Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's Old is New Again

Is it just me or are those films from the decade or so preceding 1970 an incredible mixture of entertainment, social history, and a kind of cinematic cinderblock, if I could use the foundation analogy? I can't get enough of Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, or Cary Grant. I can watch Alfred Hitchcock endlessly, John Ford films forever, and Frank Capra's work could roll on a perpetual loop at my house with no complaints from me. I love the look of the cinematography, the style, the dialogue, even the grandiose scores that accompany all that camera work...I love all of it.

So what?

So, my plan for 2010 was to wrestle no less than four classic films each month from the grasp of Zoey's night time trials and tribulations but I'm just not sure that I can commit. It sounds easy, but I'm terribly fickle and there are just far too many variables involved. A lot can happen to make this plan impossible to follow through with, but it's worth a try I suppose, isn't it?

What put the notion in my aching head in the first place? A Cary Grant reference in the film, "Sleepless in Seattle." That's it...that's all it took. I guess, over the past year I've cultivated a bit of an affection for the old stuff, stealing the notion from Cameron Crowe that there is so much great stuff out there why would anyone go looking for new things. Of course, Cameron was talking about music and I'm talking about films, but you get the point. There is a lot out there and too few of us have seen any of it. Off the top of my head I can babble off a dozen classics that have had major impacts on my idea of what quality film is.


On The Waterfront

The Graduate


The Apartment

To Kill A Mockingbird

The Wizard of Oz

Rear Window

It's A Wonderful Life

East of Eden

Gone With The Wind

Rebel Without a Cause


I think it's time to indulge and reward myself. It's an exercise in both commitment and stress reduction that will carry me through these harsh months of winter and see me emerge in the Spring a lot better least film-wise.

I'll set aside a day of the week, Friday's perhaps, and settle in for a much anticipated night of catching up with the American Film Institute's Top 100 Movies of All Time. I could make worse use of my time. I didn't think that I'd go as far as making a schedule up for myself but then I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to find some of these titles. Perhaps I should?

The plan is to wait until Zoey is firmly set to sleep, then bust out both the popcorn and the soda...or similarly refreshing beverage, and press play. I'll give myself a few mulligans for those nights when something more important beckons, but when it's just June, the Zedder, and my tired and weary self, the house lights will go down and the introductory credits will roll.

Now what should I start with? I think I'll make quick work of Alfred Hitchcock's, "North by Northwest" with Cary Grant, and then I'll knock off Billy Wilder's classic, The Apartment" even though I've already seen it once or twice. I feel the need to revisit that hilarious romp through Baxter's apartment just for the hell of it. I'll check out Billy Wilder's other masterpiece, "Sunset Boulevard," and then maybe John Ford's "Grapes of Wrath," with Henry Fonda. That ought to get me started.

As we limp into February I think it might be prudent that I take in all of the Godfather films since I've never seen nary a one...that's right, not one...never. I might cap February off with "From Here to Eternity" with Frank Sinatra just 'cause by the middle of winter I'll be needing some of the Chairman's cool to get me through. By the time we hit March I'll be keen for "The Manchurian Candidate," just to keep the Sinatra vibe rolling, and then maybe dive into some more SInatra with "Robin and the Seven Hoods," just to push on through, you know. After that, anything goes.

Wish me luck...not only will that account for a better cinematic vocabulary on this fella but it also equates to an awful lot of sleep for the Zedder. I'll take both.


Blogger John Teeter said...

I've never seen a single Godfather movie either!

December 30, 2009 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Brian DeWagner said...

I used to wear it as a badge of pride until I realized that it only represented I feel like a jerk fornot having seen them.

December 30, 2009 at 2:30 PM  

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