Lucas's Happy Days

American Graffiti (1973) starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith

Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve (Ron Howard) are due to leave the next morning to go to college although Curt is having doubts as to whether he wants to leave home despite getting a scholarship. Meanwhile Steve persuades his girlfriend that seeing they will be 3,000 miles apart they should see other people as it will strengthen their relationship. But those are just a few of the escapades which happen during the night before they leave for college as they drive up and down the strip listening to music.

An American Classic, the greatest teenage movie ever made and I could go on as "American Graffiti" is held up in high esteem by so many people. Now I am not going to deny for one minute that George Lucas has crafted an entertaining movie full of young talent who would go on to become Hollywood stars. But I will say that "American Graffiti" is what I call a generation movie, capturing what life was like for teenagers in California during 1962 and as such speaks to those who lived that life more than those whose teenage years came later on and is why for me "American Graffiti" is a slice of nostalgic entertainment but not the great movie that it is for others.

So how to describe "American Graffiti" well teenagers driving in cars up and down the strip with the radio blaring constantly, there is flirting between people in cars, picking up girls, comedy, quirky characters, sexy 60s cars, comedy and some growing up. From the perspective of someone who wasn't born till 1972 it is entertaining with great music and some depth as various characters do some growing up but nothing which you won't have come across in other teenage coming of age movies.

It almost sounds like I am putting "American Graffiti" down which I am not because it is entertaining from start to finish and for those who like the nostalgic charm of "Happy Days" and "Grease" this is chock full of it. And Lucas has crafted an enjoyable movie with non stop music which occasionally feels like an assault on your ears with the constant soundtrack but it speaks more to the generation who lived this life or those who wished they had rather than those say whose teenage years came in the 80s.

What this all boils down to is that "American Graffiti" is entertaining with a great look, great cars and enjoyable performances from future Hollywood stars. But it is a generational movie which unless you lived the life it shows ends up only a piece of nostalgic fun with familiar depth.

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