Saturday, February 11, 2012

Last Movie from the 70s

Marlon Brando had stuck his gum under the railing of a Paris balcony and died. His lover/murderer was practicing her lines for the police (“He followed me home; he tried to rape me; I didn’t know his name”), and Sheri said, “Well, I think that’s the last movie we need to watch that I’ve seen and you haven’t.”

It was Last Tango in Paris. Prior to this, we’d watched Hud and Cool Hand Luke and Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Taxi Driver. All were movies that had a profound effect on Sheri when she’d seen them in theaters; most I’d been too young to see.

For both of us, several seemed dated. Easy Rider was awful. Butch and Sundance is marred only by the longish “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” bicycle ride. Even bits of Taxi Driver seem too much of their time.

Here’s my definition of a classic movie and an iconic movie: The Godfather, released the same year as Last Tango, is a classic, because  its art gets closer to saying things about the human condition that are always true.
Even the font is dated

Last Tango and Easy Rider are iconic, because they say more about their times than they do about the eternal verities. Consequently, they don’t hold up so well.

But they still teach me something about my wife, about who she was once, what mattered to her, and about who she has become. I’m glad she’s not burdened by nostalgia, that she can watch Last Tango and say, “meh.”

(Me, I was taken by how much Marlon Brando’s performance reminded me of Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Turns out, I’m not the only one). 

We’ve watched a few movies that had a big impact on me, or seemed to have a big impact on my generation. The Breakfast Club was one. Meh.

But there’s still more to test. Blade Runner. Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Rocky Horror Picture Show. Blue Velvet.

How do you suppose Sheri will judge those? Which ones are classic, and which ones merely iconic?

1 comment:

  1. I'm 46 and he's 27. He loved Blade Runner and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. We both get a laugh at the old commercials available on Youtube. Sometimes he turns to me and asks how I survived the 70s and 80s!