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I'd sure hate to find myself turning into one of those five-miles-up-hill-in-the-snow kinds of people, but when it comes to movies, I'm afraid I just might. Movies really were better way back when. Specifically, in the 1970s, when Hollywood seemed less concerned with big bucks and big deals and more with pushing the envelop of what was considered art in film.
To me, Badlands is one of the definitive films of the 1970s. Loosely based on the Charles Starkweather/Caril Ann Fugate killing spree (the pair murdered eleven people in Nebraska and Wyoming over a two month period in 1958), the movie not only marked the directorial debut of Terence Malick, it also established him as one of America's most poetic young filmmakers.
With Badlands Malick created a movie that is compact without being rushed, spare without being mute, and chilling without being exploitative. Its subject – the celebration of the criminal as celebrity – was ahead of its time, as was its treatment of evil as a commonality of everyday life. Add to all that superlative acting, Tak Fukimoto's stunning cinematography, and a score that mixes classics like Carl Orff's "Musica Poetica" with contemporary pop songs, and you've got what is perhaps one of the best movies ever made.