‘Modern Movies Are Tearing Me Apart!’
Art Pereira has recently rediscovered the joy of classic movies.
Over the past five years, I have been building my collection of DVDs and BlueRays and have now amassed almost 500 physical copies. I generally pick the movies that I am a personal fan of and also build up collections of works by specific directors and actors that I enjoy, and in that mass of art and studio films, I have been slowly building my collection of classic moviesz.
Now… classic movies could be referred to as movies that are classics of their period but for this case, I will be speaking of the classics from between 1920’s and 1960’s. These old-timer pictures are what are sparking my interest in it all again, and man, were they something special.
Of course, there were loads and loads of films in that time that were solely made to make money as is the case of today’s motion pictures, but some of these old classics have something that I believe is lost to today’s audience. Story. Composition. Inventiveness. Heart.
Today we have CGI and formulas that have been tailor-made to appeal to a mass market that has, to be totally honest, been dumbed down. Explosions and T&A do not a movie make! And that shakey-cam stuff! Oh my goodness … I can’t even!
I started my introduction to classic films with 1942’s Casablanca, 1958’s Vertigo, 1931’s Public Enemy, and most recently 1955’s Rebel Without A Cause and 1960’s Psycho. There have been others but those pictures have always stood out for me.
What I love about these cinematic gems is that they take you to another world. There are no cellphones or fantastic tech devices, there are no crazy special effects to mask a terrible plot. What you see is what you get, and they are all phenomenal to watch. Story was key in these times, and even though there are usually plot holes the size of bomb craters, it does not distract you from your viewing pleasure.
The performance of James Dean in particular in Rebel Without a Cause is something special, and if you ever doubted the hype around this guy, watching this performance will help you understand just how good an actor he really was.
My personal favourite is Anthony Perkins’ portrayal of Norman Bates. That dude did something marvellous with that performance that really does creep you out. That last shot of his smile at the camera on its own should have won him an Oscar, or a nomination at least.
Alfred Hitchcock’s direction alongside with his preferred director of photography really strengthened the importance of composition and lighting, and you could almost literally take a screenshot of any frame, and it would not be out of place in a museum of photography. These films do not seem to happen anymore. The modern commercial audience wants action and branded humour, and the artistry of filmmaking is lost in a list of studio requirements.
When films and performances are exceptional, like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011) and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Oscar-deserving performance in Nightcrawler (2014) , box office takings show that artistry is often discarded in favour of spectacle in films like the Fast and Furious franchise – which made a butt-ton of money.
There are films out there today that offer wonder, but more often than not, the classics of a bygone time will give you that in spades. They have something special that cannot be replicated and should be revisited on a regular basis, just to remind you of the whole reason why we have movies in the first place.