Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Being a classic film fanatic is kind of a bummer.

I don't watch a lot of new movies.  Im also not particularly thrilled with how society conducts itself these days. In my head, I would like to think that growing up in the eras of not having to lock your doors, carry mace, or be bombarded with CGI infested advertisement 24/7 made life better and more fufilling.  Maybe that's just wishful thinking, but these days everything from our entertainment to our government just seem empty and lifeless.

I watch old movies not just because the stories and acting are far superior to 90% of the crap the machine spits out today, but because it's a window into the fashions, mannerisms, and humanity of a bygone era.  Knowing its a bygone era, makes it all the more depressing.  You're not going to have a congressman filibustering congress for 2 days straight to save a boys camp and the accountability of our government today.  You aren't going to see tyrants giving whole-hearted speeches about how we all need to be there for one another and not let the government make us slaves via wars they concoct from greed, and you certainly won't see wealthy crime bosses falling in love with an orphanage and risking their freedom to save it from tyranny. (points if you know what movies I'm talking about).  Yeah, they are just movies. But where are those glimmers of hope for humanity in today's blockbusters?  Not in Bridesmaids, or Twilight, or any of the watered down remakes they are putting out. Shouldnt one of the duties of the entertainment industry be enlightenment over brain dead scripts and computer trickery?

To top off the cultural differences of then and now, all our favorite stars have either passed on or are at deaths door.  Andy Griffith died today, there's rumors around Hollywood that Joan Fontaine is not far off, and it just exacerbates that disconnected feeling when you look around and realize you are way more affected by what happens to Mickey Rooney than Seth Rogen.

I know I should be grateful that we had that wonderful era of political conscience and humanity in movies to look back upon (Greed, Metropolis, Grapes of Wrath, etc etc) but it kind of makes the present feel like it's missing something.  Something big.

 A lot of folks say its a lack of religion, but seriously, that is more in your face than ever. It seems it was more okay to be an atheist in the 20s than it now. Others say its maniacal greed and empowerment of corporations, and while yes it's intensified, its always been there. Someone wrote me a while ago and said what caused the problem was when men stopped wearing top hats and women stopped wearing gloves, it took away our politeness and class and respect.  Maybe so. Or finally, maybe it's because when we were tending crops, building our own homes, and working, really working hard for ourselves and not faceless CEOs, we had something better to do aside from sit around, pick each other apart, and wish we'd been born 50 years ago.

I can't put my finger on it. I just know it bums me out that in such a short time we've changed so much, and not necessarily for the better. I feel like the man on the train in that Twilight Zone episode about that town called Willoughby, where time goes slower, people smile and say good morning . . .  Would I prefer now to then if I'd actually lived it? Who knows.


  1. The title of this post made me laugh (I know what you mean), and I agree with your lament. I also wanted to take this opportunity to say that I'm glad you in particular blog about classic film. You're obviously very familiar with current culture and you still champion the old classics. I'm sure this gives you a lot of credibility with younger folks who have never really been exposed to these older movies. Great job as always!

  2. My biggest pet peeve in modern films, especially comedies, are bathroom humor jokes or kids/animals peeing or hitting someone in the groin. Seems like every movie with an animal/pet or child has this. I enjoy slapstick every now and then but the whole kick-to-the-crotch has been so overdone.