July 22, 2013

My Five Favorite Films From...1974

Honorable Mention – McQ: This is one of my dad's favorite films, so of course I saw it when I was young. Watch John Wayne play the tough cop and you can understand why he was originally considered for the role of Dirty Harry. The most memorable part of the film, of course, is the MAC-10 McQ uses at the end of the film. That was the first time it appeared in a movie. If you like McQ, make sure to check out Brannigan as well.

5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia: You're going to see Sam Peckinpah's name a lot in these early lists. This may be his most under-appreciated film. It's a black comedy/noir/road film that turns a lot of cliches on their head. Plus, there's a boatload of violence (big surprise there). Not a "feel-good" film in any way, shape or form.

4. Lacombe Lucien: A fascinating story from Louis Malle about a young French boy during World War Two who falls in with French collaborators after the Resistance rejects him. He becomes the embodiment of what Hannah Arendt called the "banality of evil."

3. Young Frankenstein: The defining moment of this film, to me, isn't Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle performing "Putting on the Ritz," but the off-screen howl of that cat hit by the dart. But those are just two laughs amongst hundreds. In any other year, this would have been the funniest film of the year, hands down.

2. Blazing Saddles: So it's only fair the funniest film of the year, and definitely a Top 10 All-time comedy, was also made by Mel Brooks. I've seen this film countless times and I still hurt myself from laughing. Thank God Brooks maintained final cut over the movie or we could've lost a lot of classic moments, including Mongo punching the horse.

1. The Godfather, Part II: Not only an amazing film in its own right, but it's widely considered to be superior to the original. And that vaults it into the stratosphere of great films. I have nothing bad to say about it. It's truly a work of art. And the final scene, a flashback to when Michael enlisted in the Marines in World War Two, is heartbreaking.

Films I Like But Didn't Make The List: The Conversation, Death Wish, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, The Longest Yard, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Insane Film That Warrants Mentioning – Zardoz: John Boorman had just done Deliverance, which allowed him to basically make whatever movie he wanted. And Zardoz was that movie. Sean Connery dressed in next to nothing, flying stone heads, Eternals and Brutals, and some of the most whacked-out scenery ever. I don't even know how to describe it. But it's not a bad movie. Just very, very different.


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