OK, so I know it's all artsy and whatnot to be into old movies. To sigh and say, "Citizen Kane is just brilliant. That man really had the eye. You know?" But I just can't pretend anymore. Old movies suck. (That's not to say that the majority of movies today are anything more than drivel, but that's another day's post.)
You might have several classics popping defensively into your head, like Gone With the Wind or All About Eve or Rear Window. But let's face it, those are exceptions.
Here's some proof: Look at the old lists of Oscar winners. Then actually watch those movies. Don't just remember them, watch them. (Memories make atrocious things rosy and meaningful. Like how I loved the movie "Don Juan DeMarco" in high school because I, like every girl born between 1972 and 1979, loved Johnny Depp, and high school chemicals were still invading and diluting my brain. Years later, seeing the DVD in the bargain bin at Walmart, I convinced Mike to buy it, remembering how romantic it was. 43 "Oh, I forgot that part"s later, I had learned my lesson to never trust your memory of a movie.)
I watched Anchors Aweigh last night, 'cause you know it's all classic and junk. This movie was nominated for 5 Oscars and won 1 in 1945 (won best music score, nominated for best actor, best cinematography, best original song, and best movie). So this is up there, you know. The best 1945 has to offer us.
Best music? The lyrics went something like: "You're as charming as a Christmas tree. You should sit on my knee. Golly gee." Please, somebody, get Franky a lyricist!
Best actor? Admit it, we all love Gene Kelly for his thighs and pirouettes, not his acting ability. He's the hammiest ham I've ever seen, pulling ridiculous faces at every turn, and I say that with all adoration. (I wrote an essay on him for Dance 101 in college, you know.)
Best cinematography? I tried to convince Mike that Ol' Genie dancing with a girly boy-mouse in fairyland was a necessary cinematic precursor to "It's a Jolly Holiday" from Mary Poppins, but he wouldn't buy it.
This movie was 2 hours and 24 minutes (2 HOURS and 24 MINUTES!) of over-acted, overly predictable, awkward shmooze purely created to give Gene's thighs and Frank's pipes a platform.
Phew. Sorry, I'm getting all worked up. The simple fact is that movies were a new genre in the old days. Actors were fresh from vaudeville and film directing was a new profession. I'm not all for the theory of progress, but this is one area where progress has thankfully reigned.