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Midnight Cowboy (1969)
A Cliché - This is a Classic Film
Two of the best losers ever to appear on screen. The acting by Hoffman and Voight in this film is quite simply excellent. I cannot say either was better than the other, Voight's portrayal of the naive Joe Buck and Hoffman's street savvy cripple are both screen gems. It's a particularly touching end as well as to be honest you don't really expect to feel much sympathy. I've not read the biogs fully of each actor but were they both nominated for Oscars for their roles? I haven't seen Dustin Hoffman in any better role since that of Ratzo, and Voight is back on our screens again lately quite deservedly. I've just seen Pride and Glory and that has prompted me to put my comment against this film. You shone in it guys.
Everybody Hates Chris (2005)
We Didn't See Enough of this in the UK
I love this series and as I now don't possess a TV am waiting for that well known download shop to load it for sale. It perfectly sums up life in the 70's and although I'm English I come from a similar background. Love the fact that it's not afraid to shock sometimes in its narration . My favourite character is Chris' mum, a good disciplinarian but fair as well. We need more like her today. Chris Rock gets a lot of stick in his stand-up for being basically honest and direct, however that's what's missing these days. This is a piece of TV genius. Finally Chris if you ever log on - FABULOUS SOUNDTRACK!!! You managed to pick the best soul tracks of the 70's well done!
The Magdalene Sisters (2002)
I am currently watching this on digital TV having rented it on DVD for the first time round. It still stirs the same anger and compassion in me. Geraldine McEwan is particularly good as the borderline insane Sister however I really wanted to reach through the TV and thump her into oblivion, ditto the nuns in the shower scene. Please do not watch this film if you have a poor opinion of the clergy and their 'women folk' your views will be reinforced no end. Watch it however if you want to see excellent performances from both the established actresses and the upcoming younger ones. I didn't realise Anne Marie Duff was in it by the way.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
Education not Just for Passing Exams
My God, this film is just so wonderful! Let's look at the physical aspects, beautifully set and filmed to begin. Privileged boys in a privileged setting but rich boys can be unhappy too as is demonstrated by both Robert Sean Leonard's character and that of Ethan Hawke, two very fine leads in this film. I'm not a parent but like the Virgin Suicides this sent a very strong message to me - let your children pursue their dreams not yours. Robin Williams' teacher embodies all that teaching should be, yes you need to pass exams to an extent but education is also about learning about your peers, yourself and appreciating if that is your thing great books, art and performance and tolerance of other beliefs, viewpoints etc than yours even if you don't accept them. What a wonderful thing it is and how it can enable you to see life in such a different manner.
I still cry to this day at the final scene where the boys - they still are really, know an injustice has taken place and finally learn to stand by what they believe in. Seize the day, the moment whatever it never comes again!
Life on Mars (2006)
Life on Mars
Along with The Rotters Club which was also screened last year this ranks as one of the best series depicting the 70's. It has a fine lead actor lead in the ever excellent John Simm, a vastly under rated young actor who chooses his projects with great care and doesn't seem to lend his name to anything but quality drama. I haven't seen Phl Glenister in anything before so can only judge him on this series. He plays Gene Hunt with fervour and has the added advantage of delivering some of the funniest one liners. Well done script writers.
Highly nostalgic as well for me personally as I grew up in he 70's and can still see many positives to the decade although some of the sexism and racism contained so accurately recreated in the programme is not missed at all. Strongly apparent is the sense of community, especially in the episode in the first series about the cover up of a death in a factory where the introduction of new machinery means loss of jobs. A character's words to his son are "you are not on your own unless you want to be". Modern communities are not so welcoming. The chosen soundtrack is first rate featuring bands like Free whose music is now rarely played and I sometimes doubt is remembered, but who were one of the best bands of the 70's. Full marks all round.
The Forsyte Saga (2002)
The Forsyte Saga 2002
As the previous post said a truly excellent cast and a superb adaptation of the book. I was very young at the time of the original 1960's series, so can't remember too much. I therefore sat down to follow this production with interest. Damian Lewis was absolutely outstanding as the cold, emotionally barren Soames. One British reviewer commented that his portrait of Soames made you feel pity for the character - absolutely not! It was it seemed to me a very accurate portrayal which is a testament to his ability as an actor. It was the first time I'd seen him in anything but his performance ensured I would in the future watch him in anything first time without question. Apart from Dreamcatcher he hasn't put a foot wrong.
Funny Lady (1975)
I am very disappointed with this film, perhaps it should have been left at Funny Girl. I echo the comments of another post, I too loved the emotion, the humour and the naive innocence of Fanny. It is inevitable that she grows and matures, but it simply does not cut it at all. I adore Barbara Streisand she manages to cross the divide as actress and singer perfectly and I cannot listen to People from Funny Girl shall we say needing a tissue. However, her character although still meant to be self effacing and endearing and humorous is certainly not the latter in Funny Lady. Also sorry any James Caan devotees, he is no where at all as near as sexy as Omar Sharif, I can see why Fanny did not want to divorce him, he has charm and class or rather Nick Arnstein does that is Omar Sharif gives Nick Arnstein those qualities.
Jacob's Ladder (1990)
One of the most atmospheric, truly chilling films of the 90's. It doesn't need to try and prove itself with slasher scenes and the like, and it is a worthy equal to the excellent Don't Look Now made in 1973. Tim Robbins is another Hollywood actor who chooses his roles very carefully and refuses to toe the line, keep the status quo, do a film for the sake of a box office hit, however you choose to express it and it has paid off. This film also sensitively portrays how a parent copes with the loss of a child, and the final scene is very moving even to me as a non parent. I keep waiting for something to equal or surpass it and as yet nothing has.
Velvet Goldmine (1998)
I just really love this film. I grew up in the 70's so made specific point of watching it when it came out. Very fine acting by Christian Bale, I love his vulnerable character and the fact that he still has a British accent despite living in the States for a while. Another fine performance from Toni Collette and Jonathan Rhys Myers also. Todd Haynes seemed to have created a 1970's Gatsby, with the clothes and make up in some scenes. Like most films you have to think about it was greeted with mixed reviews here in the UK, however, but of course the best actors are those who are willing to diversify. I like Ewan McGregor but don't think this was his best role.
New Jack City (1991)
New Jack City
As British TV is so bad at the moment I'm re-watching many of my DVDs. I dug this out. Wesley Snipes is a very underrated actor just like his peer Laurence Fishburne. He is excellent in this, and as another user has commented, you see especially in the trial scene that his character isn't quite the dumb-head he appears to be just misguided. It has a fine cast. I dug the film out to watch Judd Nelson's performance again in it as I've just re-watched the Breakfast Club and wanted to compare. I can't remember who directed NJC but it's very reminiscent of a Spike Lee film and just as hard hitting. It is just as relevant today as it was back in 1991 in fact more relevant here in Manchester, United Kingdom as we have seen over the past 7 years some serious divisions within the black community.