Over the last few decades – thanks in part to movies and TV shows like Dazed and Confused, Boogie Nights, Anchorman and HBO’s Vinyl – there’s been a pronounced pop cultural tendency to reduce the 1970s to little more than a fabulous parade of campy signifiers like mirrored disco balls, brightly-painted muscle cars, platform shoes, bellbottomed jeans, tube tops, Afro hairdos, pornstaches and piles of cocaine.
It’s an understandable impulse, of course. (Who doesn’t love Afros or piles of cocaine?) But taking such a superficial approach to the seventies means glossing over the grittier, grimier and more soulful aspects of a decade that was marked as much by socio-economic upheaval and spiritual dislocation as it was by debauchery and decadence. There’s a scene early on in Slap Shot – George Roy Hill’s brilliant hockey comedy, released 40 years ago on February 25th, 1977 – that may be one of the most quintessentially “seventies” things ever committed to celluloid, even though there’s nary a groovy shag carpet or white three-piece suit anywhere in sight. Minor league hockey players Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) and Ned Braden (Michael Ontkean) walk along a dreary street in front of the local steel mill, arguing about what the factory’s just-announced shutdown is going to mean for their team and their town.
Author: Dan Epstein
Published: Fri Feb 24 2017 09:37:00 GMT-0500 (EST)