Category: 1977


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Every movie lover has that one film that you can put in a million times, and every time you watch it, you get something new out of it. With our favorite films, repeat viewings become not only a type of security blanket where we can bask in the predicted pleasures of a treasured piece of art, but they increasingly become extended sessions of wonder that one team of filmmakers (from the director on down) were able to get things so perfectly right. They are films that infiltrate every aspect of our lives and we learn and evolve with these experiences so that sometimes, if the film is great enough, something about the film grows to define part of you. I am a lifelong film lover, but 1977’s Annie Hall is my favorite film of all time, and not only is it the crowning jewel of Woody Allen’s career, it’s the most important romantic comedy ever made.

Manhattan may be deeper; Midnight in Paris may be more whimsical; and Crimes and Misdemeanors may be more tragic, but no other film in the Woody Allen canon has transformed cinema to the extent of Annie Hall. Taking the most overdone film genre of all time, the romantic comedy, Annie Hall turned every genre convention on its head. From expectations for a happy ending to the classic manic pixie dream girl archetype to the notions of linear storytelling to a respect for the existence of the fourth wall, Annie Hall obliterated the standards of 1970s storytelling and prior with a rapturous disregard for the way movies were meant to be made. Clearly enthralled with Fellini and Bergman, Woody Allen brought foreign art-house sensibilities into the mainstream.

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Like so much of the best cinema, Annie Hall is an especially autobiographical film. In a vein similar to Chasing Amy (or even Allen’s later Husbands and Wives), Annie Hall is a cinematic portrayal of a crumbling relationship played out by the real life partners in the relationship itself. Neé Annie Hall in real life, Diane Keaton (Love and Death) plays the titular object of Allen’s desire. Diane Keaton was Woody’s greatest muse of the 1970ss, and with Annie Hall, Allen fuses a fantastical and romanticized embellishment of his youth thrown into the tragic downfall of one of the great relationships of his life.

Thus, Annie Hall is the decades spanning tale of the life and loves of Alvy Singer, a purposefully transparent stand-in for Woody Allen. A marginally successful stand-up comedian, Alvy lives in New York. With his best friend Rob (Tony Roberts) and two ex-wives, Alvy’s life isn’t exactly a shining example of having your life together. And his world is only complicated when he’s introduced to the ditsy, sensitive, and complex Annie Hall who bounds into Alvy’s life like an electric jolt to the heart. But the gulf in their intellectual ambitions and Alvy’s own cynical, pessimistic outlook on life spell an inevitable doom for their on-again/off-again relationship.

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If you have ever been in a failed relationship, Annie Hall is a sprawling, exquisitely detailed roadmap of everything that could have possibly gone wrong. Even if you’re a 24 year old kid from rural WV who had never even been to NYC until years after watching this film for the first time, Woody’s tale of lost love, regret, and the rush of dawning romance is timeless and universal in its appeal. I remember watching this film for the first time as a sophomore in high school and immediately being overwhelmed by a sympathy with Alvy Singer, and the relatable nature of this story has only gotten more painfully intense as I’ve gotten older and had more experience in the type of tale Woody has crafted.

And, that attention to detail and brutal effectiveness in detailing a relationship on its way up and just as quickly on its way out is what has made Woody Allen one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time. It would have been too easy to paint a one-sided portrait of the collapse of his time with Diane Keaton, but instead, Allen showed an honest, subtle look at the dynamics between men and women and the ways that we desire different things in life and how those desires can spell doom for love. Annie has become one of the go to examples of the “manic pixie dream girl” but if you actually watch the film, it’s clear that Annie is meant to deconstruct that typical male fantasy.

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But it isn’t just the effective realism and honest intentions of the film that makes Annie Hall the classic it’s become (though that’s certainly a major part of it). Annie Hall stands head and shoulders above its peer because it was the first major film to successfully incorporate serious themes and an actual emotional message with laugh-out-loud fourth wall shattering humor. Over the course of Annie Hall, Woody Allen doesn’t just lean on the proverbial fourth wall; he takes a chainsaw and demolishes it until you’re not sure if the fourth wall ever existed in the first place.

