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When home video came out in the 1980s, I remember thinking what a boon it would be to old movies.  Suddenly, these films would be available to view at any time, not just when TV stations randomly chose to telecast them.  In theory, this would lead to more young people checking out all these movies that were made before they were born.

But I think the opposite might have happened, mainly because brand-new movies were also made suddenly available for home viewing.  When many of us were young, virtually the ONLY movies we ever got to see on TV were those from a bygone era; hence, if you wanted to watch a movie, chances are it would be an old one.  In short, we were nurtured on old movies and thus developed a sense of movie history as we were soaking them in.  But, with the magic of VCRs (then, later DVDs, downloads and net-streaming), suddenly one could watch all the latest releases and no longer have to bother with older product.  Why watch a dusty old black-and-white classic when the latest techno-blockbuster was readily available for instant viewing?

Well, apparently, Neal Gabler picked up on this trend, writing an interesting piece in the L.A. Times on it this weekend.  His concern is prompted by the release of the latest "Spiderman" film, a "reboot" (fancy name for remake) of a movie that is ONLY 10 YEARS OlD.

When questioned [about whether it was too soon for such a remake], a producer of the new picture snapped that anyone who asked that is "too old." He may have been dismissively arrogant, especially to geriatrics over 30, but he may also have been right.
Gabler wonders if the youth of today are predisposed to dismiss any movie that is not "of the moment," not an "event" of which they can be an integral part.  
But the new "Spider-Man" betrays something else — something important about the young audience's relationship to film. Young people, so-called millennials, don't seem to think of movies as art the way so many boomers did. They think of them as fashion, and like fashion, movies have to be new and cool to warrant attention. Living in a world of the here-and-now, obsessed with whatever is current, kids seem no more interested in seeing their parents' movies than they are in wearing their parents' clothes. Indeed, novelty may be the new narcissism. It obliterates the past in the fascination with the present.
Gabler makes the point that this has not always been the case.  He points to the recently deceased film critic Andrew Sarris, who was able to excite younger generations of the past with his analysis of movie history.  And, although college is still a place where a love of older films can be nurtured, on the whole Gabler finds that the youth of today...
...find old movies hopelessly passé — technically primitive, politically incorrect, narratively dull, slowly paced. In short, old-fashioned. Even Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man is a Model T next to Andrew Garfield's rocket ship of a movie. And Model Ts get thrown on the junk heap.
He provides some anecdotal evidence to support his supposition:
As taste goes, millennials seem to have a hard time relating to movies that are only a few years old. A friend of mine who teaches in the New York University Cinema Studies graduate program told me he was appalled at how little interest his students — future critics and film scholars, no less — had in old movies. For them, "classics" are movies made in the last five years, and Scorsese is like Washington or Lincoln: ancient.

Another friend who teaches at a prestigious university told me that while a good number of his self-selected class of undergraduates studying film history did respond to many of the old films he showed, for example Hitchcock movies, they expressed only cold admiration for many other classic films, including "Citizen Kane,"which they found antiquated. And yet another friend, this one a high school teacher in California heading a film class, said his students were bored by "The Godfather." He won't be teaching the course again because there wasn't sufficient interest.

Gabler thinks that the real reason this is happening can be found in the technlogical culture of the day.  Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc., movie releases have become interactive events, in which fans of individual movies and franchises can begin obsessing over the films long before their scheduled release dates, an obsession that can continue on into the films' early runs.  New films, thus, become a part of young people's social lives in a way that older films cannot.  
What this points to is that movies may have become a kind of "MacGuffin" — an excuse for communication along with music, social updates, friends' romantic complications and the other things young people use to stoke interaction and provide proof that they are in the loop. A film's intrinsic value may matter less than its ability to be talked about. In any case, old movies clearly cannot serve this community-building function as they once did. More, the immediacy of social networking, a system in which one tweet supplants another every millisecond, militates against anything that is 10 minutes old, much less 10 years.  All of this makes it tough not only for old movies to survive but for movie history to matter. There is a sense that if you can't tweet about it or post a comment about it on your Facebook wall, it has no value. Once, not so long ago, old and new movies, middle-aged audiences and young audiences, happily coexisted. Movies brought us together. Now a chasm widens between the new and the old, one aesthetic and another, one generation and another. It widens until the past recedes into nothingness, leaving us with an endless stream of the very latest with no regard for what came before. Old movies are now like dinosaurs, and like dinosaurs, they are threatened with extinction.
I had some personal experience with all this awhile back when I taught a cinema course in the high school where I work.  At first, I showed movies that I felt were seminal events in movie history and with which all culturally literate people should be familiar, but, as the years wore on, I found myself showing more and more recent films just to keep the students from collapsing in heaps of boredom onto their desks.  Evetually, the class became just too painful for me to teach and I gave it up.

I have had some luck with older films, but this has been mainly with Advanced Placement students and only after studying a particular literary work on which the movie is based.  Two that have been fairly successful are 1951's A Streetcar Named Desire (the girls - and some of the boys - still drool over Marlon Brando) and The Innocents, the 1961 adaptation of The Turn of the Screw.

But those two have been the rare exceptions (I long ago gave up showing the 1940 version of The Grapes of Wrath, since I rarely saw a raised head by the time The End came up on screen).

One wonders what will happen to all those great films of the past after the next few generations pass on.  It's a sad prospect to contemplate.

Originally posted to Rolandz on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 02:58 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  interesting diary (27+ / 0-)

    thanks,  To be honest about 5  or so years ago we stopped going to the theater and started just waiting for stuff on demand.  We used to watch one or 2 movies a month on demand, now I couldnt tell you the last time anyone interested us.  I think maybe Contagion or something we rented 6 months ago perhaps.

    I'm not a movie snob per se. I love all types as long as the story is good and the acting is well done.
    I like the old Hitchcocks and rock Hudson comedies, old abbot and costello, love godfathers, original star wars, jaws ( my all time fav), I like horror, loved the original Halloween, even found Zombies remake OK.  My taste are all over the place.

    But to be honest the movies now.. my god the selection of new movies is by far the worst selection of my life time. You have to actively hunt for a good movie and are lucky to find 5 or 6 a year right now.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 03:16:35 PM PDT

  •  Today's "old" is about 30 minutes ago.....they are (12+ / 0-)

    onto the next trending item on twitter, or on  their iphone...

    Ignoring older movies are is just an extension of this...

    Sad times....

  •  fyi (21+ / 0-)
    But those two have been the rare exceptions (I long ago gave up showing the 1940 version of The Grapes of Wrath, since I rarely saw a raised head by the time The End came up on screen).
    I actually think showing this movie now might gain interest, this is something these kids may start relating to again.

    In public many people act as if things are fine, but just below the surface millions and millions are hurtin bad in this country.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 03:19:13 PM PDT

    •  Movies are something that ebbs and flows (3+ / 0-)

      according to "what's happening now."

      Fad movie themes start up with little notice and film revivals and some of those films can be really OLD, are always popping up, though I admit that lately we have had a lot of schlock amidst some gems.

      Revitalized popularity is just an incident, a political even, or simply one disaster away.

      I have faith that old movies get seen if only by history buffs.  But masterpieces like "I cover the Waterfront," or "It happened in New York" can be remade to suit any momentary PC need.

      The nation we save from Republican sharpsters will be our own. We need a Democratic Congress, and to reelect President Obama....this won't be easy...we better get started NOW!

      by boilerman10 on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:06:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Henry Fonda version of GoW? (0+ / 0-)

      Speaks to our times today as well, IMO.

      LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 01:06:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well I must be dead (21+ / 0-)

    Because I am building myself a Charlie Chaplin collection. I have all but 2 shorts. All I need is his longs.
        But my son who is not even 30 has started building himself a collection of classic movies. They are mostly old gangster movies including Howard Hughes's Scarface. He's got White Heat, Public Enemy, The Roaring Twenty's etc.
       So I'm not as worried about this as most Casablanca will always be popular.

    "The whole thing ended up in a stalemate tied three ways. I think I had a beer." Me

    by nellgwen on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 03:29:11 PM PDT

  •  bored by the Godfather... (11+ / 0-)

    I will do you one better, I met a kid who thought Casino was better than Goodfellas.

    Young people through out the years have shit on what old people liked. This is not a new trend. I never was into the old flicks my parents liked.

    As a nation, the U.S. consumes the most hot dogs per capita. So you'd be wise to never underestimate our powers of denial.

    by jbou on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 03:35:13 PM PDT

  •  Recent Movies Seem to Be Basically Video Games (35+ / 0-)

    in many cases. They are barely the same category of recreation as older movies, and vice versa.

    As a Celtic Trad musician, I have the same response to the far extreme of jazz. The sounds, the structures, the music itself is used for an entire set of purposes that don't exist in my world, they're answers to questions I don't have.

    On the flip side, it may be that plot, character development, and other basics of the first lifespan of film making don't have much function in the evolving world.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 03:51:08 PM PDT

    •  Great comment (19+ / 0-)

      I think there is a lot of truth to this.  I remember reading Jonathon Rosenbaum's (critic for the Chicago Reader at the time) review of Fellowship of the Ring.  He basically liked it but said he got bored in the battle scenes.  I felt much the same way.  For me the 'action' in many modern films has reached the point where, instead of supporting the plot it is actively interfering with plot and character development.  But for many others it must being doing something different.

      "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

      by matching mole on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:04:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I felt like Celtic traditional (4+ / 0-)

      had a lot in common with more "standard" jazz.

      but that doesn't speak to the point of the diary, which is that old movies aren't very interesting to the next generation. I think that's generally true, but I also know there are tons of movies from the 40s and 50s, in particular, that are done well enough to stand the test of time. That is what makes them "art."

    •  If they're competing with video games.... (7+ / 0-)

      ....they've lost. Not quite yet, but soon, when the AI in games can give non-player characters enough flexibility to consistently give interesting responses to player actions.

      Even now, if watching a second-rate action movie, I think, "Why am I sitting here watching this when I could be in the middle of it in a game, influencing the way it comes out?"

      The end of movies? No way. But they will have to have stories that are strong enough to make up for the passivity the medium forces on us, or people will just walk away.

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 05:54:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny. To me, you are not passive... (4+ / 0-)

        if you know how to engage with a work of art. You are responding to the story, emotionally, psychologically. Someone has a story to tell in the form of ART. You are not supposed to influence it by changing the work itself.

        I think viewer engagement with another's art is becoming a lost art.

        Last year, spring, there was an exhibition of abstract expressionism/New York at MOMA, as well as the work of German expressionist painters. The lines were around the block, exceptionally long - spring break for public school, I guess.

        We're inside. I realize I'm hungry for this stuff. I havent been viewing art like this for a long time and I think its great. Then I begin to notice what is happening with a great number of visitors; people are rapidly moving from painting to painting, snapping a shot to "grab" the image and then flit to the next - shielded from the work by their smart phone cameras, or cameras. No one was standing there SEEing the art. Communicating with it. They were just confiscating it for their little screens. I guess that was as "interactive" as they could get in that environment.

        I found it appalling.  

        Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

        by NYCee on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:00:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •   A good painting asks you to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gay CA Democrat

          take your time to see what it is. No rush. To think about what you saw. And you need to look at it not just one time, but several times. Our culture does not encourage this kind of behavior.

          Movies? You watch them once and then go to Starbucks and talk bullshit. Act like a bigshot because you know about "film history".

          "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

          by native on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:11:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "You are not supposed to influence it...." (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jakedog42, arch, churchylafemme

          But you do by the way you interpret it, don't you? And what of that "not supposed to"? Says who?

          There's far too much sneering and superior attitudes in this thread, though I should add that you don't seem to be especially guilty of these sins. Too many people eager to prove that they don't like what the "peasants" like.

          "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

          by sagesource on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:24:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, no, you dont influence a painting. (0+ / 0-)

            (Barring Yoko type art experiences, where you get to climb up a ladder and hammer a nail into it, but even then, that's her idea) Nor do you influence any finished piece of art, like a movie. Certainly you can influence a live performance with the type of attentiveness or lack thereof (that smart phone gazing!). But you are not going to call out lines to the actors on stage or run up and change a prop. You arent going to grab the guitar from a musician's hand and redo the riff. What's done there is done by the artists. You, then, the viewer, are influenced by the work. It is a transference and you interact with it inside. But you don't influence it, most definitively not in the slightest in the case of a painting, a movie, recorded music. (Keep your Sharpie in your pocket as you approach the Mona Lisa!)

