FAVORITE FILMS….FOR EACH YEAR OF MY LIFE…BY DECADE…CUE THE SEVENTIES

Again, the links are to those I’ve written something substantive about…

1970 Two Mules for Sister Sara (Don Siegel) (over Patton and Kelly’s Heroes)

1971 Dollars (Richard Brooks) (over Billy Jack, Klute, A New Leaf and The Last Picture Show)

1972 The Harder They Come (Perry Hanzell) (over Bad Company, The Candidate, Sounder and What’s Up Doc?)

1973 Paper Moon (Peter Bogdanovich) (very close run over American Graffiti)

1974 The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola…his best, and most prescient, movie by a long measure) (over Chinatown)

1975 Night Moves (Arthur Penn) (over Jaws, One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest and Shampoo)

1976 The Bad News Bears (Michael Ritchie) (Good year. Nothing close)

1977 Heroes (Jeremy Kagan) (Lean year. And, despite TV-Movie-of-the-Week production levels, nothing close…Please don’t watch any version that doesn’t include “Carry On, Wayward Son” over the closing credits.)

1978 I Wanna Hold Your Hand (Robert Zemeckis) (over American Hot Wax and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith)

1979 The In-Laws (Arthur Hiller) (over Norma Rae)

I’ll try to keep ’em rolling tomorrow. The picking’s are about to get…a bit slimmer.

MENSCH (Arthur Hiller, R.I.P.)

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He was that sort of non-auteurish director who was entrusted with “projects,” one of which, Love Story, became his biggest hit. But on a long list of films that left my memory bank with a full wreath of smiles (The MIracle of the White Stallions, The Wheeler-Dealers, Promise Her Anything, The Out of Towners, Silver Streak, W.C. Fields and Me, The Lonely Guy), two went above and beyond.

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With Paddy Chayefsky, at high-tide, he made The Americanization of Emily (1964), one of the great movies about the madness of war. With an up-and-coming Andrew Bergman, he made The In-Laws, one of the great movies mocking the madness of the security state (not to mention the fragility of middle-class security).

The former provided James Garner and Julie Andrews with their best movie roles. The latter did the same for Peter Falk and Alan Arkin. They both made anyone clued in to their sensibilities laugh until it hurt.ahiller4

Hiller’s passing was announced today. He outlived his wife of sixty-eight years by eight weeks.

Peace be upon them tonight.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 29: Director Arthur Hiller attends AMPAS' tribute to Alan and Marilyn Bergman on May 29, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)