Cruising the Strip

What do you get when you cross Han Solo with Wolfman Jack, drag racing, drive-in diners, Richard Dreyfuss and "Rock Around the Clock"? You get a classic in American film from George Lucas—one without hyper drives, droids or battle stations, making it safe from "fixing" by the technology-obsessed director determined to ruin my childhood. A slice-of-life story set in 1962, American Graffiti takes place on the last day of summer vacation. Four high school graduates spend their last few hours of freedom contemplating cars, college, careers, commitments and carnal acts. In his second feature, Lucas helped shape the future of filmmaking, creating cinematic conventions (such as character epilogues) that have since become common in Hollywood. In addition, the film inspired the classic sitcom Happy Days, which in turn spawned Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Joanie Loves Chachi, Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, that Weezer video and the expression "jump the shark," all of which mean more to me than most of my own family members. It may even be the birthplace of the phrase, "He who smelt it, dealt it." Need I say more? Catch American Graffiti at midnight Friday and Saturday at the Inwood Theatre, 5458 W. Lovers Lane. Tickets are $8.50. Call 214-764-9106.
Fri., Nov. 17; Sat., Nov. 18
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Darci Ratliff