best films: #63: STAR WARS (1977)
Looks as if we’re closing in on the big ones now — as the list continues to roll on, the latest entry is probably considered by many a “Top 100” feature (although probably higher in most cases). Star Wars, beyond just being one of the most well-loved, obsessed over, and referenced films of all time, is a highly enjoyable sci-fi adventure flick that, at its core, is a great showcase for innovative filmmaking and the effectiveness of great action-movie chemistry. First of all, I must confess that growing up in the ’90s, my initial viewing of Star Wars was definitely the 1997 theatrical resurgence of the trilogy (which I know by many purists standards is total blasphemy). But rest assured that I was quick to pull out the old VHS copies of the original cuts of the films that I found lying around my dad’s movie collection. And thanks to a brilliant, if brief, performance by the incomparable Alec Guinness (as Obi-Wan Kenobi), the fun banter between the since-superstar Harrison Ford and the unendingly funny Carrie Fisher, and the impossible-to-forget characters aplenty (R2D2, C3PO, Chewbacca the Wookie, oh my!), Star Wars is an everlasting testament to how much fun it can be to take part in a community of filmgoing. Though the overblown spectacles of recent years that have captured the attention spans of audiences lately lack a certain magic, there’s something to be said for the excitement of being a part of the droves of people watching a spectacle as entertaining and intriguing as this groundbreaker.