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Jun 05 2015

What Does 1979 Mean To You?

Our first Supporting Actress Smackdown of the year is this Sunday,looking at the nominees of 1979.If you haven't yet voted (readers,collectively,are the final panelist) you have until 9 PM EST tonightto do so.Out of curiousity I looked at theNational Film Registryto see which films have previously been added from that year.

three of the year's stone cold classics

As a reminder each year 25 films join the registry at the Library of Congress and to be so honored a film must be deemed:

culturally,historically,or aesthetically significant."

I was SHOCKED to realize thatKramer vs.Kramer,which undeniably fits the first two criteria has not been added.Neither have these other major Oscar players from that year:Breaking Away,Being There,andThe China Syndrome(the latter my guess as to which movie just missed the Best Picture list that year).The only movies from 1979 that are part of the registry areAll That Jazz(recently discussed),The Black Stallion(recently discussed),Apocalypse Now,The Muppet Movie,Norma Rae,ManhattanandAlien.Tough to argue with those inductees.The public is free to suggest filmsbefore they choose each December and I always forget.But I won't this year!One film I'm totally voting for this year (not from 1979) isBob and Carol and Ted and Alice(1969) which needs some renewed attention since it's such a good companion piece to theMad Menfinale.But that's another topic...


Here's a little bit about them to prep you for our conversation this weekend...

First Time Panelists

K.M.SOEHNLEIN (Novelist)
Bio: K.M.Soehnlein's first movie memory is seeingFunny Girlat a drive-in with his parents.He spent his childhood inventing an alternate Hollywood with fictional actors,directors,movies and Oscar nominations.He went to film school at Ithaca College,wrote about film for the Village Voice,Out and Outweek,and now writes novels ("The World of Normal Boys,""Robin and Ruby,""You Can Say You Knew Me When").He hopes at least one of them gets made into a movie.

What does 1979 Mean to you?

In1979I was a 13-year-old suburban New Jersey boy,staring across the river at Manhattan and longing to live inside a Woody Allen film.Movies I saw in the theater include a wave of post-Rockyboxing stories (Rocky II,The Champ,The Main Event);two starring early SNL breakouts (The Jerk,Meatballs);and two that wound up in the Oscar race:Breaking Away(early screen crush: Dennis Quaid) andAll That Jazz(mind forever blown).

Bio: Kristen Sales is a Los Angeles native who's been blogging about movies since 2010.She enjoys Buster Keaton and aggressive feminist punk rock.You can find her yelling about things onTwitterandTumblr.

What does 1979 Mean to you?

I have absolutely no associations with the year "1979,"except that Smashing Pumpkins song.But Smashing Pumpkins suck.

Returning Panelists

Bill Chambers is the founder,editor,and webmaster ofFilmFreakCentral.net,which recently turned seventeen.A graduate of York University's Film program,he is a member of both the Toronto Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society.He has a cat. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1979 Mean to you?

One of my earliest memories is quite apropos: Seeing a movie for the first time on the big screen.I was four years old;the film wasThe Muppet Movie.I couldn't have asked for a more beguiling introduction to the cinema,a gently postmodern work that simultaneously taught me what movies are and demonstrated,via its very Muppet-ness,their ability to unite generations in the dark.Though I wouldn't catch up with them until I was a little older,lots more personally formative films were released that year,likeThe Jerk, Alien, All That Jazz,and evenRocky II;to borrow a term from Blade Runner,I think of 1979 somewhat narcissistically as my cinephile 'incept date.'

BRIAN HERRERA (aka "StinkyLulu")
Brian convened the first Supporting Actress Smackdown and hostessedmore than thirty.He is a writer,teacher and scholar presently based in New Jersey,but forever rooted in New Mexico.Follow him on Twitter.

What does 1979 Mean to you?

My movie-world opened wide in 1979.I was on the cusp of adolescence,about to experience the first real stirrings of my actressexual leanings,when I found myself with ready access to a betamax video player and a library of tape recordings that someone's relative had captured from HBO.1979 was also the first Best Actress race I remember agonizing over long after the fact.I loved that Sally won,even though I believed Bette deserved it.It's a conflict I struggle with to this day...

And yours truly

Nathaniel is the founder of The Film Experience,亚博主页a reknowned Oscar pundit,and the web's actressexual ringleader.He fell in love with the movies for always atThePurple Rose of Cairo(1985) but mostly blames Oscar night (in general) and the 80s filmographies of Kathleen Turner & Michelle Pfeiffer.Though he holds a BFA in Illustration,he found his true calling when he started writing about the movies.He blamesBoogie Nightsfor the career change.[Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1979 mean to you?

