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  1. #1

    American Graffiti vs. Cooley High

    Which did you like better??


    I gotta go with Graffiti myself because I thought the script was better and look at the cast. One thing about Cooley High they goofed on. This movie takes place in Chicago yet all the music in the movie is Motown. Not saying black Chicago teenagers didnt listen to Motown, but they were also listening to local stuff like The Impressions, Major Lance, Alvin Cash etc., but none of that was featured in the film.

  2. #2
    They were both fun period type films but Cooley High wins out with me big time! Your point about the soundtrack, Motown was extremely popular in 1964-65 the time frame in which Cooley High is set (also, Chicago is less than 300 miles from Detroit, so it would have made sense that a lot of Motown music got played in Chicago). Also with Cooley High I could relate to the scenery etc. Although I was only a small kid in 1964, we used to visit Chicago to see relatives during that time. I had a cousin the lived in the Cabrini-Green Housing Project and we use to play in their play area there. That is where "Preach" one of the main characters lived in the movie. The Zoo scene was priceless!
    Last edited by marv2; 09-04-2010 at 07:17 PM.

  3. #3
    Over the years, I've heard quite a bit if b****ing about Cooley High taking place in Chicago, but not featuring any music from Chicago-based artists.
    Most of those 1970s films with an all black cast were made on the cheap. Keep in mind, at the time Cooley High was filmed, no one in the movie was a household name. I first saw the movie Labor Day weekend 1975. This was about a week or two before the debut of "Welcome Back Kotter."
    It was probably cheaper for American International films to get all of the music from Motown, since they only had to approach one record company & publisher (Motown / Jobete) for the rights to those songs. I'm assuming that Major Lance, the Impressions, Alvin Cash, etc... recorded for different labels and thus had the rights to their songs in the hands of different publishers. A.I. may not have wanted to be bothered.

    American Graffiti did have more depth to it and a better script (and probably a higher budget). Nevertheless, Cooley High always had a special place in my heart. Having watched it hundreds of times over the past 35 years, only now am I started to get a bit tired of it.

    Just my two cents.

    Marc Taylor

  4. #4
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    I lived in Chicago in 1964-65 (integrated South Chicago). I worked in my father's store in the heart of "The South Side". Plenty Motown was played by the kids in high school (enough for Motown to become my first love in music (along with "The Chicago Sound"). Of course, they played The Impressions, Billy Butler & The Enchanters, Jerry Butler, Major Lance, Jan Bradley, The Daylighters, Betty Everett, Billy Stewart, Joyce Kennedy, Barbara Green, Holly Maxwell, The Dells, Henry Ford & Gifts, Gene Chandler, Otis Leavill, The Chi-Lites, The Ideals, The Vontastics, Trends, Marvelows, etc., a lot, too. But as Mellow_q stated above, it was a lot easier to get the rights to the songs all from one source, than to have to go to 6-7 sources.

    Both were good films. Both had good soundtracks. I would have liked a soundtrack with the songs from the Chicago artists I listed above.

  5. #5
    I would also like to add that the writer, Eric Monte was a huge Motown fan. The film "Cooley High" was supposed to be semi autobiographical in regards to Mr. Monte. He also was one of the creators of the TV series "Good Times".

  6. #6
    The comparison doesn't make sense at all to me. It really boils down to an identity issue. You may as well ask "Did you grow
    up as a white teenager or a black one?"

  7. #7
    The use of Motown songs was quite appropriate. Having grown up in Chicago during that era, The Motown Sound was by all accounts a cultural phenomena. Yes we were acutely aware of The Impressions, Chilites, Artistics, etc, but the biggest records, made by the biggest Motown Stars were extremely popular not only on radio but at parties as well. I am not just deferring to The Tempts, Supremes and Smokey. Stevie Wonder, Four Tops, Marvellettes, Martha Vandellas, Mary Wells, Marvin & Gladys were so popular it actually defies description.

    45's were the order of the day, but you became a household name when you showed up at a party carrying The Temptin Temptations or Going to A Go Go album under your arm, hell you got let in, even if you weren't invited.

    So many artists from a single company. I still find it hard to believe to this day. As far as the movies go, they were both ok, but they were just movies, the music was real.

  8. #8
    Cooley High! This is one of my favorites. I've seen American Graffiti too but to me there is no comparison.

  9. #9
    pshark Guest
    I like both but I give the edge to AG
    There was a lot more going on in that film.

