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Argus Skyhawk October 14 2012 04:35 PM

Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movies
 
I thought this was an interesting blog post. It laments the fact that young people often fail to engage when watching older movies, even ones that were generally big crowd-pleasers in their day. I thought I would share it and see if anyone here had any thoughts on the subject.

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is not unsophisticated. You are.

shivkala October 14 2012 05:02 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
I struggle with this, as I do find older movies/television series hard to connect with. For instance, I've watched a few of the old Doctor Who serials on Netflix and find them very slow paced. I've accepted the low budget special effects and I don't laugh at it, but I have trouble engaging with it. Oddly enough, I love 2001 for its slow pace, go figure.

As for the laughter, I think we have to take into account that those old Bond films have been parodied and spoofed throughout the 50 years since they premiered. I'd wager that many of those laughing have seen at least one of the Austin Powers movies and were primed to laugh at how serious it was taking itself.

As for the anecdote about Singing in the Rain, I think that teacher was approaching it from the wrong angle. Perhaps he should have tried Grease, which was only 10 years old at the time after Singing in the Rain to see if those students had the same reaction. I also wonder how he feels about Glee, since it often uses that same trope of people talking and then suddenly launching into song. Is he one of those who hate it on principle or does he get some vindication of how it is presenting the musical format to today's generation. I also wonder if he tried the same lesson if the reactions would be the same from today's students.

And there is something to the fact that this person is judging others for their opinion and yet, not realizing that it is just that: an opinion. Is it the fact that they were disrupting the movie experience for him (in my opinion, a valid sentiment) or is he upset that others don't feel the way he does (less valid, in my opinion).

Spot's Meow October 14 2012 05:42 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
The article confuses me a little. On the one hand the author calls the Bond films cheeky escapism, but then he gets upset when people chuckle and lampoon it? He also seems to associate their laughter with an inability to enjoy the movie; on the contrary, they are still getting enjoyment out of it, just in a different way. If these movies are supposed to be simple escapism, why does he insist on a greater level of thought and sophistication from the audience? That defies the point of the film.

He also is clearly targeting young people with his comments, as if this generation is just unable to appreciate the art of older movies, yet he gives an example of this same behavior from his own youth in 1988. Obviously, then, this attitude towards older films has nothing to do with the current generation being too unsophisticated, it has to do with all generations satirizing and dismissing films that came before their time. And this isn't limited to films, this also happens with fashion, art, music, and any other form of expression.

I think the author of the article is overreacting. This is just the natural progression of such things. In time, they will come back into fashion, and then out again. For example, with the Singing in the Rain example used in the article, students in 1988 thought it was ridiculous that characters would go from talking right into singing and then back to talking. Yet today, this is no longer so ridiculous and seems to have come back into public acceptance with shows such as Glee and the various movie musical remakes we've had. Like shivkala, I'd be interested to see the reaction of today's students; I don't think they would find it as corny and unsophisticated. Sure, certain aspects of older films will always be outdated since they are from a different era (such as certain fashions or ways of speaking), but on the whole I think students would be more accepting of such a film today. Whereas, the students in 1988 would have taken the older Bond movies more seriously, and today's students would think them corny.

This doesn't mean that any one generation is "right," "wrong," or "unsophisticated." It just means they are different, and have different contexts for and perspectives on the art they experience. It seems to me that the author just simply has an artistic difference of opinion from many of the other audience members, which isn't good or bad, it just is. It reminds me of a previous thread here on acceptable reactions to movies in different countries; different reactions don't mean that one group appreciates the film more than the other, it just boils down to cultural differences. Each generation has its own culture, so really the author is just experiencing a clash of cultures.

MacLeod October 14 2012 06:02 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
Things come and go into fashion. Peoples tastes change over the years.

Temis the Vorta October 14 2012 06:15 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
Eh, I've never connected with the Bond movies at all. And by this point, the imagery of the older movies is so dated that of course it looks silly. Besides the surface glamour, what is there to connect with?

If young people can't connect with the emotional content of, say, Casablanca or It's a Wonderful Life or Rebel Without a Cause, then we have more cause for concern, because those types of movies are the timeless ones that transcend the particulars of their era. They're stories about real people with authentic emotions and problems, not glitzy escapist fantasies.

barnaclelapse October 14 2012 06:19 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
Quote:

Temis the Friendly Ghost wrote: (Post 7102483)
Eh, I've never connected with the Bond movies at all. And by this point, the imagery of the older movies is so dated that of course it looks silly. Besides the surface glamour, what is there to connect with?

If young people can't connect with the emotional content of, say, Casablanca or It's a Wonderful Life or Rebel Without a Cause, then we have more cause for concern, because those types of movies are the timeless ones that transcend the particulars of their era. They're stories about real people with authentic emotions and problems, not glitzy escapist fantasies.

