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cigarjoe

Is TCM as currently programed part of the problem?

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I'm just throwing this out there, but don't you think our classic movie heritage as curated by TCM preserves a view of America seen through rose colored glasses, that wasn't quite truthful, isn't quite real, it sort of whitewashes everything. Continually reinforcing a false past, and always having happy endings isn't quite helpful, when you know it was never like that. You could say all this culminates into folks trying to make that fantasy real, a Disneyland version of America,

This is why some folks go balistic when TCM programs movies from the 1960's onwards, it doesn't fit their fairytale views.

I know the bulk of films TCM controls is from the Classic Hollywood Era, but do you see what I'm getting at, replaying the same old same old is just positive reinforcement of an ideal that never really was.

 

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14 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

I'm just throwing this out there, but don't you think our classic movie heritage as curated by TCM preserves a view of America seen through rose colored glasses, that wasn't quite truthful, isn't quite real, it sort of whitewashes everything. Continually reinforcing a false past, and always having happy endings isn't quite helpful, when you know it was never like that. You could say all this culminates into folks trying to make that fantasy real, a Disneyland version of America,

This is why some folks go balistic when TCM programs movies from the 1960's onwards, it doesn't fit their fairytale views.

I know the bulk of films TCM controls is from the Classic Hollywood Era, but do you see what I'm getting at, replaying the same old same old is just positive reinforcement of an ideal that never really was.

 

This topic can go in so many different directions.    Being an Atheist and very cynical many of my friends wonder why I'm such a fan of studio-era movies due to how America is often portrayed, as well as the sometimes having overt religious themes.    My favorite genres are noir and romantic comedies because generally they don't carry that type of Disneyland version of America. 

But even most dramas, westerns,  and other genres typically avoid a contrived message but instead focus on things like honor and justice: values that even a cynic can appreciate.   

I assume most folks can see past the fantasy and instead just enjoy basking in a land that they know never really existed as part of escaping the daily grind.  

 

    

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

This is why some folks go balistic when TCM programs movies from the 1960's onwards, it doesn't fit their fairytale views.

The movies served a different purpose back then. It was escapism, designed not to be realistic at all. The divide between rich and poor was at its widest. Then there was WWI.  Then there was the Great Depression. Then WWII. Really hard times. People needed a respite from the despair and bad news. 

By 1960, it was as if the movies were painting a gloss and sheen over real social issues going on. People wanted realism and got it. It was only when fancy musicals began to fail and gritty realistic dramas became hits was there general change.

Yes, there are those who wish to go back in time to when the movies virtually ignored what was going on in the streets. They want the same escapism. Of course now, instead of trench coats and fedoras,  its in the form of superheroes and zombies. :lol:

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I love Disneyland!

I wasn't aware that there was "a problem."  Why does everyone have to bemoan the presence of unrealistic films?  I like watching noir and other grittier, more realistic films as much as the next person; but frankly, sometimes I'm just sick of hearing about all the horrible things that happen every day: bombings, school shootings, hostage situations, parents killing kids, husbands killing wives, wives killing husbands, etc. During the my evenings, when I have a few precious hours to myself, sometimes I just want to escape.  I want to forget about all the awful things I heard about that day and become engrossed in a glitzy musical or a fun mystery film or a ridiculous slapstick comedy.  Sometimes I just want to watch something absurd or funny or overly melodramatic, or what not.  

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16 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I love Disneyland!

I wasn't aware that there was "a problem."  Why does everyone have to bemoan the presence of unrealistic films?  I like watching noir and other grittier, more realistic films as much as the next person; but frankly, sometimes I'm just sick of hearing about all the horrible things that happen every day: bombings, school shootings, hostage situations, parents killing kids, husbands killing wives, wives killing husbands, etc. During the my evenings, when I have a few precious hours to myself, sometimes I just want to escape.  I want to forget about all the awful things I heard about that day and become engrossed in a glitzy musical or a fun mystery film or a ridiculous slapstick comedy.  Sometimes I just want to watch something absurd or funny or overly melodramatic, or what not.  

Consider the source.

