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Why do some classic movie fans bash newer films?

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1 hour ago, GGGGerald said:

What's fascinating to me is, if a film is made the modern way, some will say they like the old style better. Then when they try to make a movie or series with an older style plot, some will say : Its not as good as the old one ! It seems producers are not allowed to make old style films.

It can be true both ways. Re-creating the old style of film-making is shaky business, IMO. Most times filmmakers attempt this it comes across as too gimmicky and too self-aware. Too often these movies are just a big reference point without a whole lot substance. At the same time, the problem with "the modern way" is that there typically is just ONE way. The progression of film seems to have, unfortunately, caused styles to condense into set of movie-making guidelines for the most tried-and-true emotional triggers.

The sameness of look/sound/feel of any popular movie of any given era is a bit disturbing to me. That there should seemingly be just one set of rules to go by at a time. Preferring one whole era of film to another is basically just preferring one style over another, since it's just throwing specifics by the wayside and dealing only in generalizations versus other generalizations.

Most of my own favorite films of any era are ones I regard as exceptional, and I assume most other people feel the same. I've found my favorite era of film is the early 30's, not only because I love the style of the time, but also there were so many NEW ideas being tried in the early days of sound. It was practically a new art at the time, and people were extending their creative antennas into strange, unexplored avenues, with gloriously uneven results. That practice would soon be abandoned in favor of a popular "norm," (and of course that great time was watered down even more within only a few short years of it's birth...)

(Edit: And what's up with the comparison of shoes to art? It reminds me of Pat O'Brien as the museum director in Crack-Up giving a talk on art, "Why shouldn't we pick our art like we pick out a new pair of shoes, or a wife?" Hahaha...)

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7 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I can't really explain it, as I don't share that sentiment, but I can try. The industry is in a sad state at the moment, and it may never recover to anything like what it once was even 15-20 years ago, let alone whichever older film era one prefers. \

Here, the post was getting long, let me sum it up for you:  ;)

From the 30's to the 80's, theaters were independently owned and operated (chains were regional at best), theater managers bid for the best movies they thought would bring in the local crowd, and if it didn't, something ELSE would be playing next week--From the silents to Terminator 2, the movie business was about the theater, and what you put in it...You didn't go to a movie, you went to the theater, and looked up to see if anything interesting happened to be conveniently playing there that week.

And then we started building 15-20 screen super-plexes, because the very idea that a big awaited movie wouldn't be playing in our own town (or that we might, ack, have to go out of town to see it) galled our very privileged senses, so we created theaters in which EVERY SINGLE movie opened in your local area the week it opened.  It wasn't about what was the "best" movie to play at your theater, every single one of them was, and they'd all be there next week unless they flopped.  (And then maybe a month after that, because the plex still had to fill space.)  It was now no longer about waiting for a traveling show to come to town and make your evening different, it was now about going down to the shopping mall--most plexes were now in shopping malls, or right across the highway from them--in the same trip that you made to pick up a gallon of laundry detergent at Wal-Mart.  Even if you did want to be first in line for "Avengers: Endgame", you weren't actually in line anymore, since you could order your tickets over the web, and with five screens at the plex running a total of fifteen shows per day, it probably wouldn't be sold out.  Movies became a product, and like every product sold on the shelves, they had logos and commercial jingles.

In the 80's, Ghostbusters opened "wide" on 1500 screens, the '16 remake opened wide on 3500-4000.  That almost tripled the likelihood that every single person in the country was going to see it in one weekend (yeah, I know, the remake, but just for the sake of argument), and a movie that would thirty years ago last two months in theaters would now burn itself out in two weeks.  Translate that to EVERY big-studio blockbuster, and you now have an industry that pitches their movies for one big "event" weekend only--we're not even persuaded to go on Monday or Wednesday anymore--and only seven or eight "big" weekends out of the year, thus requiring only seven or eight big movies, all competing for the weekends in three in-demand months.  Compare that to Toys R Us folding because analysts complained the chain "only made money one month out of the year".

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39 minutes ago, Kay said:

Re-creating the old style of film-making is shaky business, IMO. Most times filmmakers attempt this it comes across as too gimmicky and too self-aware. Too often these movies are just a big reference point without a whole lot substance.

