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The Films We Love The Most Are The Ones We Grew Up With


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I know that's a pretty general statement. Clearly it does not apply to every film we saw in our earlier years ("earlier" being, I suppose, up to our teens or, perhaps, into our 20s). There will be a lot of films we loved as kids that simply fail to hold up well.

 

I believe, though, that the films that hold a special place in most movie buffs' hearts, however, tend to be those that they enjoyed during their taste-establishing formative years that do stand the test of time well, or reasonably well.

 

Somewhere, I don't know where, I read that people's taste in music is pretty much established for life by the time they have reached their late 20s. Well, think the same thing applies to movies, as well.

 

Speaking for myself, I grew up watching late night television broadcasts of Warner Brothers films, along with those from Paramount, and the Universal horror films. Well, guess what, those films from those studios are still the ones that make me feel like I'm reacquainting myself with an old friend when I see them. I have no illusion that a lot of those atmospheric Gothic horrors from Universal are any kind of artistic masterpieces. But watching Karloff and Lugosi haunt a house, so to speak, provides me with a warm fuzzy feeling of affection that I don't feel for many other films such as, say, the Hammer Studio's product, to which I was introduced later in life.

 

At the same time, as much as I love watching the Warners stars, Cagney and Bogart and Flynn and Garfield, I'm fairly cold on most films cranked out by "the greatest studio of its day," MGM. Whether it's because MGM made an inferior product to Warners (a topic we can always debate) is a distinct possibility. Also in the back of my mind, however, is the fact that I saw very few MGM films when I was a kid. It wasn't until later in life that I finally got to know the likes of Shearer and Garbo and Taylor, among many others. While I can appreciate some of their work, their films will never have the love from me that I feel for Warners.

 

Of course, there are always exceptions. At MGM I do love watching William Powell and Myrna Loy work those small miracles of witty chemistry together on screen. I love Powell and Loy as a team probably more than I am enraptured with many of the films themselves. At the same time I grew up with Abbott and Costello and today, for the most part, find their films hard to sit through (with the exception of Meet Frankenstein but that, again, is probably my Universal horror bias coming through).

 

This theory of mine, in turn, has me concerned for the future popularity of films of the Hollywood Golden Age since the current generration of filmgoers, now in their formative years, have such little access to the kind of films we love. Years from now their loves are probably going to be, I regret to say, with all these CGI stuff that is on the big screen now. And the films we love on TCM? Well, let's just say this is one of the reasons I think the channel has its Essentials for Kids series. But, I strongly suspect, it won't be enough to keep future generations as enraptured with these films as we are.

 

If I'm making it sound like we all, to some degree, have our tastes "programmed" by what we are exposed to during our first two or three decades of movie watching, well, yes, I think that's true. Acknowledging the fact that we will always make the occasional new discovery of a "great" film that we've never seen before, I still think that the films we truly love, even if they're not always quite as good as we would like to believe, are those, for the most part, that we saw during our formative years.

 

Any comments?

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I'm not sure about that. I came of "movie age", so to speak, in the late 60's and early 70's, and with a handful of exceptions like the early Scorcese movies and a few foreign films, there's almost nothing from that era I look back on with much fondness. In fact, many of my least favorite films ( Bonnie and Clyde; The Graduate; Easy Rider ) came out then.

 

I'm much more partial to genres that came along before or just after I was born: Silents, pre-codes, noir, and neo-realism. The many later films that I like are usually ones that I've picked out on Netflix long after their original release date, so even there nostalgia plays no part in my preferences. My bottom line is always *"Is it a good story? Does it ring true? Is it largely devoid of pretense and BS? Is the acting at least competent? Did the movie make me think at least a little bit? And would I want to see it again?"* I'lll leave factors like "cinematography" to the professional critics, who seem to obsess on stuff like that.

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Andy, I came of movie age, so to speak, during the 60s, going to the show to see, among other films, the three that you mentioned. But it was also during that same period of time that I was seeing the older Hollywood films on late night television, and that's where my love for them developed.

 

Were you not also seeing the older Hollywood product during the same period in which Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider came out?

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Really interesting idea. For me, while there's no doubt that favorite music has a very strong connection to certain periods in my life, for movies the connection/nostalgia factor is less important. When I was young I watched a lot of classic monster movies, and while I love Godzilla, et al., I don't own any of those DVDs, and don't go out of my way to watch them on Netflix.

 

But two movies do come to mind that make me think of my childhood: *The Graduate* and *The Party* (I did not see them in their original run; I was just born that year). I don't choose to see these movies necessarily for great acting, etc. etc., but they are "comfort movies" of a sort that make me think of an earlier/easier time.

 

In my young teen years I saw *E.T.* in theaters, and I can't stand that movie. ;)

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Andy, I came of movie age, so to speak, during the 60s, going to the show to see, among other films, the three that you mentioned. But it was also during that same period of time that I was seeing the older Hollywood films on late night television, and that's where my love for them developed.

