Smokey and the Bandit?” The answer is usually, “Yes but that’s just ridiculous. That can’t be real.” “All true.” I lay out deadpan. The look of shock horror then terrified understanding is the reason all I have to say is, “I’m from Texas” to get any thoughts of being snappy with me to fade away. This movie is one of the many reasons why.
Beyond being an hour and thirty minutes of justified Texas street cred, it’s a fun romp with some heavyweights in Burt Reynolds and Sally Field. It’s the backwoods Sheriffs who run their towns like little kingdoms. Where running from the law is part of the commerce. A movie about experiences and rebelling against unfair sanctions. Mostly it’s about the definition of a good girl being challenged by T-tops and revving engines. Ignore the testosterone overtures, girls can dig cars too.
What is your favorite film from 1977? Comment below.