This is the very reason why I didn't enjoy Todd Haynes' FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002). It was too self-conscious, trying to emulate (imitate?) Douglas Sirk's ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955). It didn't seem real to me. That he wanted to reference the earlier film, and had used a contrived plot also set in suburbia to accomplish this. But it seemed like a hollow exercise. It affected me when I re-watched ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. I had to shrug off Haynes' falseness connected with it, so I could revisit Sirk's film on its own terms separate from the immature homage that Haynes had put on the screen.

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1 hour ago, GGGGerald said:

I feel if one is going to complain about modern films, they should offer a solution. State what they would rather see. Because then as now, producers will give the public exactly what they want to pay for. 

Also, I don't think it's necessarily fair to put the burden of new art on the faceless masses. The greater percentage of people aren't very good artists, and while everyone loves movies, most people don't love arty movies, so really it seems it's a better business strategy to keep making them worse and worse. A popular formula will get you farther than an equal amount of new ideas any day.

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13 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

This is the very reason why I didn't enjoy Todd Haynes' FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002). It was too self-conscious, trying to emulate (imitate?) Douglas Sirk's ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955). It didn't seem real to me. That he wanted to reference the earlier film, and had used a contrived plot also set in suburbia to accomplish this. But it seemed like a hollow exercise. It affected me when I re-watched ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. I had to shrug off Haynes' falseness connected with it, so I could revisit Sirk's film on its own terms separate from the immature homage that Haynes had put on the screen.

La La Land is another one that comes to mind. It took superficial elements from golden age musicals but was just a wreck. It also annoys me that they put the Cinemascope symbol in the opening titles but just shot it like a modern film.

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7 minutes ago, Gershwin fan said:

La La Land is another one that comes to mind. It took superficial elements from golden age musicals but was just a wreck. It also annoys me that they put the Cinemascope symbol in the opening titles but just shot it like a modern film.

Right, it's false.

In the case of FAR FROM HEAVEN, I don't dislike it because it's a newer film...I dislike it because it seems false, not authentic. There are plenty of films from the late 20th century and early 21st century that are authentic and should be heralded as classics.

I think it's a bit silly to say a certain amount of time has to pass for something to be considered a classic. 

The day I watched MR. AND MRS. BRIDGE in the theater (early January 1991) I knew automatically it was a classic. Some films you just know. 

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49 minutes ago, Kay said:

Also, I don't think it's necessarily fair to put the burden of new art on the faceless masses. The greater percentage of people aren't very good artists, and while everyone loves movies, most people don't love arty movies, so really it seems it's a better business strategy to keep making them worse and worse. A popular formula will get you farther than an equal amount of new ideas any day.

The movie industry has always been this way, even in the 30's. There were plenty of copy cat movies and movie franchises that went on and on. This is nothing new. But, we watch Maisie or The Thin Man with fondness. We don't complain that Ann Sothern is doing the same things over and over or that William Powell is playing that same old drunk detective again.

I think classic film fans make it virutally impossible for a modern producer to make a film they will like.

The same thing happens in other areas, Classic Rock radio for example. Fans always complain that they play the same songs over and over and want more variety. Yet, they want the station to still play their favorite songs. That's not possible. If you play more variety, that means the typical songs get played less. They just can't win.

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6 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

The movie industry has always been this way, even in the 30's. There were plenty of copy cat movies and movie franchises that went on and on. This is nothing new. But, we watch Maisie or The Thin Man with fondness.

Agreed.

But could some of the reason we tolerate the old silly franchises is because of the charming simplicity of the era it depicts? We don't get the same "time transport" effect of the clothing, the language, the situations in today's "rom-coms"? Heck, I enjoy watching old Three Stooges just for the street shots of old Hollywood and glimpse of old washing wringers.

I harbor littler prejudice for movie eras-although the differences between pre-code, studio era & the break-out 60's are recognizable. I much prefer older movies mostly for telling a story without explicit sex, violence and bad language. Heck, even SEX comedies of the 60's-70's were still cleverly modest!

That said, I will see a new (this decade) movie, but am never excited about it, since most leave me disappointed. Very few have good character development, although off the top of my head I recall being very impressed with HIDDEN FIGURES '16.

But historical dramas don't have the same impact marketing, whereas the fantasy/super hero type movies have in-your-face bombardment marketing, bringing them to the forefront of our consciousness. Really, I just dislike that particular genre and it seems to envelop the whole film industry like the blob!