            I am happy to discover you have (just barely?) not thrown me on that heap of the "sneering and superior." I even like very bad, made for TV movies! They relax me, passive and docile. Better than Vicoden!

            I'm just a person who wants to see bodegas and astrology/tax preparation stores, a place where you can buy hardware and get a haircut, loaves of bread on a bench on a street, a Washington Square Park for vagabond singers in search of a countercultural mecca/icon instead of 7-11, i-HOP and  Bloomberg's suburbanized renovation/deletion of that park (the former list being things that used to be in the E Village, NYC, the latter what is usurping all that).

            I'm just a poor lass who really wants to "see" paintings that are incredible without people buzzing around me to snap them on their phones rather than "seeing" them. I prefer to walk up a street teeming with people and not see 2 out of every 3 passersby sucked into their smart phones.

            Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

            by NYCee on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 01:53:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Ha. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Back when Facebook only used square profile pictures, I heard an artist complain that he had to make images square so that people would relate to them. I think he was only half kidding.

          "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

          by northsylvania on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:40:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  One recent movie... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Va1kyrie, Matt Z

      ..."Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" lampshaded this, in that the fight scenes were animated like video game fights, including opponents shattering into coins when they were defeated.

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:41:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Scott Pilgrim was a comic book and a video game. (4+ / 0-)

        It also has some of the most fast-paced dialog since The Philadelphia Story or Bringing up Baby.  Fans of old movies might actually enjoy it if they can view the absurdity of life-as-a-video-game as the equivalent of the absurdity of raising a pet leopard.

      •  I read the books (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        So I could enjoy the movie even more. Scott Pilgrim is definitely one of my modern favorites.

        I did the same with Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, though the first season of GoT is so close to the novel I got completely bored with the first book.

        "The Internet Never Forgets, and Republicans Never Learn." - blue aardvark

        by SC Lib on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:46:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And to some extent, the same criticism can be made (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nchristine, Mr Green Jeans

      ...of video games!  I'm of the age where I was among the first generation of video game geeks.  Yeah, I and my friends were those guys in high school who hung out in the very rudimentary computer lab (filled with original Macintosh computers, and old 8086-based IBM PCs) teaching ourselves how to program since none of the teachers knew how to do it.  

      I and several other students did an independent study our senior year.  I did several as I had already taken every math and science class the school offered, and hated gym (which is where most senior short-timers spent their days).  We'd spend half of our days playing video games, and the other half writing our own.  I also did another independent study in a nascent field at the time -- desktop publishing -- where I created an underground newspaper that once earned me a three day suspension from school.  

      Anyway, as an "old timer" looking at modern video games, all I can say is that they have not gotten any better.  The games themselves are no more immersive, intense or emotionally satisfying than the old ones I was playing way back then, they're just prettier.  Way better graphics wrapped around the same old trite product.  

      •  I still love to play (0+ / 0-)

        Rogue. We have it on the iPad and I prefer ascii mode to the rudimentary graphics that got tacked on.

        Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

        by Debby on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:40:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are incorrect. (4+ / 0-)

        True, the most popular video games are no better than the original video games, but there are critically acclaimed stand-outs that bring some of the best elements of film and music and art and education into the medium that was never present on the early mac stuff.  

        See Okami or Limbo for artistry, Spore for educational capacity, or Bioshock for a dystopian environment that is more completely realized and more contemporarily relevant than any of the works of Dick or Orwell or Bradbury.  Honestly, if you want to rescue those wayward nineteen-year-old Ayn Rand fans before they drift off into muddled conservatism, have them play Bioshock.

        While it's true that recent films are getting worse as studios have become more desperate to reach a profitable demographic, the same isn't true of the video game industry.  The video game industry looks a lot like the film industry did in the seventies.  There are plenty of small studios (and comparatively large ones) making games with artistic or literary merit.    

      •  I'm with you to an extent (0+ / 0-)

        I still play Ms. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. One of my modern favorites is Pac-Man Championship Edition(and DX) because it doesn't cheapen the original but expands on it. It's not in 3-D and in the end all that matters is you beat the other guy's score. Except now the local arcade has a few million people.

        I have to disagree a little though. There are some very good modern games like Demon's Souls and it's sequel Dark Souls. Very hard, punishing games that make you work for what you get. The only downside for me is that they are 3D.

        You can take 2D platformers out of my cold, dead hands.

        And get off my lawn.

        "The Internet Never Forgets, and Republicans Never Learn." - blue aardvark

        by SC Lib on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:54:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They are made for international audiences (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Films investments by studios today always count on foreign receipts and DVD sales as part of the budget. As a result, we get piles of action films and rom coms with either CGI or just slightly racy "sex scenes" that will work across cultures and around the world. By necessity both types play to the lowest common denominator and to gender stereotypes while avoiding anything overly complex or controversial.

      It's the economic model that's the problem. Technically we could be in a golden age of film. Artistically the potential is there as well. But instead we get Spiderman XXXXIV because it will play in Hong Kong as well as Paris, Moscow as well as Beijing, and that's what will make the studio money.

      "Take it easy-- but take it!" --Woody Guthrie

      by Mr Green Jeans on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:14:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How many of our age willingly get the (14+ / 0-)

    1910 silent films to watch??  Or the early talkies??

    I do get your drift though.  Movies, books, tv shows, music, clothing, seem to be coming and going in and out of  'fashion' much more quickly than they have in the past.  It seems as though everything is about the here and now and I'm sure our parents and grandparents say/said the same about us.  Generally, I agree, technology is moving much more quickly and it is having an affect on 'younger' people.  I could go on into a rant about 'disposable' economy...... ;-)

    •  We're Undergoing a Sea Change in the Way People (18+ / 0-)

      live their minute-to-minute lives that doesn't have a parallel since TV came in. It's not limited to young people; I just sailed my dinghy along a lake seawall and saw that every single person fishing, up to retirement age, was simultaneously on the phone. The only thing is, those of us 30 and older grew up before this was the norm and so we remember and identify with activity and entertainment that may not have much use any longer.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:03:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Art is not entertainment. (0+ / 0-)

        Would you call Leonard Cohen's work entertainment? Or Bob Dylan's? Was TS Eliot an entertaining fellow?

        Madonna is entertaining. Vito Corleone is entertaining.

        "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

        by native on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:23:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But Shakespeare wrote to entertain (5+ / 0-)

          As did the other great Elizabethan playwright, Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great was the second smash hit of the London stage (Thomas Kyd's Spanish Tragedy being the first), & average people were still quoting lines from it as late as the 1630s, 50 years after its debut.

          Hamlet, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth -- they were all written to attract playgoers. Shakespeare did write a few plays towards the end of his career that were intended to appeal to the taste of the King & Court, but for the most part if people didn't buy tickets, Shakespeare & his company didn't eat, let alone earn him the tidy sum he had accumulated at the time of his death.

          Art & entertainment are not exclusive categories -- despite what many foolishly believe.

        •  Gold star (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          native, nchristine, arch

 the category "Sodden with elitist conceit."

          Dylan isn't entertainment? Perhaps if you'd said "isn't just entertainment" it would have been justifiable. As it stands, it reeks.

          "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

          by sagesource on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:32:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I love entertainment (0+ / 0-)

            and much of the best art is entertaining. Dante was entertaining, Michelangelo was entertaining, Cervantes was entertaining, Sir Joshua Reynolds was entertaining, and so on.

            Dylan was certainly entertaining, and he described himself not as a poet, but as a "song and dance man".

            My critique of movies is not about that. It's about the fact that movies are not the individual creations of a unique soul, but rather corporate enterprises. The way I understand art, my interpretation of what art is, is that it is a unique transmission of a vision, or a special ability, to a particular individual.

            Durer, Goethe, Leonardo, Breughel, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, Dali, Picasso, Pollack, et al -- the reason we treasure these artists, and exchange their work for millions of dollars, is because of their quintessential and absolutely unique individuality.The same holds true in the realm of music. Or dance, or theater, or any of the other classical forms.

            Movies are a form that strictly and prohibitively denies individual accomplishment to any artist who happens to get involved with them. Movies are corporate-style art. They suck serious artists into their money/power world, and thus divert creative energies that could have been far better spent elsewhere.

            In the final analysis, art is magic. It is what we choose to believe is real.

            "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

            by native on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:08:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Just watched some flicks on Sundance... (0+ / 0-)

              that I thought were quite good. The Secret of Grain is a French/Arab-immigrant story that was worth every one of its 4 stars, in my book. The actors were superb, the story was intriguing. There was a very deft camera technique of getting very close to the face that was extremely effective in scenes with lots of exquisite back and forth dialog. Bravo! Also very much liked Big Fan and Toe to Toe.

              Indie/foreign films still seem to be kicking out some interesting art. I feel the art in the acting, in the stories, in the cinematography, in the direction, in objects and background, etc. I dont feel the Hollywood corporate machine behind  them... because it isnt.

              So a movie is collaborative, not the work of one individual, which you somehow find unacceptable. But sometimes that collaboration creates art. The writer has a vision to convey. The director. The actors, even. They mesh. Then some are less vision, more entertainment, but in a good way, for me. In an artful way. I have no problem with that, as long as it isnt schlock.

              A symphony, a rock band, a dance, an opera, a theater piece is also a collaboration - all of which can be quite good. Even a lone writer of a novel or a painter is collaborating with people and experiences which have influenced him/her, in a sense. Why so averse to the notion of movies as art? Take Hollywood's mindless/soulless money machine (that is spiraling out of control these days) out of it and some movies can and do stand as art, old and new.  

              Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

              by NYCee on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 01:13:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Recently I was in a group (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geenius at Wrok

        that had met for activism purposes, a kind of teach and discuss. Some were familiar to others, some new. One guy asked a fairly deep question and as the "teacher/moderator" began to answer him, I noticed that the "listener" wouldnt even look at him. He was looking down at his phone, whatever he was looking at being so much more important than engaging with the person who he had asked to explain something.

        The answer being given wasnt just a sentence. (It was actually very interesting history that went straight to the question) It took some background. So, like for 2 minutes or so, Im watching this guy barely glance at the speaker, every so often, as if vaguely aware that he might need to at least appear to be listening. Then he'd go right back to his screen.

        Something is wrong here.

        Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

        by NYCee on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:14:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did you ask the sinner afterwards.... (0+ / 0-)

          ....or just assume (s)he had ignored the answer?

          "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

          by sagesource on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:29:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  His body language was completely dismissive. (0+ / 0-)

            2 seconds into the answer and he bent his head down toward his phone and kept it there for the next 2-3 minutes, for the most part, even though the speaker was looking toward him. One would guess it was anybody else sitting near him who had asked instead of him. I guess that's why they dont let kids bring cell phones into their classrooms in high school.  

            No, I didnt ask because it's not my practice to go around questioning people on what they've learned from answers to their questions.

            Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

            by NYCee on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:59:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If I'd been answering him (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nchristine, prfb

              I'd have stopped midstream, looked around the room, asked, "Is anyone else interested in the answer to this question? Because my time here is limited, and I'm only going to offer information to people who want to hear it."

              "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

              by Geenius at Wrok on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:47:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I think the boundary is pretty specific to the (7+ / 0-)

      individual.  I happen to love precode films - not only are they uninhibited and unpredictable compared to most eras in Hollywood history put their technical crudeness makes them seem more 'real'.  However there are very few silent films I can really enjoy watching.

      "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

      by matching mole on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:06:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a "test" shot in my living room (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's a framed studio still from a lost segment of an early sound film. There are ten people in it, 5 men and 5 women. A couple were big stars, a few others were quite well known. Anyone who claims to like old movies while in my home I offer $100 if they can name two. Any two.

        The $100 has so far been safe.

        P.S. I can name eight from the photo, and I never even looked at IMDB.

        P.P.S. I like silents just fine if they have a decent score.

