So I've never seen American Graffiti

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by DAR, Jul 18, 2009.

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  1. DAR Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2004
    star 4
    I've been thinking of adding it to my Netflix queue. Worth a rental at least?
  2. Darth-Seldon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2003
    star 6
    It's sad to admit it but I'm in the same boat. I've always wanted to see it but have never gotten around to it.
  3. jedibri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 4
    American Graffiti is great! It was the movie that "Happy Days" was spun off of. Not onl;y is it worth the rent but, it should be part of your collection.
  4. Chewgumma Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2009
    star 7
    I've never seen it either. But I have heard it's like Grease but rough around the edges. That's the ultimate put off for me as I find Grease is pretty much made out of rough edges.
  5. DarthBane95 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2009
    star 4
    I bought it from Wal Mart for 9.99 a few days ago, but haven't gotten around to watching it yet.
  6. VladTheImpaler Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2000
    star 4
    I hadn't seen it until maybe two years ago. It never seemed like my cup of tea, since I prefer Lucas for his action sensibilities for than for his comedy/acting.

    ...I was surprised. The movie is really good, even today. Good humor, engaging characters, great acting. Yeah, I prefer the slick artistry of THX and Star Wars more than a teen comedy about the 60's, but this is still worth watching.
  7. zombie Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 1999
    star 4
    A lot of people think American Graffiti is the best film Lucas ever made. I'm not sure if I agree with that, but even if I think Star Wars is better it's not by a huge amount--Graffiti is a classic film, period.
  8. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5
    You've heard it's like Grease? Mmmm. Don't know if I'd agree with that. Grease is a Broadway musical kind of film. That's definitely NOT what American Graffiti is about.

    Spend 2 hours watching it sometime. It's a small film but it has great charm. I'd recommend it. And as I always say, without American Graffiti, there would probably have never been a Star Wars.

    DAR, it is absolutely worth a rental. I'm not saying you'll fall in love with it or anything, but I'll bet after you've seen it, you'll be surprised it came from Lucas.

    Zombie is quite correct, it's a classic.
  9. AdamBertocci Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2002
    star 7
    "American Graffiti" is the whole reason I ever agreed to moderate this forum for a stretch.

    It's a beautiful film about a time and place that doesn't exist any more, and didn't even exist any more by the time it was made.

    From a film criticism perspective, watching it will help you trace some of the roots of elements and techniques that found their way into "Star Wars" -- and I'm not just talking about easy stuff like Harrison Ford and a THX-1138 reference, ha ha.


    From a film history perspective, it is an important project for two reasons:

    (1) It originated the now old-hat trope of ending a movie by showing pictures of the characters and saying "_______ is now doing X, ______ is now Y, ______ went on to Z, etc. ..."

    (2) It was the first movie to pack its soundtrack with pre-existing popular songs rather than rely on original score. As incredible as it sounds, people had trouble wrapping their heads around the fact that someone would want to pack their movie with songs that weren't written for the film! Think of that next time you hear a rock song during a movie!


    It is not like Grease at all, except for it taking place in California in a certain time period, and the curious fact that the director of "Grease" was GL's college roommate.


    Rick McCallum loves you!
  10. Ambassador Cara Jade Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 6
    I'm one of those who thinks that American Graffiti is one of the greatest films ever made. For me, especially, it defined my high school years.