My biggest beef with new fantasy movies is the CGI: any "flying" effects moves too fast for my eyes to even register weight & space and most of these films are filmed way too dark -often with blue tones- very difficult for the eye to register. Oh, and every other phrase begins with F. A bore.

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5 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I much prefer older movies mostly for telling a story without explicit sex, violence and bad language. Heck, even SEX comedies of the 60's-70's were still cleverly modest!

No...

You haven't seen the right 60s-70s Sexploitation Sex Comedy films. They were right on the edge of the then current obscenity laws which were rapidly evolving. In fact, some of these films were recut with inserts that added more explicit scenes as the laws changed, they were giving the grindhouse theater patrons what they wanted. But they never showed any real sex (unlike the real porno that followed).

Even serious films like Martin Scorsese's Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967) had scenes shot and inserted by the producers to reflect the changing mores. Give the public what it wants.

On a different track, these Sexploitation films can be beneficial to some extent for they show women's natural bodies as they were with all their imperfections and not the pneumatic cookie cutter barbie dolls that tended to dominate the mass media later on. 

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14 hours ago, Michael Rennie said:

My first uneducated guess I have to agree with the whole thing as it applies to myself. Only recently have I moved to a more liberal point of view. I am low income and some conservatives could care less.

Actually, they couldn't;)  

And I can't speak for all classic movie fans, but the only"newer" movies I bash are the ones I've seen.  And I haven't seen many in the last few years for a variety of reasons.  Some just don't seem to interest me, or are remakes of movies I've seen before but really didn't like to begin with.  

Sepiatone

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

...could some of the reason we tolerate the old silly franchises is because of the charming simplicity of the era it depicts? We don't get the same "time transport" effect of the clothing, the language, the situations in today's "rom-coms"?

I think part of the success of the studio era B-franchises is that they had character development. In over a dozen films, we could see the Hardy family adjust with the times and in that process, we identified with the characters. We could also admire Dr. Gillespie training a new protege every few years.

A lot of the B-movies were not that great from a cinematic or dramatic standpoint. But they had characters the audience came to love, like characters on a popular radio series or TV series.

And I think this is what's happening with today's superhero sequels. They have characters the audience has become familiar with and enjoys seeing in the latest installment(s).

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

I think part of the success of the studio era B-franchises is that they had character development. In over a dozen films, we could see the Hardy family adjust with the times and in that process, we identified with the characters. We could also admire Dr. Gillespie training a new protege every few years.

A lot of the B-movies were not that great from a cinematic or dramatic standpoint. But they had characters the audience came to love, like characters on a popular radio series or TV series.

And I think this is what's happening with today's superhero sequels. They have characters the audience has become familiar with and enjoys seeing in the latest installment(s).

I think you're right that we respond best to what seems familiar and plausible to us, and which reaffirms in some way our own view of the world. Personally, I'm more apt to find that in classic films, but I treasure the times when I find it in modern films as well. I only see a couple of films a year in theaters, both because the wait time to see a movie on cable has shrunk and because there frankly isn't a lot that appeals to me enough to pay the money and make the trip. I've watched some of the super hero films on cable and actually saw Aquaman in a theater as a nod to my former love of the comic book. But all the urgent energy they put into battling preposterously inflated and imaginary menaces just makes me sad, seeing the grudging attention some members of the audiences for those films give to real-life problems like climate change and geo-political upheaval. I know "escapism" has always been part of the allure of moviegoing, but to me there should be something reassuring or educational about the experience too and I don't see that in so many of the gross-out comedies, frantic action films, and superhero epics, which are essentially war movies with funner costumes. Even something as potentially transformative and intriguing as Avatar turned into an over-heated war movie for at least the final third. 

Someone mentioned Hidden Figures and that's a good example of a modern film (though with a historical setting) which emphasized character and social realities. I took myself to a theater to see Stephen Frears' Florence Foster Jenkins because of a fondness for the people involved and a desire to support that kind of filmmaking, with its "classic" focus on character and story. The old maxims that small is beautiful and that less is more seem to apply more that ever, when attention-grabbing, well-funded mega-releases dominate the market. I don't "bash" modern films per se, but I feel I have to stay super-focused to find something I won't regret spending the time and/or money on. But, let's face it, TCM is fertile ground for films which are stinkers in their own way too, so focus is also necessary when choosing a "classic".

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4 hours ago, DougieB said:

I think you're right that we respond best to what seems familiar and plausible to us, and which reaffirms in some way our own view of the world. Personally, I'm more apt to find that in classic films...

