[1977] The Goodbye Girl

The film everyone (everyone) remembers from 1977 is Star Wars, the film that launched a thousand nerds. Nerdity has come into vogue in the 2010s, an epoch when it’s cool to be smart and high schoolers are emulating Elon Musk, not Justin Bieber (my god, I’m guessing – hoping). Star Wars was everything science fiction both was and wasn’t. Still camp – echoing for eternity Bill Shatner’s Star Trek saga, but Star Wars added the concept of high-stakes adventure and characters with which the everyman could identify in unlikely hero, Luke Skywalker, chip-on-the-shoulder Han Solo, strong, reasonable Princess Leia and for some, hairy and loyal Chewbacca. The story has lived on nearly four decades and five-plus(!) sequels, not to mention thousands of syndications and millions in product opportunity. The film most perfectly reflected the tail end of the Second Golden Age Of Filmmaking (1969-1977) and most succinctly represented the ethos of the late 70s.

But Star Wars did not win Best Picture in 1977. Instead the honor belongs to Annie Hall, a Woody Allen comedy that may have accomplished what Star Wars did – but brought the concepts down to Earth, rather than to Tattooine. Annie Hall reminds us of the humorous side of the late ’70s. Julia provided the drama and the boundary push and The Turning Point is mostly irrelevant. The Goodbye Girl had the unfortunate circumstance of landing smack in the middle; humorous and relatable, but relatively tame and un-challenging. This predicament – the average among the best – is not unique, but it has left many films in relative obscurity…some great, some not. Besides Dreyfuss’ wacky, inspired performance, this movie should stick its way as the one of best average films to have been nominated for Best Picture. Continue reading