American Graffiti Thoughts

As I write this, I’m currently watching suffering through Norbit. Before you think any less of me I have to point out that it was my cousin who bought it; if it were my choice I’d be relaxing in my handsome smoking jacket, sipping cognac while watching Lawrence of Arabia. But I guess Eddie Murphy in a fat suit is almost as good.

It's like looking in a mirror

Thankfully I have my memories of American Graffiti to get me through this ordeal. Written and directed by George Lucas, American Graffiti follows the misadventures of four young men on the night before leaving for college. As you might guess, hilarity and drama ensue.

My thoughts on the movie:

-Incredible soundtrack. This may be a no-brainer, but for somebody raised on the oldies this soundtrack was more enjoyable than a jello sponge bath.

-Apparently George Lucas used a number of supposedly flubbed scenes and I’m convinced that this freedom in his filmmaking contributed to Graffiti’s infectious exuberance. For example, according to the script a water balloon was supposed to hit a James Dean type character who’d get so upset that he’d chase down the people who threw it and get revenge by messing with their car. Instead, the water balloon catches the guy’s passenger smack dab in the face and the actors burst out in surprised and completely genuine laughter. George Lucas kept this take and used it in the movie, so when the guy and his passenger catch up with their tormentors, they’re revenge seems fun and lighthearted and entirely in keeping with the brimming excitement that was so prevalent in the film.

-It’s very creepy seeing Richard Dreyfuss look so young. Seeing him look that young is like seeing your parents naked. Oh god, now I’m scarred for life. Damn you Richard Dreyfuss.

-I don’t understand how Ron Howard is sexy. In Graffiti he’s got a steady girlfriend and gets hit on by other women and in Happy Days he always seems to get attention from the fairer sex. What gives? He’s scrawny, scrawny sounding, and kind of conceited. Is it just me or can somebody explain why Ron Howard got so much action. Thanks in advance.

-Wolfman Jack actually looked like a wolfman.

Watch out, he bites

-There are some stunning shots in this movie. Right before the final race scene, several cars drive up with the night sky gradually shifting into early dawn. As the headlights motor down the road there are some stunning images that got me pumped for the climactic race.

-Speaking of the climactic race, I was really disappointed in Harrison Ford’s racing performance. Everything I know about car racing I learned from the Fast and Furious franchise so admittedly I’m not a very good judge of racing authenticity but still. Han Solo would never crash the Millenium Falcon into an asteroid. Having him spin off the road for no good reason is practically blasphemy.

Those are my thoughts on American Graffiti. Agree or disagree, let me know. And stay tuned for my thoughts on the final movie in my marathon, Maid in Manhattan.


ian said...

I always liked American Graffiti. There's a sequel, you know. Kind of weird and different. Go check it out.


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