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What movies to introduce teens to classic films?


Lindakay1
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4 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Well, that's an interesting theory, and the first time in my long life I've heard anyone declare such a theory ever. I will have to do some contemplation on this concept.

Wouldn't take it too much to heart - else why would the Marx brothers' stuff still be so damned funny?

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6 hours ago, LuckyDan said:

BUB has it's fans. Bogdanovich included, which is how we got WUD.

I could take Barbra in those days. I actually remember thinking she was kinda cute. And her character was. Ryan? I could have done as well. 

The jokes mostly worked. Austin Pendleton and Kenny Mars were fun. The Keatonesque visual gags (let's see if that gets by the censor) were excellent in the runaway dragon sequence.

But comedy isn't meant to age, so I don't blame either for not holding up entirely. 

Mars nearly steals the movie, but Madeline Kahn definitely does.

Somewhat agree that comedy typically doesn't age well unless it's well done, and political or contemporary humor - meaning humor about then-current events - usually doesn't age well at all, as the references are usually lost on later generations.  

I think comedy is also difficult to sustain for the length of a feature film.  It's easier in sketch form, TV episodes, or shorts.  I never cared much for Marx brothers movies for a couple of reasons:  it's the same premise from one film to the next, with each one doing their specific bits, and the mayhem goes on a bit too long for me.  But I think I'm in the minority here.

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31 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

Mars nearly steals the movie, but Madeline Kahn definitely does.

Somewhat agree that comedy typically doesn't age well unless it's well done, and political or contemporary humor - meaning humor about then-current events - usually doesn't age well at all, as the references are usually lost on later generations.  

I think comedy is also difficult to sustain for the length of a feature film.  It's easier in sketch form, TV episodes, or shorts.  I never cared much for Marx brothers movies for a couple of reasons:  it's the same premise from one film to the next, with each one doing their specific bits, and the mayhem goes on a bit too long for me.  But I think I'm in the minority here.

How could I forget Madeline? I did, though. ("Who is that dangerously unbalanced woman?" her future lover asked.)

In a way all humor is contemporary, in the sense that people today probably don't laugh at the same things people laughed at in Chaucer's time. I mean not simply contemporary events but contemporary styles of humor. 

The Three Stooges are a good example. You don't see slapstick humor anymore. Because it's not funny anymore. Remember Foster Brooks? He was huge 45 years ago, but no one laughs at drunks now. Then there was that Raymond J. Johnson Jr. guy. ("You can call me Ray, or you can call me J." That went on way too long.) And Jimmie "J.J." Walker with his "dyne-o-mite!" We wince at stuff like that now. You might say, "But that wasn't well done." Well no, it wasn't particularly witty, but you have to remember, people laughed. 

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I think it was Mr. Millstone who mentioned something about recommending movies we ourselves liked as teenagers regardless of whether someone else would actually enjoy these films . . . but I figure to list some movies I remember watching between the ages of 9 and 14 -- from 1982-86 -- that I liked enough to buy *all* of these movies on homevideo years later when I got older and wasn't banned by my folks from watching them again!  See, I had some nice options in the 1980s because we got Showtime (SHO), Home Box Office (HBO) and The Movie Channel (TMC).  (We didn't get Cinemax because it was apparently not available in our area or we'd have had that, too).  Anyway, I was able to watch all kinds of movies that interested me in the 1980s some of which were very gory and then I was not allowed to watch them again when Mum found out.  She sure didn't like THE BEAST WITHIN. 

Along with THE BEAST WITHIN . . . I watched all these happy movies when I was a young 'un because I could!  FROGS, EVILSPEAK, HYSTERICAL, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, FUNERAL HOME, GAS,  SCAVENGER HUNT, THE VILLAIN, LUST IN THE DUST, ELLIE, National Lampoon's CLASS REUNION.   Are these movies RIGHT for your teenagers?  Well, shucks, I don't know but I *CAN* tell you this:  Having viewed all of these movies repeatedly over the years I have never been arrested, have no criminal record and treat my pets kindly.  My cockatiels have always known they were valued.  Birbs! 

→ If you wanna mess with your kids heads then stuff the Columbia VHS of NATURAL ENEMIES (1979) into your VCR.  It's not on DVD, btw.  Then you can fry their brain cells with WINDOWS (1980) and watch the nutty conclusion involving a frozen puddy tat and Elizabeth Ashley having a 'Dubya' Bush-type "nucular" meltdown.  I swear by my eyes you'll howl at the confrontation finalé between Talia Shire and Miss Ashley.  🤪

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7 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Somewhat agree that comedy typically doesn't age well unless it's well done, and political or contemporary humor - meaning humor about then-current events - usually doesn't age well at all, as the references are usually lost on later generations.  

I was struck by the Genie charactor voiced by Robin Williams in Disney's animated ALADDIN that way. I sat in the theater with my mouth open at what was said, thinking, "who is going to know what he's talking about in 20 years?" I generally love Robin Williams, but think he did a huge disservice to the film by going off on contemporary politics.

