Box office is hitting the lowest numbers since the red alert days of
. And this weekend doesn’t look to turn things around, unless Glitter draws the Waldenbooks crowd out of hiding and makes $200 million (conservative estimate) by Sunday. Let us avert our eyes then, away from contemporary misery and back to a more joyful era: 1977! The gilded year of Atari 2600s, 65 cent gas, and guillotine executions, when Disco Demolition Night was still but a twinkle in some blue collar slob’s eye… Tulip Fever
The in-flight movie on our ’77 trip is
, the landmark extraterrestrial drama that’s re-releasing in theaters this week for its 40th anniversary. The Certified Fresh trophy we made from mashed potatoes and sent to Spielberg’s office went unanswered for some reason, so instead we’ll be commemorating the moment with our gallery of the 24 best-reviewed movies (with at least 20 reviews) of 1977! Close Encounters of the Third Kind How many have you seen?
(100%) That Obscure Object of Desire
That Obscure Object of Desire is a frequently unsettling treatise on the quixotic nature of lust and love.
(97%) Annie Hall
Filled with poignant performances and devastating humor, Annie Hall represents a quantum leap for Woody Allen and remains an American classic.
(96%) 3 Women
3 Women is a strange, eerie portrait of late-’70s womanhood that upends and then defies all expectations.
(96%) Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is deeply humane sci-fi exploring male obsession, cosmic mysticism, and music.
(93%) Star Wars
A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same.
The blood pours freely in Argento’s classic Suspiria, a giallo horror as grandiose and glossy as it is gory.
(92%) Pumping Iron
In addition to offering an enlightening early look into the world of future star/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pumping Iron provides a witty and insightful overview of competitive bodybuilding.
(92%) Opening Night
Opening Night is as dense and difficult as one would expect from John Cassavetes, but even the director’s detractors will be unable to deny the power of Gena Rowlands’ performance.
David Lynch’s surreal Eraserhead uses detailed visuals and a creepy score to create a bizarre and disturbing look into a man’s fear of parenthood.
(91%) A Grin Without a Cat
Grin Without a Cat is a 4-hour mash-up doc on civil disobedience and revolution that collides together with the same power of its recorded subjects.
(91%) The Duellists
Rich, stylized visuals work with effective performances in Ridley Scott’s take on Joseph Conrad’s Napoleonic story, resulting in an impressive feature film debut for the director.
(90%) The American Friend
The American Friend is a slow burning existential thriller that does justice to the Patricia Highsmith source novel.
House is a gleefully demented collage of grand guginol guffaws and bizarre sequences.
George A. Romero’s contribution to vampire lore contains the expected gore and social satire — but it’s also surprisingly thoughtful, and boasts a whopper of a final act.
(87%) Saturday Night Fever
Boasting a smart, poignant story, a classic soundtrack, and a starmaking performance from John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever ranks among the finest dramas of the 1970s.
(83%) The Rescuers
Featuring superlative animation, off-kilter characters, and affectionate voice work by Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor, The Rescuers represents a bright spot in Disney’s post-golden age.
(81%) The Gauntlet
Eastwood has a good time playing a dolt in the surprisingly funny Gauntlet, which otherwise has the typical Clint trappings.
(81%) Slap Shot
Raunchy, violent, and very funny, Slap Shot is ultimately set apart by a wonderful comic performance by Paul Newman.
(81%) Smokey and the Bandit
Not much in the head but plenty beneath the hood, Smokey and the Bandit is infectious fun with plenty of car wrecks to keep your eyes glued.
Sorcerer, which obstinately motors along on its unpredictable speed, features ambitious sequences of insane white-knuckle tension.
(80%) The Kentucky Fried Movie
The now obscure pop culture references and spoofed commercials add to Kentucky Fried Movie‘s anarchic, anything-goes spirit and wit.
(79%) The Spy Who Loved Me
Though it hints at the absurdity to come in later installments, The Spy Who Loved Me‘s sleek style, menacing villains, and sly wit make it the best of the Roger Moore era.
(77%) Looking for Mr. Goodbar
Diane Keaton gives an absolutely fearless performance in a sexual thriller whose ending will leave audiences trembling.
(75%) High Anxiety
Uneven but hilarious when it hits, this spoof of Hitchcock movies is a minor classic in the Mel Brooks canon.