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Old 08-30-2008, 03:26 PM   #1
Forbidden Eye
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American Graffiti

George Lucas is obvious the creator of Indiana Jones, and the big majority of Indiana Jones fans happen to be fans of Star Wars too, thus Star Wars usconstantly mentioned in most of the Indiana Jones threads...but it seems whenever the man is being discussed, we rarely discuss his other-work.

Granted, some of that makes sense as lot of his other works are small cult films(THX-1138) or poorly received(Howard the Duck), but it's a huge mystery to me how anyone can disregard American Graffiti.

What is the general consensus of it here? I think it's pure brilliant. Not only because it's proof that the man is more than just Star Wars, but it also happens to be one of the most innovative movies of all time. It has multiple story-lines, which was actually completely unheard of in it's time. Now? That's very common story-narrative. Sitcoms such as Seinfeld and Friends would probably never had gotten made without it.

It's also phenomenal in the star-power as a lot of big stars started here such as Ron Howard(it got him known as "Ron Howard" and not just "Opie Taylor"), Richard Dreyfuss, Suzanne Somers, even Indiana Jones himself, Harrison Ford.

It also was a huge inspiration on the teen-comedy and would inspire thousands like. It's partly a shame today though as trash like American Pie and Superbad clearly don't compare to AG.

Ending it on an Indy note, the opening to KOTCS was clearly inspired by American Graffiti. A very nice nod to one of Lucas' first films.

Other people's thoughts?
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Old 08-30-2008, 04:05 PM   #2
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I found the film mostly lame, and the only part i like is the end...Becasue it has Beach Boys for the credits music...
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:18 PM   #3
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You know, I saw this movie about a year ago and I was impressed. It was thoroughly entertaining. It was pretty funny, and I dug all of the characters, and it was fun seeing all of these teen movie cliches before they became cliches(like the still-frames with captions explaining what happens to the characters at the end).

But the movie is old and isn't science fiction, so few people on the internet care about it. Too bad.

Watching it kind of made me wish Lucas hadn't made it so big with Star Wars. I'd love to see more original films ala THX and American Graffiti from the young and hungry director that he used to be.
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:36 PM   #4
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Hmm, it moved up from #77 to #62 on AFI's list of greatest American movies. I love the film. The only drawback is the cheap film stock... I wonder if a blu-ray version could look better.

As noted earlier, I would expect a crossover if they make Indy 5.
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:31 AM   #5
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Without a doubt, one of my top ten films of all time. It's a very realistic portrayal of how my generation spent our Friday & Saturday nights when we were in high school. It clearly influenced many imitators, but none even came close to the level of American Graffiti. It also launched quite a few careers.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:32 PM   #6
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I recently saw it for the first time since I was a kid and I enjoyed it. It was good to see Lucas had done something else other than Star Wars, and that he wasn't half bad at what he did. The dialogue isn't great, but that's obviously something he's never been that good at.

It should be said how amazing the soundtrack is. I have to hand it to him there.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:05 PM   #7
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The dialogue rings true with how we sounded as teenagers trying to be cool and tough while we cruised the strip.

I believe American Graffiti is Lucas' finest hour.
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:18 PM   #8
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It was an awesome film I own a Pharoahs Car CLub Jacket and have seen this film many many times its a classic.
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:46 PM   #9
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That movie, I think regardless of era, can really hit you if you're a young guy at the end of high school. I remember watching it back then. They should require it, haha!
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:03 PM   #10
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American Graffiti is simply one of the greatest films of all time. The cars, the music, the era. American Graffiti made me the Indiana Jones/star wars fan I am today. I own about as much mass marketed american graffiti items as they produced, all of the johnny lightning cars (32 coupe is still carded), an original poster, original album, and a cup from the Mel's Drive In restraunt chain in california

I became a huge fan about 3 months before KOTCS came out and Skull being set in the 50s and all got me into Indiana Jones, and Indy into Star Wars
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Old 01-30-2010, 07:40 PM   #11
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Re: American Graffiti

The gang of ruffians I misspent my youth with could all relate to American Graffiti. One of our group was a late-night DJ at a station back in the boonies (like Wolfman Jack's character). We all drove hand-me-down cars that we'd shackled up to get the wide track tires underneath and burned a tank full of fuel every Saturday night cruisin' the mile and a half "Hamburger Row" where everybody who was anybody could be found.

