best films: #37: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
All right, so this one’s kind of a no-brainer – it’s one of the greatest adventure flicks of all time, and there’s just no way around the fact that Raiders of the Lost Ark and the character of Indiana Jones are both essential viewing (just forget about that fourth movie). Boasting the best “Jones girl,” I guess you’d call it, of the series, Karen Allen is spunky (and a wee bit o’ action hero herself) as Marion Ravenwood. Let’s face it – Kate Capshaw was a shrieking mess in Temple of Doom and though Alison Doody was a formidable bombshell of an opponent in the quite good Last Crusade, she hardly counts (you know, because of that whole being a Nazi thing). But Marion is a feisty bar owner who would sooner deck Indy than kiss him. And then, of course, there are the iconic scenes that Raiders boasts. Who among us hasn’t attempted to reenact that opening montage of peril, with the giant ball and the dramatic removal of the sacred artifact from its pedestal? And then there’s Indy himself – Harrison Ford has never been better (yep, I think this character is seven better than Han Solo). He’s the ultimate action hero, and it’s a true shame that this sort of level of character can’t really surface these days. It seems that the Indiana Joneses and Hans Solos died with the 1980s. But every time we want to reminisce, we’ll just strike up that genius John Williams score.