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Thursday, December 28, 2017

My Classic Year

I think if most people asked what their favorite new movies of the year were, many would tell you it has been a real stinker of a year for cinema.  I must've known this was going to be true when I made my 2017 resolution to start watching what is referred to as "classic" movies.  It can be hard to go back to movies of previous generations because the styles are different or maybe the same social mores aren't accepted but if you have a broad mind, you can enjoy these movies for the way they shaped our pop culture.

Here's the list of classics I watched trying to make the cut off the year I graduated high school to qualify in my book. (The exception being Apollo 13 which I have scheduled to record on the 29th)

The Warriors
A Few Good Men
Singin' in the Rain (GK)
An American in Paris (GK)
Bonnie and Clyde
Annie Hall
Breakfast at Tiffany's
For Me and My Gal (GK)
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
The Fly
The Pirate (GK)
Rear Window (God that was awful!)
Swing Time
Three Musketeers (GK)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane
Young Frankenstein
Anchors Aweigh (GK)
Nosferatu (kind of half watched but saw most iconic scenes)
Soylent Green
On the Town (GK)
Summer Stock (GK)
Les Girls (GK)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
North by Northwest
Dial M for Murder
Brigadoon (GK)
Harold and Maude
Take Me Out to the Ball Game (GK)
Inherit the Wind (GK)
Some Like It Hot
The Seven Year Itch
Cover Girl (GK)
It's Always Fair Weather (GK)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Way We Were
The Elephant Man
Say Anything
The Ghost Comes Home
The China Syndrome
An Affair to Remember
Fried Green Tomatoes
Places in the Heart
An Officer and a Gentleman (I've wanted to see this forever!)

I still have 4 other movies set to record before the end of the year

You'll note all of the GK's which stand for the incomparable Gene Kelly.  I didn't know Gene's body of work before the year started, I only knew him from Xanadu.  Yep.  I only knew him as the sweet, adorable older man playing Danny McGuire and had no clue that Xanadu was a modern take on his classic movie Cover Girl (affiliate link) which I didn't know until well into the summer!  You can imagine when I saw Singin' in the Rain for the first time that I became instantly smitten!  So much so that we even went to see a one-woman show by his wife, Patricia Ward Kelly in Toronto in March.  I became so enamored, I wanted to see everything he did and while I made a nice dent this year, I still have a long way to go.  So if my classics spree did nothing, it got me to another country for a nice long weekend trip and a fantastic show.

What I learned

I'll tell you one thing, I didn't realize how many things from my favorite Saturday morning cartoons (most made in the 60's and 70's) to songs to TV took from these classics as though everyone knew what was being referred to.  For instance, does anyone remember that horrible 80's version of Puttin' on the Ritz by Taco?  Here, refresh your memory.  Well at the end of the song when he's yelling "gotta dance", I had no idea he was referring to the Gotta Dance number sung by Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain.  Or the way robbers or suited men talked in Bugs Bunny cartoons was a riff off of Gene's speech and demeanor from his time.  I always just thought it was an exaggerated way of talking.

I quoted movies I'd never seen like saying "soylent green is PEOPLE!" or "you can't handle the truth!" without ever having seen Soylent Green or A Few Good Men.  To me, as I see the culture I knew and loved slipping further away, it was important that I was able to better connect to the things my parents and grandparents generations considered classics.

I found that I'm not a fan of Hitchcock or Woody Allen movies.  I spent more time yelling at the screen during Rear Window and further cementing my disdain for Jimmy Stewart.  (I know, I know and yes I hate It's a Wonderful Life...both the Mr and I do which is why we're soulmates.)  The only one I've seen that I half liked was Dial M for Murder.  I found that as much as I want to watch true classic silent movies, I just don't have time to devote 60-90 minutes to read a TV screen.

Some movies I had to really dig in to finish and couldn't really tell you how they ended because I was so relieved they were over like Harold and Maude, Breakfast at Tiffany's (but George Peppard...yowza!) and Cabaret.  Some movies I didn't anticipate liking but did like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Some Like It Hot. (affiliate link)

I plan to continue this trend of scanning TCM and Sundance to put some more under my belt in the new year though I suspect not with as much regularity as I did in 2017.  I like being able to see what great acting looks like and not have to rely on special effects or gimmicks like many of today's movies.  Now...pass the Geritol.

Name 3 of your favorite classics 25 years or older.

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  1. You really did well with getting those classics in. I got a few in with you and enjoyed it and I might have to get in some more that you recommend. My favorite classics are Star Wars, Blade Runner and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

  2. The three that come to mind for me are:

    The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner

    12 Angry Men with Henry Fonda (I'm the only one who found really funny moments in that movie)

    And my all-time favorite is To Kill a Mockingbird with Gregory Peck and Mary Badham.

    1. Totally forgot to mention another favorite (because of course I ran across it this weekend):

      Boys Town with Spencer Tracy -- excellent!

  3. Star Wars and Blade Runner off the top of my head (then I saw your husband's comment and had to laugh!) and "Aliens" - it wasn't as original as the first, but I just enjoy watching it so much.

  4. We do this same thing, but by actor.

    So we immerse ourselves in John wayne, for example. I think it helps to do one at a time, because you sort of get into the pattern of it. In chronological order helps too.

    We love Alfred movies. And there is the fun of looking for his cameo in each one.

    Also we love jimmy Stewart. So different tastes here.

    My husband and youngest watch sci-fi whenever they are home alone. Their “rule” is it has to be something neither has seen previously. And that is very fun for them.

    Mostly what I watch is bbc. Acorn TV.

  5. I love older movies. Xanadu tops my list though not very okd. Its quarky and funky and makes me sigh in a good way. Then theres White Christmas and Three Coins in the Fountain.

    Glad you’ve enjoyed your journey. But like you I have found it difficult to finish some of them. Especially Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I just don’t see the point haha.

    Merry late Christmas sweetie. I know how much you love this season. Your thrill for everything Christmas is infectious:)


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