Do you watch old movies? I don’t watch them often but, when I do, I always enjoy them. Of course, that’s if I watch a classic like Casablanca or Roman Holiday, not just some random old movie. Just like now, they put out a bunch of crap back then too. (Side note: those bad old movies do make great MST3K fodder.)
The cool thing about old movies is that they still believed in movie magic. Obviously, they didn’t have CGI back then, so they had to do everything manually. And while it doesn’t look real, there’s a beauty to suspending our disbelief; the story is bigger than the elements used to tell it.
Another thing I like about old movies is that Hollywood understood that they were in the business of entertainment and they took that business seriously. They knew that the consumer wanted to escape the humdrum or chaos of everyday life for a spell. Additionally, if the moviemakers were smart, the story would represent some universal truth, leaving the watcher a bit more understanding of the human condition.
Of course, such movies can only be made when the culture is, for the most part, uniform. When there are too many variants, the market subdivides – what is perceived as good in one group can be seen as evil in another. When this happens, pleasing everybody is impossible. That doesn’t mean we can’t have blockbuster movies that speak to the human beneath us all, it just means that such movies have to rely more and more on base appeal and emotion than on a shared morality and ethics. This is why there are more horror or action movies these days and fewer comedies. Horror and action are primal. Comedies have to have a shared understanding to relate in a humorous manner.
That said, my wife and I went to see “Nobody” the other day for Date Night. We loved it! Maybe Hollywood will make a comeback from COVID and crappy flicks. I, for one, am ready to see some new classics.