Paul Le Mat
I find it odd watching Ron Howard act, especially here where he tries to play a cool badass on the road to bigger and better things. I’m reminded of the BEST OF EDDIE MURPHY SNL skit where he’s interviewing Howard and keeps referring to him as “little Opie Cunningham” until Howard loses it. I wish there’d been some big laughs like that in this film but such was not the case. Instead we’ve got Howard saying “why don’t you go kiss a duck.” Umm, okay. Then there’s Richard Dreyfuss moping around because he’s leaving his small town (yawn) and the local tough guy driving around with some random kid in the car he picked up from a group of strange girls. These characters and situations were about as interesting as watching trees grow.
AMERICAN GRAFFITI is no doubt considered a classic to some, but I’m sure that’s because these people grew up with this film and shows like HAPPY DAYS. Another way to describe this film is by calling it GREASE with no music and dancing. Of course, having said that that I actually enjoyed the storyline for GREASE (not so much the singing and dancing, but at least that story was one I could get into). I’m sure this wasn’t looked upon as cliché ridden back then but these days it’s hard to swallow as a first time viewer. I’m not a big fan of George Lucas either but he did a good job so I can’t really complain. Going from this to STAR WARS was quite the one eighty though, I wonder if something here sparked that idea somehow.
The Making of American Graffiti: This DVD doesn’t have much going for it in the way of extras but this feature does go on for about an hour and a half. Lucas explains that the idea of the film came from his own love cruising the streets as a kid and he wanted us to get a good idea of what his generation was all about.
Previews: There’s a theatrical trailer for the film.