See? Even now, thinking of that movie, it brings a fond tear to the eye. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll put on my Ray-bans and my high school letterman jacket (yeah,that was me - I was in the band), and see if I can catch that chick in the Packard Straight-8 sedan. - G
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:51 PM   #12
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American Graffiti is truly a great film, and deservedly a classic. I've been a fan of this since the '80's, and as I've gotten older have grown to appreciate the film even more.

Though the great '50's/early '60's rock soundtrack & parallel story-lines are obviously great, what I find especially interesting about the movie are the themes of growing up and accepting adult responsibility. From that stand-point, the film may be the best coming-of-age movie I've ever seen.

It's also worth noting that this 1973 movie (which took place in '62) seemed to be the fore-runner of 1950's/1960's nostalgia - later in the '70's, the TV shows "Laverne and Shirley" and "Happy Days" came out and were very successfull, just like AG was.

Not nearly as good as AG but still worth checking out is 1979's More American Graffiti, which chronologically takes place several years after AG and follows Toad, Steve/Laurie, John Milner, and Debbie -to give you an idea of what the film is about, it took it's lead from the closing text/paragraphs at the end of AG which described the fate of these characters.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom train
It's also worth noting that this 1973 movie (which took place in '62) seemed to be the fore-runner of 1950's/1960's nostalgia - later in the '70's, the TV shows "Laverne and Shirley" and "Happy Days" came out and were very successfull, just like AG was.
Just want to clarify a few things, phantom train:

-"Laverne & Shirley" was a spin-off show from "Happy Days" just like "Joanie Loves Chachi" (AND "Mork & Mindy", believe it or not!)

-The real forerunner of "Happy Days" was on a 1972 episode of "Love American Style" called, "Love and the Happy Days", which was a re-working of the original, UNSOLD pilot show for "Happy Days". George Lucas saw the pilot and hired Ron Howard for "American Graffiti".

-The "Grease" musical show started in 1971, two years before "American Graffiti".

-The group, Sha Na Na, played Woodstock in 1969 and went on to much larger success a few years later.
Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom train
Not nearly as good as AG but still worth checking out is 1979's More American Graffiti
Agreed. The sequel is not bad at all. Plus you get to see Harrison Ford play a cop!
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom train
Not nearly as good as AG but still worth checking out is 1979's More American Graffiti, which chronologically takes place several years after AG and follows Toad, Steve/Laurie, John Milner, and Debbie...which described the fate of these characters.

Not to mention Bob Falfa is The Man!
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:10 AM   #15
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The original is a great film. Highly enjoyable. Had no idea a sequel was made. Gonna have to check it out.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:56 PM   #16
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It's a classic, and the first of George Lucas' handful of truly great movies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
Agreed. The sequel is not bad at all. Plus you get to see Harrison Ford play a cop!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
Not to mention Bob Falfa is The Man!

Indeed. Note that Bob Falfa is actually in both American Graffiti and More American Graffiti, and that this is the first of three characters Harrison Ford would play for George Lucas - each of them more than once. I think it's actually pretty interesting, since outside the Lucasverse, Harrison has played only one character more than once, I believe - Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, in two appearances, whereas within his Lucas-related work, twice is the minimum number of times he's played any character - two appearances as Bob Falfa, four as Han Solo, and five as Indiana Jones (with a sixth to come?).