I can't believe Disney allowed it, ruining the timeless quality of an animated movie. That's why anything made while Walt was alive is "classic", it holds up for generations.

 

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

I was struck by the Genie charactor voiced by Robin Williams in Disney's animated ALADDIN that way. I sat in the theater with my mouth open at what was said, thinking, "who is going to know what he's talking about in 20 years?" I generally love Robin Williams, but think he did a huge disservice to the film by going off on contemporary politics.

I can't believe Disney allowed it, ruining the timeless quality of an animated movie. That's why anything made while Walt was alive is "classic", it holds up for generations.

 

Well in all fairness, I don't think that was a consideration that Robin took when he did his impersonations, he just wanted to entertain his audience and I think he did a brilliant job of it.

I mean even 30 years later, lots of folks still know who Jack Nicholson and Rodney Dangerfield is, and even a select few will recognize his Peter Lorre impersonation.

Comedians can't predict what will and will not be relevant in the distant future, they just want to make their crowds laugh.

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2 hours ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

Well in all fairness, I don't think that was a consideration that Robin took when he did his impersonations, he just wanted to entertain his audience and I think he did a brilliant job of it.

I mean even 30 years later, lots of folks still know who Jack Nicholson and Rodney Dangerfield is, and even a select few will recognize his Peter Lorre impersonation.

Comedians can't predict what will and will not be relevant in the distant future, they just want to make their crowds laugh.

Yes, "huge disservice" is a pretty strong condemnation for a movie that made so much money for the company.

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25 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

Indeed. If the main concern is making a lot of money.

That's a line from some movie. Or tv show. A guy says, "It is no great thing to make a lot of money if all you want to do is make a lot of money." Or some such. I hear a voice that sounds like Oskar Homolka. 

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On 8/15/2021 at 6:31 PM, sewhite2000 said:

Well, that's an interesting theory, and the first time in my long life I've heard anyone declare such a theory ever. I will have to do some contemplation on this concept.

We had to read Aristophenes in college, and I cracked up reading then-contemporary snarky ancient Greek parodies of everything holy, sacred and historical we learned about ancient Greece.

If I can find "The Wasps" funny 3000 years later, finding Groucho's safari speech in "Animal Crackers" funny ninety years later is nothing.

The Three Stooges are a good example. You don't see slapstick humor anymore. Because it's not funny anymore. 

You Nazty Spy says "Hold my beer, porcupine!  (slap!)"

ill_never_heil_again.jpg

("Ohh, you like beer, eh?...Do you prefer it drawn in the glass, or do you like it straight in the mug?"
"I like it straight in the mug!"
"You GOT it:  (poke!)")

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4 hours ago, EricJ said:

We had to read Aristophenes in college, and I cracked up reading then-contemporary snarky ancient Greek parodies of everything holy, sacred and historical we learned about ancient Greece.

If I can find "The Wasps" funny 3000 years later, finding Groucho's safari speech in "Animal Crackers" funny ninety years later is nothing.

You Nazty Spy says "Hold my beer, porcupine!  (slap!)"

ill_never_heil_again.jpg

("Ohh, you like beer, eh?...Do you prefer it drawn in the glass, or do you like it straight in the mug?"
"I like it straight in the mug!"
"You GOT it:  (poke!)")

Oh my god! He got poked in the eye! Please stop! I can't breathe! Why don't they make movies like that anymore?

But seriously folks ...

While I didn't laugh at Aristophanes (probably because I don't know as much about life in ancient Greece as you do), Cervantes got me good several times in Don QuixoteI don't say no humor holds up, but it is an interesting question as to what holds up and why. The unexpected is often part of the reason. It was Keaton's secret. He'd set up an expectation of "A" happening, and the zap 'em with "B." Henny Youngman's jokes depended on that. ("I take my wife everywhere. She finds her way back.") Both Keaton and Youngman can still make me laugh, provided I haven't seen or heard them in a while.

More recently the jokes in Dumb and Dumber were based on so called switches like that, a term I heard Bob Einstein ("Super Dave Osborn) use to describe a style, or form, of joke writing.

The fact that we hear people laugh at something that has been around for a while and say, "It never gets old!" implies there are jokes that DO get old, (pies in the face were apparently once a real scream) even if, as is the case with the Stooges and me, they might retain a nostalgic charm, as in the "Niagara Falls' bit.

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6 hours ago, LuckyDan said:

(pies in the face were apparently once a real scream

Oh, okay, now I have a concrete example of what you meant. Yeah, I can recall watching Stooges shorts as a child in the '70s. They were less than 15 minutes long? And I remember some of them would end with three or four minutes of people getting hit in the face with pies. And even with the relative lack of sophistication and wide-eyed wonder of the world when I was eight or whatever, I can remember thinking, "Jeez, I guess this was funny back in the day, but ..."

 

6 hours ago, LuckyDan said:

He'd set up an expectation of "A" happening, and the zap 'em with "B." Henny Youngman's jokes depended on that. ("I take my wife everywhere. She finds her way back.")

