Crash! Landen’s Best 10 Films of 1979

And so I reach the 70s. I want to remind anyone reading my lists, these aren’t my lists of favorites. Of the movies that I’ve seen in my lifetime, these are the ones that I think are the best of this particular year, the Year Of Our Lord 1979. I am limited by those I’ve actually seen and the further I go back, the fewer the selection of films viewed, even with my voracious apetite for good movies not limited to any time frame).

Movies that didn’t quite make the list: Mel Gibson and George Miller’s big splashdowns in the violent high speed revenge flick ‘Mad Max’… The first Star Trek film that was more science fiction than space opera… Escape from Alcatraz… Roger Moore as James Bond in Moonraker… Rocky II which was the same as the first only not quite as good (still entertaining, though)… I believe Diane Lane’s debut in A Little Romance (but I may be wrong about that)…

The Villain (or Cactus Jack)…For me, a very underrated slapstick comedy where Kirk Douglas plays a live action version of a cartoon villain. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the ridiculously named Handsome Stranger if I remember right and Anne Margaret is Charming. Literally. .Douglas and his horse could have taken their act on the road.)

10 Meatballs (The Bill Murray Classic Comedy which for me is about as 70s as you can possibly get even though it came at the end of the decade. Murray makes the film. It wouldn’t have near the charm without him.)

9 The Frisco Kid (Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford in a western. I need no more than that. This is one of my favorite westerns. Works as a western and a low key comedy…. I know you think I mean ‘not funny’, but I don’t.)

8 Phantasm (One of the most imaginitive low budget horror films ever and if you were a kid when you saw this, it’s genuinely scary. Great villain(s), a very atmospheric fun horror film and a dynamic debut from writer/director Don Coscarelli. Okay so he made a couple of films before this. This was still impressive from a relatively unknown guy. The fact that it is a little confusing at times just adds to the film’s nightmare like story.)

7 Being There ( I recommend not reading anything about this one. Just watch it all the way to the end even if you find it a little too odd or slow. It actually may be too slow-paced for its own good. BUT… The ending is one of the more provocative endings ever… The poster for the film on the other hand is atrocious. Whoever the graphic artist was didn’t take into account that people might actually want to read this. The lettering falls into the background on the top and could cause epileptic seizures at the bottom. Just terrible. Fire that guy!… Or girl.)

6 Kramer vs Kramer (A solid film. It won Oscars to prove it.)

5 The Muppet Movie (Jim Henson’s first big cinematic endeavor on the silver screen. Features one of the best songs from a film of all time.)

4 Time After Time (Should have been a franchise. MacDowell, Steenburgen and Warner are all a lot of fun in this.)

3 Nosferatu the Vampyre  [Sometimes recreates the original film’s creepiest shots, but manages to do something a little different. This is my favorite Herzog film. the cinematography is remarkably impressive. I think they shout the whole movie on 70 mm film. Looks incedible (as does Isabella Adjanni in the film)]

2 Alien ( A groundbreaking film. The visuals in this film are every bit as impressive as any other film that is held up as ‘groundbreaking’. It still holds up and I still find it creepy. Terrified me as a kid. One of the best in sci fi and horror. Ridley Scott really is a genius.)

1 Breaking Away (I can’t think of a better coming of age film. It’s funny and still manages to make me laugh even after having seen it well into the double digits. It’s presents the realities of life that most learn when you begin to grow up. This has great performances from top to bottom with Paul Dooley running away with the film as the Dad. It’s easily the best film by the late Peter Yates. It’s one of the best ‘feel good’ movies that retains a ring of truth throughout. Great film and a great year.

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