Anyway, More American Graffiti isn't as lighthearted and fun as the original, but it's still an engaging work (IMO), one often unfairly overlooked, and in particular it's a rather daring experiment in its narrative structure and cinematic technique - one that didn't pay off at the box office at the time, and went largely unnoticed by audiences, alas.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:53 PM   #17
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Don't forget Radioland Murders is a prequel, about Curt's parents.

Unfortunately More American Graffiti and Tucker are stuck in Netflix "availability unknown" limbo.
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:33 AM   #18
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I'm eagerly awaiting the Special Edition, where the police car's axle releases a Praxis ring explosion, the Wolfman is replaced by a CGI character, and Bob Falfa doesn't roll his car first.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moedred
Don't forget Radioland Murders is a prequel, about Curt's parents.

Unfortunately More American Graffiti and Tucker are stuck in Netflix "availability unknown" limbo.


are you cereal?
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:32 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
You get to see Harrison Ford play a cop!
Duh! How did I miss this?

Graffiti owes a LOT to the soundtrack...its virtually wall to wall music which carries the film in a few places.

The sequel is an alright movie, fun/funny in spots but drawn out...the leaps through time keep it from totally biting the big one.
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:55 PM   #21
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In terms of "teenage nostalgia films", I prefer Dazed & Confused, which is set in 1976.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:26 AM   #22
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Since there was a bit of an American Graffiti discussion going on here I figured I'd bump my old thread to maybe have more of a discussion going. I did want to make one point though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
Graffiti owes a LOT to the soundtrack...its virtually wall to wall music which carries the film in a few places.

Its also one of the very first(and very few) films to not have a score. Its "soundtrack" is nothing but diegetic use of classic songs of the era. Aside from the credits, none of the songs are actually non-diegetic, which makes it unique(especially for its time).

One wonders what the soundtrack for Star Wars/Indy would've been like had Spielberg not introduced George to John Williams.
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:08 PM   #23
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Well, as creator of this thread, I actually had never seen More American Graffiti...until last night.

Truth be told it wasn't very good, certainly not the classic the original is. The non-linear storytelling felt more distracting than it did clever; the changing aspect ratios in particular felt very gimmicky.

But, I still enjoyed it! I guess it shows just how strong these characters are, and how engaging it is spending time in this world. Was fun, though the mid-to-late 1960s certainly aren't as inviting as the 1950s were. The soundtrack was as expected, good(though not as consistent as AG), and Bob Falfa's cameo was the highlight of the movie!

Since I'm bumping this thread, should point out that recently George Lucas visited Modesto(the inspiration for AG) and served as grand marshall for the annual American Graffiti car show(in time for the film's 40th anniversary). He even had to say this about the fate of Steve and Curt:

Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Times
With Mr. Lucas retired, what might Steve and Curt from “American Graffiti” be doing now?

“They’re actually retired, too,” he said. “They sort of fulfilled their stories in a way you would expect because some of those people were friends of mine. Some of them got to be kind of successful in business. Some of them are still working in car services and building cars. Some of them are dead. They either got killed in the war or in a car accident. It’s pretty much the way the movie happened.”

BTW, if you live near a Cinemark, they'll be screening American Graffiti on July 28th and July 31st.
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:08 PM   #24
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From a 1973 Universal promo book.
Quote:
George Lucas... At this point he was coming off of a huge hit with American Graffiti and had a few ideas bouncing around. One of them was a crazy space opera, but he hadn't written his first draft of Star Wars yet (which he would take to Universal and it wouldn't go anywhere at that studio). He had another idea for a movie that he was hot on directing called Radioland Murders. He'd eventually produce this film 20 years later for another director, but this image promises a Radioland Murders directed by Lucas, produced by Gary Kurtz and written by his Graffiti team of Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz (who would later pen Temple of Doom). If he had made this film odds are he would have been distracted away from pursuing Star Wars, which would have changed cinema in massive ways that we can't even comprehend at this point. It's a really cool image, too. Makes it seem way more sinister than the movie we eventually got.
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