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6 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

I'm just throwing this out there, but don't you think our classic movie heritage as curated by TCM preserves a view of America seen through rose colored glasses, that wasn't quite truthful, isn't quite real, it sort of whitewashes everything. Continually reinforcing a false past, and always having happy endings isn't quite helpful, when you know it was never like that

Not everything that came from the classic era was unrelentingly positive - think of The Letter or the various adaptations of Rain. People probably seek escapism the majority of the time, but there's a place & an audience for stuff that more closely resembles the real world as well.

If TCM only showed escapism, or only realism without variation, I'd have tired of the channel years ago - I welcome the variety, to the extent that it's turned me on to genres that I likely would have otherwise neglected.

43 minutes ago, hamradio said:

Looks like TCM is paying homage to radiation tonight.

I look forward to the glowing reviews... :)

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Problem?  What "problem"?

Even a village idiot realizes that back then movies weren't portraying any "reality" of how things were, so why would they NOW think they were?

Oh, sure, they did try to "touch" on certain realities of their times, but really didn't dwell on them too much unless they were an integral part of the story.  But more often than not, most were escapism that attempted to lull the audience out of a sense of dreariness and despair, so of course a lot of "upbeat" themes.  And I don't see anyone with a brain going into some deep funk because their lives aren't going as "swell" as the lives seen in some Fred and Ginger movie.   The "reality" of America back then was located somewhere BETWEEN "Dinner At Eight" and "The Grapes Of Wrath". 

Sepiatone

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

But more often than not, most were escapism that attempted to lull the audience out of a sense of dreariness and despair, so of course a lot of "upbeat" themes.

That is what my dad used to refer to as "that dreaming crap from the 30's".

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We have "Utopia" as one of the topic tags, and no discussion of Laurel & Hardy or Hope/Crosby "Road to Utopia"?

(And darn, I thought the other tag said "Fantasy IS-land".)

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7 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Problem?  What "problem"?

Even a village idiot realizes that back then movies weren't portraying any "reality" of how things were, so why would they NOW think they were?

Oh, sure, they did try to "touch" on certain realities of their times, but really didn't dwell on them too much unless they were an integral part of the story.  But more often than not, most were escapism that attempted to lull the audience out of a sense of dreariness and despair, so of course a lot of "upbeat" themes.  And I don't see anyone with a brain going into some deep funk because their lives aren't going as "swell" as the lives seen in some Fred and Ginger movie.   The "reality" of America back then was located somewhere BETWEEN "Dinner At Eight" and "The Grapes Of Wrath". 

Sepiatone

Just don't change the names of the characters!    :P

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Many movies from the '30's and '40's gave some people a false sense of reality, along with later, many TV shows from the '50's and some from the '60's.

And it went along with some "racial" lines too.  For instance, a black guy I used to work with would often jokingly ask me if MY Mother cleaned house in her nicely pressed print dresses and pearls like JUNE CLEAVER did,  And if all my friend's Dads worked at the same office MY Dad worked at, and I'd laugh and remind him, "My Dad is working across the street, on the 5th floor's PAINT DIVISION,  spray painting HOODS and FENDERS. " :D   And I too, would shoot back with, "What did you guys as kids do for fun on weekends in the "GHET-o" ?

His Dad was a foreman at Ford's Rouge complex, and it was his UNCLE that got him the job at Cadillac, as his dad at the time he hired was out on sick leave.  So, he never DID live in ANY GHET-o as a kid.  In fact, he grew up in a nicer house than I did, and we were just "riffing" on the false impressions "Leave It To Beaver" and other TV shows would perpetrate over the years.  

Sepiatone

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On 3/27/2018 at 8:04 AM, Sepiatone said:

Problem?  What "problem"?

Even a village idiot realizes that back then movies weren't portraying any "reality" of how things were, so why would they NOW think they were?