 

Were you not also seeing the older Hollywood product during the same period in which Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider came out?

 

 

To be honest, I spent far more time on interests other than movies during that period. It wasn't until I discovered the AFI in the early 70's that I became truly addicted to film, and even that passion lay dormant in the 80's and 90's until TCM and Netflix came along.

 

 

One thing I do remember before that is seeing *"SHOCK!"* theater on late night TV in the late 50's, when I was in Junior High School. Mostly classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, etc., which I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

 

But what I truly loved most about *"SHOCK!"* was the introductory scene in a silent graveyard that was interrupted by the narrator suddenly screaming *"SHOCK!!!"* in a rather hushed but truly chilling voice. The closest comparison I can think of would be the famous scene in Night of the Living Dead, where the hand out of nowhere reaches out to grab the unsuspecting dude who's searching the house for zombies.

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I can't at all disagree with much of what you posted. For example, if I came of age in the '80's, instead of the '60's, my taste in music might be far different. Same with movies. I suppose most of our tastes are formed this way. Growing up with certain things being a certain way, we tend to use it all as a yardstick with which we measure anything else that's related. When you grow up seeing horror movies that emphisize the suspense more than the actual "horror", it's hard to get into the newer ones that offer up buckets of guts. It's hard to get into comedies that use flatulence and vomit as vehicles when you're brought up on the wit of Dressler and Lombard, or the relative "clean" zaniness of the Marx Brothers. And so on.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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First of all, obrienmundy, I'm very glad to se that someone at your movie-going tender years has developed an appreciation for films from the '20s thru '60s (though, personally I'm not that taken with films made after the '50s).

 

However, if at age 17, you can now say that you like those films from the earlier decades that means that they are films you are growing up with. You may well be going to the show, as well, these days to see current films. (As was I, growing up in a decade whose films I don't care for today, the afore mentioned '60s). That doesn't matter, though. As long as you are getting exposure to films of all eras during this taste-forming period in your life these are the film that are affecting your tastes. You're just making a selection now as to which of the periods involved you prefer.

 

The point of my theory is that we are all influenced by the films that we see during the first twenty, maybe even thirty years of our lives. By the fact that you're seeing earlier films at this early stage of your life, I hold that you have a better opportunity to appreciate and enjoy them than if, for example, you saw nothing but current Hollywood productions and didn't have access to the silents and pre-coders and WWII films until you were past your twenties. If you didn'that have exposure to primarily black-and-white films until later in life, I maintain that you probably wouldn't have the same appreciation for them that you do now.

 

Congratulations, at age 17, in making the effort to watch films of the Golden Era. As you well know, it makes you a minority among your peers (who may well not understand your tastes but then, how much do they really try to watch the older films themselves?)

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> {quote:title=obrienmundy wrote:}{quote}Not necessarily. I am 17 years old, and I really do have intense feelings of disapproval with most modern-day films (Oscar season excepted). I love the films that were made from the 20s through the 60s and those decades will remain the nearest and dearest to me.

Good for you! :)

 

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Since I only went to the movies once in a blue moon when I was a kid, most of what I grew up with was from television. At the time I like the b sci fi flicks, police dramas, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" series, Saturday morning cartoons, etc.

 

Now I am older and wiser, the old sci fi and horrors are a bit boring now, its hard to watch a movie from the 50's-60's about Mars because of recent discoveries, lol the "Curosity" rover lander was something to behold. (the 7 min of terror)

 

I'm too hard to scare nowadays with horror, either old or new films.

 

I like something I've never seen before regardless if its old or new. Boomerang brought back some memories recently with certain animated features I haven't seen since a kid.

 

Cloo (channel) just last week had a "Mannix" marathon which were a surprise, been almost 40 years, ouch am I'm ever getting old.

 

Just watched "Hello Dolly" this past Christmas holiday and my first time viewing and *WOW hearing* it.

 

Far as any space sci-fi, they are going to have to be more realistic now because of the discoveries of "hot Jupiters". Hmmmm, there is something for writers to play with. :| ("Voyage to Osiris"?)

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I was a child in the 1960s - there were no videos or DVDs, we had just one TV channel which rarely showed movies, and going to the movie theatre itself was a rare treat. I can probably list most of the movies I saw during that period on the fingers of one hand: Blue Hawaii, Captain Nemo and the Underwater City, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music ... and possibly the Beatles movie "A Hard Day's Night." If I see any one of these movies airing on TV, I am drawn to watch it. Doesn't matter how many times I've seen it before. As was mentioned above, it's "comfort viewing." :)

 

Unlike some of you, I have never liked horror movies - as you can see by the titles I mentioned, my tastes run more to musicals. The advent of video and DVD and numerous TV channels (including TCM!!) has allowed me to broaden my tastes somewhat (for example, I've learned to appreciate a good screwball comedy, such as "Bringing Up Baby") but I am still drawn primarily to musicals. I think we do tend to love things that take us back in some way to our childhood, or young adulthood.

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