After seeing Forrest Gump for the umpteenth time last night at one of those digital one-night-only screenings theater chains have become fond of, it reminded me what a great year 1994 was for films (look at the Oscar competition that year) and how disinterested I've become in the majority of mainstream American filmmaking since then. Even independent filmmaking seems to have been usurped by Hollywood (I don't consider films like Little Miss Sunshine, which cost $10 million and starred Greg Kinnear and Steve Carell, to be "indie" in any way). But IMO, it's hard to discern true greatness without the benefit of the passage of time. I can still remember all the Best Picture winners (and all the misplaced bitterness from fans of those who were passed over, though I have my own reservations about their decisions), but I'm in no hurry to see most of them until I see the older ones first. I'm almost 30, so I've got plenty of time to get around to them and other films from all eras and all nations. And as great as Sunset Boulevard was, let's admit Norma Desmond had "issues." She hated talkies and Technicolor, wrote a 500-page adaptation of Salome that Joe Gillis said "showed how bad bad writing could be," and we all know how she ended up. But that's why we love her. On the other hand, even the classics we love are partly a result of many years of technological, social and cultural evolutions and revolutions, and I don't think we can ignore the realities of the present just because we don't like how it turned out. The Artist was a great attempt to recreate the past, but that's all it was: a recreation of something that was organic to a specific place and time. Disclaimer: I still haven't seen Argo. The only 2012 nominee I have seen is Lincoln. Less expensive movie tickets would be an incentive for me to go to the movies as often as I did when I was a child.