I couldn’t choose a title, so I’m going with both.
I’ve talked about the unearned cynicism of my generation and our fading sense of wonder. I’m consumed with Jimmy Stewart-style rants about how we should be kinder to each other and more willing to embrace fun instead of a skeptical, sardonic take on everything.
I mean this sincerely when I say that this is addressed to everyone in my generation. We live in an age of technological wonders, yet remember an era of four channels and no remote control.
But instead of going down so broad a path as to attack the generational sense of entitlement, I’m going to focus on movies. Geek stuff is what I love, breathe and podcast about, so that’s a bit more in my wheelhouse.
Growing up, we saw great films like Jaws and The Godfather. Star Wars defined many childhoods, especially for self-professed geeks. Treasures like Raiders of the Lost Ark resonate today. There are others I’m overlooking for the sake of brevity.
Those films, lauded beyond measure, are the yard stick by which we measure current films.
They also eclipse that most of what we watched wasn’t really that good.
We Say They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used to Make Them.
I don’t know if we’re aging faster because we were exposed to mature themes in things like Star Trek II before we were really ready to process them.
Maybe the advent of home computer, cell phone and internet have so blasted our senses of wonder that we just advanced to a certain “older” mental point too quickly.
Maybe the curtain has been pulled back so many times that we just don’t believe in magic anymore. There isn’t a trick from film that hasn’t been diagrammed, to such a minute detail, that it’s impossible to see past the artifice anymore.
But There Were Gems!
And let’s not forget the patriotic crappiness of Iron Eagle or the disdainful tripe that was Top Gun. There were plenty of other forgettable “classics” like Night Crossing (saw it in the theatre, chumps) and the rise of the gut-churning Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street slasher series.
I’m not even dwelling on the horrific s***-fest that is the enduringly awful Dirty Dancing. And go back to re-watch Ghost, because it’s not quite so good as you remember when you were trying to impress the Girls with your Feelings.
Am I Tearing Down the Past?
Not at all. Much like our folks thought Lawrence Welk was the best way to end a night, we have to accept that the classics were fewer and farther between than they might seem. We can still love the less awesome aspects of those days, but let’s be honest with ourselves.
For every Wrath of Khan, there was a Search for Spock, Transformers: The Movie and The Black Cauldron. You know what those four films have in common? I love them for what they are though only one is held in truly high esteem by anyone outside those of us who experienced them in our youth.
So instead of walking around talking about how much better it was in our good old days, let’s look for things to love in these days; and let’s remember that the good of our old days was just as hard to find.