But is classic defined by time? To me, classic means something has a timeless quality. Therefore, anything that hit the screen last week would technically have the same chance as a movie from 1940-whenever to convey ideas that are timeless or classic to an audience.

The only thing that can't be classic is a movie which is still off in the future and hasn't yet had a chance to find an audience and share its universal truths.

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Any self-respecting film fan wouldn't dislike a film because of its age, new or old.  You can dislike anything privately.  But as soon as you make it known, you will be asked why, and you had better have good reasons.  Saying you dislike something because of its age (or any other flimsy reasons) would EMBARRASS you in front of others.

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6 minutes ago, DVDPhreak said:

Any self-respecting film fan wouldn't dislike a film because of its age, new or old.  You can dislike anything privately.  But as soon as you make it known, you will be asked why, and you had better have good reasons.  Saying you dislike something because of its age (or any other flimsy reasons) would EMBARRASS you in front of others.

When people dismiss a movie because of the year it was made, they are indicating a bias. It might be generational, it might be a bias against a particular time in history (including Hollywood history)...but it's still a bias. And as you say, they often have to explain it.

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Perhaps we have various views on the word classic. Then there is the use of the word timeless above.

So TopBilled, I am not sure how something new can be timeless without due time. So that could imply it can't be a classic without being timeless.

(I'm getting a headache)

I believe there will be a time when the first and second "A Star Is Born" movies will not be well known. So people will compare the newer one with Cooper/Gaga to the previous one.

At some point people may think classic is Barbra Streisand, and not think Judy Garland. Imagine telling someone Judy was not the original?

I started typing this before the bias word was added. I would have a bias against the content matter in a movie. LawrenceA explained it flawlessly, as if he knew me pretty well. I like movies that can be comfortably shared with the youngest and oldest members of my family. <10 and 80> in age.

So, some of those movies could be clean in content, be real stinkers, and therefore not classics.

I surrender to the idea that you are correct TopBilled. Not because I don't want to talk about it anymore, but because you really are absolutely right.

I still favor movies with age for personal reasons. They can be real turkeys, especially on that channel that plays two months of Christmas movies from Halloween to New Years. You know the one.

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I think there are many fine movies still being made, but many of the current big budget, popular movies are basically live-action cartoons, often devoid of comprehensible dialogue and filled with one noisy, CGI created special effects action scene after another.    Those who claim that today's movies are more "realistic" are off base as more films are focused on fantasy action figures and unbelievable plots.  I prefer movies with a true narrative arc, intelligent dialogue, and well-drawn characters.

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17 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

La La Land is another one that comes to mind. It took superficial elements from golden age musicals but was just a wreck. It also annoys me that they put the Cinemascope symbol in the opening titles but just shot it like a modern film.

Personally, I loved the film, but the CinemaScope logo was an odd touch. Only 2 films since 1967 have even used CinemaScope: Anastasia and Titan AE, both from Fox's animation devision.

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59 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

But is classic defined by time? To me, classic means something has a timeless quality. Therefore, anything that hit the screen last week would technically have the same chance as a movie from 1940-whenever to convey ideas that are timeless or classic to an audience.

The only thing that can't be classic is a movie which is still off in the future and hasn't yet had a chance to find an audience and share its universal truths.

I was going by what I thought was your own definition of "classic", or at least your definition of the framework under which the discussion was being conducted. The thread is "Why do some classic movie fans bash newer films?", so I assumed that you were defining classic by time, meaning older as opposed to "newer". I framed my comments with that in mind, but I agree that films from any era can be or become classic, sometimes almost immediately. 

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18 hours ago, TopBilled said:

This is the very reason why I didn't enjoy Todd Haynes' FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002). It was too self-conscious, trying to emulate (imitate?) Douglas Sirk's ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955).

It doesn't help that All That Heaven Allows isn't a very good movie.

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One thing I don't think I saw mentioned in this thread is how many of the blockbuster movies of today look like the color palette is teal and orange, and that's about it.  (At least, from the ads/trailers.)  Something about it looks to me bland, cookie-cutter, and terrible.

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4 minutes ago, DougieB said:

I was going by what I thought was your own definition of "classic", or at least your definition of the framework under which the discussion was being conducted. The thread is "Why do some classic movie fans bash newer films?", so I assumed that you were defining classic by time, meaning older as opposed to "newer". I framed my comments with that in mind, but I agree that films from any era can be or become classic, sometimes almost immediately. 

