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LawrenceA

Kids These Days!

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I've been to several of the TCM/Fathom Event screenings this year - An Affair to RememberAll about EveNorth by Northwest, The GraduateFast Times at Ridgmont High and Bonnie and Clyde. At all but one of them (Ironically, Fast Times, by far the most modern one), I've seen at least one person in their early 20s in attendance. I live in a university town. I've wondered if these are students taking film classes who may have to fulfill an assignment by seeing an old movie, but maybe they're just interested. Generally, they have been quite demonstrative. Their reactions to the movies, surprise at certain scenes, would indicate to me that in every instance, it was the first time these youngsters had ever seen the movie in question. At An Affair to Remember, a girl about 15 attended with two adult women, one of whom was probably her mother. They were all talking excitedly about the movie when it was over. She seemed to enjoy it.

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Seems we've discussed this sort of thing here before.  All I know is that you're not going to "spring" classic film on modern youth and expect to see epiphanies light up the room.  And that your favorite "classics" won't do the trick either.  Unless that "classic" is one you think may, based on what you know about the young person involved, appeal to their taste.  Like, with MY kids, comedies, like LAUREL and HARDY shorts and such, worked well.  And with my older daughter(who was also treated to L&H by a friend of mine who at the time was a member of BLACKHAWK and came over with his projector and several reels when she was very young) well, back when cable first came to our area, TMC was showing DEAD END one day, and she was "stuck" having to watch it with me and her Mother.  She liked it OK, but probably due to the "comic relief" given by The Dead End Kids.  She was pretty amused by their vernacular:

 

"Ehhhh....I'll WHALLOP ya!",  "Ehhh....Yer MUDDAH wears ARMY BOOTS."  etc.

 

My younger daughter took to older fare through her watching THE ODD COUPLE and rolling on the floor with laughter.  And later, accepting B&W  movies due to her liking PAPER MOON. 

 

Now mind you, neither of them are aficionados,  but long ago did stop rejecting "classic" film out of hand.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Alright. 

As a "young person," I figured I'd chime in here. I think several people I went to high school with, had a vague sort of idea of who Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn were, but didn't really understand anything more about the golden age of film (which is why in some of my class projects, I incorporated photos and old clips of movies). 

 

It is my personal belief that young people now would be interested in watching older movies if introduced to them. As a child, I was exposed to Sergeant York, Ten Commandments (Cecil B. DeMille, no less), My Fair Lady, and National Velvet (I'm pretty sure no other child my age was watching this "old chestnut"). I guess this started my path into the old film realm. 

 

I have been actively showing my friends some of the movie musicals from the golden age of Hollywood, such as Easter Parade, Singin' in the Rain, The Music Man, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Summer Stock, along with some black and white films like Arsenic and Old Lace and Bringing up Baby (I think I mentioned that they are now in love with Cary Grant… Now to get them hooked on the Thin Man series). 

 

I also think college kids do not have the time for some things. I myself have had to go to school full time, work 2 jobs, babysit occasionally, and perform in 2 musicals all in one semester (although the musicals were voluntary). What with the expense of collegiate education these days, most of the people I know are having to work more than one job (unless their parents are paying their tuition/room/board). 

 

In addition, a movie that one person likes, another may not. For example, Friend A may like The Philadelphia Story (1940), while Friend B does not, and prefers something like The Bad Seed (1956) or something more modern from the 1970's. I guess what I'm trying to say, is movie picking is an art???

 

All in all, it all goes back to when someone you love or enjoy spending time with, sees how passionate you are about something, it makes them want to discover just what it is that you are passionate about. In my case, I am lucky to have friends who enjoy the same things that I do, for the most part. 

 

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Moreover, I believe the most effective way of showing a movie is not in an educational setting (unless you are able to capture their interest without the overall stigma of "you have to watch this because it's in the curriculum or something). I'm trying to make sense here...

 

I remember watching Old Man and the Sea with Spencer Tracy and HATING it. I watched it in class. However, I do remember watching Julius Caesar (1953) and enjoying it (mainly because I was going through a phase where I was a huge fan of both Greer Garson's and Marlon Brando's). One girl in my class remarked, "Oh, she's pretty," when Deborah Kerr made her entrance. And that's literally all I remember of watching the movie. But, hey, at least she was paying attention. 

