1970’s

[6.0] After the world saw its first bona-fide blockbuster, 1975’s Jaws, daring Italian movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis decided he needed to go down in history for producing the second one. He settled on a remake of 1933’s King Kong and hired John Guillerman (The Towering Inferno) to direct. The screenplay is faithful to the original film in its broad strokes: A boat seeks passage …

[7.0] Ralph Bakshi’s first animated feature is an X-rated adaptation of Robert Crumb’s Fritz the Cat. Fritz is a college student who likes to have a good time by way of weed and women, but manages to cram a lot of philosophical and existential musings between vices. After an orgy is busted by the pigs (the police are all actual pigs in this world), Fritz …

[7.0] F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most required reading is faithfully script-adapted by Francis Ford Coppola, with Jack Clayton directing a production as lavish as required for the story of the uber-wealthy but mysterious Jay Gatsby. We enter into Gatsby’s opulent world through the eyes of Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway. Robert Redford is superbly cast as the reticent but disarming Gatsby, who ends up roping Carraway …

[4.0] In one of Disney Animation’s weaker efforts, a jealous butler seeks to do away with a mother cat and her three kittens before their owner can bequeath her fortunes to the furry little bastards. I can’t blame him, really. The cats are annoying, snobby little characters with sticks so far up their asses, they are incapable of exuding much charm or engendering much sympathy. …

[5.0] George C. Scott’s charisma is the best thing Patton has going for it. The film is a pastiche of the famous (and infamous) army general’s career through World War II, including his successful invasion of Sicily, media blunders resulting in military reprimand, and his eventual aid in the fall of the Third Reich. The film initially paints Patton as a hard-ass who gets the …

[7.0] A pair of New York city narcotics cops try to bust a big heroin deal being brokered between suspected mobsters and a French connection. But one of the cops, ‘Popeye’ Doyle (Gene Hackman), has a history of recklessness and threatens to lead his partner (Roy Scheider) down another dangerous rabbit hole in his obsessive pursuit of the drug dealers. Based on a true story …

[6.5] The Pom Pom Girls stands out from the grindhouse pack for me. The title is actually a misnomer, as there are precious few moments with any cheerleaders. The movie is really about two high-school boys and their girlfriends making love, participating in pranks, and enjoying the last year of their lives together before graduation. The only thing driving a conventional plot is a big …

[5.5] Steve Martin and director Carl Reiner team up for this absurdist, serendipitous comedy about a poor country boy who leaves his family to discover what the big city has to offer him. Martin’s character is an oblivious man-child whose ignorance and confusion sees him through a series of comic set-pieces that give The Jerk a skit-comedy feel for a while. Highlights include a gas …

[5.0] This dopey but harmless summer camp movie helped lead the charge of ’80s teen comedies that would follow in its wake. It’s tame by comparison, but noteworthy for being the first pairing of director Ivan Reitman and actor Bill Murray, who would later bring us Stripes and Ghostbusters. Fellow frequent collaborator Harold Ramis is even one of the screenwriters here. But there’s not a …

[7.0] A young man named Smitty (Wendell Burton) goes to prison and immediately falls into a brutal struggle for power and supremacy. He reluctantly enters into a submissive relationship with one of his roommates, a tough guy named Rocky (Zooey Hall) who promises to protect him from gang rapes in exchange for sexual servitude. He also observes how a drag queen named Queenie (Michael Greer) …

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