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Time Plots

All right, Hollywood movie execs, we get it: The ’60s and ’70s were cool. The parties, the hustlers, and would you look at those outfits? This month’s slate of movies based on true stories from the hippie-disco era makes us want to hop in a time machine and set the dial to “Age of Aquarius.” Although we might pack better pants.

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Saving Mr. Banks
Plot: We’re in the early 1960s. Mary Poppins author Pamela Travers (Emma Thompson) is reluctant to sell her story rights to Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) so that he can make a musical version starring Julie Andrews. He seeks to change her mind by … taking her on a merry-go-round? It’s unclear.
How much we want to go back: 5/10. Frankly, today’s Disneyland is such a time warp that we could probably make a visit to early ’60s California happen without using theoretical physics. However, if we’ll get to hang out with Thompson’s extraordinarily sassy Travers, we’ll hop in the transporter immediately.

Inside Llewyn Davis
Plot: Trying to make it as a musician in 1960s Greenwich Village is a struggle made strugglier with the addition of the Coen brothers’ trademark grit. Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), loosely based on real life also-ran Dave Van Ronk, tries to get a record deal during the Bob Dylan era, ticking off everyone he knows in the process.  
How much we want to go back: 2/10. While hanging out with Dylan to a soundtrack shaped by T Bone Burnett would fulfill our folk rock dreams, this looks hard.
And cold. Depends on whether we can get our hands on a Gore-Tex coat. And how good we get to be at guitar.

American Hustle
Plot: David O. Russell’s latest underworldian odyssey is set in 1970s New Jersey, where an unorthodox FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) recruits a charismatic con man (Christian Bale) to help him uncover political corruption. Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence assist in a costume designer’s wish list of couture furs and pantsuits.
How much we want to go back: 10/10. This movie makes the 1970s look so fun, Saturday Night Fever should be embarrassed. We’d happily spend the ’80s in prison in exchange for an hour at a pool party with Cooper and Bale’s architecturally triumphant beards.

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