 

The same thoughts and feelings arise when I think of reading Shakespeare. It is in the high school curriculum to read a Shakespeare play (usually Romeo and Juliet for 9th and Macbeth for 11th/12th). I can't remember NOT hearing a groan or disparaging word whenever the teacher announced we would be reading a play of the Bard's. But, I think if Will's work was taught and brought to the table in a different, possibly more interesting way to the students, it wouldn't feel like the equivalent of a root canal. Despite my tangent here, I think this applies to older movies too. 

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In my high school drama class, I mentioned Gene Kelly and the song Singin' in the Rain to two teenage girls. I thought there would be a small possiblity that they might have heard it but no. They did not. I wish there were more people my age who appreciated classic cinema. I'm 20 by the way.

 

Wow. The same age as me. I'm no longer the youngest one :)

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Now, WAIT just a MINUTE there sparky.....

 

THE MUSIC MAN a musical from the "golden age"???

 

I beg your PARDON.......I was ELEVEN YEARS OLD when that came out.  I'd thank you NOT to refer to the early '60's as "the golden age" of Hollywood thank you! :angry:  ;)

 

Sepiatone

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I don't think the feeling about classic film is specific to just the "millennials."  I've met Baby Boomers and Gen Xers (in addition to whatever the post-millennial generation is called) that have no interest in anything that isn't current.  Movie theaters are now about producing blockbusters.  It's all about franchises.  To create a "blockbuster," these films are often chock-full of CGI, explosions, etc.  It's all about innovation and trying to one-up the level of special effects, CGI, etc. that was seen before.  These are the films that make money, so those are the films that are produced.  These films rarely result in being award contenders.  Many of them (not all, but many) are instantly forgettable.  All style and no substance.  This seems to be true of many things, not just movies.  Films that are more true to what I'd consider actual filmmaking are usually relegated to art house theaters or are given smaller runs on fewer screens in the major theaters.  I've noticed, at least in the Portland Metro Area, that smaller films tend to be scarce until they begin to generate Oscar Buzz, then they end up in the chain theaters like Regal and Cinemark.  

 

Society as a whole, seems to be more interested in the latest.  Whether it's the latest in technology, food, social media, news, whatever it is, it has to be the most recent and the latest and greatest.  There doesn't seem to be much of a reverence for what was, whether it be old television shows, old music, old movies or what not.  Since these things typically feature more "primitive" film-making techniques such as man-made special effects, projection screens, models, etc. these things are seen as hokey.  People aren't able to get past the lack of color, or the cheesy looking effects.  People these days seem to have trouble getting past these things and instead of just accepting it and moving on, they decide that they can't watch these films. Older films also tend to have more detailed plots (think The Big Sleep or Citizen Kane) and actually require some participation from the viewer.  The plot details aren't spoonfed to the viewer.  Critical and analytical thinking skills are sometimes required to watch these films in order to get something out of it.  I think a majority of audiences these days are more passive viewers and want everything spelled out for them.  Plus, if you have some amazing CGI generated special effects and explosions, who needs a plot? 

 

Vinyl, however, seems to be making a comeback as are other "old" things like taking pictures on actual film.  There now seems to be an emerging niche market for old television shows and movies.  I don't normally frequent Walmart, but I went to one yesterday and saw that they now carry a selection of classic films which they've branded as "Vintage" classics with a slogan enticing shoppers to pick up one of these films today.  Each DVD cover has a new "vintage artwork" as part of branding for Walmart's film series.  There are also more classic film showcases via the TCM/Fathom movie theater showings and other film showings in theaters across the country.  In my hometown in Salem, one of the local old theaters (built in 1926 and restored in 2002) airs a different classic film every Wednesday night.  The Portland Art Museum theater airs various classic films throughout the year.  These films are usually part of whatever the featured film theme is for that season.  

 

As an "old" millennial (I'm from the beginning part of the generation, '84), I can say that I have multiple friends (my age and late Gen-Xers) who are interested in old films and television shows and don't shun them for being "old" or in "black and white."  In fact, I just had a friend text me yesterday and ask if I had a copy of Little Caesar that I could loan him.  I think that a person's desire to watch old films (and television) has nothing to do with their age and has more to do with their interest and exposure to them.  I grew up watching the old AMC with Laurel & Hardy and The Marx Brothers films that aired frequently.  I also was a Nick at Nite addict and watched "my shows" (I Love Lucy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, to name a few) almost every night.  