Having his characters directly address the camera, incorporating not only flashbacks but flashbacks where the present day characters can interact with the people in the past, using animated interludes, devolving into downright fantasy, and using sardonic thought bubbles to explain the actual thoughts of characters during dialogue, Annie Hall isn’t afraid to remind you that you’re watching a movie, and it’s better off for it. Some great films have aped this style since ( (500) Days of Summer an obvious example), but no movie has so successfully married the heartwrenching, the hilarious, and the surreal as well as Annie Hall.

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Diane Keaton won a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar at the 1977 Academy Awards for her portrayal of Annie, and the only performance by a woman in a comedy that I can think that is better than her turn in this film was Jennifer Lawrence last year in Silver Linings Playbook. Diane Keaton may have essentially been playing herself, but it was a fierce and now iconic portrayal. What makes Woody such a great writer is that he writes such complex roles for his female leads, and Annie is possibly the best role he’s ever written. Diane Keaton sees Annie through virtually the complete human emotional experience, and she never falters along the  way.

Woody lost that year for Best Actor to Richard Dreyfuss for The Goodbye Girl, and I actually agree with that decision from the Academy. Woody’s turn as Alvy is probably one of the top three performances of his career, but there’s simply no denying that Woody is better behind the camera than in front of it. There are moments here and there where Woody stops acting (even if he’s supposedly conversing with a friend in the film) and just starts performing one of his stand-up routines and the difference in his cadence is too apparent. Still, when the scene calls for it, Woody Allen too hits all the right emotional and dramatic points required for the film.

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I could go on an on about how Annie Hall is a perfect snapshot of life in the 1970s or how brilliant the “It Had to Be You” interludes are or how Allen’s neurotic, nebbish Alvy Singer became the basis of a million rom-com heroes to come, but I think I have probably bored all of you enough with my adoration bordering on worship of this masterful film. I’ve written three unpublished screenplays, and it’s no stretch of the imagination to say that Annie Hall is (with Chasing Amy and Pulp Fiction) the reason I want to be a film-maker. If, in my life, I can write a film that is one-fifth as good as Woody’s opus, I will consider my career a success. I’ll leave you with a quote.

Alvy Singer: [narrating] After that it got pretty late, and we both had to go, but it was great seeing Annie again. I… I realized what a terrific person she was, and… and how much fun it was just knowing her; and I… I, I thought of that old joke, y’know, the, this… this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, uh, my brother’s crazy; he thinks he’s a chicken.” And, uh, the doctor says, “Well, why don’t you turn him in?” The guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.” Well, I guess that’s pretty much now how I feel about relationships; y’know, they’re totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and… but, uh, I guess we keep goin’ through it because, uh, most of us… need the eggs.

Final Score: A+

 

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So, I’m going to see Fleetwood Mac in concert tonight. To say that I’m stoked for this would be quite the understatement. Fleetwood Mac has been one of my favorite bands since I was a kid. In fact, along with the soundtrack to Grease, it’s one of the first CDs that I can remember my family owning. The other first CD that I can remember from my childhood is more embarrassing and is a story I’ll wait to share for another day. In high school (back before the ages of smart phones with music in them), I would use my CD player/alarm clock to wake up at 6 AM for classes (I still don’t know how I managed to do that), and for a good two years, Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits album was what I woke up to every day. It was always “Rhiannon,” which, while a great song, is not the best song to energize one in the morning upon further reflection. Anyways, if there’s one song I absolutely need to hear tonight, it’s “Dreams” from their classic 1977 album, Rumours. It’s my favorite Fleetwood Mac song (along with “Little Lies” and “Gypsy). Anyways, I hope tonight’s show is good. My sister and I have floor seats .Should be a lot of fun.

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I reviewed The Perks of Being a Wallflower earlier today (although I’m so much sinus and cold medication today that it feels like that happened weeks ago) and as I mentioned in my review, that movie makes possibly the greatest use of a David Bowie song in a movie soundtrack ever. There is a scene where David Bowie’s underrated classic “Heroes” is playing while Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller are driving Miller’s truck through the tunnel into Pittsburgh proper. They don’t know the name of the song (though all of the true Bowie fanatics in the audience do), but they love it. Logan Lerman is stoned and Emma Watson climbs out through the backwindow of the truck to stand up in the tunnel. And there was just something so iconic and triumphant about the scene that more than almost any other moment from the film, it just stuck with me. In a film full to the brim of moments that rang true, it’s sincerity and charm was almost overwhelming. So, I leave you with David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Enjoy. (Aside: this version of the song is about half as long as the studio version.)

