American Graffiti

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Where were you in ’73? August 11, 1973, to be specific? I wasn’t alive, but just because I wasn’t there on opening night doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate the 40th birthday of American Graffiti, which hit theaters on that date*. Just the same, it doesn’t matter that I can’t really answer the film’s tagline of “Where were you in ’62?” George Lucas‘s nostalgic teen movie is as classic as the cars that appear in it, and that’s because it resonates for viewers of all ages and all eras. Maybe we didn’t grow up on the same music and meet up at the same kind of hangout as Mel’s Drive-In, but we can all find something familiar in this multi-narrative feature. It’s no wonder Richard Linklater’s own nostalgic ensemble teen movie, Dazed and Confused, is so similar to Lucas’s. Teen life hadn’t changed all that much in 14 years. Nor is it all that different after 51 years. It’s kind of strange to think about how American Graffiti was set only 11 years before its release. We’re quickly nostalgic today, but that was a pretty quick turnaround for audiences to get so sentimental about the culture of a decade prior. It’d be like us getting a deeply nostalgic movie about 2002 now. Yet 1962 probably felt more like an eon ago to people in 1973. The characters in the movie haven’t been through the JFK assassination yet, let alone RFK and MLK, they haven’t seen the worst of Vietnam or the […]

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Criterion Files

When I write this column, I typically don’t get the opportunity to write about movies from my teen years. I, like many, came into a cinephilic love for art and foreign cinema during college, and in that process grew to appreciate The Criterion Collection. Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993), however, is a movie that’s followed me through various changes in my life for (I’m just now realizing as I write this) about half of my time thus far spent on Earth.

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This Week in Blu-ray

It’s another buy-happy week of Blu-ray selections here on This Week in Blu-ray. Warner Bros. comes correct with a brilliant release of A Clockwork Orange, George Lucas does video commentary and doesn’t talk about Star Wars, vampires and werewolves tear each others’ clothes off, Nic Cage kills just about everyone, Javier Bardem is handsome and someone thought it would be a good idea to put Megan Fox and Mickey Rourke together on-screen. It was not. Reading this Blu-ray column, however, is a great idea. A Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition A Clockwork Orange is one of those great films that I’ve had the honor of seeing properly projected. Of course, that was at 3am during a sci-fi marathon and I may have slept through the second act, but the fact remains: I’ve seen what it’s supposed to look like. So when I report that it looks even better on Blu-ray, that’s not something to take lightly. This week’s Pick was an easy one. Warner Bros. has handled Stanley Kubrick’s ultra-violent masterpiece with great care. From the sturdy, book-like packaging to the fresh Blu-ray exclusive features (including one where Malcolm McDowell looks back 40 years later and another that considers the cultural impact of the film’s violent nature), everything is in step with the greatest expectations for what this release should look like. It’s a collector’s item and a wonderful celebration of a film that, even after 40-years, still holds up as a stunning testimony to the greatness of Stanley Kubrick.

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movieswelove-thesting

Who doesn’t love a good con movie? Robert Redford and Paul Newman partner to make one of the best ever made – all while creating a movie that won Best Picture, can be re-watched infinitely and has popcorn appeal.

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