Unlike 1975, the way I rank the films this year isn’t that difficult. Still, I enjoyed this year much more than 1970, as all of the movies (except number 5, which was still really fun entertainment) had some terrific moments in them, be it the acting or the direction. Still, I think I have seen much better years in this decade for pictures, such as 72, 75 and 76. Nonetheless…
5) Heaven Can Wait: Heaven Can Wait feels more like a popcorn flick than anything. I know this begs the question of how “good” is considered worthy of recognition and personally, I am all for the Academy recognising lightweight films (Annie Hall, The Goodbye Girl, The Apartment, The Awful Truth etc etc), but this one feels so standard on every level. I really cannot think of anything outstanding that I can go crazy over. Technically, in terms of direction, nothing really stands out. The actors give good performances that serve their movies well, but is it on the level of recognition? Is there anything insightful, original, unique or outstanding that is worth going crazy over? It feels more like a sentimental favourite than anything else. Still, I’m not saying it is a bad film because hey, I actually enjoyed it and I wouldn’t mind watching it more than once on a lazy afternoon or after a stressful day at school. I feel a bit bad, but I have downgraded the score to 3/5.
4) Midnight Express: I really don’t know what to make out of Midnight Express. Technically, it is an excellently made film and if I just accept it on a surface level and buy the messages it is trying bring across…sure, it’s fantastic and emotionally powerful. However, the story has way too many unnecessary distortions and manipulative elements intended to purely create shock and disgust that it feels a bit insulting to the true story (and me as a viewer). I’m confused! For now, 3/5.
3) An Unmarried Woman: As I got to mull over it, An Unmarried Woman did grow on me by a tiny bit. Jill Clayburgh’s performance is win-worthy, and I do think the script is well written as it does effectively portray the problems and emotions of a modern day working woman in the midst of a divorce. If I be as objective as possible, I am willing to upgrade the film to a good 4/5, although there are some boring moments that drag it down a bit.
2) Coming Home: My enthusiasm for Coming Home has dropped – significantly. The script has some moments that are mediocre but the 2 Oscar winning performances by the leads creates an emotionally beautiful and soulful story that is very human, which is something I fully respect. Jane Fonda’s Oscar number 2 is not well-received in general, but her performance is easily my favourite part of the film. She plays an ordinary and “boring” character, but her beautifully layered performance is anything but so. 4/5.
1) The Deer Hunter: At the end of the day, it’s not hard to agree with the Academy for this one. The Deer Hunter is an iconic film, and rightly so. I can understand the criticisms about it but I think it’s an emotionally devastating piece with truly mindblowing performances by Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken. It’s not that hard a pick, and an easy 5/5.