REVIEWING THE ’70s IN THE ’90s - Blogs
REVIEWING THE ’70s IN THE ’90s
For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017
EDITOR’S NOTE: For its spring 1993 issue (Vol. 2, No. 2), the University Times (the magazine of Weber State University) asked me to write an assessment of the 1970s. I can only assume I was picked because I lived through it, and pretty much survived. So I wrote it as a faux movie review, including the Deseret News movie-review format — a star rating, my byline, a bold-faced paragraph for credits, etc. This reprint is for anyone who lived through the ’70s or pretty much survived the ’70s or has ever heard of the ’70s.
By Chris Hicks
Deseret News movie critic
THE SEVENTIES (****), Starring Weber Students, Faculty and Staff, with Special (Cameo) Guest Star Joseph L. Bishop as The Big Guy; rated NU-40 (not understandable for anyone who isn’t approaching or hasn’t recently passed 40); now playing (probably inaccurately) in our memories.
My children refer to “The Seventies” as “ancient history.”
They like to ask me what we did before VCRs and video games came along. I tell them movies were shown on rocks and we had a primitive video game called pinball. And when they occasionally see photographs of me from those days, pictures taken when my hair was long (and dark), my sideburns were longer and my clothing was far more colorful, their usual response is disbelief. They want to know, “Who was it that played you then?”
Yes, you’re right, my children see far too many movies. Then again, when I think about it, it’s hard for me to believe that I actually owned – much less wore – a green leisure suit.
Personally, I prefer to think of “The Seventies” as “nostalgia.” But, to quote the title of actress Simone Signoret’s autobiography, “Nostalgia Isn’t What It Used to Be.” The memory plays tricks on you. It’s distorted. Memories are both happier and sadder than the actual event being remembered.
On the other hand, critics of “The Seventies” who see the decade as negligible, bland or without value are being overly cynical. Of course, “The Seventies” made important contributions. How could any 10-year period in history not make valuable contributions? And one of the most significant things “The Seventies” did was continue “The Sixties.”
After all, you can’t simply isolate “The Seventies” as 1970-1979. Much of “The Seventies” was really just “The Sixties, Part II.” Think about it: The Vietnam War, Richard Nixon, bell-bottom pants, paisley shirts, free love, drugs – all of that was part of “The Seventies.” But it was really just spillover form “The Sixties.”
It wasn’t until the second half of “The Seventies” that the decade really came into its own, with disco, Donna Summer, “Charlie’s Angels,” “Star Wars” — all that stuff Nickelodeon now makes fun of. But admit it. You kind of get tingly all over remembering, don’t you?
And whether you were into “MASH” the movie or “M*A*S*H” the TV series, “Saturday Night Fever” or “Saturday Night Live” (the Bee Gees or the Killer Bees), it was apparent at the time that, like “The Sixties,” “The Seventies” would be a decade of change.
Here are the seminal comparisons — the movies, of course:
SIXTIES: “Take the Money and Run”
SEVENTIES: “Annie Hall”
SIXTIES: “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”
SEVENTIES: “The Sting”
SEVENTIES: “The Man With the Golden Gun”
SEVENTIES: “Barry Lyndon”
SIXTIES: Beach Blanket Bingo”
SEVENTIES: “Animal House”
SIXTIES: “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”
SEVENTIES: “Kramer vs. Kramer”
SIXTIES: “Easy Rider”
SEVENTIES: Easy everything
So, summing up, the decade of “The Seventies” was derivative, predictable and redundant. In other words, not so different from all those previous decades. Or the one that followed.
So, on the Deseret News four-star rating system, “The Seventies” gets four stars.
Parents should be accompanied by their children, to keep them rooted in the present.