It was the 4th of July weekend last week and I had a little time off. I was looking forward to what I call down time. Not answering the phone, taking emergencies and just laying low and staying cool. My choices for movies were things like Cars Two and I love these cartoons but was in the mood for a movie. Transformers, hmmm did I want to pay money for watching metal come to life? The Zoo Keeper, The Hangover Part II, Green Lantern, Bad Teacher, please, really? I am to pay a big price to see a man talk to animals or drunken men going on escapades? Desperate to get away, I settle for Water for Elephants at the cheap theater and it got me thinking…
Back once upon a time, there were movies that were classics or at least would be talked about for a long time. For me there was the standard classics that I loved to watch such as Rebel Without A Cause, To Kill A Mocking bird, Casablanca, It’s A Wonderful life, The Wizard of Oz, Street Car Named Desire, All About Eve, West Side Story, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Psycho, Vertigo, you sort of get the picture. These were real movies, with real plots that did not depend on special effects but good actors and great writing.
Then there was what I call the classics of my time. These were the movies, not of my past but when I was a kid or young adult. These were the movies that I knew would end up being classics sooner or later. These movies included Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, ET, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shawshank Redemption, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Bonnie and Clyde, The Silence of the Lambs, Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate, A Clockwork Orange and the list can go on.
Now don’t get me wrong there have been some good movies in the past decade that have been wonderful and maybe even a few that could be classics, however, nothing that can move the imagination like the classics did. I doubt if we will ever see another Wizard of Oz or Casablanca. Maybe it was the times, maybe it was the actors, and maybe our intelligence back then required higher standards. We wanted to stimulate our own minds and not have special effects do it for us.
I think time has really changed. Between computers and living in what I call the “Reality TV” age, our top new classics will be The Hangover, (which is the summer’s biggest money maker thus far) Jackass, Sucker Punch, Mars Needs a Mom, Thor, and Bridesmaids. I just don’t know if we have the ability to make movies with the passion that we did once upon a time ago. The movies that are out today that have the passion and direction to make them classics seems to be far and few. They are out there but we need to look hard, much harder than ever before.
Yes, I will still visit the movie theater here and there, when I want to hide out, but for the most part, I would rather save my money and wait for them to watch on my TV via streaming or renting. I am disappointed that for kids this summer, their choices are so limited. Cartoons, violence and downright stupidity are what we are offering them for summertime entertainment.
I am glad we have the opportunity to watch the classics right at our finger tips and that we have choices of viewing. I agree that sometimes we need a stupid pointless movie to let go of our day but watching hung-over men as a summer classic? Really?
I enjoy the older days when entertainment really meant something. I miss the days when we went to a movie and knew a classic was being born. So tell me, what movies do you call classic?