I have slim recall of this year other than hearing the song "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy"by Rod Stewart (?!?) but my strongest memory of the year is my very conservative parents complaining about President Jimmy Carter and the Iran Hostage Crisis non-stop.My movie memories are limited to three: the shock of seeing a bald woman inStar Trek: The Motion Picture(but nothing else about the movie);laughing hysterically when Cloris Leachman broke her fingernails in the Disney comedyThe North Avenue Irregulars(but nothing else about the movie) and going little-kid wide-eyed seeing Kermit the frog riding a bicycle inThe Muppet Movieand pretty much everything else about that movie which I loved so much I decided I was going to be a puppeteer when I grew up and my parents bought me the soundtrack.

What does 1979 mean to you dear readers?
Even if you weren't yet alive perhaps you have an association?

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Reader Comments (12)

They year my parents were married and my big brother was born.Movie wise?It was the beginning of the Star Trek franchise as a theatrical vehicle.

June 5,2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I was born in 1979,so there's that.I remember when I really became interested in movies I was very curious to see what had come out that year and what seemed to have a huge cultural impact.The first place I looked to was Oscar.I was initially disappointed thatKramer vs.Kramerwas the Best Picture of the year.It wasn't as "cool"or as influential a selection as anAnnie HallorThe Godfatherin my eye.And while I still thinkAll That JazzorApocalypse Nowwould suit my taste better (not to speak of their overall influence),it's a fine film and the Academy has done and will continue to do a whole lot worse.I'm still amazed at the idea that was the number 1 movie at the box office that year.Can you imagine anything close to that happening today!?

Overall,I find myself really amazed at the quality of the movies from 1979.None of my personal favorites emerge from that year,but there's no doubt to the number of all time greats present.May I also add to the awesomeness of having a great song with your birth year as the title.I feel like The Smashing Pumpkins wrote "1979"solely as a personal anthem for anyone born in that year,at least it feels that way.And being eternally grateful that I wasn't born in the 80s.

June 5,2015 | Unregistered CommenterVal

The endless summer of that year was one of the best of my youth.My friends and I saw Rocky II,Norma Rae,Prophesy and Nightwing.But my two favorites were Alien and The China Syndrome,both of which I saw at least twice at the theater.My friends and I would say the Alien tagline "in space no one can hear your scream"to each other pertaining to any and all situations.And the music on the radio was incredible: Donna Summer--Bad Girls,Abba--Voulez-Vous,Anita Ward--Ring My Bell,Sister Sledge--We Are Family/He's the Greatest Dancer,Amii Stewart--Knock On Wood,Peaches and Herb--Reunited/Shake Your Groove Thing,Gloria Gaynor--I Will Survive,many one-hit wonders.Ah,such Good Times (by Chic).

June 5,2015 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Just let me stumble over to my walker so I can get my hearing aid....before dusting off and listening to my (vinyl) copies of theSweeney Toddoriginal cast album and theHairsoundtrack...

June 5,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

And being eternally grateful that I wasn't born in the 80s.

What the hell does that mean?

June 5,2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Like Mr.Chambers,I,too,had the treat of seeing The Muppet Movie as the first-ever movie I viewed on the big screen,and I was also four years old.I pity all the kids who don't get to start with a classic.

June 5,2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I wasn't born when The Muppet Movie came out,but when I saw it for the first time in college I was still amazed at Kermit riding the bicycle.

June 5,2015 | Unregistered Commentercash

What does 1979 mean to me?

Apocalypse Now,All That Jazz,Manhattan,The Black Stallion,The Life of Brian,Alien,Being There,Hair,Stalker,The Muppet Movie,Star Trek: The Motion Picture,The Muppet Movie,The Jerk,Mad Max,The Warriors,Tess,The Brood,Nosferatu,The Tin Drum,Kramer vs.Kramer,10.

AKA one of the all time great movie years.

June 5,2015 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I already told my story about seeing "Kramer vs.Kramer"with my Evil Grandmother,so I'll just say I was 12 that year,and remember seeing "Time After Time"in Chicago while on a family vacation,and seeing "The Muppet Movie"at the brand new FOUR Screen AMC Esquire Theater in St.Louis (FOUR Whole Screens!In One Place!).I also remember seeing "The Black Stallion""Star Trek: The Motion PIcture""The In-Laws""Meteor"and "Moonraker"in the movie theater.

And reading the novels of "Jaws"and "The Amityville Horror",but not being allowed to watch the movies.Parenting!

I also definitely remember all the trailers on one of our 5 television stations (ABC,CBS,NBC,PBS,and 2 independents in St.Louis) of the trailers on TV for movies I would most definitely not be allowed to watch: "Alien","Phantasm","The Warriors","10"and "When a Stranger Calls".

If I could turn back time.......

June 5,2015 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

While I don't really remember The North Avenue Irregulars,I remember loving it,and I always loved Leachman back then,so it's fun that you mention it.

At the time 1979 probably meant that and The Muppet Movie and The Black Stallion - but now it makes me think of The Jerk and Manhattan.

June 5,2015 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

I remember following Kristen Sales on Tumblr.

June 6,2015 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

it's the year I graduated from high school.How embarrassing.

June 6,2015 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

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