Released 1973 (USA)
American, in English
Director - George Lucas
Stars - Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith
In 1962 California, friends Curt (Dreyfuss), Steve (Howard), John (Le Mat), and Terry (Smith), all recent high school grads, have one last night of teenaged fun before buckling down into their adult lives.
Brief male nudity (butt only); mild violence; implied sexy times.
Holy crap, it’s SO boring. It’s mostly just them cruising around in their cars for two hours.
It’s not even half as funny as it thinks it is.
With the exception of Dreyfuss, I wasn’t especially impressed with the performances (although it was fun to see Harrison Ford, as Bob Falfa, play out of type).
The little “where are they now” section at the end was surprisingly maudlin. The tone of it didn’t really fit the film. Maybe that was the point? “Welcome to adulthood! It sucks.”
Really good performance from Dreyfuss. His storyline makes the whole movie. Howard’s is boring teenaged drama; Le Mat’s is pointless; and Smith’s is supposed to bring the laughs; but Dreyfuss got the meaty role, the question that the movie is actually pondering, and he did really well with it.
I like that it explores a part of the teenage experience that is rarely covered in film: that making the transition from childhood to adulthood is as frightening as it is thrilling, and that it can be difficult to have the courage to embrace that transition with enthusiasm.
I mean, it’s not like it’s crap or anything. I just saw an awful lot of reviews online waxing poetic about it being an “American classic” and I can’t really find it in myself to agree. This is another one of those movies where I think to myself, “I totally get why Baby Boomers love this.” I really do. This is Baby Boomer nostalgia through and through, much like Forrest Gump is. So I understand how it could end up on this list, because I’m certain most of the AFI voters are Baby Boomers and their elders, but I’m not convinced that it belongs on the list. I really found it so incredibly dull, which was disappointing, because I was actually looking forward to it. I thought it was going to be fun (I saw it once before, but it was nearly 30 years ago, so I couldn’t remember any of it). I didn’t have fun, unless you count the game I played on my phone while I was watching it.
I give the movie 2.5 stars.