 

I think people simply have to have a desire to expand their horizons to learn about how things were before they were born.  Some people simply have no desire to do so and are (unfortunately) satisfied with the status quo--which I think is a damn shame.  Part of my love of old movies and television shows is that they are an insight into how things were before 1984.  Even if old films may present a romanticized version of the era, they are a fascinating insight into the attitudes, fashions, decor, etc. of that era.  They are a great way to learn--which unfortunately, many people are also adverse to learning about anything.  I find this attitude very sad. 

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Well put, Speed Racer. Classic movies provide me a fascinating glimpse back in time, even regarding sometimes the tiniest, most mundane details. For instance, I feel like from watching old movies that for 50 years in America, the only way you ordered a hamburger was with onions or without. Forget ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, bacon, cheese. None of these are ever mentioned in any old movie ever when someone orders a hamburger. Its' just onions or no onions. In a lot of movies, they just ask, "With or without?" and the audience knew what that meant. Also, everyone on Earth apparently used to dunk doughnuts in their coffee, because they were always called "sinkers".

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Also, I love in old movies, people pull the passenger side of their cars up to the curb, and then they just slide over and get out on the passenger's side because there isn't a parking brake that might cripple them in the way like there is today. Nobody has to get out the driver's side and walk all the way around the car. Ain't nobody got time for that. And when it's time to leave, they just get in on the passenger's side and slide over.

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Wow. The same age as me. I'm no longer the youngest one :)

 

How do you know you're the youngest?

 

I think we need to see your birthdays.

;)

 

[i may be the oldest here]

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Also, I love in old movies, people pull the passenger side of their cars up to the curb, and then they just slide over and get out on the passenger's side because there isn't a parking brake that might cripple them in the way like there is today. Nobody has to get out the driver's side and walk all the way around the car. Ain't nobody got time for that. And when it's time to leave, they just get in on the passenger's side and slide over.

 

That makes me miss some of the older cars I used to have or ride in as a kid.  Becoming a car collector is not something I can just start doing right now.

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Thing is, when I DID have cars that didn't have that parking brake issue, and bench seats (eliminating the center console), I STILL got out on the driver's side.

 

Another thing....My kids grew up with rotary phones, so seeing them in old movies doesn't strike them as odd or as amusing as they do much younger kids in my family.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Well put, Speed Racer. Classic movies provide me a fascinating glimpse back in time, even regarding sometimes the tiniest, most mundane details. For instance, I feel like from watching old movies that for 50 years in America, the only way you ordered a hamburger was with onions or without. Forget ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, bacon, cheese. None of these are ever mentioned in any old movie ever when someone orders a hamburger. Its' just onions or no onions. In a lot of movies, they just ask, "With or without?" and the audience knew what that meant. Also, everyone on Earth apparently used to dunk doughnuts in their coffee, because they were always called "sinkers".

 

Hence the very reason Red Skelton's famous "donut dunking" comedy routine was such a hit with '40s audiences, of course sewhite...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfn-htUYTus

 

(...they got the joke because so many people would do that very thing back then...heck, today I'll bet almost anyone under 30 probably wouldn't know Red Skelton from Red Buttons, let alone the idea that dunking a donut in coffee before you bit into it was once done all the time...and because once again it unfortunately seems a growing number of the population just don't care to learn what people did before they themselves popped into this world)

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Hence the very reason Red Skelton's famous "donut dunking" comedy routine was such a hit with '40s audiences, of course sewhite...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfn-htUYTus

 

(...they got the joke because so many people would do that very thing back then...heck, today I'll bet almost anyone under 30 probably wouldn't know Red Skelton from Red Buttons, let alone the idea that dunking a donut in coffee before you bit into it was once done all the time...and because once again it unfortunately seems a growing number of the population just don't care to learn what people did before they themselves popped into this world)

 

 

You said a mouthful!

 

Joe-Brown-coffee-donut.jpg

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About 10 years ago, I was substitute teaching a half-day afternoon for a middle school teacher who was showing her class the movie Charly because they'd just finished reading the short story Flowers for Algernon. She was setting it up before leaving. Basically, my only responsibility was to cue it back up to the right spot so the four afternoon classes all watched the same 45-minute stretch (and take attendance). A girl asked what year the movie was from. The teacher looked at the DVD case and said "1968". I can't tell you how crestfallen and heartbroken this girl looked. "NINETEEN SIXTY EIGHT?" she said, drawn out in painfully slow syllables as if her teacher had just said 1868. "Is it IN COLOR?" she asked, despairingly.