Last summer, I reviewed the concert film, Stop Making Sense, which Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Rachel Getting Married) shot with legendary 70s/80s New Wave band, the Talking Heads. Along with the original Woodstock documentary, Stop Making Sense is widely considered to be one of the greatest concert films ever made. The Talking Heads (I know it’s just Talking Heads but that sounds like an incorrect way to start a sentence even if it technically isn’t) are one of my favorite bands of all time, and I was looking for a song from the 1970s to put on my Song of the Day series (it’s the only decade from the 1960s on I haven’t utilized), and I thought what’s better than the manic, disturbing single that put Talking Heads on the map in the first place. This song doesn’t really represent anything about my mood (which is still sick and sort of miserable). I just think it’s an awesome song that often gets ignored by the far more popular “Burning Down the House.” So without further ado, I present you David Byrne (who may or may not be in a giant fat suit).

 

The above video is from Stop Making Sense with David Byrne doing a solo acoustic version of the song alongside a drum machine. If you want to listen to the original version from Talking Heads: ’77, you can listen to it on my April Songs of the Day playlist here on Spotify.

Before people get themselves all in a tizzy over my review of Who Are the Debolts? And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids?, I want to clarify something about the way I look at films. The best movies are timeless. Casablanca is as powerful today as it was 70 years ago. The same thing can be said for The Wizard of Oz, The Godfather, or Rebel Without a Cause (obviously with different amounts of time involved). I’m sure there are great films being made today that will be timeless, but I am wise enough to accept that many films I love that seem so relevant now will look silly or naive in 50 years (I doubt I’ll still be writing about movies by the time I’m 73 although I can hope. It’s not that I doubt I’ll still be writing; I just doubt I’ll live that long). Who Are the Debolts? is an inspiring and heartfelt documentary from the late ’70s that seems such a product of its time that I’m afraid I’ll never be able to get the gooey schmaltz of this film out of my TV. I certainly enjoyed the film but it seems so absurdly optimistic and joyful that I can’t help but feel certain elements of it are simply too good to be true and intentionally edited to leave out some uglier truths that assuredly abounded in this film.

The Debolt family, led by Mary and Bob, isn’t your ordinary American family from the 1970’s, though they’d be angry if you told them there was anything they couldn’t do. With Mary’s five children from her first marriage (she was a widow) and one child from Bob’s initial marriage, Mary and Bob Debolt adopted 13 children over the years. Of various races (though primarily Vietnamese orphans from the war) and ages (because they’ve been adopting children for so long), Bob and Mary Debolt took in the kids that no other family wanted. Nearly all of their adopted children suffer from some severe physical handicap or another, whether it’s permanently crippled legs from polio or injuries suffered during the war, blindness, or lacking any limbs whatsoever, these were children that desperately needed love but no one else would give it to them until the Debolts came around. Showing the daily life in the Debolts house when there are still 12 kids living there (the 7 oldest had gotten older and moved out) and the struggles and triumphs of this happy and unique family.

I feel like I have to be the most cynical asshole on the planet to find reasons to criticize this movie which shows two of the most hard-working and loving parents I’ve ever seen. The amount of love in this family’s heart is astounding, and I have nothing but respect for them. It was a struggle as a child when my family opened our home to four foster siblings with no physical defects. I can only imagine how tough it must have been to take in 13 kids who were severely handicapped. And that’s the film’s problem in a nutshell. I have to imagine how tough this was because the film is all about the positive things that happened when this family took in all of these kids. It doesn’t do a very good job of showing how difficult this life must be and just what kinds of sacrifices Mary and Bob had to make in order for this to work out. It just didn’t seem especially realistic. There are moments where you see how rough it is. Watching the young African-American adopted daughter with no arms or legs strap herself into her prosthetic body was heart-breaking as was watching one of their newest children, the blind and crippled J.R., fail to make his way up the stairs, which the family calls “the mountain” because it feels like you climbed a mountain when you finally scale it on your own for the first time. However, too much of the time the movie went out of its way to be sugary-sweet and it lacked any authenticity because of it.