Ben Mankeiwicz does a lot of that, as discussed at length recently in another thread. When he does it to compare and contrast expectations from the performances of certain actors, he apparently doesn't realize he's on the verge of offending viewers to the point where they unequivocally hate him. I'm thinking about Bronxgirl48 threatening to never watch again after she interpreted him as comparing Abbott and Costello unfavorably to Frederic March.

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15 hours ago, LuckyDan said:

Oh my god! He got poked in the eye! Please stop! I can't breathe! Why don't they make movies like that anymore?

Not so much the poke, as considering:  "Pick out two:  🖐️ "  "One, two!"  "(poke!) ✌️"  And the burlesque comic suspension of disbelief for "How naive would somebody have to be for that to actually WORK?  "

Let alone the excessively out-of-the-way elaborate preparation for "Here, you look tired:  (sets chin on fist)...(sets elbow on knee)...(hits bottom of shoe, causing him to sock himself in his jaw)"

Normally, it's female viewers, who think everything they see in movies or TV is "real", who say "But they're hitting each other, that's mean!", it's rare that you ever hear heterosexual males with such difficulty in grasping the comic fantasy premise or traditional rhythms of burlesque comedy.  Which is why disclaimers have to be broadcast so often that Moe didn't ACTUALLY poke anyone in the eye, he just brushed their eyebrows, and Columbia foley artists added a violin pluck, or meat-paddles for the odd slap.  That's the magic of movies.

And poor Lou Costello, being slapped so often by mean Bud, just for not understanding baseball names...  😯

Quote

While I didn't laugh at Aristophanes (probably because I don't know as much about life in ancient Greece as you do),

We know from ancient history that Athens invented the concept of Trial By Jury, where civic duty was voluntary for anyone who stopped by that day--And, from writers of their day, we also know it mostly attracted old retired geezers who had nothing better to do that afternoon, and could have used the nominal fee.

In Aristophanes' "The Wasps", our obnoxious protagonist is one such geezer who is proudly "addicted" to daily jury duty, and his virtuous son tries to talk him out of it.  One argument he uses is, consider how much money the state takes in through taxes, trade and tribute--And how much do they pay the citizen for one day's participation in democracy?  One coin and two olives...Gee, can they spare it??   😄

15 hours ago, LuckyDan said:

The fact that we hear people laugh at something that has been around for a while and say, "It never gets old!" implies there are jokes that DO get old, (pies in the face were apparently once a real scream) even if, as is the case with the Stooges and me, they might retain a nostalgic charm, as in the "Niagara Falls' bit.

 Under the right timing (ahemgreatrace), and comic catharsis of seeing pompous formal people shut up with embarrassing situations, they still are:


 

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7 hours ago, EricJ said:

Not so much the poke, as considering:  "Pick out two:  🖐️ "  "One, two!"  "(poke!) ✌️"  And the burlesque comic suspension of disbelief for "How naive would somebody have to be for that to actually WORK?  "

Let alone the excessively out-of-the-way elaborate preparation for "Here, you look tired:  (sets chin on fist)...(sets elbow on knee)...(hits bottom of shoe, causing him to sock himself in his jaw)"

Normally, it's female viewers, who think everything they see in movies or TV is "real", who say "But they're hitting each other, that's mean!", it's rare that you ever hear heterosexual males with such difficulty in grasping the comic fantasy premise or traditional rhythms of burlesque comedy.  Which is why disclaimers have to be broadcast so often that Moe didn't ACTUALLY poke anyone in the eye, he just brushed their eyebrows, and Columbia foley artists added a violin pluck, or meat-paddles for the odd slap.  That's the magic of movies.

And poor Lou Costello, being slapped so often by mean Bud, just for not understanding baseball names...  😯

We know from ancient history that Athens invented the concept of Trial By Jury, where civic duty was voluntary for anyone who stopped by that day--And, from writers of their day, we also know it mostly attracted old retired geezers who had nothing better to do that afternoon, and could have used the nominal fee.

In Aristophanes' "The Wasps", our obnoxious protagonist is one such geezer who is proudly "addicted" to daily jury duty, and his virtuous son tries to talk him out of it.  One argument he uses is, consider how much money the state takes in through taxes, trade and tribute--And how much do they pay the citizen for one day's participation in democracy?  One coin and two olives...Gee, can they spare it??   😄

 Under the right timing (ahemgreatrace), and comic catharsis of seeing pompous formal people shut up with embarrassing situations, they still are:


 

Did I strike a nerve, EJ? 

 

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13 hours ago, LuckyDan said:

Did I strike a nerve, EJ? 

No, you just challenged the old scientific principle that Only Women Don’t Understand the Stooges and Think They’re Hitting People.

It was trying to make some implied connection between them and the horribly unfunny/overplayed Jack Nicholson scene from Little Shop that finally threw down the gauntlet to this comedy fan.  😡

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