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  • Lance Mannion
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Janelle Dvorak

I love "The Last Detail". I first saw it in Switzerland with French subtitles, and I put it to you that the French translation of "I am the m-f'ing shore patrol!" just doesn't quite do Jack justice.


The Parallax View.


OK, Mannion, I think I get the game here..let me take a shot and see if I can score:

The Long Goodbye. Altman deliberately jerked Chandler's Marlowe out of his booth at Musso and Franks in 1946 and stuffed him into faux hipster Elliott Gould to shamble through 1970s LA like a baffled gumshoe from another planet. Its one hell of Seventies document--with a supporting cast icing the film like some crazy creme fraise from the period: Nina Van Pallandt (con-man author Clifford Irving's lover), MLB pitcher and tell-all author Jim Bouton, former OSS secret agent and Hollywood maverick Sterling Hayden..


Fame. It's a year too late, but the clothes really were every bit that awful in NYC high schools in the late seventies, and the hair just that bad.


Julydogs, Yes, The Long Goodbye, but also Altman's California Split. dyglnn, Parallex View's another good one. Julia, Fame too, but I'm not sure I dare re-watch that one. An argument over it when it first came out almost ended my relationship with the girl I was dating at the time. You've met her. I'm still dating her.

Anton P. Nym

As someone who has only set foot in New York City twice, and neither time was in the '70s, I don't know if my suggestion will withstand scrutiny... but for me the archetypical mid-'70s movie was "The Taking of Pelham 123". (The original, not the unfortunate remakes. I think the reason the remakes tanked is that "Pelham" was so much of its period that it can't thrive when taken out of it.)

-- Steve


The Paper Chase
The Friends of Eddie Coyle

(I grew up in Boston.)


On a personal level, though, for someone like me, a middle of the night re-immersion in the 1970s is like deliberately giving yourself a nightmare about being back in high school except that all the surreal dream images are actual memories and instead of finding yourself standing in front of the room in your underwear you’re standing there in suede crepe-soled shoes, corduroy bellbottoms, a mustard-colored polyester shirt with collar wings that reach to the shoulders on either side, and a Shaun Cassidy haircut.

Heh. Try having the 80s - the peg-pants, giant-shouldered, feathered hair, jelly shoes, bangles wearing, neon-nasty, no-one-looks-even-cool-in-this-crap 80s - be your equivalent. The 90s, for all of their problems, aesthetically or otherwise, came as a blessed respite!


Cinderella Liberty

El Jefe


Amen. Once you got far enough into the decade (past about '95, I'd say) the Nineties were as close as us "youngsters" had ever been in our lives to the simple-lined, understated cool of most Sixties clothing, including the kinds that regular people wore in ordinary places. (I look back at pictures of my parents and their friends in the early years of their marriage, say mid-Sixties, and think "OK, some of it's nearly dowdy, but it has a simple grace of form and why, God, why would you trade any of it in on the fashion crapulence of the twenty years that followed ?" Basically the only things worth wearing in those dark times (polyester nightmares indeed ;) were "unfashionable" retreads of the older eras' gear.

El Jefe

Also, jumping up and down beside Anton, "Pelham 123." And you may be a little unkind to Bella and Abe, the latter of them held off Smiling John Lindsay's fiscal apocalypse as long as he could. His worst failing was being a liberal of the stripe you identified elsewhere, trying to fix the house when it needs to be torn down and built fresh.


I immediately thought of "Pelham 123" as well. I'd suggest "Slap Shot" for its passing look at Rust Belt disintegration (a phenomenon that's as Seventies as polyester slacks). Paul Schrader's "Blue Collar" has a not-passing look at same.

Kudos also for Lance's "Bad News Bears" mention.


Hey Lance -- Wanted to wave a small flag for the decade I personally remember mostly as terrible eyeglass fashions in grade school:

Gay rights happened in the 70s. From the Stonewall riots in June 1969 to Harvey Milk's assassination in 1978 the whole world really did change. State sodomy laws, anti-gay and anti-drag liquor license regulations and local 'decency' ordinances were overturned, bar raids, newspaper outings and scandal hunts were stopped, orientation clauses were added to local and state constitution after constitution, to college and workplace anti-discrimination clauses, one after another. Anita Bryant’s fun crusade in 1977 was in response to one of these ordinances having already been passed. Renee Richards famously transitioned genders in 1975. Billie Jean King was arguably the most famous woman athlete in the world for all ten years, won the Battle of the Sexes in 1973, and was officially outed in 1981.

And the American Psychiatric Association formally declassified gay as a mental illness in the 1973 DSM-IV. (If you haven’t heard this story on This American Life, don’t miss out)

I do remember how very unsafe it was to be gay in a pissant catholic new england state in 1986 as it was -- too awful to imagine those first years of HIV if the seventies had not come first.

For movies I’d guess that would be from Boys in the Band (1970) to Torch Song Trilogy (ok 1988, but the original off- and Broadway shows opened in 1978-1981, tony award 1983).

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