Category Archives: 1978

Movies released in 1978.

Review: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Director: Philip Kaufman
Year: 1978
Score: 7.5/10

In a bizarre cameo with no lines, Robert Duvall shows up as a priest playing on a swing surrounded by kids. Because, you know, there's nothing creepy about that at all.

In a bizarre cameo with no lines, Robert Duvall shows up as a priest playing on a swing surrounded by kids. Because, you know, there’s nothing creepy about that at all.

Effectively creepy alien invasion movie has a palpable sense of claustrophobia and hopelessness. Keeping our perspective so localised – forcing us to fearfully imagine what might be going on outside of San Francisco – adds to the tension nicely. Denny Zeitlin’s unusual score also works well. Donald Sutherland and a young Jeff Goldblum are solid, as is Brooke Adams, who I’ve previously only seen in Days of Heaven. For a movie about an invasion, there’s precious little violence. The ending is satisfying and memorable. Caveat: I haven’t seen the 1956 version; I watched this version first, having heard it was superior.

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Review: The Getting of Wisdom

Director: Bruce Beresford
Year: 1978
Score: 3.5/10

Mostly charmless Australian movie (based on a novel I hadn’t heard of) about a country girl’s experiences at an exclusive Melbourne boarding school in the 1890s. It’s fairly by-the-numbers and is a bit of a slog to get through. The main problem is that it’s boring, a consequence of bland subject matter, too-familiar themes, and static direction by Bruce Beresford. Look for young incarnations of Kerry Armstrong, Sigrid Thornton and Noni Hazlehurst.

Review: Animal House

Director: John Landis
Year: 1978
Score: 5.5/10

Look, don’t get me wrong, there are some funny bits, and I guess it’s worth a watch to see what these sorts of movies looked like 35 years ago, but really, most of it doesn’t hold up comedically. Interesting to see a young Tim Matheson (he grew up to become VP on The West Wing). And now I know where my dad got his ‘human pimple’ gag from.