“American Graffiti” (1973) dir. George Lucas

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Enough already with the hand-wringing and speculation over whether Lucasfilm being sold to Disney is a good or bad thing for the “Star Wars” franchise! In my humble opinion, Lucas’s best film, hands down, is 1973’s “American Graffiti.” One of the best movies about teenagers ever made, it has more heart and soul than the entire “Star Wars” franchise combined (including the yet-to-be-made parts 7, 8, 9, who gives a s–t!). It was the blueprint from which the almost-equally excellent “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Dazed and Confused” were forged (all 3 films boasted amazing casts … before most of the actors/actresses became monstrously famous). Tellingly, Lucas only made this film after his then-wife (stellar 1970s film editor Marcia Lucas) challenged him to make a film that would emotionally involve the audience. Sadly, after “Graffiti’s” huge critical and commercial success, Lucas retreated to a world of Wookies, Mace Windu, Jar-Jar Binks, and a whole bunch of other s–t I couldn’t give two f–ks about.