If you’ve ever been part of a family that adopted kids (or were adopted yourself) or you were part of a family that opened itself up to foster care, you should definitely watch Who Are the Debolts? even though the jaded cynic in me has to find flaws in it. It will remind you of just how important it is that we as a society look out for and (most importantly) truly love like our own flesh and blood those who don’t have someone to take care of them. Foster care and adoption are probably the only real ways that I can see myself ever having children because this world sucks too much to voluntarily put someone in it, especially when there are thousands and thousands of kids here in America looking for a nice home that simply can’t find it. It had been a while since I had really dwelt on all of the good that my family was able to do for the foster kids we helped raise, and this movie helped remind me that it was certainly all worth it and that it’s something I want to do when I’m older and have a wife and a secure source of income.

Final Score: B

I may have mentioned this on here before (likely a dozen times), but I’m a sucker for a good romance. Most of them are awful, but when a good one slips through, it’s magic. I was trying to decide what movie to watch last night when I got home, and my French roommate’s North African friend is a big fan of classic American movies. I had one such film at home from Netflix (the other two are more modern, The Tree of Life and Moon) and since I was feeling in an especially sociable mood, I decided to watch something that everybody could watch (rather than him awkwardly sitting in our kitchen waiting for my French roommate to get back). That movie was Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl starring Martha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss (in an Oscar-winning performance that marked him as the youngest man to win Best Actor at the Oscars til Adrien Brody in The Pianist). While it had a rough beginning and a unfocused final act, The Goodbye Girl was an effortlessly charming movie with plenty of laughs and a comedic powerhouse of a performance from Richard Dreyfuss.

When middle aged New York ex-dancer and single mother Paula (Marsha Mason) is dumped by her boyfriend without warning, her life is turned completely upside down. Without informing Paula that he was leaving in the first place, her ex subleased her apartment to fellow actor Elliot (Richard Dreyfuss) essentially leaving Paula and her 10 year old daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings) on the streets. When Elliot first tries to move in, Paula doesn’t want to give the apartment up and wants to fight so she and her daughter have a place to live. Thankfully, she and Elliot (who instantly dislike each other) come to a compromise where Elliot (who has the legal right to do whatever he wants) allows Paula and Lucy to live there until their original lease runs out. As these two clash over Elliot’s eccentricities (such as playing the guitar at 1 AM to help himself sleep or loudly meditating at 6 AM when he wakes), they also bond and beneath all of the bickering, there is an underlying romantic and sexual chemistry that is just waiting to burst.

This film came out the same year as Annie Hall, and I’d always wondered what was so special about Richard Dreyfuss’s performance that he could top Woody Allen that year. Well, I understand it now. While Richard Dreyfuss’s acting is the only area where The Goodbye Girl is at all superior to Annie Hall, that isn’t an insult against Richard Dreyfuss’s performance one bit. He was full of so much life and charisma. He had the whole neurotic, eccentric actor part down, but there was also an undeniable magnetism about him. He was a perpetual motion machine, and you couldn’t help but get caught up in his energy. For a character who was an inherently decent man with very few flaws (but many bizarre quirks), Richard Dreyfuss still enhanced the script by giving a three-dimensional nature to Elliot that may not have been there simply from Neil Simon’s words. Martha Mason was far less impressive as she veered back and forth from being wooden and unemotional (and largely unsympathetic) to almost cartoonishly over-the-top. Young Quinn Cummings deserved her Best Supporting Actress nomination as Lucy for one of the most precocious and mature performances from a young actress this side of Little Miss Sunshine orThe Piano.

The script for the film is warm and full of life, and it’s really a shame that I felt that the movie started dragging its feet to artificially draw out the final running time. It’s first 15 minutes or so did not paint the picture of the movie that this turned out to be and everyone should at least wait for Richard Dreyfuss to arrive before they start drawing conclusions on the film’s quality. In the beginning, there is far too much Paula, and a combination of Martha Mason’s over-acting and Paula’s generally annoying nature, the film doesn’t work as well. However, Neil Simon’s pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and the chemistry between characters simply explodes off the screen whenever Elliot and Paula are put together. This is the rare Neil Simon film that wasn’t based off of one his Broadway plays, but Neil Simon is obviously as adept at writing a screenplay as he is a stage script because when the film finally hits its groove, it keeps chugging along til the end. Whether it’s Elliot playing an overtly homosexual version of Richard III, Martha being mugged and Elliot nearly being murdered trying to get her purse back, or one of Elliot and Martha’s many fights in the apartment, the film has an air of sincerity and believability even when its inherent premise is so absurd. I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who would be as nice as Elliot considering how bitchy Martha was for the film’s first two acts.

