I’m usually not big on coming of age stories because they leave a bad taste in my mouth. I find myself telling the characters, “About time,” or feeling like I can’t relate to the story at all. That being said, I got “American Graffiti” by George Lucas.
I hate when you’re excited for something, you’re full of anticipation, “This is going to be great” then you watch it and you’re still waiting. That was the first time I watched “American Graffiti”. I wanted something new and exciting. It wasn’t what I expected.
Part of it was Ron Howard and his girlfriend being jerks. I don’t know if this is how I was supposed to feel because they were the popular kids in high school and Ron Howard’s character is all big talk and ends up playing it safe. All the minions have a more exciting night in the movie and lives ahead of them. Following them in the beginning made it feel like a slow start. Maybe that was the intention; following the popular kids is a slow start and you’ll be bored quickly.
I also don’t like Opie as a jerk. He was too good at it. I know you play what you’re not but I also don’t think every time a character comes on-screen you should have this urge to tell them off. His mighty rebellion was mouthing off to the teacher at the freshmen dance. I’ve also never been a fan of people who graduate returning to dances. Why? Why are you here? I also felt the girlfriend manipulated him into staying and I hate seeing women portrayed like that.
I did catch Harrison Ford the first time round. Some people re-watch it to find him, but I had a heads up he was in it and found him. Big victory.
I did like Richard Dreyfuss’ plot. He at first doesn’t want to leave, but then he keeps having these run ins with people. They’re kind of like travelling angels. First he runs into a teacher (I guess) at the freshmen dance. He graduated, left town, returned a couple of months later because he got scared. Now he’s a lech at a freshmen dance flirting with and dating the students. Next he meets his ex-girlfriend. They chat a bit. When she leaves, I think there’s a great line. He says, “Where you going?”
“Nowhere,” she replies.
“Can I come with?” To nowhere.
Each encounter shows a different way his life could go. He keeps getting told go out, live your life while you’re young. The woman alluding him all night is like a promise of the magic he could experience if he leaves.
After the first watch, it solidified one thing: I like hot rods. Harrison Ford and his mean looking Chevy on the prowl for Paul Le Mot in the deuce coup was one of the best parts for me, not to mention the show down at the end.
I re-watched it before I returned it. Enjoyed it much more the second time around. I knew what to expect. It is good and a nostalgic experience. The clips at the end are supposed to be telling. Opie becomes an insurance agent. He played it safe and he continues to be safe. Paul Le Mat is killed a little bit after when we meet him. Another is missing in action overseas. Each ending fits the character. If they continue to be who they are, this could happen. The one M.I.A. was sweet and did what he was told so he would have a sense of duty. He would go off on a mission, possible never to return.
Dreyfuss goes on to be a writer. And when we read “writer” it has this magical, romantic ring to it. He took a chance and went off to live his life so he has stories to tell or ways of putting things that will hold someone captive. It struck me as funny when I realized that’s the effect it had on me, a romantic notion to it. Nothing of the drafts, the sending out, getting back, revising, sending back out again. We think he just got picked up and it was smooth sailing. Or at least I did because I’m that kind of person. I view him as getting rewarded for taking the chance.
It is good. Don’t let me dissuade you from seeing it.