    •  the complaint is a classic in itself (4+ / 0-)

      The explosion of CG, like CinemaScope, etc., has led to an orgy of showing off that has shoved storytelling to the side for a while, but I don't think things are as bad as all that.

      and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

      by le sequoit on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:17:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  About popular music, I don't know (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nchristine, prfb

      Used to be, there was a revolution in music styles about twice per decade.

      Specifically for rock and roll, but I saw a revolution in 1977, another around 1982, and then ever since (30 years!), it's been about the same damn stuff.

      •  Clearly, you haven't heard dubstep yet: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Garrett, Gay CA Democrat
        •  Haha (0+ / 0-)

          the universally reviled "dubstep".  I'm "Grampy Punk" on my local scene, and as suchm the younger kids keep me informed of all the various ongoing developments in  music.  Let's just say that "dubstep" is met by rather universal loathing among the kids who actually go to shows.

          The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

          by ActivistGuy on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:57:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  What about 1991? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Garrett, germanliberal

        That's when Nirvana released Nevermind. According to some, that album validated the Indie pop movement -- & knocked a now-forgotten hair band out of #1 rank.

        On the other hand, there's been a lack of change in rock since then: about two years ago I noticed that the local alternative rock radio station I listened  to in the car had been playing a majority of songs that had been out 10-15 years. Songs recorded within the last 12 months were by far the exception, & not the rule. Which is one of the reasons I've done a 180 & started listening to Classical music (you know, the stuff written by Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky) again.

      •  Call me a fuddy-duddy, but am I the only one (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        out there who feels we've witnessed a rapid impoverishment of musicianship in pop music? After the 1960s singing in harmony became a lost art; then melody followed; and now all that's left is rhythm.

    •  Well, yeah, but our parents and grandparents... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      as I recall, werent pining to watch the old silent films. It was natural to accept sound/talk as something missing in films that originally only engaged sight. (Although I have enjoyed silent films, Buster Keaton, Chaplin, and other films that hooked me in.) A film with sight and sound is generally more of a satisfying experience to most people, so it was accepted pretty widely.

      I do agree with your post overall. Disposable, yes. Going (too) fast, I think so. You are onto something. But I think it is easy for us to dismiss our unease, sometimes, thinking, well, maybe we're just fogies, it was always this way: the older generation acting like the young kids were getting it all wrong.

      But I cant shut it off like that - the feeling there really is something wrong caught in with what's right. I mean, it isnt black or white - a ditch the car for the horse and buggy attitude. (Although I dont use a car or a buggy - public transportation or walk) It isnt like that. I think one can embrace the good of technology and at the same time say the way its playing out has its downside.

      Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

      by NYCee on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:28:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Building our collection for a while too… (10+ / 0-)

    and the best thing about it is the wonderful stuff we somehow missed and are seeing now. This week we got hold of "The Man from Earth" - have no idea how we missed it - just wow. Of course, we still watch Gallaxy Quest once a year.

    I'm voting for the UPPITY ONE

    by qua on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:07:05 PM PDT

    •  I like to get out Buckaroo Banzai every so often (7+ / 0-)

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:18:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Recommended! (6+ / 0-)

      For watching Galaxy Quest!
      I love old movies, nothing makes me happier, when stuff gets crappy, than watching an old Astaire/Rogers movie....Flying Down to Rio, the Gay Divorcee, Top Hat, Roberta....just to name a few.  It never occurs to me to pop in The Terminator or some other CGI extravaganza.  Hmmmm....
      Nah, I'll stick to Astaire and Rogers.
      (and ps, yes 10 years is way too early for a remake of a perfectly good original)

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 05:38:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Me too! (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lilyvt, Munchkn, Val, wasatch, SherwoodB, Floja Roja

        I dig out musicals when I need a mood booster.  If I'm getting aggravated about the political scene I'll pull out Inherit the Wind or Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  

        People think I have an eclectic collection, but the common thread is that they all have Donald Meek in them.  

        My g-grandmother and his mother were sisters.  He was in about 80 movies before he died in 1946.  Also did Broadway   - he brought Bette Davis to g-grandma's house for dinner one night - my mom was a little kid.  

        He's been a character / bit actor in some amazing classics - so I've got everything from Captain Blood to Stagecoach to Little Miss Broadway to State Fair....

        My son (he's 32) has watched some of my oldies and though he collects the typical young person's Star Wars (heck I have SW!) LOTR, Spiderman, Dark Knight, Terminator, Gremlins? ... he also has some great movies from my parents era (WWII) and my era (60's-70's) - Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Hair (although the play at Queen's Theatre in London was better than the movie - and at 15 I was quite shocked).

        I don't buy too many of the new movies - I can watch them on demand so I don't need to own them.  But I still sift through the discount bins at various stores, looking for that odd little gem that re-issued on a 50th, 60th or 75th anniversary but nobody wanted, so it's marked down to $3.  Treasure!  

        •  Wow! (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Munchkn, Val, SherwoodB, Floja Roja

          Donald Meek, now that's not a name you hear every day....but, yes, I do know Donald Meek!
          Laughing, I rummage through the discounted bins looking for 'gems' discarded by the unknowing.  I don't have a real common thread running through my collection (like Donald Meek in yours), mine is truly eclectic for no reason at all, except I like eclectic.

          I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

          by Lilyvt on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:49:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Galaxy Quest (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, ORDem, Gay CA Democrat, Matt Z

      is my comfort food of movies. I have watched it alone in hotel rooms while away on business trips when I could have been watching the latest on cable and I will pull it out on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The whole family can quote through the entire thing but oh, how I love it! It's a hell of a thing!

      Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

      by Debby on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:42:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The short answer is yes. (14+ / 0-)

    There are classics, but there's also everything else.  Over the years, there have been maybe 100 movies I've thought of and thought, "I want to share this with my son when he's the right age!"

    But to him, they're all "old movies."  And while he might enjoy sharing a gem with his dad, I'm sure he doesn't want to wade through the whole catalog of my memories.

    Lots of the movies I loved the first time around aren't classics, and they're definitely doomed to obscurity, and rightly so.  Just like 90% of the music I liked in High School doesn't deserve to be on the radio today.  Sure, some of it is classic.  But lots of it was junk.

    And my son would rather enjoy the junk of 2012.

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:07:06 PM PDT

  •  Rights issue.... (13+ / 0-)

    The reason that the Spiderman reboot happened so quickly had to do with a rights issue.  Sony was about to lose the rights to the franchise unless they made another movie.  That was the main reason for the remake.  

  •  Several explanations, I think (13+ / 0-)

    One is the rise of cable tv, the other is the decline of broadcast tv, and then there's syndication.

    Once upon a time when there were 2 then 3 major networks and a lot of local stations, there wasn't all that much content available for them to air. I can remember when regular network television would schedule movies on a regular basis. They worked through a lot of Hollywood classics, especially the big epics with major stars. And, you could count on a number of friends and co-workers having seen that movie the night before.... Shared experience in other words.

    Local stations had a similar problem. Afternoons, late nights, weekends, they'd fill time with movies. Maybe they couldn't afford the big films, but there were plenty of B movies that made it on the air. (That's how I happened to see The Titfield Thunderbolt for example. I can't imagine it getting airtime today. Online options here.)

    Then came the rise of syndication - local stations could fill time by re-running old tv shows. They came with a built-in audience, could be filled with commercials, and fit in half hour - hour programming slots. Running old movies became a lot less attractive. If you didn't catch it from the beginning, well why bother?

    The rise of cable further skewed the picture. With cable paying big bucks to run movies right out of the theaters, the major networks moved away from films - especially since they were now looking at creating series that could eventually go the syndication route.

    The number of cable channels further marginalized old movies. With dozens of choices to compete against, for an old film with stars modern audiences don't know and a story they may have never heard of, keeping them from clicking to another channel is an uphill battle.

    So, where once movies had a much larger audience (by default), that era has passed. It's now analogous to books and libraries - thousands of classics gathering dust on the shelves while best sellers are on the waiting list.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:15:49 PM PDT

    •  On the positive side, access to those movies (7+ / 0-)

      is much easier to obtain.

      Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
      Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

      by The Dead Man on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:54:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another consideration is just how much time... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llywrch, Gay CA Democrat, xaxnar

      ...has passed.

      Growing up in the seventies, the "old movies" that ran on television were typically from the forties and fifties -- with an occasional film from the thirties, maybe.  

      And, really, the "talkie" era had begun around 1930, so the history of talking pictures in, say 1975, only included films that were as much as 45 years old.  TV stations where I lived didn't show silent films, so that was the age of the oldest films that they would even consider showing.

      Today, the oldest talkies from 1930 are now over 80 years old.  And there's a lot of films that have come out since.  It's not especially surprising that the first few decades of talking films no longer get a lot of visibility.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:28:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't go to movies in the theater and seldom (6+ / 0-)

    watch them at all. Theater is too loud, and most of the movies are geared to entertain my preteen son, not me.

    Action and scene changes are something else . . . so much action. Scenes so fleeting. I went to see Lord of the Rings with my husband several years ago and found myself bored out of my gourd by all the battle scenes. Orcs are nasty. I get it.

    But over the past few weeks I decided to hunt for old movies and DVR them on satellite TV. I have a dozen queued up, most from the 40's, 50's and 60's. A lot of them are B movies, but I've loved watching them, for the period, the pacing, the costumes, and—happy day!—the complete absence of CGI.

    In the past year I've seen one film in the theater, with my family. We all loved it, even though it was pure CGI and action, and a tremendous flop: John Carter.

    I was a Barsoom series fan 30 years ago, and I couldn't pass this one up. Loved it, in a way I generally do not when books I've loved have been committed to film.

    Sometimes a .sig is just a .sig

    by rhubarb on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:27:01 PM PDT

  •  p.s. with very few exceptions (6+ / 0-)

    I fucken hate Pixar and movies like that. I find that sort of animation to be an imagination killer, for one thing, and grotesque, for another. Those eyes, those teeth . .  . yeesh.

    Wall-e was the one exception. Loved that flick.

    Sometimes a .sig is just a .sig

    by rhubarb on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:29:30 PM PDT

  •  I specifically like about old movies, (13+ / 0-)

    including screwball comedies and battles-of-the-sexes and the like, the deeper richer stronger more flesh-and-blood portrait of women characters.

    It's a real embarrassment to have to go so far back in time to find it.

  •  In the early 70's I met a high school teacher (7+ / 0-)

    who showed great foreign and English language films at a small theater he owned. I asked him if he ever showed them to his h.s. classes. His reply was no, that would be casting pearls before swine.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:32:39 PM PDT

  •  Trying to learn (8+ / 0-)

    For the last few years my 10 year old grandson keeps asking why I like to watch "gray" movies.  As he got older the reasons I give, such as it helps you concentrate more on the story being told and the characters, he seems to be more receptive to watching a little more at a time.  I keep holding out hope for the younger generation that they will help keep these old movies viable for a long time.

  •  And why would they? (27+ / 0-)

    Lets face facts....

    you cut music programs, you cut art programs, you cut out story time from libraries, you completely devalue poetry, create an education system based on standardized testing and then create a market that provides 127 television stations, many of which are specialized to one particular--and often insanely low brow--theme and low and have a generation with no appreciation for art or for story telling.

    i dont buy the technology issues as a cause here. that may affect how a 16 year old appreciates things, but the 16 year old will grow up. The technology issues seem akin to the old stand by "I dont like black&white"...which one would have heard two decades ago.

    instead i say we dont encourage the depth of imagination that we should. and this education needs to begin earlier in life than 11th grade. (and while lazy teachers may be complacent in this...overall teachers are probably not the problem)

    why would a culture thats @25th in things like math and science have an appreciation for film history or brilliant stories from the past? intelligence in one area fuels intelligence in another.

    and the result is going to be vacuous ideas and an absence of creativity. and this isnt a new phenomenon, its been coming for years

    to prove my point...try to imagine what some house or techno music from 1999 sounded like. bet you cant remember a damn tune. thats because of how forgettable it was. no depth.

    film, music, painting, doesnt matter. society places no value on art for a few brave and creative individuals

    I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

    by Evolution on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:42:18 PM PDT

  •  I've introduced my 11 year-old to (10+ / 0-)

    everything from silent films (he loved "Zorro" with Fairbanks Sr) to 50s musicals (we watched "Seven Brides" last weekend and "Singin' in the Rain" is one of his faves). Anyone who doesn't watch old movies doesn't know what they're missing.