The Goodbye Girl has a reputation as being sort of a chick flick, and I don’t understand that at all. It’s simply a timeless love story and comedy that anyone with a beating heart can enjoy. Even though I thought the ending took way too long to resolve, I still spent the last 20 minutes of the film grinning like an idiot because the emotional payoff of the film worked so well, and it didn’t feel cheap or disingenuous. It made sense within the context of the story. If you liked movies like Annie Hall or any of Neil Simon’s plays like The Odd Couple or Biloxi Blues, go ahead and watch The Goodbye Girl. It will make you laugh; it might even make you cry. It will certainly make sure you have a good evening.

Final Score: B+

I got this movie in the mail nearly a month and a half ago from Netflix. The first copy that I was sent didn’t even work and so I had to send it back to get a functional copy. By the time a copy that worked came in the mail, I had started school and a new job and didn’t have time to watch movies. I’m a moron for waiting this long to watch such a beautiful and moving film as Werner Herzog’s Stroszek. The lat two movies I watched were sort of disappointing, and leave it to the Germans to provide me one of the most scathing and tragic examinations of the American dream that I have ever seen put to celluloid. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a film with such bleak fatalism and morose undertones, but despite the black-hole of despair that constitutes much of this film, I found myself endlessly intrigued by the simple but elegant tale that Herzog puts forth in this instant classic of a film.

Stroszek is the tale of three German immigrants to the United States in the 1970’s. Bruno Stroszek (Bruno. S) has just been released from prison back onto the streets of Berlin where he continues his career as a street performer. Eva (Eva Mattes) is a prostitute who is bullied and abused by her pimps and finds friendship and affection from the strange but kind Bruno, even as her pimps assault Bruno as well. Their kindly neighbor is moving to America and in order to escape the desolation and abuse they receive on the streets of Berlin, Bruno and Eva decide to go with him. Their point of escape is the equally bleak rural Wisconsin countryside where Bruno and Eva quickly learn that the frozen mid-West is not the magical American wonderland they were expecting and that perhaps things here are as bad if not worse than in Germany.

The only other Werner Herzog film that I can remember watching is his American feature Rescue Dawn with Christian Bale which was a serviceable if flawed Vietnam prisoner of war story. I did not expect the level of artistry that I saw on display in this film. Much like There Will Be Blood, the camera is as integral to the story as any aspect of the plot. We have these long, trailing shots of the mid-West scenery juxtaposed against more mundane tracking shots of our protagonists engaged in fairly simple and boring activities, and it creates this interesting dichotomy between the isolated beauty of the surroundings with the mind-numbing redundancy of our lives. The camera often lingers several seconds after the primary action of a scene has ended to capture the most insignificant of details just to remind us of our small and fleeting roles in the world. It has been ages since I’ve watched a movie that had me examining every aspect of what the director was placing in a scene for every scrap of detail and meaning I could. It was intellectually exhilarating and it lent the film a literary sense of ambition and symbolism.

One of the real draws of the film for me besides the stellar direction and thematic elements of the film was the untapped and natural talent of Bruno S. as the film’s star Bruno Stroszek. I was simply blown away by his performance. There was a fierce naturalism to his portrayal of the down-on-his luck immigrant that transcended performance and entered the realm of inhabiting his character. Were he more attractive, his sheer expressiveness would have made him a perfect candidate for a Fellini picture (who more often chose actors based on their faces than acting ability), yet in this film, despite his unconventional looks, he provides an extraordinarily sympathetic hero for this modern morality tale. His performance is literally like nothing else I’ve ever seen. It lacks any of the pretensions of other film roles (even the best performances have an inherent theatrical artificiality), and it exists on a purely natural level that enters your heart in the way that practically no other performances I can think of have.

