Let me clarify what I mean by old stuff. I mean stuff that’s about forty to fifty years in the past. That doesn’t make it bad. Not at all. It doesn’t make ‘old stuff’ ugly, or slow, or even old. Yeah, lost you there, didn’t I?

The thing is, there’s a way to get past being classified as an old thing. By the way, I don’t classify humans the same way I classify stuff like literature, movies, etc.

Ahem. Back to the main point, old stuff are quaint because of the simple fact that they are cooler in comparison to a lot of things. What do I mean? Take Strangers on a train, for example. Do you remember that scene

Scene from Strangers on a Train

 

There was actual tension in this scene. Will she die, or will she? Movies and literature nowadays are too blatant. There’s no subtlety, and people undermine the intelligence of most readers/viewers. Take the ending of the Dark Knight, for example. We could actually see what was happening. We could see that Batman was taking the fall to ‘protect’ Gotham.

And what do the writers (Nolan & Nolan) do? They have Gary Oldman condescend us by clarifying, “He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs. So, we have to chase him, and uh… Put an ax to the bat signal… and we have to send some German shepherds… So, yup. That’s the ending, and we’ll see you in four years. Cool? All right, bye!”

You can’t tell me that you didn’t already know whatever Gary Oldman was saying. I recognize the “poetry” and “coolness” of his speech, but some things… are better left unsaid. It could have been introduced some other way, or they could have done nothing at all! We would have figured it out.

A fine example of not condescending your viewers would be the scene from Pulp Fiction where Butch escapes after his fight. You see, he secretly bet on himself, and won big. Now, he goes into a motel, and he talks with his partner. They don’t go, “Oh, Butch. I’m so glad you didn’t throw that fight, and that we’re super rich.”

“I know, wife, and now we are in a motel to avoid any hitmans that may seek to kill us.”

“Oh, Butch, hug me!”

Yeah. You see? That’s how it would’ve been ( not really ) if QT undermined us, and decided to clarify things. Real people don’t do that. Real people also ‘talk’ about random stuff. Like the opening scene of Reservoir Dogs where they’re talking about the meaning of Like A Virgin. Movies so rarely have good conversations… It’s sad, really.

Old movies did not undermine us like that. Did they? I mean the really GOOD ones. And movies nowadays don’t rely on shadows or shoes or anything anymore. They simply point the camera straight at the heroes, and have them read from the basic script of plot driven catch phrases.

 

Do you see that image? That was no doubt a way so none of the viewers would feel uncomfortable. Problem with a lot of old movies, America (and the world in general) was uptight about showing any graphic violence and are even hesitant of giving HINTS of sex. But still, that shot and angle… Awesome. It’s downright awesome.

The beginning of Strangers on a train is a close shot of the shoes of the two protagonists. I notice that the shoes in the beginning of the Sting are frighteningly familiar to the shoes in Strangers On a Train, and this may have been a slight nod to the good movie. You see? That’s what they’re missing nowadays. No hints, no suggestions… Not even good music!

Martin Scorsese, with his movie Mean Streets, was the first ever to simply play a rock song. It was BRILLIANT. Yet, at the same time, it was a sort of dawn of a less… musically interesting age of movies. For example, there was a scene in Sunset Boulevard where an angry Joe Gillis (William Holden) is climbing the stairs, but you can only see his shadow. With each step, music accompanies it, enhancing the effect of suspense and apprehension. Don’t know about you, but hearing Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones as someone climbs the stairs menacingly just doesn’t have the same effect.

 

I’m not saying you need an orchestra for every movie, but if you have a huge budget… Why not? Movies like the Dark Knight and Inception have their own orchestras. Movies like the Hobbit, as well. But, at the same time, it’s not the same. Is it?

Ahem. Remember in Inception where those loud booming sounds start playing? Yeah, that’s pretty much every twenty minutes of the entire movie, isn’t it? It was used awesomely, but there was no subtlety. A movie like Inception had a lot of moments for subtlety, and it was missed! We all know Hans Zimmer could have easily managed some subtle pieces, but.. It just wasn’t the norm, was it?

My point is, new movies should look back to old movies, and see what they did for lack of good special effects, with restrictions on how they film forced upon them. I mean. Of course, there are some movies that manage this. Take Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, for example. Do you remember the scene where Sam hears a couple of orcs climbing the stairs? He’s out of sight, and he starts growling. The orcs can only see his shadow, and he looks HUGE. They’re all quaking in their boots now. That was quite clever, if you ask me.

What do you think? Honestly, I like old movies, and I like new movies. Each has faults that aren’t really anyone’s faults, but that does not make them bad. But, new movies shouldn’t have as much difficulty as old movies. They have loads of material to look back on. Old movies barely had any movies to take cues from, and had to do a lot of risky moves to make them great. Some of which flat out failed. New movies no longer have to do that.

They would be able to pay homage to some great movies of the past, as well as give younger viewers something to write home about. Me… I didn’t like old movies much. I mean, come on. Special effects, please? But I’ve grown to like them a lot. Yet, the problem is that some old movies really do show their age, and while a lot of ’em are brilliant, the younger generation just doesn’t want a movie where you’re aware of its age the entire time.

Yes, we ‘preserve’ movies, but can anyone say for sure that people will actually watch them in fifty years unless they’re a HUGE fan of movies? No idea.

Hopefully, my nephews and nieces (since I probably won’t be having children. I’ll just be the cool Uncle) will still watch The Godfather, the Untouchables, Goodfellas, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind DESPITE their age. That’d be really cool.

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