    As for Spiderman, I have no intention of wasting my money...

  •  Film History as an English class (8+ / 0-)

    One possibility, of course, if we suppose a population that can survive regular English classes and master the grammar of language, is to integrate media history, rather than media defense and media use, classes in our schools. I was of the "three channels and UHF" generation, and I learned my movies from "Channel 17" (what became TBS) in Atlanta.

    However, when I took an actual film history class (from David Cook, whose History of Narrative Film is a very useful textbook), it opened every door. I could see directors at work, recognize quotations, see how crappy the depth of field was, etc.

    As for "reboots," I really hate pumping anything I wrote, I have a serious question about the process. On my personal doo-dad blog, I wrote a fairly gnarled essay questioning the process of adaptation that adapts from a concept rather than an artwork. (My blog gets no readers and no hits. This pleases me. However, this essay has been, for years, the most read or one of the most read on my site, so maybe there's something to it.)

    If we can save the depth of time itself, and I don't know if we can, as I fear that a generation is losing the conceptual space of historical depth and sequence as genealogy and intent, then there should be a way on the Internet itself for sites like IMDB to turn their benevolent, greedy eyes from celebrity breasts to film history. It can't all be left to TCM.

    Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

    by The Geogre on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:58:12 PM PDT

    •  You watched Channel 17? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Geogre

      So did I!  I watched Academy Award Theater with Bill Tush on Sunday mornings religiously when I was at UGA in the mid- 70s.  There were classic movies on at other times and then there were the old movies the Student Union showed at South PJ Auditorium on campus.

      •  The "UHF sense" and the Turner reverence (0+ / 0-)

        Channel 17 was mainly Andy Griffith, Gilligan, and all the Paul Hemings shows. (I remember that there was a Batman viewing club at one of the Athens bars in the early 80's, but by then 17 had gone on to glory and "Batman" was on another cable station (the club was the Uptown Lounge, and Kyle was still managing it, and there was no stage).)

        What I liked about Bill Tush's hosting was that he had some of the UHF sensibility -- not to the Joe Bob level, but a sense of humor and self-awareness -- but there was the Uncle Ted reverence for the glory days. (Of course Channel 17 also gave us a home for H. R. Puffinstuff and Liddsville.)

        Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

        by The Geogre on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:47:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm an "elder" millennial approaching 30 (4+ / 0-)

    so maybe my perspective is different than the younger  of the generation who are neck-deep in social media, but to me the attitude and taste you identify here are just plain stupidity.  

    I do find a lot of classics hopelessly antiquated - I did enjoy some 1930s-1940s stuff when I was little and saw it on broadcast TV, but since then I just can't stomach the hammy performances of film before the 1950s, and most of even that decade is just too ridiculous.  Bogart is still cool, IMHO, but Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney seem like clowns to me.

    But if these kids are bored by The Godfather I & II, Chinatown, Goodfellas, The Silence of the Lambs, Letters from Iwo Jima, Unforgiven, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi, A Clockwork Orange, Trainspotting, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Reservoir Dogs, etc. etc. - they're not pioneers of a new aesthetic, they're just trendy, airheaded morons who need to be told what they like by studios who will soon be remaking the same films on a perpetual basis (this will literally happen - there will be studios whose sole output is continuous remakes of the same properties).  You're correct to analogize it to fashion, since that seems to be how they're treating it.

    It's not like I grew up relating to the content of Martin Scorsese movies - they take place mainly in the '60s and '70s in New York among Italian-Americans, and I grew up in coastal suburban Southern California surrounded by WASP surfers while my parents grew up in suburban Michigan, so I'm about a century removed from the cultural basis of those movies.  And yet because they're so alive, so vigorous, so immediate, they hold power that is undeniable and ultimately very easy to become enthralled by.  Anyone who doesn't get that just has no balls and no heart - although given the music of millennials, that might actually be the case.

    The irony here is that the cliche is supposed to be that old farts like me (I'm approaching the cutoff point of youth) are supposed to complain that kids are too rowdy, too lively, too creative and disrespectful, their music too rough, but I don't see that being a real problem in people younger than me.  Quite the opposite.  They don't like the music of the past few decades because it's too lively for them, too expressive, etc.  The movies have too much content and real feeling.  It's like the electronicization of their social lives has turned them into limp, pallid pseudo-beings who flinch in the face of real experience or even entertainment that remotely resembles real experience.

    It's really pathetic, because they're basically Owned.  Trivia completely under the control of the companies that feed them like farm animals is what they consider significant.  "Did you see this month's remake of The Hulk?"  "No, I'm waiting till next month."  "Damn, they should really start making these remakes weekly instead of monthly, I'm tired of waiting."  "Yeah, but I think next month's will be cool - I hear they're adding 0.002% more pixels to 5% of the frames.  Should be awesome!"  Seriously - movie franchises will cease to be franchises and become the business themselves.  Spiderman Inc.  Subscribe to the latest updates to the film, which includes periodic versioning that significantly changes the look and actors to meet current fashion.  

    It's a big damn irony, but I suppose it's what naturally comes after a Classic Era in anything - the people who come later seem like gutless wonders with no imagination: The reverse of the WW2-boomer generation gap that was afflicted with the craziness and disordered creativity of what followed.  Now we have to deal with the fact that kids are spineless.

    "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

    by Troubadour on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 04:58:28 PM PDT

  •  On the other hand (11+ / 0-)

    I agree with your characterization of the potential problems with short attention spans, novelty for the sake of novelty, and special effects over depth.  Still, a little perspective might help us resist the impulse to slit our throats in despair.

    Shakespeare was writing plays at a time that theater was considered a low, ephemeral form of literature, entertainment for the masses, inferior to the high class refinement of poetry.  What do we remember and value today?  Plays that Will wrote for audiences that wanted something at least as new and lurid as last year's stuff.  Admittedly, we don't pay much attention to most of the plays of his contemporaries.

    Similarly, during most of the Baroque and Classical times, audiences wanted new music rather than whatever it was they heard last season.  Somehow, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and many of the rest managed to crank out a few pieces that people have managed to like and hold onto since then.

    Having a lively, engaged, impatient audience isn't necessarily a bad thing, although different artists may respond to the demands in different ways.

    "If they give you lined paper, write the other way." (Juan Ramon Jimenez)

    by bread on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 05:03:27 PM PDT

  •  Those old movies were "fashion" when they (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, Garrett, kenlac

    were made.  The town one-screen theater had a different movie every one or two weeks and if you saw it then, you saw it, but the next week there'd be a new one.

    In general, no one thought of the movies as having long lasting value and they had little interest in seeing old ones.

    Maybe we are returning to the original, intended aesthetic.

  •  I am a HUGE old movie fan (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peptabysmal, Only Needs a Beat, Debby, Val

    My sister isn't. She says they're "too wordy". gah! She likes flashy visual stimulation.
    I can't stand flashy and loud as the hook to get you to see the movie. I can't stand the seemingly never-ending battle, chase, explosion, tension inducing scenes in modern movies. IMO, It's over-kill, and they bore me. It seems modern movies rely heavily on special effects and less on good stories or scripts. I enjoy old movie special effects. They had to invent ways to portray these things.  

  •  I'm afraid the diarist has a good point. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, fabucat

    I think most old films, even the ones considered movie milestones, will be relegated to mere antiquarian interest in some forgotten dustbin.

    I can see future historians looking them over for some obscure doctoral thesis (aren't they all obscure?), but almost everybody will pass them by with a shrug.

    I don't think anyone can be a "futurist" any longer though, and could predict just what the hell will happen with any medium in the future. The pace of modern life will accelerate, and new inventions will, like plot points in a screenplay, spin the action in another direction. I think
    the "Alvin Tofflers" won't be around much longer. (Of course, by saying so, I'm making myself a futurist.)

    For my part, every once in a while I'll catch an old lesser-known melodrama from the forties or early fifties
    and will become quite stuck on it. For example, I watched
    a 1950 Joan Crawford movie the other morning on TCM
    called "Harriet Craig" that was hopelessly dated in some ways but I stuck around to see the controlling wife get her comeuppance. And boy, she did within the last ten minutes of the film. I never saw it before then. (But it was by no means a "Mildred Pierce" or a "Sudden Fear." Part of my fascination was looking at the furniture and 1950's-style

    I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

    by Wildthumb on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 05:11:36 PM PDT

  •  i see this somewhat at home (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat

    i'm 52 and my housemate is seven years younger than me.  he canot sit through most movies from the 70s because they so often tend to meander along creating moods rather than stories.

    that 7 years seems to have really made a difference in attention spans.  it's almost as if his cinematic aesthetic was informed by MTV.

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 05:14:41 PM PDT

  •  I watch TCM (7+ / 0-)

    at work a lot, and from EVERY other firefighter I work with, I get reactions from I am old school to I'm gay to flat out ridicule.  I'll watch the latest pirated movie that has been in the theater for one weekend and is already on line for download to DVD with the crew, and that is what is exciting to them, brand new, and the air of taboo forbidden to watching something that won't be on DVD or Netflix for 3 months.  most of these guys have never even seen Wizard of Oz. We watched it at home every year when I was growing up, along with Miracle on 34th Street and in later years A Christmas Story  (our family's time period). My 15  year old can't sit through a black and white. 20 minutes and he is back on hulu watching Big Bang theory for the 80th time.  He is Smart and for his peers, very well rounded, but hopelessly disinterested in anything made before he was born.  Well the month, he is watching the first Star Wars trilogy, which I guess for him, is a classic.

  •  I love old films (7+ / 0-)

    I used to watch them late into the night on CBC.  

    My teens will watch just about anything I recommend, as long as we watch it together.

    Their friends who float through the house at varying times have no clue about any of the old films.  They think that Home Alone is OLD old.  Anime nerds who have no clue where many of the references in their beloved shows come from even.....
    My 18 yr old is totally mystified why her buddies are so unaware. LOL. She loves the Turner Movie Channel.

    The last, most complete version of Metropolis is something we are waiting to see again.

    I started the kids on the Giorgio Moroder version when they were little.  I know, not for purists but it certainly revived interest in that film.
    Metropolis has inspired a lot in our time.

    Fuddle Duddle--- Pierre Trudeau.... Canadian politics at......A Creative Revolution

    by pale cold on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 05:15:10 PM PDT

  •  I worry about this too as I get older (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, SherwoodB, Munchkn

    There is too much choice and you are limited to the things that Netflix/Hulu/Amazon suggest to you.

    If I watched "Bridesmaids" for example, their algorithm doesn't suggest screwball comedies from all eras (His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby etc...) it only recommends contemporary films that are similar i.e. "The Hangover" and the like.

    Unless you are someone who already likes film, you aren't going to be exposed to things you potentially might love all based off of whatever streaming company tells you to like.

    Also, I can kill you with my brain.

    by Puffin on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 05:15:43 PM PDT

  •  Is spiderman a remake? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, SherwoodB

    I thought this one featured the lizard guy.  Didn't the last one have green goblin or the sandman or somesuch?

    Or is it that they keep wanting to cram in his origins as well, under the assumption kids haven't read the older comics?

    I never actually cared for many of the so called 'classics' of film myself, preferring the old clint eastwood or terrance hill westerns, or a number of the Cary Grant flicks.  Arsenic and Old Lace is a complete hoot.

    •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

      Saw the newest Spiderman because my little brother wanted to go. It is essentially the same movie as the first one out of the last series.

      As noted upthread, this remake was primarily about holding on to the rights for the character. Money was the motivation, and little else.

  •  Uphill both ways. In the rain. (4+ / 0-)


    Now get the fuck off my lawn, brat.

    In capitalist America, bank robs you!

    by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 05:58:28 PM PDT

  •  Don't rush to judge. (3+ / 0-)

    After seeing "Prometheus" in 3d at an IMAX Theatre I really think a lot of the push to remake some of these movies is the desire to get them out in a 3D format. The effects are awesome, the story not so much. Who really wants to see another movie made from a comic book or video game?