  10. #10
    I liked both films also, but being from Chicago, Cooley High was a lot more relevant. Yes, the film's writer Eric Monte was from Chicago, so you would think that some Chicago music would have at least been included. But I'm sure that wasn't his call, the producer, Steve Krantz was a New Yorker and the more pop sound of Motown could have appeared more commercial compared to true Chicago Soul. By the way, one of the artists on the Cooley High soundtrack album was Luther Allison who played blues around Chicago. He signed with Motown as their first blues artist.

  11. #11
    Also, wasn't the film's soundtrack released on Motown Records?

  12. #12
    There was a time when everything didn't have to be so 'real'. Writers could take some poetic license and audiences could be expected to bring some imagination with them to the theater. Unfortunately that time has passed. The fact that all of the music in CH was Motown was understood back in the day to just be a movie biz decision, with the music being representative of what went on or was heard back then. Who cared that in reality music came from multiiple sources, including much from the city where the action took place? The style of music from the period was represented by the Motown songs.

    Today directors are afraid to have actors say a phone number on camera if it has to include a 555 exchange because it reminds the audience that they are only watching a movie. I think it's taking the 'being real' phenom to a level of stupidity. It's similar to audiences demanding rap artists to be the idiot street thugs they portray in their performances, rather than interpreters of art and business people. Makes one wonder Where Did Our Love Go... and our common sense and imagination??

  13. #13
    pshark Guest
    Whats Happenin is loosely based on Cooley High.

  14. #14
    Both were Eric Monte creations, don't forget about Good Times which he is attempting to redo as a movie. Due to his battles with TV producers to project positive black characters and lawsuits alleging underpayment for his work, he has been largely kept out of mainstream. The more things change the more they stay the same.

  15. #15
    Believe it or not, I've never seen AG so I can't make the comparison. I relate more to Cooley High as that was a pretty accurate depiction of the hood during that time. Our Preach's name was Cool Breeze aka Tyrone Bryant (rip) who was the lover and came from a musical family; his brother was Ray Bryant and he's the uncle of Kevin Eubanks. Tyrone couldn't sing but he had "it" and the girls. The mean guy who broke up the houseparty, reminds me of our own Man of Music who was a rumblin mofo who wore a scowl and EVERYONE gave him a wide berth. LOL! Oooh, I'm in trouble...........

  16. #16
    Hi this is Kev-Lo

    I have to go with Cooley High

  17. #17
    The music in these movies was far better than either movie itself......

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by marxthespot View Post
    The music in these movies was far better than either movie itself......
    I like both films. But American Graffiti is closer to reality, the situations in AG seem more real to me than Cooley High. I can relate to the situations more in AG, being bored on a weekend night and just cruising with your friends..looking for excitement. I did that.
    Last edited by Kamasu_Jr; 09-11-2010 at 08:05 AM.

  19. #19
    if i had to pick,its american graffiti for me.it was the cars. '58 impala driven by ron howard,the yellow '33 plymouth 5 window coupe,harrison ford's 55 chevy (1st of the great tri chevy years) the pharoes' led sled mercury, the 59 thunderbird etc etc.
    george lucas captured the era,but the story line,script etc could have been alot better tho'
    there was some really funny bits in it,the police car getting the rear axle chained to a lamp post and getting ripped off.
    and dont forget wolfman jack the dj.i went to see this at least 3 times,
    although the ag soundtrack did fit the film, i prefered the cooley high soundtrack.
    cooly high is ok tho' and i can see why people would prefer it over ag

  20. #20
    As many have said, ''' No comparison." I prefer to look at all the future stars to come out of both!

    Ron Howard (was Opie)
    Lawrence- Hilton Jacobs (Welcome Back Kotter)
    Glynn Turman (many roles; Aretha's hubby)

    Just a few.

  21. #21
    I love both of those movies. American Graffiti was heartbreaking at the end when one of the friends was on his way to Nam. And Cooley High was heartbreaking when one of the characters you'd grown to love senselessly murdered. The tie breaker for me is how much more I related to the crew in Cooley High and the excellent choice to put G.C. Cameron's It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday over the cemetery scene at the end. Too much emotion that hit too many of the right chords.

  22. #22
    Wow, just looking at the names of the forum members here makes me feel nostalgic! Where did everyone go????//

  23. #23
    I can't watch the ending of[cooley high]too sad,wow!!

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Oz View Post
    I love both of those movies. American Graffiti was heartbreaking at the end when one of the friends was on his way to Nam. And Cooley High was heartbreaking when one of the characters you'd grown to love senselessly murdered. The tie breaker for me is how much more I related to the crew in Cooley High and the excellent choice to put G.C. Cameron's It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday over the cemetery scene at the end. Too much emotion that hit too many of the right chords.
    Boyz II Men sent Cameron's cut, as a cover, thru the startosphere!

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