    If you haven't seen it, rectify that ASAP!
  11. JEDI-RISING Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2005
    star 3
    It's a pretty good film. Some genuinely funny moments, a diverse set of characters, great oldies music, cars. Plus Wolfman Jack. Of all the 50's nostaliga in the 70's, Grease, Happy Days, etc. American Graffiti was the closest to real life.
  12. d_arblay Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2005
    star 4
    never have i seen a film that i thought so little of on first viewing, where my original opinions spun to such a huge degree the second time around. its now a solid entry in my top 10 films of all time. give it a shot. even if you dont like it at first, give it another. it has that slow-burning quality. but dont let expectations ruin it. i think i did first time i saw it. its not a musical. its not even a comedy. its just a story about young people at a hugely defining point in their lives. i find it to be a deeply moving film at times - especially the richard dreyfuss character. its funny to me that each of the male characters represent Lucas at a different time in some way or another, or at least the people he felt he might have been. its certainly his most personal film. and not to forget, from a moviemaking point of view, it broke many perceived boundaries - what you consider common place in movies today owes a lot to american graffiti. also, make sure you watch the 80 minute documentary on the dvd if its there - its a great retrospective.
  13. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    It's interesting that this film took place in 1962 as well.

    Lucas said the film was about a time and place that would soon be transformed by events like the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War.

    It really is an end of an era type of movie as far as the trappings: Drive Ins, Diners, Hot Rods racing, cruising,etc;however, the underlying themes of young guys chasing a unreachable girl, angst about what to do with your life, a young man who refuses to grow up(Melner)etc are themes that will always be with us.

    And in case you didn't know, they shot the film chronologically.
  14. ezekiel22x Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 4
    Yeah, nice summary. Only thing I might read a little differently pertains to John Milner. To me it's not so much a matter that he refuses to grow up as that he simply can't even though a part of him might want to. Unlike a caricatured "man child," Milner seems to exhibit some degree of self-awareness as to his place in society. He has a job, but obviously not one that he considers on the same level as his college bound friends. He does cling to a youthful lifestyle that is passing him by, but he himself admits as much when he laments that what he calls "surf ****" has taken the place of rock and roll. And yet, even given his flaws, at times he stands out as the most sensible, the most "ideal" of the four male leads (Here I'm thinking about his willingness to genuinely befriend the young girl who he's tricked into picking up, as well as the scene where he saves Toad's skin). Milner might be the key to the whole film to me, as he best represents "the simpler period" of America that will soon pass on and give way to a darker era. His character did much to give the film an edge and a motif of melancholy, both of which were aspects that to me really helped this film be more than a simple comedy.

    As to American Graffiti as a whole, definitely watch it. It's my favorite movie that Lucas has directed.
  15. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Milner certainly deepened the whole story.

    I love the coda at the end too describing what happened to them.
  16. Jan_Wahlor Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2009
    star 1
    I shouldwatch this too.
  17. Ambassador Cara Jade Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 6
    I totally agree. It gives the events of that one night some serious heft, like this was just one spectacular evening in otherwise ordinary lives...Really poignant.

    So DAR, watched it yet? :D
  18. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    I was wondering the same thing.

    A chorus: Watched it yet! :p
  19. Ambassador Cara Jade Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 6
  20. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5


    (in unison)

    Watched it yet?
    Watched it yet?
    Watched it yet?

    =D=
  21. Moisdne Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2009
    I forget sometimes how much i really do love American Graffiti. Its funny because it makes me nostalgic about a time that i was not even alive in (way before i was born) yet it just feels so "real" to me when i watch it and it always puts me an a nostalgic mood.

    I think the real question is why haven't they released it on blu-ray yet? Its a truly great film and it deserves to be remastered and put in Hi-Def.
  22. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2008
    star 6
    Wow, sounds like a good movie. I'd never really given it much thought until now.
  23. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    QGR, you might not care much for the story itself, but the film does give great insight into the stylistic choices Lucas makes as a director. It's a great movie just in that regard alone.
  24. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2008
    star 6
    Yes, and I'd be interested in seeing it just to gain a better appreciation for that aspect. Some movies have a horrible storyline, but are stylistically incredible. I'm going through a weird phase where I'm looking for movies that fit that description. :p
  25. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    It's just weird because American Graffiti has this organic kind of storytelling more about incidents and visual and sound pieces. They all seem designed to elicit feelings rather than a standard plot with a lot of dialogue and standard shots.

    It's a great unique film.
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