    ",,, the Political whorehouse that is Fox News." Keith Olbermann

    by irate on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:01:45 PM PDT

    •  Forgotten gems are rediscovered from time (4+ / 0-)

      to time. Tastes do change. In this say of cheap data storage, somebody is going to preserve at least one copy of just about everything. Any idea how much Laurel & Hardy has been lost forever? Keaton? Even Chaplin!

      That's part of the fun.

      Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
      I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

      by Leo in NJ on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:23:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly -- more fads than we wish to admit (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dwayne, nchristine, Leo in NJ

        Shakespeare was out of fashion in the 18th century; Nahum Tate's write of King Lear was considered an improvement until the mid-19t century. Bach went out of style, & as a result much of his work was lost.

        An amazing amount of television footage from the 1960s & 1970s is either in danger of being lost, or has been lost -- & 1950s television is full of series known only from reviews & recollections of the people involved. ("Who wants that old stuff? Clear it out; we need the storage space.") The earliest episodes of The Avengers -- the one with Patrick Macnee -- are lost, for example. I wonder if anyone outside of the Hollywood elite owns a copy every season of Hill Street Blues. (I know I'm not alone in wanting more than seasons one & two.)

        Every period of great art is considered "old fashioned" by the next generation or two, & must be rediscovered by those a century or two later. While this process helps to sift out the chaff from the wheat, it is a unkind process.

    •  I've been disappointed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in the 3D I've been seeing. Granted, I don't pursue them and have only stumbled onto them, for example while going to see Tin-Tin or Brave and finding that the viewing I showed up for is 3D. But maybe I'm too immature in my viewing. 3D adds depth but you have to wear those awful glasses. If I have to sit through that, I want arrows whizzing past my ear, not just "depth".

      Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

      by Debby on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:03:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stureoen's Law 9/10 of everything is crap (12+ / 0-)

    That's a major reason I listen to classical musing, most of the crap has been forgotten over time.

    The good stuff will survive, just as the Beatles and a few others survive in the world of pop music.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:02:07 PM PDT

    •  exactly (12+ / 0-)

      Seriously, how many of these old movie lovers bemoaning the wretched taste these days have watched more than, say, ten of the movies made in the year 1956? Or 1978? I'll bet if you picked ten movies made in 2012 to watch twenty years from now, they'd look pretty good!

      Meanwhile, who is going to remember "Katy Perry: Part of Me"? How many of the Very Serious Critics worrying about the death of cinema are out watching Katy Perry right now? They AREN'T.

      Take my 1978 example. Top-grossing films numbers were Every Which Way But Loose, Heaven Can Wait, and Hooper... hardly classics. Same year gave us masterpieces like The Deer Hunter and Up In Smoke, but it gave us a whole lot of crap. Every year gives us a whole lot of crap. Looking from a distance, everything looks better because our cultural memory has forgotten the crap!

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:19:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lot of crap in the 70's, too... (3+ / 0-)

        The 70's is generally considered the last great decade of creativity in Hollywood, but there was a ton of crap made back then, too.

        The Herbie the Love Bug movies were made, Freaky Friday, the Smokey and the Bandit movies, etc., etc..  It wasn't all great art.  

        •  I'd push it into the 80s (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the 90s is when corporate control completely solidified, imo.

          NOW SHOWING
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          by The Dead Man on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:13:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  corporate control isn't the problem (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The end of the "director era" in the 1970s was Heaven's Gate. Have you ever watched it? I watched the three hour version. It. Was. Horrible. I mean, every single bit as bad as the critics say. A proven director was given huge resources and no control, and he turned out a huge stinking pile of poo.

            I don't blame Hollywood one bit for supervising how the money gets spent.

            That said, what's wrong with the "corporate control" era, anyway? 1988 gave us works like Rain Man and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Okay, 1998 was a bust, but... dang, I was going to argue the point with you, but then I started looking at the top-grossing films of the late 1990s and could hardly find anything truly classic. Sigh.

            In capitalist America, bank robs you!

            by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:16:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Shawshank Redemption. n/t (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Hohenzollern, arch
            •  Heaven's Gate... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Heaven's Gate was the last straw for the runaway directors.  

              There were some high profile and expensive flops (like Boganovich's At Long Last Love and Friedkin's Sorcerer for example) before Heaven's Gate.  So when HG came around, that's when the studio finally said enough.  Directors are human as well, and can be prone to megalomania like anyone else when given too much power.  

              Not to mention other filmmakers were angry at Cimino because since UA was putting so much money into HG, they weren't financing anything else.  Hollywood likes filmmakers who come in on time and on budget.  They always have.  

              •  Sorcerer! (0+ / 0-)

                Sorcerer may not have been a profitable or notorious victory, but it was an excellent film (for fun, try having a two-film night with that and the original French "Wages of Fear". It's awesome). Heaven's Gate, on the other hand, is genuinely terrible, without great scenes or great acting to make up any ground.

                In capitalist America, bank robs you!

                by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 07:36:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I don't know... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

     "proven" Cimino was. He was a one hit wonder. Actual "proven" directors, like Kubrick, Coppola, Scorcese, still had a lot of latitude to do pretty much whatever they wanted.

              I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

              by itsjim on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:47:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Still true... (3+ / 0-)

      That law is still true.  90 percent of what's out there is crap.  It's just now there's so much more of it.  

    •  You said what I was going to say (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dwayne, nchristine, Hohenzollern

      In the last 80 or so years of film, out of the tens of Thousands of movies made, I would venture to guess there are only a few hundred that should be considered classics. Even back in the 30's and 40's most of the stuff made was crap. For the most part they were cranked out like sausages. One hundred years from now it will still be the same.

      Nothing new under the sun

    •  Exactly. Guess what the #1 song was in 1969? (0+ / 0-)

      Sugar Sugar by The Archies.  I was dumbfounded when I found this out.

      All your vote are belong to us.

      by Harkov311 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:25:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's true. (4+ / 0-)

    Sadly, most people under 40can't identify ANY of the great stars of yesteryear. Elizabeth Taylor? Who's that? Bet they also don't know who Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Sir Lawrence Olivier, and many more.
    I guess you can't get angry because people are ignorant of artistic history. And I tire of the excuse, "It was before I was born!" Geez. The Founding Fathers, Lincoln and lots of other stuff was before you were born too but you should know that. Oh, wait....
    Anyway, IMO, we have a generation or two of ignoramuses aided and abetted by shitty programming, lack of education and simply being exposed to all sorts of stuff. Knowing ONLY what is in your era's narrow focus means you don't know nuttin' kid.
    And you've missed so much.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:15:20 PM PDT

  •  my son, now age 24 (7+ / 0-)

    was raised by me to love old movies. They are like old friends. Personally whenever I don't feel well I want to see To Kill a Mockingbird or In the Heat of the Night.
    My son is always surprised when people don't "get" his movie references but my favorite related anecdote is from his 4th grade year. You see, he loved WW II movies at the time & when he was interested in a subject he would eat it up like candy. One day he came stomping home from school absolutely irate. He finally had his shocking lesson that all teachers are not 100% correct on everything and he was incensed. You see, the teacher was attempting to cover WWII (the rah rah version) and got several facts wrong. Finally, Mike told me, he got up the guts to correct her and apparently she contradicted him. He told me , contempt dripping in his voice, about several points he then made ( I forget them now but he WAS actually right). He ranted on & on about it to me and finished with "Mom! She doesn't even know who Audie Murphy is!" LOL

  •  people still watch old movies (4+ / 0-)

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:22:00 PM PDT

  •  Corner in Wheat (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, ybruti, pico, Munchkn

    Here's a 1909 film by DW Griffith called "A Corner in Wheat".  It hasn't dated at all.

  •  There are movies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SherwoodB, Debby

    out there today that are like the old movies of yesteryear - now they are called art films.

    It is the same with books.  It used to be a book took a while to get into - you had to get to know the characters and there was a slow build up.  Books and movies now adays are for the short attention span generation - all action and no heart.

  •  It's extremely similar with Literature (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and students.

    I absolutely prefer older cinema to newer films and can barely sit through many of the newer movies, often finding myself pacing in the aisle or hanging out in the bathroom when bored. I love going to the theater for a matinee, but I can't believe how poor it can be. And I would guess I wind up turning off about 50% of the newer films which I rent. There's too much action and not enough dialogue and character, generally, or too much devotion to a sort of flat, pretty, aimless sort of thing which drives me nuts (I'm thinking of you, Wes Anderson... I want to love you, but after Darjeeling Limited, I've had it with you once and for all).

    •  Completely sympathise... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive, SherwoodB
      (I'm thinking of you, Wes Anderson... I want to love you, but after Darjeeling Limited, I've had it with you once and for all).
      I had it with him after The Royal Tennebaums, and I really liked Bottle Rocket and I adored Rushmore, which I thought was one of the best films of the 90's.  
      •  Royal Tenenbaums was great! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And I even appreciated, although I didn't technically like, the Fantastic Mr. Fox. Somehow, I couldn't ever wrap my mind around Rushmore, although I recently saw the film Submarine and thought it was sort of in that vein but far, far better. I consider myself an absolute cinema buff, but I wish I could understand what on earth Anderson's appeal was.

        When we watched Darjeeling Limited, I spent the first hour forcing myself to sit there and appreciate the colors and Adrian Brody's stellar performance. Then, I realized I was starting to stare at the wall. At this point, I actually wound up making kale chips in the livingroom, laboriously peeling the veins away, simply to make it through the film. By the end, I felt like I had ADHD or was just a bad person.

      •  I have a great Rushmore story (0+ / 0-)

        I work in a school in L.A.  One day a red-headed kid in my 5th period came to me and said he and his twin brother had been hired by a talent scout in a local super market to play Bill Murray's sons in a new movie called "Rushmore." To my knowledge that is the only film he ever appeared in.  It was practically a Lana Turner at Schwab's story (except hers led to fame and fortune).

  •  Don't worry too much about kids - they tend to (4+ / 0-)

    Grow up. Seriously, when we were kids did WE want to pay any attention to 'old stuff'? We grew out of eating nothing but hot dogs and sugary cereal, and so will they. As you mature, your tastes grow more complex and subtle, and you seek out what you didn't 'get' before. Every generation complains that 'the kids' don't appreciate the past.

    Gotta go, I have to go yell at the kids next door to turn down their Skrillex and put on some classic Nirvana!

    Romney 2012 - When in doubt, lie. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #266)

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:38:55 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, there's nothing unique about this at all (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sagesource, Hohenzollern

      Something tells me that kids growing up in the 50s and 60s didn't spend time watching "the classics" of silent film.

      •  I watched a lot of old films (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        growing up in the 60's, partly because my Mom told me how good they were, and I trusted (still do) her taste. Also, as someone mentioned above, some of the old movies showed up on TV more those days. Then came VCR's, and I had even more access.

        When PBS had a series of silent films in the early 70's, I got completely obsessed with Chaplin. A few years later, I dragged my sister to a Chaplin series at the art film theater. Still a big Chaplin fan, particularly the feature-length films, which are classics.

        48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

        by wasatch on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:05:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You'd be wrong (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Not quite silents, but growing up in the 60s, my favorite tv show was "Weekend Comedy Classics" on my local channel, featuring in rotation films by WC Fields, Mae West, the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin.

        The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

        by ActivistGuy on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:10:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think is nearly as much of an issue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SherwoodB, wasatch

    as people are thinking - popular culture has a way of sorting itself out, in its own way - and not nearly as much of an issue as the technological hurdle of preserving old movies.   An almost incredibly small percentage of films have been digitized, and as entertainment becomes dominated by digital forms, the sheer availability of older films is a much, much greater threat to film history than whatever the Kids Of Today aren't watching.  I'll try to find the link, but the sad state of affairs is that some 15%-20% of pre-digital age film has been digitized, meaning that comparably nothing is available for what will become the almost exclusive format in only a couple of years.

    I can only speak anecdotally, but... I teach this age group, and while plenty of them don't have experience with older film, they have no trouble watching, appreciating, and enjoying it.  

