Crash! Landen’s Best 10 Films of 1978

Delving further into the 1970s, the films become more indicative of my lack of seeing what are considered some of the most critically acclaimed films of the time. Some of the films that made the Best Of Lists of that era’s critics: Autumn Sonata, Stoszek, Days Of Heaven, Magic, and An Unmarried Woman. Haven’t seen any of them. There are some really good films that didn’t quite make my list: The very creepy and effective sci-fi horror with subtext film Invasion of the Body Snatchers… Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master which may be the film where he began to combine the humor, the use of his surroundings a la Gene Kelly and his explosive martial arts…. If you hate Burt reynolds you won’t understand this choice, but ‘Hooper’ was just a fun film that further solidified the Reynolds persona. Succeeds as what it tries to be…. Corvette Summer, the only real movie successes that Mark Hamill had outside of the original Star Wars films (unless you think the Big red One was a success. I don’t). And The Buddy Holly Story where Gary Busey proves that he really is a great actor. Here is the list of 10 and brief reasons why they should be here. #10 Foul Play (A great light comedy. Chase was surprising as the lead. Hawn was at her cutest/funniest. Moore’s character took the film off into left field with him.) #9 Midnight Express (A drab, beatdown of a film written by Oliver Stone. It is gritty but not too far over the top as Stone tends to be, largely because of Alan Parker’s direction. This is a dark film as dramas from the 1970s sometimes could be.) #8 Dawn of the Dead (Zombie auteur director George Romero’s best film.) #7 Superman (One of the top superhero flicks about THE superhero. I’ve always enjoyed the first half of the film far more than the second. I think they capture who Superman is with the depiction of his early years… And I can’t see Superman renouncing his American citizenship as he’s raised here. They got Superman right.) #6 Goin’ South (The poster kind of says everything you need to know. Nicholson is top notch here as he often was in the 1970s. Steenbergen is his perfect love interst/foil in this.) #5 Every Which Way But Loose (Clint does comedy while he was going through his Sondra Locke years. Clyde. Beverly D’Angelo. The Black Widows. Classic 70s fun.) #4 Straight Time (Discovered this one recently… This is one of Hoffman’s best, playing a completely different character than the usual Hoffman persona. An outstanding character study.) #3 Animal House (The movie that all college comedies are judged by.) #2 Halloween (Simple, but extremely effective, especially if you saw this as a kid. One of the best straight horror films ever made.) #1 The Deer Hunter (Out of all the movies about the Vietnam War, I think this might be the best. It’s definitely one of the films of the 1970s. The cast are all outstanding in this. The story is provocative and is still as emotionally charged as it was then. The Deer Hunter is explosive at times and quietly poignant at others. Looks at the Vietnam War (and war in general) with an unblinking, but objective eye. It doesn’t focus on the politics of the war as much as the effect that the war has on three friends and their families before, during and after the war.

This is where I also get in trouble with the release dates… This was the #3 film for both Siskel and Ebert for 1979, but it was released (at least in LA) in 1978. I (generally) count them when they’re released for a theather run in the USA, so that’s the date I’m going with. Otherwise I’d have to put some serious thought into whether or not Breaking Away or this would be my Best Film. In 1978, it’s the clear choice for the top spot.)

Well, there’s the list. I think I’m going to start posting my list ‘pool’, also; the list of films that I’ve seen. That way if anyone wonders why I didn’t place a particular film on the list, you can see that it may be because I haven’t seen it. I only have a list of about 40 films from 1978. There are probably at least a few more I’ve seen (especially Disney films) that I have overlooked. Here is the ‘pool’ in no particular order (which features the pool for the Worst 10 of 1978:

The Cat from Outer Space, Heaven Can Wait, The Buddy Holly Story, Coma, Drunken Master, Hooper, Corvette Summer,The Incredible Hulk, The Bad News Bears Go to Japan, Jaws 2, Damien: Omen II, Battlestar Galactica, Grease, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Spider-Man Strikes Back, The End, The Fury, Force 10 from Navarone, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Lord of the Rings, Piranha, Pretty Baby, The Swarm, Kiss Meets The Phantom, Watership Down, The Wiz, Return from Witch Mountain, Up In Smoke


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