The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Thursday, December 23, 2004
THAT SEVENTIES FILM FESTIVAL: In which we continue to list the best movies released in years that end with "4." We've already looked at
1994 and 1984; here's 1974:

1. Chinatown
Directed by Roman Polanski
Written by Robert Towne

The fool's journey as film noir.

2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones
Written by Gilliam, Jones, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, and Michael Palin

Years of inept quotation by teenage geeks with fake English accents can't smother the mad comic genius of this movie. It still makes me laugh.

3. The Conversation
Written and Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

'70s cinema in a nutshell -- it's got paranoia, guilt, a lone wolf locked into an uneasy relationship with the system, and Gene Hackman.

4. Lenny
Directed by Bob Fosse
Written by Julian Barry

A tragedy filled with comedy. Sometimes Dustin Hoffman's performances of Lenny Bruce's routines are funnier than the originals.

5. California Split
Directed by Robert Altman
Written by Joseph Walsh

Next time someone tries to tell you that Hollywood always fucks everything up, remind them that Spielberg wanted to direct this one.

6. The Godfather Part 2
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by Coppola and Mario Puzo, from Puzo's novel

A short history of America.

7. A Woman Under the Influence
Written and Directed by John Cassavetes

I'd call it the decade's greatest feminist film, except it's too complex, too real, to be contained by any ideology.

8. Phantom of the Paradise
Written and Directed by Brian De Palma

A gloriously cracked movie: The Phantom of the Opera meets The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Faust meets The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This is why God put Paul Williams on this earth.

9. Young Frankenstein
Directed by Mel Brooks
Written by Brooks and Gene Wilder

Both a loving tribute to the Frankenstein films of the '30s and the funniest picture Mel Brooks ever made. N.B.: Some of the jokes are lifted directly from Son of Frankenstein.

10. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Written by Peckinpah and Gordon Dawson, from a story by Peckinpah and Frank Kowalski

Everything a movie set in Mexico should be.


posted by Jesse 3:57 PM
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