Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hooray for old movies!

You don't know how excited I am to see that LeaJo has watched and liked The Sting! I'm forever trying to get her to watch older movies, but she's strangely resistant, despite the fact that everytime she does watch an older (pre-1980) movie, she enjoys it. For example, I happened to be at her house watching Rear Window, and she wandered into the room, asked what I was watching (Me: "It's Hitchcock! One of my all-time favorites! A masterpiece! See how he's critiquing the voyeristic urge of the movie-goer?!" -- actually, I'm surprised she didn't run away from me at that point), and sat down to watch for a few minutes. Two hours, several-nails-bitten-off-in-suspense later, she was exclaiming how good the movie had been. "Well," I said. "Of course it was good. It was Hitchcock."

But watch another Hitchcock movie? Sorry, no. Spend a few hours in Casablanca or laugh at Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in drag? No again. Urg! It's very frustrating trying to get one of the younger set interested in old movies, even when they themselves admit to liking the few older movies they've actually, you know, seen.

So, I'm very gratified and excited that LeaJo has watched an older movie (albiet, a color movie) and enjoyed it, and it wasn't one that she had to watch because I forced her to (I believe she was forced by another member of her family). Now, if only I could get her to try Hitchcock again.


LeaJo said...

Yeah...I do feel bad about not wanting to watch your "old" movies with you because hey, I loved Rear Window. And you know, you're right, I'd probably like whatever movie you'd throw out at me, but I don't know, if I had to choose between an old movie and a new movie, I'd pick the new. Can't really explain why...I guess it's just because I'm more familiar with them. Still, if you ever want me to watch an old movie with you, your best bet is to force me! I most of the time end up liking the movies I'm forced to watch anyways!
Oh, and the only reason why I didn't run away is because I'm used to your crazy ramblings by now, but you should know that. :)

Nate said...

I was raised on Turner Classic Movies (and AMC, before they started showing commercials) so old movies are like mother's milk to me. Watching them is like visiting an old friend who never changes, even as the rest of the world spins out of control. If a film is bad, it's bad in such a familiar way that on some level it's pleasant. I'd rather sit through a mediocre Disney film from the '60s than, say, a mediocre Disney film from the last ten years. Back then, at least there was some understanding of how to use color and art direction expressively, and you didn't have to worry about being bludgeoned to death with shock cuts or deafened with blaring sound effects (something I'm afraid the new Pirates movie might do, though I haven't seen it yet).

The Derelict said...

If a film is bad, it's bad in such a familiar way that on some level it's pleasant.

Wow, I love that. So, so true. A love for old movies definitely starts at home -- my mother watched TCM and it was through her that I started watching. I'm sure my life would have turned out very differently if she hadn't invited me to watch Gone with the Wind with her so many years ago. A cinephile was born!

There is certainly a "pleasant" quality to older movies that makes them easy to digest. As much as I love special effects and the current trend of superhero movies, there is a kind of harshness and loudness that does make them "unpleasant" -- overwhelming, spectacular, awe-inspiring, but not pleasant. This would be one of my main criticisms of the new Pirates movie -- "fun," I guess, but just "too much" of everything to the point where it gave me a headache.