American Graffiti

Rated PG 110 minutes 1973

By now, George Lucas's film about the summer of '62 is almost beyond criticism. A brilliant work of popular art, it redefined nostalgia as a marketable commodity and established a new narrative style, with locale replacing plot, that has since been imitated to the point of ineffectiveness. The various heresies perpetrated in its name (everything from Cooley High to FM) are forgivable, but the truly frightening thing about the film is that it's almost become nostalgia itself. Where were you in '73?

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