Pictures from the Tumultuous 70s
Friday, August 3Â Â The Last Picture Show 1971 / 118 min. / R / CC
The time is 1951 in a tiny Texas town. A diner, a pool hall and the Royal movie theater are the only places to go, "except to bed," critic Roger Ebert wryly comments in his review. Best friends Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges) lust after a phony rich girl (Cybill Shepherd). Adults mostly guard their secrets. In the end, loss shakes loose some authentic emotion from the friends. Cloris Leachman and Ellen Burstyn are superb in supporting roles.
Friday, August 10Â Â A Woman Under the Influence 1974 / 155 min. / R / CC
An LA housewife and mother, Mabel (Gena Rowlands), is unpredictable, sometimes volatile, sometimes overly friendly, to the extent that her construction worker husband, Nick (Peter Falk), wonders about her ability to handle the life they lead. Stellar performances from both leads make this an essential movie experience. Gena Rowlands won several Best Actress awards for it. The writer-director, John Cassavettes, is an icon of independent film.
Friday, August 17 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestÂ Â Â Â 1975 / 133 min. / R / CC
Considered to be among the greatest films ever, Cuckoo's Nest is the story of a funny and often satisfying power struggle between a cocky recidivist felon (Jack Nicholson) and an authoritarian mental hospital nurse (Louise Fletcher). It's based on a Ken Kesey novel, boasts a near perfect ensemble cast (including Christopher Lloyd, Brad Dourif and Danny DeVito) and won all the major awards: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director and Screenplay.
Friday, August 24 Taxi Driver 1976 / 113 min. / R / CC
After being discharged from the Vietnam-era Marines, Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) drives a taxi in New York City. He's a loner who forms attachments to inappropriate women-aÂ presidential campaign worker (Cybill Shepherd) and a 15 year old prostitute (Jodie Foster), whom he wants to protect. Pushed over the edge by their rejections, he begins to stalk the corrupt, sleazy guys who employ them. Martin Scorsese directs this thriller as black comedy.
Friday, August 31 Chinatown 1974 / 130 min. / R / CC
In a story based on the early twentieth century California Water Wars, private eye Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) takes a job following a Department of Water and Power engineer-who soon turns up dead. Immediately, Gittes is led by the engineer's widow (Faye Dunaway) to peel away layer after layer of corruption and mystery surrounding her husband's death. Directed by Roman Polanski, Chinatown is another of our greatest-and most beautifully shot-films.
About Workers' Movements
Friday, September 7Â Â Â Â Â Â MatewanÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â 1987 / 135 min. / PG-13 / CC
It's 1920 in the town of Matewan, West Virginia. When Stone Mountain Coal Company cuts the wages of rebellious coal miners and brings in African American replacements, a United Mine Workers man (Chris Cooper) arrives to organize a union. In response, the company hires private detectives to oppose the miners and to set blacks and whites against each other. Tensions boil over, leading to a historic battle. James Earl Jones plays the character who leads black miners.
Friday, September 14Â Â Â Â Â Â The HelpÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2011 / 146 min. / PG-13 / no CC
In 1963, Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) agrees to let aspiring writer Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) interview her about her experiences as a maid to white families in Jackson, Mississippi. Gradually, other maids risk their jobs to join in with their own harrowing stories, which are all intended to yield a change-making book. Great storytelling and character development make this film exceptional. The ensemble cast also includes Octavia Spencer and David Oyelowo.
Friday, September 21Â Â Â Â Â Blue CollarÂ Â Â Â Â 1978Â / 114 min. / R / no CC
Three Detroit auto workers (Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel & Yaphet Kotto) are buddies on and off work. They feel trapped between big industry and their do-nothing, corrupt union. They hit on a plan to rob the safe in the union office, leading to complications that lay bare the terrible predicament of working people. Written and directed by Paul Schrader (writer of Taxi Driver), who delivers an authentic, uncompromising ending. It's a very powerful film.
Friday, September 28Â Â Â Â Â North CountryÂ Â Â Â Â Â 2005 / 126 min. / R / CC
Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) flees her abusive husband with two kids to stay with her parents in her North Dakota home town. Most jobs available to her pay very little, so a friend (Frances McDormand) encourages her to apply to work in the same mine where she and Josie's father work. Josie's demeaning experiences there eventually drive her to start a legal fight with the mining company. Based on a true story, and directed by Niki Caro ("Whale Rider").
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