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:41:14 PM PDT

    •  But how many reels have actually survived to (0+ / 0-)

      be able to be copied over to digital??  I know Spielburg (sp??) had a huge collection of films and they went up in flames.  I know of other collections that the owners thought had been stored properly only to find basically dust in the cans when going to inspect them.  Then there are those that do exist that are so fragile..... who will be willing to spend the money that it'd take to xfer them to digital one frame at a time, by hand??

      What irritates the hell out of me is the colorization of the old B&W movies.  So many of them were done without thought.  There were reasons why the actor was wearing the color of costume he was because of the way it 'showed' on the B&W film and looks just silly in color.  Then kids are seeing the colorized versions and thinking that that's the way they always were and the people doing the films were just stupid???

  •  I think the "reboot" phenomenon is simply about (3+ / 0-)

    bottom line economics. With so much riding on each film, studios are reluctant to fund concepts that don't already have some kind of proven track record or built-in audience. That means a steady stream of sequels, remakes and reboots.

    So I don't really blame it on the millenials. Plus if you think about it this remake thing has been around for a while. Jazz musicians have "standards." Classical musicians and playwrights often adapt or retell the same stories and pieces of music.

    Anyway, there are enough independent films being made away from Hollywood that those who want more original content will not run out of stuff to watch.

  •  Such odd timing for this diary, as (7+ / 0-)

    we just finished watching 'Arsenic and Old Lace' last night and 'Casablanca' this afternoon. I love old B&W movies with a passion. They are goldmines of cultural information.

    It makes me sad to think of all the forgotten artistry.

    When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. - Mark Twain

    by Late Again on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 06:47:14 PM PDT

  •  I don't think they need so much protection, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, sagesource, llywrch

    and your worrying may be misplaced.  History shows us that as time passes, some things -- classics -- retain their value over more than one generation without the need to preserve its reputation.

    I'm a classical music guy.  Johann Sebastian Bach was almost FORGOTTEN by the mid-nineteenth century.  The Baroque style, especially Bach's heavily, heavily polyphonic and intellectual form of Baroque music, fell out of fashion with rise of Rococo and early Classical.  Bach's children, like Johann Christoph, were some of the better early Classical period composers.

    Then came the Bach revival of the mid-nineteenth century, led by Mendelssohn, who arranged performances of his work.  A new generation listened to it, went WOW! and there it was.

    The fact that films are so easily preserved now that they can be stored away digitally for basically an eternity means there is plenty of time for them to be rediscovered when people are ready for them.

    In a way, a period of obscurity may actually be helpful because it allows a fresh look by a generation without having to maintain continuity with the criticism of the past generation, which may have overrated it, dismissed it, or just failed to see the real point.

    •  I hope they can be preserved (0+ / 0-)

      Between the pressures of corporations trying to squeeze out every penny by prolonging the term of copyright , change in taste, & the wear of time, things can be lost surprisingly easily. I would hope the 25th century would know such tv classics like All in the Family or M*A*S*H better than thru incomplete sets of battered DVDs or videotapes.

      •  Almost all of that stuff is in digital form (0+ / 0-)

        somewhere.  You can download from the Internet fifty years worth of old Dr. Who episodes going back to the sixties.  Their are some episodes lost forever, but they were lost before terabytes cost pennies, and they're getting cheaper every day.  

        We risk losing anything that isn't digitized because celluloid and even mag tape  are perishable and degrade over time.  If you want to give an old film eternal life, scan it and put it on the web.

  •  Wanted to add... (to my previous post...) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, sagesource

    We had a discussion a bit like this in Thursday Classical Music a couple of weeks ago about Tchaikovsky's music and its going in and out of fashion.  I pointed out how hot John William's film music for films like Star Wars and ET was during the 70s and early 80s.  And then we all got sick of it because of overexposure and too many lousy knockoffs.  But it really was great film music, even if we're sick of it today.  

    Can you even TRY to imagine Star Wars without John Williams' music?  I can't.  I suppose many people don't really pay attention to such details and aren't even aware of the music, but take away the music, and it's not even close to the same film.  I'm not saying it's not as good -- I'm saying, it's not even the same film, not the same narrative.  And yet we all go, eww... again... when John Williams strikes up the Boston Pops with the Star Wars theme.  "Oh here we go, sheesh..."

    I suggested there may come a time in the future when people have NOT been overloaded with John Williams when people will go back and say, "Hey, I just discovered this really great stuff.  It's the music of this guy named John Williams who did film music back in the 21st century..."  And they may be able to appreciate it in a new and different context where it hasn't been spoiled for their ears.  Because, again, as film music goes, it was great.  We've just had too much of it.

  •  Yes. 1960s B&W tv UHF movies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Munchkn, linkage, ORDem

    informed my childhood. I still love those old films, but my wife, born a decade later, growing up with cable, can not bear to watch a film from the 30s and 40s let alone a silent.

    The thin man series.
    It happened one night.
    Preston Sturgis (e.g. Sullivan's Travels).
    Frankenstein and Bela Lugosi's Dracula.
    Whatever happened to baby jane.
    All the 30s and 40s gangster films.
    As kids my siblings and I just ate this stuff up.

    And my all time favorite, The Third Man.

    Special films were once-a-year family events we could stay up for: King Kong, A Christmas Carol, Wizard of Oz (I didn't realize this was partly in color until a friend's 3yr old made me watch a VHS version in the 1980s - I got to watch it once a year, but my friend's kid watched it 5 times a day for a year).

  •  It should be remembered that the 1941 version of (8+ / 0-)

    "The Maltese Falcon" was the third screen version of Dashiell Hammett's novel.  It was the remake of two other films (both reportedly pretty bad), and the first version was about 10 years old at the time the John Huston version everybody (rightly) remembers was made.

    "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

    by Theodoric of York Medieval Liberal on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:09:36 PM PDT

  •  Cultural Continuity..... (4+ / 0-)

    If you grew up in the 1950's and 60's you saw in television, the cartoons and movies your parents and grandparents saw in theaters.

    With only a few channels EVERYONE watched the same programs - in NY you had an astounding number of channels - 2,4,5,7,9,11 and 13  but this pales in comparison to what cable or dish  tv offer.

    Disney grabs and holds kids now - keeping them in their own little world so those kids don't get the exposure you once had to other fare.  I remember Gone With The WInd, The WIzard of Oz and others - watched together as a family - not to mention the schlocky 50's sci-fi alien movies where you hid behind the chair....

    no more.

    One more factor to the proliferation of remakes is the issue of ownership rights and copyrights.  Studios are far more likely to remake a property they own the rights to - free and clear without any possible issues - than take a risk on anything with the SLIGHTEST possible complications.  I believe this came about after Eddie Murphy's 'Coming to America' where Art Buchwald sued over authorship claiming that the plot was based on a script he submitted years before.

    Life isn't fair but you should try to leave it fairer than you found it.

    by xrepub on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:18:16 PM PDT

  •  Not so sure old movies are doomed to obscurity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badger, Munchkn, nchristine least any more than popular fiction is as time passes.

    People still read Dickens and Austen and Poe over a hundred years later.  They still read Steinbeck and Faulkner and Hammett over half a century later.  A hundred and fifty years from now large numbers of people will still watch "Casablanca", "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II", "Citizen Kane", and "Dr. Strangelove", among many others.  Other films, like old novels by authors who have lost their currency, will be mostly forgotten.

    That being said, thank God for the avenues that are available to find mostly forgotten films, like TCM, Netflix and video outlets like Kino.  I recently saw an obscure Roger Corman film from 1961, "The Intruder" starring a young, pre-Star Trek William Shatner and written by frequent "Twilight Zone" writer Charles Beaumont.  It's a social drama about integration and racism - Shatner is a racist rabble-rouser for an outfit called "The Patrick Henry Society" that sounds suspiciously like "The John Birch Society" - and while it's low budget, it's nothing like most of Corman's B-movie filmography.  Some of the characters are more nuanced than you'd expect: the "good guy" white Southerners aren't civil rights advocates but people who realize that integration is now the law and should therefore be followed.  Also, Shatner gives one of his very best film performances here; he shows some of his signature flamboyance when he has to (like when he's speaking to angry racist mobs), but most of the time he's much more low-key.  It's not perfect (still good, though), but as a movie buff, I'm glad I saw it, and I probably never would've seen it if I hadn't been browsing Netflix.  

    "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

    by Theodoric of York Medieval Liberal on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:28:38 PM PDT

  •  Movies are not art. (0+ / 0-)

    I've been saying this for the past 20 years, but no one ever agrees with me. By their very nature, movies are ephemeral, stylish and transitory.

    I have a close friend who believes that movies are the greatest art form of the 20th century - communal enterprises comparable to the great cathedrals of early renaissance Europe. Plenty of intellectuals tend to think that way, but I don't.

    Modern man has been deluded by its own technology, big time. The wonders and flash of all our various techniques of illusionism, including movies, have blinded many serious thinkers to the fact that art is not primarily about illusion. It is rather about interpretation.

    Granted, there are several legitimate art forms often employed in the making of a movie. Occasionally to good effect. To make a great movie you need good music, and music is an eternal art form. You also need good acting, and acting is an eternal art form. You need good writing, and writing is also an eternal art form.  Then you need good cinematography, which is not exactly an art form, but rather a minor offshoot of painting.

    Add all these requirements together, controlled by a director and various producers' input, and what do you get? Well, you might get something popular and profitable and entertaining and fun to watch, but you don't get art.

    Of course these old films do not stand the test of time. Why should they? The very material they are recorded on is ephemeral. Temporary. Of the moment.

    The fact that so much "serious" critical attention is paid to movies, as if they actually were high art, is merely a testament to the perrenial idiocy of professional critics.

    "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

    by native on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:44:07 PM PDT

    •  Disagree (7+ / 0-)

      "Citizen Kane" is art.  "The Godfather Part II" is art.  "The 400 Blows", "Seven Samurai", "Bicycle Thieves", "The Searchers", "2001: A Space Odyssey", all art.  My favorite film of the last 20 years or so, "Children of Heaven", is art.

      Ephemeral?  Hardly.  Look at Coppola's "The Godfather Part II", with it's parallel stories of the rise of Vito Corleone and the corruption of his son Michael.  I would argue that it's no less ephemeral, no less temporary than great tragic drama (Shakespeare or the Greek triad of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides).  There's something that speaks to human nature and power in Coppola's first two Godfather films that's the stuff of great drama and thus great art - how different is Michael Corleone than any number of Shakespearean characters, anyway?  As for Charles Foster Kane, Ethan Edwards from "The Searchers", or Antoine Doinel from "400 Blows" - how different are these characters from any number of great characters from literature?  And if literature isn't art, what is it ("Twilight" and "Fifty Shades of Whatever" notwithstanding).  

      It's true that movie studios, even the indie ones, are in business to make money.  But Shakespeare put on plays to make a profit, Mozart composed for commissions, and Twain wrote for commercial reasons.  Their works were popular, too - witness the Groundlings who packed the standing room at Shakespeare's Globe or the people who bought Twain's books.  Does that make any of their work less "art"?  No.

      Movies (or, more hifalutinly, "cinema"), may be about illusion - they are, even in movies like "Bicycle Thieves" or "Children of Heaven" - but so is painting and, when you get down to it, drama on the stage.  Just because technology's involved or it's a collaborative medium (as is drama on the stage) doesn't disqualify it from being art.

      "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

      by Theodoric of York Medieval Liberal on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:26:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The difference between (0+ / 0-)

        Michael Corleone and any number of Shakespearean characters is that Corleone had nothing whatsoever of significance to say. Whatever it is that he did say, nobody is going to remember it in a hundred years. Or maybe even ten.

        There is nothing deeply thoughtful in any of those Godfather movies. The scripts are crap, though the acting is admittedly superb.

        There are indeed fragments of real art in many good movies, including some of the Godfather stuff. Masterful performances and so on. Terrific acting. But the movie as a whole does not qualify as a work of art. There's no reason to remember it, or to show it to your grandkids as something worthy of being passed on.

        Shakespeare is worthy of that. Or Bill Blake. Or even Dickens for gods sake.

        Look, my beef is not with the fact that artists need to make money, and whore themselves out. As you say, such has always been the case, some of the time. What bugs me is how otherwise intelligent critics endow movies with a status that they clearly do not deserve.