Oh, sure, they did try to "touch" on certain realities of their times, but really didn't dwell on them too much unless they were an integral part of the story.  But more often than not, most were escapism that attempted to lull the audience out of a sense of dreariness and despair, so of course a lot of "upbeat" themes.  And I don't see anyone with a brain going into some deep funk because their lives aren't going as "swell" as the lives seen in some Fred and Ginger movie.   The "reality" of America back then was located somewhere BETWEEN "Dinner At Eight" and "The Grapes Of Wrath". 

Sepiatone

I'd like to hear the time frame people would give if they were asked to define the decades alluded to in the Make America Great Again slogan. :lol:

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On 3/26/2018 at 7:03 PM, cigarjoe said:

I'm just throwing this out there, but don't you think our classic movie heritage as curated by TCM preserves a view of America seen through rose colored glasses, that wasn't quite truthful, isn't quite real, it sort of whitewashes everything. Continually reinforcing a false past, and always having happy endings isn't quite helpful, when you know it was never like that. You could say all this culminates into folks trying to make that fantasy real, a Disneyland version of America,

This is why some folks go balistic when TCM programs movies from the 1960's onwards, it doesn't fit their fairytale views.

I know the bulk of films TCM controls is from the Classic Hollywood Era, but do you see what I'm getting at, replaying the same old same old is just positive reinforcement of an ideal that never really was.

 

I think you are dead on!

I don't know if this is intent oriented subversion, or just occurs because let's face it, the majority of films, particularly American made, do preach that type of stance. Maybe more films like "Blue Velvet" by Lynch which start off showing the classic American apple pie scene, but then descend into a subterranean level with a close-up view of the true sordid underbelly would alter that view if visualized more in films.

This is a bit off topic, but I just read an article about Martin Luther King in "Time" magazine called something like "The Whitewashing of MLK" or such which reflects on something similar to your thought process. It concerns how the holiday is celebrated with much patting on backs and feeling of accomplishment in the public sector and promulgated on media outlets, while perhaps the true steps toward equality are still not where they should be. That too is a replaying of some victories of the movement, but not a true reflection of what really was accomplished.

I will say TCM does show some off the wall films, but more would be impressive. Great topic by the way!

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You have to remember, in the 30's a lot of folks were suffering from the Great Depression, any escapism or retreat into fantasy on screen was most welcome from many who were flat broke, jobless and worrying about where their next meal would come from every day.

I doubt very much anyone in those days believed they were seeing the 'real' world with what they were viewing on the movie screen.

I appreciate films with a bit of grit and reality to them, but I also appreciate films that can make me laugh or feel good. If TCM did a 180 and started showing 24/7 a day movies that showed nothing except the depressing and horrifying aspects of life, I will stop watching altogether.

As limey said, a balance of movies between true reality and escapism is what TCM does best and should stick to.

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On 4/13/2018 at 1:47 PM, Bethluvsfilms said:

You have to remember, in the 30's a lot of folks were suffering from the Great Depression, any escapism or retreat into fantasy on screen was most welcome from many who were flat broke, jobless and worrying about where their next meal would come from every day.

I doubt very much anyone in those days believed they were seeing the 'real' world with what they were viewing on the movie screen.

I appreciate films with a bit of grit and reality to them, but I also appreciate films that can make me laugh or feel good. If TCM did a 180 and started showing 24/7 a day movies that showed nothing except the depressing and horrifying aspects of life, I will stop watching altogether.

As limey said, a balance of movies between true reality and escapism is what TCM does best and should stick to.

But I'd still like an answer to my question. "I'd like to hear the time frame people would give if they were asked to define the decades alluded to in the Make America Great Again slogan. :lol:"

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Yeah, I too, would often "rag" on the idea of "the good old days".  I'd too, ask, "Just when WERE those 'good old days'?"

Like, say, the '60's, with all the CIVIL UNREST, and RACE RIOTS and assassinations of the president, his brother and other notables?  or....

How about the '50's, with the COLD WAR tension and the growing VIET NAM  issue, and the climbing JUVENILE DELINQUENT problems?  or...

The 1940's, with WWII raging and the Nazi threat,  or the '30's and the DEPRESSION in full swing, or maybe...

The "roaring '20's", with prohibition and "gangsters" like AL CAPONE and the like causing all kinds of mayhem, and folks going blind drinking "bathtub gin" and whatnot?  So...

