UPDATE: a reader writes:
I loved your 1970’s blog, and I would like to add a few more things. I thought your movie list was outstanding, and I would add “Marathon Man” to a must see 70’s movie.
I find your website witty and smart, however, I have to disagree with you on the 48 hours of experiencing the 70’s via movies. Instead of asking people to watch 48 hrs of 70’s movies, I would have them watch 48 hours of “The Gong Show.” (Did they even make that many?) [ME: here’s a highly recommended alternative]
I liked your reference to typewriters as well. Yeah, I used to use those things and they sucked. No spell check, having to have a bottle of white out handy at all times, changing those damn ink ribbons. No fun.
We had inflation and unemployment AND high interest rates all at the same time — which economists had long assured us was impossible.
Think gas is expensive now? Guess what? WE HAD NO GAS at all half the time.
Clothes were polyester. People thought avocados were a diet food and tanning was good for you. All the bread was white.
No computers, no fax machines, no cell phones, 13 TV channels, no photocopiers, plus $100 long distance calls. Hell, no Spandex, let alone Spanx.
Have you ever actually used a manual typewriter? Seriously: just try it sometime. See if you last five minutes let alone eight hours.
Great music was drowned out by disco — which, in retrospect, actually sounds good compared to the tuneless, off-beat crap you kids listen to today.
And most important of all? We watched movies like this. Every single day. For ten years.
Like I’ve said before: if you want to experience the 1970s, you don’t need a time machine.
Arrange a 48 hour period when you will not be interrupted and will not have to leave the house. Turn off all the lights and close all the curtains and windows. Ideally, in summer, turn off the air conditioning.
Now watch as many of following movies as you have time for, back to back, in no particular order:
Dog Day Afternoon
Five Easy Pieces
An Unmarried Woman
Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice
Looking for Mr. Goodbar
The Choirboys OR The Onion Field
Citizens Band (aka Handle with Care)
Any movie with or about Evil Knievel
Fun with Dick and Jane
Any movie that has a title something like The Super Amazing Cross Country Hillbilly Honky Tonk Trucker Convoy Adventure
Melvin and Howard
And the best movie about the 1970s but made later: The Ice Storm
Just to mess with your head and get the full effect, put on The Aristocats right in the middle, or maybe Herbie the Love Bug.
And — this is VERY important — you have to eat Cheesies the entire time. Buy lots of bags of them at Costco if you have to.
This doesn’t work without the Cheesies. Oh, and use only one ply toilet paper.
At the end of this you will feel exactly the way I did for about 10 years — and frankly, much longer, up until pretty much today.
I dare you!