Straight Time (1978)
In 1978, Dustin Hoffman was able to chisel and harden his sensitive persona and come off as believeable enough to make Straight Time the layered, constantly interesting character study and social drama it sets out to be. Director Ulu Grosbard gives his film a classical sense of tragedy, but drapes it all in the free-spirited, life-affirming aura of the 1970s, which could make even the most hopeless and doomed enterprise (or character) seem romantic and subdued optimistic. And although many of the anecdotes that make up this film are mostly unremarkable in and of themselves, including the vapid love-scenes between a somewhat uncomfortable Hoffman and a wonderfully sensitive Theresa Russell, they sum up into a poignant, moody piece. Dog Day Afternoon's more intelligent younger brother from the west coast, if you like. Great play by the ever-impressive Harry Dean Stanton is the icing on the cake.