        "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

        by native on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:12:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good 'effin god... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nchristine, churchylafemme

          Annie Hall had nothing to say? George Bailey had nothing to say? Captain Willard? Truffaut told us nothing about the human condition? Robert Altman made all those wordy films because he was just interested in a little light entertainment?

          For every Shakespeare there were probably 30 others cranking out crap, even 400 years ago. It doesn't look that way to us because the crap didn't survive the winnowing of history.

          I love me some Shakespeare, but he's not the only tool in the shed.

          You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

          by kenlac on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:01:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well said - up to a point! (3+ / 0-)

          I couldn't agree with you more strongly, native, at least until you wrote this unfortunate bit of tripe,

          "Shakespeare is worthy of that. Or Bill Blake. Or even Dickens for gods sake."
          Are you serious?  These clowns, art?  Not a single one of them did oration or performed serious works of historical poetry from memory!  All of them used modern paper technology to record their so-called "art" by writing it down!!  Dickens used one of those peculiar "type-writer" contraptions, for the love of god.  Blake was so eager to squeeze every penny out of his little comic books that he used new-fangled print-making techniques to "reproduce" his images instead of limiting himself to originals like a real artist would have done!

          They didn't even write in a language that was suitable for proper "art", like ancient Greek.  Hell, I'm willing to make some allowances for slightly more modern languages like Latin, but English?  I'm afraid you've lost me with all of this empty-headed, modern, flash-in-the-pan foolishness!

          Good day!

    •  Without a single word (4+ / 0-)

      "Metropolis" is art.  I can't imagine defining it any other way.

      The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:01:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, film is an art form (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, sagesource, churchylafemme

      There isn't really any debate on it. Sorry, you lose.

      •  Yeah right. (0+ / 0-)

        I've heard that a thousand times before. Motorcycle maintenance is also an art form, as is cooking and making love, and trimming your toenails.

        "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

        by native on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:21:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, you're wrong. (5+ / 0-)

          And I assume you're smart enough to know that you're wrong and why you're wrong.

          You can bash individual works of art that you didn't like. You can trash an entire medium and say one is superior to another if you like. But to claim that film is not an art form is plainly incorrect.

          It's a bad-faith argument. You can't use your personal opinions about relative quality as the basis for a conclusion about definitions and classification of a medium. It doesn't work that way.

          I'm sure you know this. Don't be dense. It might make you feel good to use that kind of hyperbole, but you know it's false.

          •  No, I do not know my opinion to be false. (0+ / 0-)

            I do acknowledge that it is overwhelmingly opposed, to the point that I might be the only one who holds this viewpoint. None the less, my argument is not a bad faith argument.

            It may be "plainly correct" to you (and most others) that film is an art form, but it is certainly not plainly correct to me.

            Please try to not be so sure about what you think I know, or to assume that I am using hyperbole, when in fact I am not.

            Maybe you have noticed that what is "plainly correct" at one point in time, turns out to have been grossly mistaken at a future point.

            I repeat, film is not art.

            "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

            by native on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:03:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  My college History of Cinema course, *Art History* (0+ / 0-)

      … 129, is still stimulating and informing my mind four decades later, as fresh and vibrant as ever, every time I turn on the TV or watch a movie.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

      by lotlizard on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 01:46:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Grapes of Wrath is a fantastic movie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It is one of the few movie adaptations that actually hold their own with the book.

    Sad indeed that those young minds can not empathize with those characters. Perhaps in a few years they will.

    The last refuge of a scoundrel is to wrap himself in the flag.

    by SpiffPeters on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:47:34 PM PDT

  •  I've always loved old movies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch, nchristine, snideelf

    Being a boomer, "old" movies to me are the ones made before I was born.

    We only had a handful of TV stations when I was growing up - the three networks and a couple of local stations. Channel 9 had Million Dollar Movie (theme song from Gone With the Wind) and played a lot of stuff from the 1930s. So by the time we were in high school my brother and I had watched hundreds of old movies.

    One thing I love about watching these is that you get to see the past - what the cities looked like, the cars, the clothes, the way houses were decorated, the restaurants and night clubs, and also the social attitudes and assumptions. I remember I first found out that people in offices in the 1930s were still working 5 1/2 days a week, half-days on Saturday, by seeing it in movies.

    I've probably seen Naked City 15 times. It was shot the year before I was born, and it's the city of my earliest childhood memories. It gives me goosebumps to see it because it looks so different from now - like another world.

    I've always loved looking at old photographs as well, but a movie is alive. Imagine if we had movies from Roman times, the Middle Ages, the Civil War. People in the far future will maybe be lucky enough to still see us and the way we live our lives.

    Of course, I think a lot of the old movies are very good. The fact that they're different and of their time doesn't bother me any more than it does when I read a Victorian novel or listen to 18th Century music or look at a medieval painting. True, people don't write books or compose music or paint like that any more, but that doesn't stop us from appreciating them on their own terms.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:40:18 PM PDT

  •  Subject matter seems to count heavily (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    compare the range of movies that are the top ten box office of the 90s or the 00s, with the Top 10 box office of the 50s, 60s & 70s.  There is a much narrower focus to the successful movies of today.  They consist almost entirely of the "action-adventure" genre, which while present in the earlier top 10 lists, hardly dominated.  You'll search those earlier lists in vain for top 10 movies based on comic books, which nearly half of the modern top 10s are, and remakes and sequels clutter the current lists as much as they are absent from the earlier ones.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:41:47 PM PDT

  •  This is a great time to be alive for movie lovers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Any movie (the world over) is just a mouse click away (if you know what you're doing). The classics get downloaded a lot. Do not be misled. Somebody out there is watching these things.

    •  You make a good point (0+ / 0-)

      Today's teenagers may well become interested in classic films as they get older.  I certainly hope so.

    •  I grew up in days when you had two choices (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      if you wanted to see a classic film: (a) wait until it showed up on public television or (b) wait until it showed up at the local revival house.

      Sometimes a rare film would get re-released and it was an event -- but only among the film geeks.

      Today there's at least a low quality version of damn near anything you want to see just a mouse click away. You want to study how Hitchcock put together the attack scene in Rear Window? Boom -- there it is in front of you, and you didn't even have to leave your chair. When I was 10 nobody could even see Rear Window in any way, because it was out of release.

      As a teenager I would gorge myself on broadcasts of classics from the 40s and 50s, while my father, literally as a policy, refused to watch anything that was black and white. So it's not generational. "Old" or "Classic" media is a vertical market. It always has been, and it always will be.

      You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

      by kenlac on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:13:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Keaton (1+ / 0-)

    If you show "Cops" at an Occupy gathering, there will be a lot of laughter and recognition.

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:50:22 PM PDT

  •  North by Northwest is playing this week (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    profundo, TofG

    at a popular/blockbuster cinema nearby. We will be going!

    The man who moves a mountain begins by moving away small stones. -Confucius

    by Malachite on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:11:48 PM PDT

  •  Young Hispanic couple discussing Spiderman movie (0+ / 0-)

    I was at the laundromat and while I was folding my clothes, a young lady was discussing which movie she'd like to go see with her boyfriend/husband.
    She was speaking in English and telling him she wanted to see the new Spiderman movie.
    He was speaking only in Spanish and was telling her, what for?
    They already made a movie about Spiderman, he continued.
    Why should I see this one, he went on, if it's already be done before?
    I overheard the conversation and I agreed with the guy.
    He was only saying exactly what I'd been thinking since before this movie even made it to the theaters.

  •  I believe a major part of this divide... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    may be perceptual.  Think of the difference between a patron in a 40s movie theatre and a twentysomething in front of the big-screen HDTV in her living room.  Mr 40s Guy likely grew up watching live actors on that theatre's stage, occupying a few static sets and disappearing into the wings when their hour upon the stage was done--suddenly the proscenium literally frames the world, and airplanes and elephants can roam those selfsame boards.  (There were reports that people ducked when the gun was fired directly at the audience in "The Great Train Robbery," but they may be apocryphal.)  That early cineast was taking his first steps into a new reality, but the pacing of the films he was watching was for the most part still slow and theatrical, partially due to technical limitations but mostly for familiarity's sake--he was still grasping the scene before him as a gestalt, a literal sequential series of still photos absorbed one by one and turned into a moving image by the power of the mind.  It was a brand new trick back then.

    Ms Millenial, on the other hand, has grown up surrounded by dancing light on glowing screens.  She is accustomed to digital displays that pack vastly more information in spaces big and small.  She can spot the difference between a smoothly-flowing videotape and the shutter stutter of a projected picture.  She has been trained to let her eyes roam all over the image she watches, looking for tickertape scrolls, score boxes, pop-up trivia balloons, livechat supers, promo chyrons and other ephemera.  She has been raised in an environment where for largely commercial reasons the pace, editing, sound design, plot and characterization in 90% of the programming she views will be consciously designed not to be art, not even to be entertainment, but to be spectacle--to get that big opening weekend or those blockbuster overnight ratings.  Nine times out of ten she can watch a movie and guess which sequences will end up in the video game.  She may think the score is nice, but she'll hit iTunes for the song that played over the beginning of the credits.  All of her artistic sensibilities have been programmed and commodified.

    To too many modern eyes, there's just not enough stimulation in a vintage visual presentation.  There's not enough data, not enough input, too many static shots and slow pans and long dissolves for today's hyperactive viewers.  Seems to me a lot of us hafta relearn the fine art of watching fine art.  I love "Aliens" but I've also got a soft spot for "Harvey;" I regularly rewatch both the LOTR trilogy and "Same Time Next Year" (a prime example of a filmed stage play.)  Hey, rodeo sex is fun, but slowing down and taking one's time also yields rewards.

    It ain't free speech if it takes cash money.

    by Uncle Igor on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:59:33 PM PDT

  •  Vincent Scully and Standish Lawder are both (0+ / 0-)

    … celebrated Yale art history professors. Together with Scully's explication of European art and architecture, it is Standish Lawder's History of Cinema course that has stuck with me down through the years as the world evolved into the 24/7 media ocean that it is today.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 01:39:32 AM PDT

  •  The amazing thing is people knew how (0+ / 0-)

    to make movies ten seconds after movie cameras were invented! Kids today need to be entertained every moment of their lives. They cannot stay off their cell phones lest they miss a text message from a bff telling them they're about to take a dump. Every frame of film needs to be filled with action or boobs. Subtext and dialog take valuable time away from action or boobs and is irrelevant. Boobs, action, boobs, action, boobs, action. The Godfather? Not enough boobs, not enough action. Older movies? You can't be serious.

  •  Not the case with music (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher

    Have been listening to alt and college stations on the iDevice.  I'm 54 years old & have figured how to listen to various "alternative" rock stations across the country. (There's NOTHING good where I live)

    Anyhoo, this is relevant because this old punk rocker/new waver has noticed that interspersed with contemporary "alt" rock are old classics like Ramones, Gang of 4, Black Flag.  "Alternative" DJs also reach back to 60s rock as well.  

    I noticed in addition as a longtime listener to electronic dance music that EDM fans and DJs often reference 70s disco and 80s - 90s rave music.  DJs will often drop Donna Summer amongst the latest and the greatest dance tracks.  

    Now I'm not going to be a fool and posit that the majority of youngsters know about their parents' music.  Yet I think that if the diaryist polled his classes about older "popular" music, they would be familiar with the Beatles, Nirvana, Stevie Wonder, etc.

    •  Songs are only a few minutes long... (0+ / 0-)

      Good points, but it takes only a short while to listen to a song. Movies take more investment. Books still more... Anyway, as I posted below, there is a continuum of old works that are bad/good/classics/etc.

      Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

      by walk2live on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:05:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  These kids nowadays! (0+ / 0-)

    Gripe grumble...they're not making movies anymore, when I was a kid, then they made real movies! All this new technology, all this booping & tooting is giving me a headache! And these kids, don't get me started about the kids these days! And the music, can you believe all this rap and flashdancing - music? Not in my book...

    HEY YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!!! Next time you're not getting your ball back!

