Movie Critiqes

1977: Popping Culture.

35 years ago it was the year of 1977.

In the past few days I have watched two movies – first, Annie Hall and then, Eraserhead.

It is rare I watch a whole movie without falling asleep (proof of my undiagnosed sleeping disorder?), and it is even rarer I watch a movie two days in a row. But the stars have aligned and here I find myself, analyzing the parallels between these two classics.

There was seemingly no connection between the two movies I chose – until I finished watching them, when I put 2 and 2 together and realized both were released in Spring of 1977. Coincidence? I think not.

Annie Hall and Eraserhead embody the work of two creative geniuses/genii, who created works of the same medium (film) that evoke opposite emotions (warm, fuzzy, love vs. disgusting horror), yet of the same quality (that is, extreme).

Annie Hall – is a lighthearted romantic comedy where neurotic educated Jewish liberal self-deprecating comedian meets wholesome all-American artsy gal pal. Witty, fun, relatable. An all around joy to watch, and has been warmly received by most, arguably Woody Allen’s most popular film.

Eraserhead – dark, surreal, bizarre, unpleasant to watch. Themes of mutant babies, uncomfortable sexual overtones, no real plot or character development, impossible to relate to. David Lynch’s first feature film, reviewed as brilliant, and the 2nd best debut feature film of a director (second only to Citizen Kane). I’ve never felt weirder. And I loved it.

Each movie evoked intense emotional responses. Despite the obvious differences in mood/content, the sameness of the gravity of the experience of the emotion is undeniable. Like on a scale of 1-10 for RomCom, Annie Hall was a 10. And on a scale from 1-10 for surreal horror, Eraserhead was a 10. Therefore, the movies are each 10s. They may be on opposite ends of the spectrum, but each is the best at what it is. And greatness of any kind is respected.

So how does this play into the culture of 1977?

Talking Heads: 77 was released, featured Psycho Killer.

Fleetwood Mac released Rumours.

Nevermind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols is released.

Elvis Presley died.

The rings of Uranus were discovered.

American Roy Sullivan is struck by lightning for the 7th time.

Djibouti receives independence from France.

The last natural smallpox case is discovered.

Harvey Milk is elected – first openly gay elected official in a major city of the US.

And we must also look at the significance and properties of the raw number 77:

Psychic Joanne says recurring 7s symbolizes humanity’s deep inner need to find depth, purpose, meaning and spiritual connection.

Evolutionary theological significance.

It is the sum of three squares, 42 + 52 + 62, as well as the sum of the first eight prime numbers.

Nuff sed.

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