American Graffiti (1973)
In 1962, a bunch of teenagers spend the final night of summer cruising around the streets of Modesto California.
It's also the final night of their youth, in a way, as each of them has experiences that makes them realize that what they want is not what they thought that they wanted.
This film is like a slice of memory taken from someone who was a teenager in the 60's, which George Lucas--who co-wrote and directed the film--was. The film is semi-autobiographical, although, I'm not sure which character Lucas fancies himself. He gave serious thought to being a race-car driver after high-school but then he wasn't killed by a drunk driver...maybe Lucas sees himself in all of the characters.
Richard Dreyfuss, looking like a poor man's Paul Rudd, is the most interesting and believable character. The other characters are fairly one-dimensional, the geek trying to be cool, the perfect couple, the bad-ass street racer who wants to maintain his image...Dreyfuss is at times nerdy and timid, confident and daring, and always thoughtful and reflective. And Suzanne Somers in the backseat of a white T-Bird serves to remind Curt that there are wonderful things out there but you have to venture out to find them.
Wandering and innocent, George Lucas' best film.
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