If the film has one flaw, it’s the sudden and unexpected shift to surrealism in the film’s final frames. We had a fairly realistic and straight-forward tale for much of the film and in it’s last minutes, it shoots off into strange and heavily symbolic territory. It wasn’t bad and I enjoyed the way it tickled my brain, but it didn’t feel very cohesive with the rest of the film. For fans of foreign cinema, this is a must watch movie. It reminded me a lot of El Norte, a Mexican film I had to watch in high school which also took a similarly pessimistic view of the American dream. This movie is not for everyone as it takes a very deliberate and paced approach to development that some would call slow but I simply call detailed, but I like films that I can categorize as being portrait-esque. I’m glad I finally opened the movie I got from Netflix well over a month ago.

Final Score: A-

A long time ago (about 30 years ago), in a galaxy not far away at all (our own), George Lucas dropped on the world a movie that would prove (if inflation is taken into account) to be the highest grossing film ever made and would go on to spawn 5 more films, a seemingly endless series of official novel tie-ins, a bunch of video games, and more licensed merchandise than I even want to begin to think about. That movie was, of course, Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. With just one movie, George Lucas would change not just the face of science fiction in film forever but the very nature of blockbuster films for all of eternity. The first outing isn’t necessarily as perfect as history wants it to be, and I think The Empire Strikes Back is definitely the far better film, but this film’s place in cinema history is locked and guaranteed like few others.

I wish I could say that I literally don’t know a single person who has never seen the Star Wars films but that’s not true anymore, literally as of this watching, because my roommate’s girlfriend walked into the living room while I was watching this and told me she had never seen Star Wars before. I had to pause the movie so I could pick my jaw up off the floor and let that information sink in before I continued watching it. So, if you’re like my roommate’s girlfriend and have never seen a Star Wars picture, here’s a basic plot synopsis. Young farmer Luke Skywalker gets mixed up in an intergalactic battle between the evil Empire, headed by Emperor Palpatine (not named or even mentioned in this film) and Darth Vader against the Rebellion, led by Princess Leia. Luke is introduced to the concept of the Force, a mystical energy that flows through all life in the universe and gives us our strength and power, by an old Jedi knight named Obi-Wan Kenobi. With this new found power and a rag tag group of comrades like Han Solo, a mercenary, and his Wookie Chewbacca, along with robots R2-D2 and C3PO, Luke sets off on a journey to rescue the galaxy from the Empire.

If you thought the effects in this movie would age fairly poorly for something that’s over 30 years old, you’d be wrong, and I really am incapable of comprehending why George Lucas feels the need to go back and ruin his old classics by inserting digital upgrades and new scenes and computer graphics that weren’t in the original and feel completely out of place and forced. His effects and his genius still look great now and he really should just leave his own movies alone. South Park had it right when they devoted an entire episode to skewering this particularly sad trend of his. A shout out must be given to John Williams who gives perhaps one of the most iconic scores in film history in this movie. A lot of his scores have gained an iconic status, and there’s definitely a reason for this. He is simply one of the most talented scorers in the history of cinema.

The movie is not perfect despite what some people like to claim. Mark Hamill is an absolutely atrocious actor. It has its fair share of pacing problems. The character development is pretty bone dry and a lot of the characters are, in this movie and it’s fixed with the other two, caricatures of archetypal figures in fiction. However, there are a lot of great things working for it too. Despite being the most copied and mimicked movie ever made, its story and plot still hold up as genuinely entertaining despite all of the dopplegangers out there. Alec Guinness is spectacular in his Oscar-nominated role as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Harrison Ford has never been cooler than when he’s Han Solo. C3PO and R2D2 are my favorite characters in the entire series despite the fact that R2D2 can literally only make indecipherable beeps and bloops. They just give the film the comic touch it definitely needs.

What is there left to say about Star Wars that hasn’t already been said. If these films (I’m referring to the original trilogy here, not the let’s just say less than fantastic new ones) weren’t as amazing as they truly are, the Star Wars franchise wouldn’t still be making more money in merchandise alone than whatever the biggest box office draw of the year makes in theaters. The Star Wars saga holds an absolutely special place in the hearts of countless people, and it’s really a shame that George Lucas hasn’t made a truly great film since The Empire Strikes Back. While A New Hope isn’t my favorite film in the series, it is still one of the finest science fiction epics ever made.

Final Score: A