Originally Posted by RBlenheim
I guess I need to start with my age: 66. And I grew up on all the great classics. I've been involved in film all my life, made years of amateur films when I was young,worked in a film studio for a short while, taught film, wrote about film. I love most of the great classics, American and international. But I have to say, it strikes me as sad and uninformed about modern cinema to think all the good films are in the past. In general, maybe there are many bad films made today (there were also bad films made in the thirties and forties, many of which are forgotten today!) but some of the great films today are as great as some of the old classics. We need to avoid the creeping disease of "fogey-itis", and be open to change and the great films that are made today.
You mention 1994. Okay. Although I don't agree it was an exceptionally good year, I'll start there. Let me name a few, just a few, great films that have been made since then (and I'm going to skip the big ones like "Titanic"), and many of these could NOT have been made in the 'golden years': "Leaving Las Vegas", "Exotica", "LA Confidential", "Jackie Brown", "The Thin Red Line", "Magnolia", "Eyes Wide Shut", "The Insider", "Topsy-Turvy", "Almost Famous", "Gladiator","Traffic", "Mulholland Dr.", "In the Mood for Love", "The Others", "The Hours", "City of God", "The Pianist", "Lost in Translation", "Seabiscuit", "Matchstick Men", "The Aviator", "The Return", "Dogville", "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "Broken Flowers", "A History of Violence", "Good Night,and Good Luck", "Match Point", "Babel", "Children of Men", "Pan's Labyrinth", "Bubble", "Cache/Hidden", "No Country For Old Men", "Atonement", "Zodiac", "The Son", "In Bruges", "The Wrestler", "The White Ribbon", "Up in the Air", "Hugo", "The Tree of Life", Melancholia", "Poetry", "Take Shelter", "Shame", "incendies", "Life of Pi", "The Master", "Amour", "Zero Dark Thirty", "Argo", "Lincoln". One might not like all of them, but each one of these can be demonstrated to be serious films of cinematic accomplishment that expand the art form and/or provoke intellectual ideas and stretch the mind.
Since 1994, the best work of the following filmmakers have been bestowed on us: Terrence Malick, P.T. Anderson, Michael Haneke, Lars von Trier, the Coen Brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Kathryn Bigelow, Jeff Nichols, Lee Chang-dong, Wong Kar-wai, the Dardenne Brothers, David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch. Sophia Coppola, Kim Ki-duk, David Cronenberg. Just some of the major filmmakers to have emerged, or progressed to mature status, since the year you single out, 1994.
Others will have other films to add to this list, and I have deleted those I can't remember at the time, and have inadvertently omitted many international films (like most of the many brilliant ones from South Korea). And if I had more time, I could list many, many more!
Can one really go through that list and say that there has been a dearth of great films of late?
Nostalgia is fine, but those who say films aren't as good today needs to get up out of the rocking chair and start watching modern films! NO EXCUSE!
I, too, have worked in amateur and semi-professional filmmaking on both sides of the camera. I have not seen most of those films (I did see Topsy-Turvy
when it was released, and I thought it was a fine film), but I have no doubt they're well-made, innovative and far above the lowest common denominator (which, frankly, seems like it used to be a lot higher than it is today). In my reviews, I call them as I see them, but I can't judge them by any standard, objective or subjective, until I actually see them. I've outgrown that adolescent habit. But those are not the films I'm condemning. I'll defend vilified films if I think they got a bad rap, but if an acclaimed film doesn't live up to the hype, I'll say so. I'm not a fan of change for its own sake, but if a new technique works, it works, and if it doesn't, it doesn't. I'd be happy to see long takes become the norm again because it forces the actors to act (rather than overtly relying on editing to piece together a good performance) and the directors to stage whole scenes and not just shots and camera angles.
I'm not reflexively anti-modern or contrarian for its own sake, though. I happen to think The Master
was brilliant, but it is a very complex film that takes more than one viewing to fully digest. Lincoln
was an extremely well-acted traditionalist film (Spielberg is a traditionalist, and I am more partial to his earlier films). However, I don't think a preference for older styles of filmmaking is mere "nostalgia" or "fogeyism," but at the same time, I don't think slavishly recreating the past, no matter how skillfully, will advance the art form very far. But we can't throw everything away. I haven't seen many of the older classics, either. The people who made those were the innovators of their times. The filmmaking trends that worry me the most are the reflexive adherence to the Hero's Journey screenplay structure, the constant interference of studio executives, the overuse of headache-inducing rapid cuts (which sometimes can be effective) and the studios' obvious contempt for their audiences.
The new classics don't negate the old ones. In fact, the old ones made the new ones possible. I want to see as many of them as I can. Where are all these allegedly bad films of the past everyone keeps talking about? Is it also possible that good or even great films from the past got lost to time and careless storage methods? That's what concerns me most.
And my rocking chair happens to be ergonomic, thank you very much.
Originally Posted by Jason_V
And I respect that. It's not like I haven't given him more than one chance. Nothing he does interests or impresses me in the least.
Not even his Golden Girls
And now that that's out of the way, I liked Uma Thurman's finger-over-the-eye dance movements better when Duchess did them in The AristoCats