Sometimes an anniversary passes without your being fully aware of it, until you’re reminded of it by another milestone. Consider this: Last month was the 40th anniversary of the start of my first full-time newspaper job, as arts and entertainment editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. (Alas, that also was the 40th anniversary of my departure from my beloved home town of New Orleans.) And one of the first movies I reviewed for the paper was All the President’s Men — which opened 40 years ago today in New York.
Even before I landed the Clarion-Ledger gig, however, I had already reviewed dozens, maybe hundreds of films for high school and college papers, and various small newspapers (as a free-lancer) in the New Orleans area — including, no joke, The Clarion Herald, a Catholic weekly paper that ran my reviews of Woodstock, The Thomas Crown Affair, Wild in the Streets, Yellow Submarine and several other films, beginning when I was a precocious high-schooler.
So, one way or another, I got to write about most of the major '70s movies (and quite a few '60s classics). Indeed, I still have a Clarion-Ledger tearsheet somewhere that has both my original review of Taxi Driver and my review of a Peter Fonda action movie titled Fighting Mad — whose young director, Jonathan Demme, I singled out for praise.
Now I'm old enough to cover many of those movies in film history courses I teach at University of Houston and Houston Community College. And the world keeps spinning in its greased grooves.