That's exactly the point I was going to make.

stj October 14 2012 07:06 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
Whether you call it being fashionable or cool or modern, considering that when appreciating anything is dumbfuckery. It may be the opposite of only admiring things that are old and traditional or whatever, but it's the same mistake, just done backwards. And inability to react to something unfamiliar with anything except mockery is the kind of laughter that invariably signals a fool. The guys in the theater were put upon by some dipshits and got pissed off in a blog. What's the big fucking deal?

I think the sharp reaction has to do with the unvoiced belieft that opinions are equal but people aren't. The people watching Singing in the Rain apparently didn't bother to watch the movie but watched each other play the fool. Getting called on it was mildly unpleasant I imagine but the overreaction to the initial blog post strongly suggests that the old fuck wasn't supposed to step above his station. Expecting that people would have the elementary sense to leave the Bond movie if they couldn't get into the movie again was some old fucks insulting their betters for their opinions.

Nobody has been retrained to appreciate the trope by Glee. Glee was merely acceptable because it had acceptably youthful faces and comfortably familiar surroundings. Not getting into Singing in the Rain is one thing, but making no attempt to watch the movie was refusing to do the assignment. Not getting into Bond is a difference of artistic opinion, but deliberate rudeness is not. And deliberate rudeness over something so trivial really is about as unsophisticated as you can get.

The supposed objection being that esthetic standards are used as markers of elite status in the context of the original blog post is a commonplace fake populist swindle. Or, possibly, you might have to use populist in its negative sense. After all, rejecting a movie because it's old is awfully close to rejecting it because it's black or foreign.

davejames October 14 2012 07:14 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
Yeah, you can't really be that surprised by that reaction from a bunch of high school and college kids. Being immature and making fun of stuff is just what they DO.

I have to admit I didn't think much of The Sound of Music when I was a kid either. It was just this corny black and white movie my parents used to love. And musicals in general seemed silly as hell to me.

It wasn't until my 30s (after being blown away by the Chicago movie) that I finally went back and discovered that "hey, this thing is really damn GOOD."

Harvey October 14 2012 08:17 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
The reaction of the students to Singin' in the Rain surprises me. I've seen it with a group of undergraduates twice (in 2005 and 2011) and both times the audience really seemed to enjoy it. I'd say the only older film to go over better with an audience of that age was, interestingly enough, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

The reaction to From Russia with Love surprises me less. Outside of laughing at John Barry's score (it's magnificent; one of the best he wrote for the series!), how could one not be amused by the over-the-top chauvinism or the poor stunt-doubling that makes the film's relatively low-budget quite apparent? Frankly, I'd be more concerned if the audience didn't have a reaction to the film's rampant sexism.

Owain Taggart October 14 2012 08:19 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
Well, I can definitely see it, as I have a hard time connecting with black & white movies, in a similar way that I don't have the same kind of connection to a movie that my parents have if it's closer to their era than mine. A lot of it has to do with having a connection with the culture of the time. If something is too far removed from their circle of familiarity, then then engagement isn't as profound, especially if there's a strong tie to culture and technology of the times, but that normally isn't the case with sci-fi as technology is made up. And the thing about the early Bond movies is that they're very much a product of their times.

J.T.B. October 14 2012 08:37 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
First of all, the article says nothing about "younger people" or age or generation, that was something the OP added and I'm not sure why. If anything the example from the 1988 class shows that in the author's opinion the "unsophisticated" viewpoint is not limited to any age or generation group. Most of the 1988 viewers (probably roughly my age, I'd add) would likely react the same way to Singing in the Rain if they saw it today.

I agree with the author that refusing to engage an older film on its own terms is denying oneself some great experiences, and even that it's "unsophisticated," but it is very common. I have read posters on this board who've said that if a viewer has to take into account a movie's time and contemporary frame of reference to appreciate it, it's not a good movie. I disagree strongly, but so what? It's just opinions and I'm not going to change their minds.

And it takes some effort, too, to familiarize oneself with the issues and cultural climate of a movie's era. And for many people, that doesn't go along with entertainment. That's completely understandable.

I think the author raised his expectations of the audience based on what kind of screening it was, and was disappointed when some of them acted like most "mainstream" audiences would. I can see being surprised if someone had represented themselves as being "sophisticated" about movies, but turning up at an arthouse showing isn't really an indicator of anything like that. And making audible comments and jokes during a movie is just bad manners, but not really surprising, either.

