A sign of what could have been for George Lucas
- American Graffiti review by RJ
Watching American Graffiti is always bittersweet for me. It is such a warm, nostalgic and beautiful film with a tangible sense of time and place. I love the feel of this film and the way that Wolfman Jack's ubiquitous radio show hangs in the air like a warm breeze, tying the events of the evening together and uniting the characters various emotional journeys. The characters feel real and their doubts and anxieties concerning impending adulthood, and freedom giving way to important life choices is very poignant, especially as the spectre of the Vietnam War hovers, unsuspected, over their heads.
What makes it bittersweet is that I always think it is such a shame that George Lucas never directed another 'non-Star Wars' film after this. It seems incredible to me that the airless, antiseptic second Star Wars trilogy could be the work of the same director who created a film as warm and human as American Graffiti. Star Wars made Lucas a multi-millionaire (billionaire?) of course, but he could have had a filmography as rich and varied as someone like Scorsese if he hadn't become so all-consumed with it.
Lucas' career choices aside - it's a beautiful, comforting film that I could happily watch every year without growing tired of it.
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