    PS - I'm 62, and you know you're getting old when what you think of as a 'recent' movie is 15 years old - but things are always changing & always will keep changing. (Remember when TV was supposed to destroy movies?)

    This has to be the whiniest posting I've ever read in dkos - get with it grandpa!

    Download my posters!

    by Miscweant on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:59:27 AM PDT

  •  plus ça change... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nchristine, TofG

    There has, and always will be a segment that thinks anything over a year old is worthless, and another, much much smaller segment that values great works of the past. I'd guess for every 9 people who view film-"going" as fashion there's one who views it as cinema. It has been this way for years, and will be forever. The truly timeless thing is the belief that the phenomenon is unique to the moment.

    Having done some work for the restoration of old movies -- TRULY old movies, like from the 19th century sometimes -- I can tell you that the survival odds of older films are much higher today than they were at the time of the film's production. Only about 10% of films made in the silent era are thought to still exist. Why? Because the owners of those films believed that after their first runs the films had no further commercial value, and literally threw them away. Many episodes from the early days of television no longer exist because production studios thought the videotape they were recorded on was more valuable that then program that had been recorded on it, and they simply erased the tapes for reuse. Today, nothing... and I mean NOTHING gets deliberately destroyed.

    You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

    by kenlac on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:42:29 AM PDT

  •  We love the old ones (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    our Netflix cue is filled with old black and white movies. We get maybe a half dozen current movies a year
    However, I also know we are far from the norm on this. Young folks haven't been interested in B&W movies for 50 years or more, and now apparently they don't even want to watch one that's older than their last twitter post. It's a shame for them, they're missing a lot of wonderful stuff, but then again I can walk into a discount store and pick up a DVD with "The Evil Mind" and "The Most Dangerous Game" on it for $1, so it's good for us.
    The old movies are more accessible now then ever before. So, in some sense many of them are less obscure than they were. I've watched many old films I'd never heard of before, since Netflix, and cheap collections of public domain films on DVD came about.
    One way that old movies can be presented to the younger viewers is to jazz them up a bit, and I mean that literally.
    Mass MOCA, not too far from us down in Williamstown Mass, has regularly shown an old horror movie, often black & white and even silent ones, with a live band doing a new soundtrack for it, every Halloween, and there is usually a pretty well mixed crowd in terms of age.
    The newly restored "Metropolis" sold out quickly, again with many young folks in attendance.
    So it's a very mixed bag.

  •  The Ambler Theater (Pa.) is community owned and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    has recently restored their main theater (looks great) and has regular events for classic films viewings. From their website:

    The Ambler Theater is located at 108 E. Butler Ave in Ambler, PA and is a nonprofit, community-based movie theater that specializes in independent, art, and foreign films.
     We are also one of the region's premier cinema destinations, offering, in addition to our regular programming, a variety of special events ranging from Saturday Kid's Matinees to classic Hollywood films. We regularly present local filmmakers and host discussion groups and lectures
  •  no! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    casablanca is one of my very favorites and just last week i watched dr. goldfoot and the bikini machine.  it was highlarious!

    Die with your boots on. If you're gonna try, well stick around. Gonna cry? Just move along. The truth of all predictions is always in your hands. - Iron Maiden

    by Cedwyn on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:45:24 AM PDT

  •  We watched "Night of the Hunter" last night. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    It was truly awful. It insults the intelligence of the audience, the intelligence of the people it portrays, and is affront to reason.
    In short, for this movie (but not some other great old movies) I'm with those danged kids, who:

    ...find old movies hopelessly passé — technically primitive, politically incorrect, narratively dull, slowly paced. In short, old-fashioned. Even Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man is a Model T next to Andrew Garfield's rocket ship of a movie. And Model Ts get thrown on the junk heap.
    Critics love Night of the Hunter. Netflix thought I'd like it. Blech. I rated it one-star, and that was charity.


    "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

    by CitizenJoe on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:16:14 AM PDT

  •  Just like old music (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Name every piece of music you know from before 1850.  It may be a decent number but it's nothing compared to what was actually produced.

    Time keeps on slipping, into the future. The old movies should be preserved so future gens can rediscover them, but there's only so much storage space in the human brain and an allegory on the Spanish question from 1938 might not win the competition over the latest RomCom from Judd Apatow.

    We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

    by nightsweat on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:28:45 AM PDT

  •  this is silly (0+ / 0-)

    Did the 60 generation spend much time watching silent films in HIGH SCHOOL? They were a half century old.

    How about Hollywood musicals?

    Citizen Kane wasn't made for teenagers.

  •  Holey snakes on a plane, Batman! Who could (0+ / 0-)

    ever have anticipated such a state of affairs? Well, anyone watching the publicity buildup to that stinker Snakes on a Plane might have. I couldn't believe how the buzz went viral for that thing, and, of course, the movies was terrible. It had to be even more over-the-top that the build up which meant that it was sadly absurd.

    If we'd stopped and thought as a society then, we might have avoided the mindless mind trap. Looks like it's too late now.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:07:30 AM PDT

  •  I guess its lucky narcissism isnt a fatal disease (0+ / 0-)

    Actually tho, maybe it is.
    Thanks for a very thoughtful diary.

  •  All movies are old... eventually (0+ / 0-)

    In 40 years, movies from 2012 will seem old. I think it's like any other creative production - books, art, music... if it's good, it'll stick. If it sucks, it'll be doomed to obscurity... and there is a ton of room in-between for cult-classics, and other oddities.

    Then, you'll have a rare occurrence where an obscure item is re-discovered, as happened with Moby Dick for example, and becomes part of our collective consciousness.  

    Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

    by walk2live on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:02:32 AM PDT

  •  I teach film to college students... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm a historian, so of course I like old movies. I teach a lot of film in all my courses (I think I screen 16 features for one class last fall, 6-8 for a typical course) and I try to show classics whenever possible.  My audience is probably more engaged than many-- and certainly more so than high school students --but I've had little trouble getting them to watch "old" movies once they've seen a few. The pacing of older films, especially dramas, is just so different from what they are used to that I think it simply takes time to get used to what is effectively a different art form.  Once that happens, however, I've even had good results with silent films from the 1920s.

    It's also been my experience that every class has at least a few students who are genre film buffs. They don't "know film" like a film student would, but they've watched lots of Westerns, or war films, or Bollywood features, and thus are familiar with genre conventions, actors, etc. This is possible entirely because of modern technology, i.e. the specialized cable/sat channels (like Encore's western network) and streaming video from Netflix. Hell, I sometimes have students ask me questions about films I've never even heard of, much less seen, because they've watched them online.

    Watching the newest Spiderman iteration is a different experience from watching Citizen Kane, in many ways. But if you find a young person who likes "movies" at all, I do think it's possible to get them to like "film" if you have the time to help them get past the stylistic differences (color/BW, pacing, themes, etc.) that make the old stuff seem so alien to them.

    "Take it easy-- but take it!" --Woody Guthrie

    by Mr Green Jeans on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:09:56 PM PDT

  •  I know Gabler is concerned, but... (0+ / 0-)
    His concern is prompted by the release of the latest "Spiderman" film, a "reboot" (fancy name for remake) of a movie that is ONLY 10 YEARS OlD.
    This is hardly a new phenomena. Most of us here are well acquainted with the classic 1941 version of the "Maltese Falcon". But how many know that it is a remake of an earlier film made just 10 years before? The 1931 version is very good, but the 1941 film...need I say more?

    Sometimes a director like John Houston just has something else to say, and it doesn't matter that a relatively short amount of time has passed.

  •  Eh, I think they'll survive (0+ / 0-)

    I suppose it really depends on where you draw the line and "old" begins.

    I'm on the older end of the millennial generation (born 1983), so maybe I'm more old fart-ish than the Spiderman reboot's target audience, but my very first reaction was "Didn't they already make a Spiderman movie sort of recently?"  I felt intensely old when my fiance reminded me that it was released when we were in college...ten years ago.  I didn't feel old because we'd been out of college that long, but because ten years ago seemed 'sort of recent' in my memory.

    I guess "old" for me begins in 1987, mainly because that was the first year I was actually aware of what year and month it was.  Before that memories are just a blur of isolated events going back to maybe late 1984.  So anything that's happened between 1987 and 1995, when I was twelve, is "sort of old," 1996 to 2001 (end of high school for me) is "a little old," and 2002-2008 is "sort of recent."

    And going to college at the dawn of the internet era, I drank in all kinds of media (music, movies, etc) that I might never have noticed otherwise.  In fact, I'd say almost every classic movie I ever saw, except maybe "Gone With the Wind," I first saw in college.  I'd heard about tons of these classic movies, but having parents who didn't really own any of them I was always curious what they were about.

    But then, maybe I am an old fart now.  All the bands I liked in high school have broken up, are 10 years old or more now, or have reunited for a "reunion tour" so people like me can feel young again.  The "cool movies" from my youth are a good 15 years old now, and I don't "get" the appeal of a lot of new things the kids seem to like now.

    All your vote are belong to us.

    by Harkov311 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:15:40 PM PDT

  •  While I'm not exactly young (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm 43, and I've never been able to get into old black & white movies - Marilyn Monroe was a horrid over-actor, and most things I've ever watched from those days come across as fake and wooden.

    That having been said, there are some (few) classics that are amazing, and I love the idea that they're all available for anyone who chooses to watch them.  In particular with streaming now available for most of the cheaper/older movies I have a feeling people will be able to just dial up anything over a year or two old at will within the next ten years or so, both movies and TV series.  Even talk shows, gameshows, and "reality" shows will probably be stored for posterity (sometimes very unfortunately) as storage and bandwidth continue to get cheaper.

    Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

    by sleipner on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 03:25:31 PM PDT

  •  Just in case (0+ / 0-)

    you're still checking comments, here's a really amusing mashup that proves that old pop culture (movies), moderately old pop culture (disco) and new pop culture (YouTube) can be combined to glorious effect.

    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

    by northsylvania on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 03:42:44 PM PDT

  •  I've concluded after watching Repo Man again that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Duck

    it is a timeless movie  It is now almost 30 years old and is still hilarious. The soundtrack is extremely listenable today. They created a whole new genre of movie with Repo Man. The blend of amazing coincidences movie

    The life of a Repo man is always intense

    Slow thinkers - keep right

    by Dave the Wave on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:08:26 PM PDT

  •  Former Knight-Ridder critic (0+ / 0-)

    I wrote for a paper in the former Knight Ridder chain for years as a movie reviewer.

    Thankfully, I got to my son BEFORE the social media craze took hold.  Last week I took him to Singin' in the Rain at a mainstream theater.  They treat deserving classic films as quasi special events.  

    At any rate, if film is that important to a parent, and I'm sorry, I've seen evidence to the contrary, they have to be taught about these classics and when they do not get why they are important, TELL THEM.

    They're used to getting bantha poo doo at the movies.

  •  Part of the problem (0+ / 0-)

    Streaming is part of the problem which you write.

    Netflix effectively killed Blockbuster.  Although I once watched and wrote about film for a living, that didn't stop me from going to the local Blockbuster.

    Yes, I'd go for the new releases, but when a new release that I somehow managed to miss wasn't available, sometimes my family and I spent a significant amount of time browsing for something we hadn't seen or didn't own.

    That was part of the fun.  On some occasions we'd spend as much time looking for a movie as watching it.  That led to discussions with my older son about what was good and why.  I now have a 17-year-old who appreciates who Humphrey Bogart, Gene Kelly, Sidney Poitier and others were.

    I grieve for the fact that I won't have a chance to do that in a tangible way with my 8-year-old.

  •  it's the NAS (0+ / 0-)

    the New Attention Span

    I've noticed 3 things:

    1.  No Patience.  Teenagers are accustomed to multi-tasking with fast-cutting visuals (e.g., video games, homework with movies and music planning, constant texting).  Therefore, the plot development time is excruciatingly boring.

    2.  No longer Cool.  Midnight movies with cult films are revival theaters do not exist in college towns any more.

    3. Access is Not Easy as You'd Think.  Initially Netflix had an amazing selection of non-commercial "arty" movies, but now they don't.  There are some great oldies available nowadays, but many of the so-called classics that are most available the internet right now are IMHO not the A list.


    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:51:00 PM PDT

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