WHEN among THOSE times were these "good old days" I grew up hearing so much about?  :o

Sepiatone

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I've stopped watching TCM as much as I did a few years ago, but that's because there are relatively few premieres. After a while I can only see the same movies so many times, and anyway I record all the ones I wanted to on DVDs.  But if I could turn back the clock 10 years, I'd be as addicted as ever.

As to the point about rose colored glasses, it's mostly true, though not always, and it does seem that TCM overloads the schedule at times with frothy musicals and other escapist fare, not to mention the fact that 90% of the dramas from the heart of the Breen era (and even in the pre-code era) wind up with the boy and the girl either getting married or planning to do so in the near future.  Not exactly the most realistic take on most relationships.

But here's one way to ease any angst about seeing all those "Happy Endings, Nice and Tidy", as the ending of The Threepenny Opera put it:  Pretend you're an anthropologist with a time machine.  You might not learn all that much about the real life of the 30's through the 60's by watching most of the popular movies of those decades, but you will get a pretty good sense of what mass audiences aspired to, and the values society (as seen through the Hollywood lens) was trying to project.  And that's not a bad thing to know.  In many ways the American past is every bit as much of a foreign country as Belarus or Bangladesh, and the more successive generations can learn about it the better.  This is an added virtue of TCM that goes beyond the pure enjoyment we get from many of the great films that they show.

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From what I can gather reading through posts and articles, and listening to people talk, the MAGA crowd is largely Baby Boomers pining for their youth. America's "golden age" is often considered the same years during which Boomers were born and through which they lived their childhood. Some consider "the MAGA years" as starting at the end of WW2, while others state the end of major US involvement in the Korean conflict in the early 50s, and then lasting until roughly the assassination of JFK, which is when all of that civil rights, women's rights, and Vietnam stuff started getting in the way. The fact that those same years of the late 40s through early 60s also coincided with the Boomer's childhood and adolescence is an aspect that is frequently overlooked. Those were "the good old days" because you were a kid and didn't look at the real world with adult eyes. Notice how things "started going to Hell" as soon as the average Boomer reached adulthood and middle-age? Yes, things changed, but so did the observer.

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On ‎4‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 7:42 AM, cigarjoe said:

But I'd still like an answer to my question. "I'd like to hear the time frame people would give if they were asked to define the decades alluded to in the Make America Great Again slogan. :lol:"

There have never been any 'good old days' here in America, sad to say, at least for enlightened people.

Though I imagine for the bigots, it was the 1950's where African-Americans were treated as non-humans and segregated from the rest of the 'superior' white society, and where they could get away with lynching left and right in the South, and also pre 1860 where African Americans were still enslaved under their white masters.

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On 4/15/2018 at 7:42 AM, cigarjoe said:

But I'd still like an answer to my question. "I'd like to hear the time frame people would give if they were asked to define the decades alluded to in the Make America Great Again slogan. :lol:"

I think the Make America Great Again decade alluded to, is a pastiche or pipe dream which some people would like to believe existed, but they may not only be imagining it themselves, but remembering it from other films that parlayed the theory also into history. It's a time period which occurs a little bit into the war years with families being close-knit and then goes into the Fabulous Fifties period, of peace and prosperity, except if you might have to hit the Bomb Shelter intermittently. It is a world that never really was, to any mass degree and is like one of those Twilight Zone episodes where people find out they are really little characters on a kid's train set staging of an American town. The real towns might be more like Santa Rosa in Hitch's "Shadow of a Doubt" but no one wants to really have to accept that sordid underbelly. Just my guess. Most people live in a dream world of what they wish were reality and see it with rose colored glasses. Bunuel could have made a good film about that, if he wanted to do a totally American one, a bit like "Belle du Jour".

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Escapism was baked into the studio era years. Expecting a lot of realism at

the movies from that period would be like going to the circus and expecting

the ringmaster to recite Chaucer. So knowing more or less what to expect,

I just sit back and enjoy it for what it is. And what was never great in the

first place can never be made great again. 

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