I will say one thing, though, that's generational: I am glad I grew up when I did, before home video, judge shows, infomercials and so on. You saw old movies and shows on TV all the time, and there didn't seem to be an "accessibility barrier" around them. If you were staying up late or inside on a rainy day you could see a musical or a war film or a horror flick or a western or a romance or whatever, from ten to fifty years old. And if it was good you got caught up in it and didn't care about how old it was, because it was what was on. I had a lot of fun viewing experiences that way.

Justin

Spot's Meow October 14 2012 08:49 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
Quote:

J.T.B. wrote: (Post 7103257)
First of all, the article says nothing about "younger people" or age or generation, that was something the OP added and I'm not sure why. If anything the example from the 1988 class shows that in the author's opinion the "unsophisticated" viewpoint is not limited to any age or generation group. Most of the 1988 viewers (probably roughly my age, I'd add) would likely react the same way to Singing in the Rain if they saw it today.

I think that's pretty much true that the same viewers from 1988 may have the same opinion on Singing in the Rain today. But, if people of that same age group that you were in in 1988 (let's say, early twenties) were to watch it today for the first time, I don't think they would find it as ridiculous.

Even though the article didn't talk about generational differences, that's what I brought up because it seems to be the real issue here. Generational differences in how to appreciate certain expressions of art.

Quote:

J.T.B. wrote: (Post 7103257)
I will say one thing, though, that's generational: I am glad I grew up when I did, before home video, judge shows, infomercials and so on. You saw old movies and shows on TV all the time, and there didn't seem to be an "accessibility barrier" around them. If you were staying up late or inside on a rainy day you could see a musical or a war film or a horror flick or a western or a romance or whatever, from ten to fifty years old. And if it was good you got caught up in it and didn't care about how old it was, because it was what was on. I had a lot of fun viewing experiences that way.

I think this has a lot to do with the relatively young age of the movie industry. How "old" those movies were seemed irrelevant at the time because even the oldest movies weren't really THAT old. Not to say that you are ancient, but just that as time goes on society in general will become more removed from the "classics." Even just 15 or 20 years ago they seemed more relevant and accessible than they do today. I don't know that it necessarily has to do with new technologies or expanding television offerings, I think it just has to do with the passage of time and will be inevitable.

nightwind1 October 14 2012 08:53 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
Quote:

davejames wrote: (Post 7102702)
Yeah, you can't really be that surprised by that reaction from a bunch of high school and college kids. Being immature and making fun of stuff is just what they DO.

I have to admit I didn't think much of The Sound of Music when I was a kid either. It was just this corny black and white movie my parents used to love. And musicals in general seemed silly as hell to me.

It wasn't until my 30s (after being blown away by the Chicago movie) that I finally went back and discovered that "hey, this thing is really damn GOOD."

Are you sure it was "The Sound of Music"?

Because that movie is most definitely NOT black-and-white, it is full color.

RJDiogenes October 14 2012 09:13 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
I find the inability to "connect" with older entertainment hard to understand, and a bit disturbing. Since I was in grade school, I was drawn to old movies and movie serials, old TV shows, old books and comics, even old music. To this day, I spend a lot of time reading stories from the 19th and early 20th century and older, and watching movies and shows from the 30s, 40s and 50s. And it seems to me there was a strong interest in the history of the arts in those days, at least among genre fans. We felt connection to the old and classic stuff through the evolution of the art form.

That seems to be sadly missing for most of the current generation. You see it in the complaints about special effects and the willingness (and eagerness) to colorize old films and upgrade SFX (like they've actually done with TOS), and in the constant characterization of old stories as "cheesy" (when, in many cases, the writing is indeed more sophisticated than in contemporary entertainment).

One of the things that always drew me to the creative genres was the variety of styles and approaches to be found. Retro fashion just adds to that variety (if you were to read my books, you'd find sprinkled in there various homages to Shakespeare, Bradbury, Clarke, Lord Dunsany, Donovan, Poe, Frost and American Indian folklore, among other things). These days, not only is there a generic sameness about (most) everything, but there seems to be a strong disdain of the variety to be found in history, and that's a terrible shame.

Mr. Adventure October 14 2012 09:14 PM

Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie
 
He thinks that reaction's bad, try watching the crucifix scene in The Exorcist in an inner-city theater in Detroit. I think young audiences not connecting with older material may be true but one shouldn't conflate it with a dumbass audience.

That said, even though I love the films in a non-ironic manner we still snicker sometimes watching old Bond movies. When he smacks a woman on the bottom and tells her it's time to go because it's time for "man talk". Since Austin Powers I can't see the scene where Bond's told "In Japan, men come first, women come second." without adding "and sometimes...not at all".

This is partly why I don't get too worked up with all the remakes out there. I'm sure that as much as we love them and they're legitimately great some of the films we love are probably more dated than we can appreciate if we grew up with them.


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