The Essentials: 1979

When I first thought of this series of posts, I considered just doing a "Best Of" List for each of the last 20 years.  The idea was inspired in part by Entertainment Weekly, which every week this year, has been doing a column called "This Week in 1990" or something like that.  The other thought I had was to do an AFI Top 100 list.  Sort of a Hammervision Top 100, but the prospect of trying to weed out (and rank) the best 100 films of all time seemed a tad too daunting.  Plus, I really didn't want to hear anyone tell me why f**king Duck Soup should be on any "Best Of" List.

Instead, I settled on this - a handy guide to what I consider to be THE essential films from each year since I was born.  These are the movies that I find myself still watching today, and probably will continue to revisit in the future.  They may not have won the awards, or even been critically well-received, but they've aged well and have stood the test of time.  Call these your "desert island" movies, if you will.

We'll start in 1979 with today's post, and the goal will be to tackle the Top 10 essential films of each year for each week going forward.  It's a 31-week project and when all is said and done, my hope is that I will have inspired some of you to either rewatch an old favorite, give a second chance to one you didn't like before, or to seek out a worthy flick that you might not have seen yet.  So let's get to it.

I was born in April of 1979.  Ah, 1979.  The last year of the '70s - back when disco still reigned supreme, the average cost of a home was roughly $58,000, and the Sony Walkman was first introduced (at the low low price of $200!).  The boardgame, Trivial Pursuit, also was launched that year, and the late Heath Ledger was born.  TV audiences flocked to 60 Minutes, Three's Company, and M*A*S*H.  Meanwhile, movie audiences were treated to these gems - my Top 10 essential films of 1979 (in order):


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  • I love, love, love, LOVE, love Being There (upon which the whole Charlize Theron storyline on Arrested Development was based). If you haven't seen it, Netflix that sucker today.

  • I think this is a great idea for a post. I love the year by year approach. Makes me think of movies I had forgotten about and should watch again. Too bad you're not as old as me.

  • Thanks for the kind words. Maybe at the end of 31 weeks, I'll go back and attempt the other years. Food for thought.

  • Thanks for posting this. I'm always on the lookout for classics for the family and to add to my "Bucket List." Being older movies, chances are they're at the library for free, and being that I'm so cheap, I love that.

  • I will not argue your choices as they are the product of your generational setting, but I do want to say that had I known Steve Martin's farcical Jerk-turn would lead to the boring one note Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell's almost always way too over the top movie performances, I might have been tempted to become a monk.

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