 

(This being the year of my birth, it was especially painful to me that this 13-year-old girl felt 1968 equated to the Neolithic era. And that was 10 years ago! That girl's probably married with a couple of kids now. I shudder to think what a 13-year-old post millennial in 2017 thinks of 1968 ...)

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Probably that we all rode DINOSAURS to school and danced around the newly discovered FIRE. 

I try to find humorous comebacks for those situations.  Learned it from my stepfather.

 

I remember once when my stepbrother and I were kidding my stepfather about his age.  He told some tale about getting a shock when he was a kid and tried hooking up a new light switch.  "Gee" we asked, "Did you have ELECTRICITY in those days?"  and giggling when we asked it.  He shot back, "No, we didn't.  We had to watch TV by CANDLELIGHT!"  :D

 

Sepiatone

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Had to bump the thread, now that the discussion gave me a good excuse for (temporarily) getting out of a two-month blogging slump, in time to give the column a "Back to School" motif/alibi:

 

http://movieactivist.blogspot.com/2017/09/september-11-2017-back-to-school.html

 

"Apparently, (accdg. to Millennials), B&W films existed simply because older people's eyes were different way back then, and couldn't see color like we can today...Sort of like dogs." :lol:

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Had to bump the thread, now that the discussion gave me a good excuse for (temporarily) getting out of a two-month blogging slump, in time to give the column a "Back to School" motif/alibi:

 

http://movieactivist.blogspot.com/2017/09/september-11-2017-back-to-school.html

 

"Apparently, (accdg. to Millennials), B&W films existed simply because older people's eyes were different way back then, and couldn't see color like we can today...Sort of like dogs." :lol:

:rolleyes:

 

HMMmmmm........

 

Our FUTURE, eh?

 

 

Sepiatone

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:rolleyes:

 

HMMmmmm........

 

Our FUTURE, eh?

 

I was (ahem) being sarcastic, of course, but mostly about how the generation LITERALLY treats low-tech film as if the lack of high-tech was some "liability" that the film was either trying to apologize for, or was a decade-kitschy Epic Failure in not trying to apologize for it.

Rather than the idea that a movie was more impressive when it was harder to make--The camera didn't linger on Fred Astaire's dancing just because they didn't know how to MTV-edit.

 

Just get a Millennial going on the 1981 Ray Harryhausen "Clash of the Titans", and listen to them guffaw about a movie that "oh man, had to use Claymation[sic], since they didn't have computers back then!"

And then ask them whether they saw the slick new '10 remake that "solved" said problem.

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I giggled at that "old folks couldn't see colors" bit.  It appeared as if they actually thought people back then were BORN senior citizens!

 

What's sadder is that they don't take into account, nor give credit for what was achieved in spite  of the crude available technology of the times.  My younger daughter for example( not really a millennial at 43) laughs at the "crude" special effects in the first STAR WARS movie.  So I tell her to compare it to any sci-fi outer space movie made just before  it and THEN tell me how "crude" it looks and then maybe she'll understand why we were all dazzled at the time.

 

And that people then had to CREATE most of the effects by HAND, instead of having something like a computer and software doing all that thinking and doing FOR them is also a foreign concept to many of these gleeps.

 

She once ran across that earlier JOHN TRAVOLTA movie BLOW OUT and was puzzled as to why that guy went out and TAPE RECORDED all those sounds for movies instead of just bringing up a computer file of the sound!  :rolleyes:

 

 

Sepiatone

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She once ran across that earlier JOHN TRAVOLTA movie BLOW OUT and was puzzled as to why that guy went out and TAPE RECORDED all those sounds for movies instead of just bringing up a computer file of the sound!  

 

And she's 43??

 

Is she missing a chromosome by any chance?

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And she's 43??

 

Is she missing a chromosome by any chance?

 

Nah, just a long time conputer geek and tech who at first didn't check to see when the movie was made.  But then she also knew that digital electronic computers have been in use since the 1950's and wondered why they weren't utilized by film makers soon after their advent.  She also said she wasn't really sure how those operated.

 

 

Sepiatone

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It is my personal belief that young people now would be interested in watching older movies if introduced to them.