I didn't have an agenda per se...when I created the thread I didn't mean to imply that "old film" is synonymous with "classic film." As we know, a lot of old(er) films are not classics. 

So when we ask why do some classic movie fans bash newer films what we are saying is why do some classic movie fans feel as if newer films cannot be included in a discussion of the classics.

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18 hours ago, TopBilled said:

This is the very reason why I didn't enjoy Todd Haynes' FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002). It was too self-conscious, trying to emulate (imitate?) Douglas Sirk's ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955). It didn't seem real to me. That he wanted to reference the earlier film, and had used a contrived plot also set in suburbia to accomplish this. But it seemed like a hollow exercise. It affected me when I re-watched ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. I had to shrug off Haynes' falseness connected with it, so I could revisit Sirk's film on its own terms separate from the immature homage that Haynes had put on the screen.

I had kind of the same reaction to it. The performances were quite good, but emotionally something was off. And I loved All That Heaven Allows and Magnificent Obsession.

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10 minutes ago, Fedya said:

One thing I don't think I saw mentioned in this thread is how many of the blockbuster movies of today look like the color palette is teal and orange, and that's about it.  (At least, from the ads/trailers.)  Something about it looks to me bland, cookie-cutter, and terrible.

Interesting. I will admit that I don't like a lot of the cinematography in recent films. I feel like they are all doing outdoor scenes at 4 p.m., when the afternoon sun is directly overhead and at its warmest and most glowing. That doesn't seem realistic to me.

I prefer colder colors. So I love darker blues and grays and darker greens. A lot of today's films are too "warm" and "hot" for me. 

I prefer it when the characters go outdoors and everything's cold and stark. I think that's why I love A SIMPLE PLAN (1998) so much. That film gets it the way I like it.

Conversely, something like Woody Allen's CAFE SOCIETY (2016) is just so abundantly bright with gobs of sunshine everywhere (even the indoor scenes where there would be no sun, everything is shiny and over-lit). It feels phony to me. Like the goal is to photograph the actors and sets in the most shimmering way. It pulls me out of the story. 

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8 hours ago, TopBilled said:

And I think this is what's happening with today's superhero sequels. They have characters the audience has become familiar with and enjoys seeing in the latest installment(s).

Unfortunately, the superhero movies re-created TOO much of the print-comic experience that most modern grownups hadn't grown up with as a kid.  (Y'know, back when we weren't reading comics in the 70's, and didn't pay attention to them again until the late 80's when Batman started getting one headline after another.)

When you were a kid, you bought comic books because they were serials; the last issue said "Hang on till next issue, true believers!", and so you waited a month and bought the next issue--Or the crossover issue of some other hero's title, where a little more of the story was being told from some other character's angle.  And if it turned out to be some lame "filler" issue, where the big battle doesn't happen until next, and this story was all about the heroes arguing over what's at stake, the villain hinting at his plan, and some minor skirmish with one of the villain subordinates, that was one of the issues you were probably going to sell back to the comic-book store the next time your mom told you to clean out that closet.

Disney/Marvel Studios has done a good job of creating the "crossover-universe" that the print comics created, and the same serialized storytelling style of putting Chapter 1 in one hero's movie, Chapter 2 in another's, and stringing you out for Chapter 3, but all that's done is create disposable movies.  You don't mind disposing twenty cheap pages of a $1 magazine (or $0.25 when you were a kid), it's a slightly different issue when you have to sit through all 2-1/2 hours of "Avengers 2: Age of Ultron", and realize that nothing actually HAPPENED in it except Important Plot Points were set up for "Captain America: Civil War" in the next issue.  Y'know, that big cool issue where we had the big hero-battle showdown, and that was the one you kept.

Old studios could grind out Ma & Pa Kettle and Andy Hardy because TV didn't exist yet, and movies stayed at 30's-40's theaters for one week only, so audiences didn't mind getting "disposable" movies, if it was a better experience with the characters than radio.  But in this age when every movie now has immortal posterity on disk, it's just an act of pointlessness for a studio like Universal or Paramount to make "The Mummy" or "Transformers 5" for literally no other reason than to tell us to go see the next movie.  That's one thing a lot of folks get wrong when they don't grow up reading comic books.

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