American Graffiti (1973) – Reviewed

Ron Howard, Cindy Williams and Richard Dreyfuss lead an outstanding ensemble cast courtesy of a pre-Star Wars George Lucas who directed and co-wrote the script (with Gloria Katz). American Graffiti is understated, dialogue-driven and sharp…words not often associated with his career-defining franchise empire. Taking place over one night in 1962 (just before the last shred of 50s innocence vanishes forever), the movie follows several different groups of teens who’ve just graduated and are standing in the shadow of their impending adulthood. Howard and Williams try to decide whether they should stay together when he leaves for college, while Dreyfus has second thoughts about going to school at all. Wolfman Jack hosts the rock ‘n roll radio show that functions as the singular (and amazing) soundtrack throughout — pumped from the car dashes of boulevard-cruisin’ hotrods and “Mel’s” car-hop-drive-in hangout. The nostalgia seems authentic (to one too young to have lived it) and every moment seems unquestionably sincere. A young Harrison Ford plays a drawling country boy who antagonizes Paul LeMat into a drag race. AG is simultaneously romantic, meloncholy and hilarious. Its “one-night-in-the-life-of…” format makes it ideal for a no-brainer multi-generational double feature with the equally entertaining 70s-centric Dazed and Confused (1993).

~ by Number5ive on November 3, 2008.

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