 

Exactly! Wanna know why younger people don't watch these films? Their parents don't either. When Boomers were exposed to "old" films, those "old" films were only 20 or so years old.  They watched them then, they don't now (you're all a minority, believe it.) Well it seems like that's the same deal with today's youth; they'll go back that far but not much more and they'll also stop eventually. In other words, they're like every other generation. I'm 31, I hardly know any Boomers who watch old films and certainly not silent films.

 

Probably the majority of people who post on certain other forums I read are in their 30s and anyone older is probably 40-50. Boomers clearly make up the minority. Of course, this is purely experiential and entirely non-scientific - there are plenty of other reasons why this situation would be the case - but that doesn't stop anyone else from doing the like these days to bolster any kind of silly argument.

 

I have a friend, a Gen Xer, who showed his middle school drama students Harold Lloyd's Safety Last. They liked it...because someone actually bothered to make the effort and not just go online and shake their fist.

 

It's not millennials who are making the current programming decisions on TV and at theaters - that's mostly people 50 or older. You lower standards, what do you expect?

 

I don't know of any generation who like to pat themselves on the back more than Baby Boomers. If my generation's and the latest generation's is a narcissistic age, the 70s and 80s also certainly were in spades (heck, everything since the end of WWII has been.)

 

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Wanna know why younger people don't watch these films? Their parents don't either. When Boomers were exposed to "old" films, those "old" films were only 20 or so years old.  They watched them then, they don't now

 

That's because they're from an age of such restriction - the age of everything has to be family-friendly with a wholesome message no matter the reality of life - that they don't hold up. I was sick of them by 1962.

 

Most of them come across as silly; as phony.

 

A few of them retain certain charms, but they're never again going to be significantly popular as first choice entertainment.

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Exactly! Wanna know why younger people don't watch these films? Their parents don't either. When Boomers were exposed to "old" films, those "old" films were only 20 or so years old.  They watched them then, they don't now (you're all a minority, believe it.) Well it seems like that's the same deal with today's youth; they'll go back that far but not much more and they'll also stop eventually. In other words, they're like every other generation. I'm 31, I hardly know any Boomers who watch old films and certainly not silent films.

 

Probably the majority of people who post on certain other forums I read are in their 30s and anyone older is probably 40-50. Boomers clearly make up the minority. Of course, this is purely experiential and entirely non-scientific - there are plenty of other reasons why this situation would be the case - but that doesn't stop anyone else from doing the like these days to bolster any kind of silly argument.

 

I have a friend, a Gen Xer, who showed his middle school drama students Harold Lloyd's Safety Last. They liked it...because someone actually bothered to make the effort and not just go online and shake their fist.

 

It's not millennials who are making the current programming decisions on TV and at theaters - that's mostly people 50 or older. You lower standards, what do you expect?

 

I don't know of any generation who like to pat themselves on the back more than Baby Boomers. If my generation's and the latest generation's is a narcissistic age, the 70s and 80s also certainly were in spades (heck, everything since the end of WWII has been.)

 

Yeah, I'm kinda sick of many "baby boomers" myself.  And I'M a "boomer"!

 

I'd say that most "forum" members are "boomers".  But of course, it would depend on which type of forum it is.  I belong to a few music and guitar player forums in which the largest number of members are  "boomers".  And currently, in the guitar forums are a few discussions about  "modern" music's lack of guitar usage.  A similar type of discussion actually....

 

And I'd also say that a lot of "boomers",  plus most at younger ages than them don't  much bother with "forums" as much as they have a tendency to succumb to the "herd mentality" of FaceBook.  And of course, because "everybody else" does.  It seems to me that these days, a person's "individuality" is measured by how much they tend to be like everyone else.  For the last 25-30 years now, everyone under 25 or so all look like they've been stamped out of the same machine.  I personally don't know anyone  under that age( for example)  that wears their hair longer  than a 5 o'clock shadow.  OR also wears their trousers with the waistline AT the waistline!

 

My generation (boomer) was the first one, I'd say, that was admonished by the previous generation with the question, "If everyone else jumped off the Empire State building....."  well, you know the rest.   And not ALL "boomers" succumbed to being dictated by peer pressure, but enough did to the point that it became paramount in importance that their  kids were allowed to also.  And throw in too, that belief that "self esteem" is something that can be bought,  and you have a real mess on your hands.

 

And I also believe that once watching "classic" movies  is proven to not  mean being ostracized by the "herd", then more in younger generations will take to looking in.

 

 

Sepiatone

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