We movie watchers are made to think now, tons. And I’m not sure I like that.
Back in The Good Old Movie Days we were told what to think and when to think it and that “assistance” freed us up to do more important things like iron and starch our husband’s white collars and wax real linoleum floors.
Yep, back in the day we knew what was what, especially in the movies.
We were given the back story in scrolling words at the beginning of the movie, a big, bold lettered title with music at a crescendo as a hint that this two hour fantasy was about to begin. Yep, we didn’t have to do or think much at all, Hollywood did it all for us.
Once in a while, you know, in between disasters televised 24/7 on CNN, I may switch over to what I coin as the “Old Fogy Channel”, otherwise known to all of you as TCM – Turner Classic Movies. Disclaimer: Just because I “may” watch the Old Fogy Channel now and then does NOT in any way infer that I am an old fogy. It just means I’m looking in on a channel were old fogies go, just you remember that!
I’ll often get a hankering for the way things used to be, you know, when crown moulding was made of real wood and was almost a foot high, when material was made out of either whole silk, linen or cotton and when silver tea sets were actually made of solid silver, not plate, and nothing but nothing had a gold, oval sticker on the bottom that said “Made in China”.
Sure, the heyday of Hollywood movies – 1940s to early ‘60s – portrayed life more in a perfect glow of unrealistic expectations but heck, what the heck was wrong with that? Life, real life, is pock-marked with sorrow, disappointment, failure and horror, it was kinda nice to sink into a two-hour flick and pretend for a while, you know?
Plus the fact, I, as a girlie, might never be able to own, or if I could, have an occasion to wear, such fantastic outfits…long gowns, while mink stoles, silver and gold lame shoes with over-the-top diamond necklaces and tiaras, not to mention perfect coifs the likes of which my hair has never seen. These moving picture escapes allowed me a way to dream that it was me in that Leading Lady role and the virile, handsome Leading Man as mine. Oh, and don’t forget that “dressing” for dinner didn’t just meant to put pants on, rather, but rather to dress to celebrate the daily social event that was true dining as an art form and not as merely as a way to fill up at the trough…
Yep…we were “told” what to think and when to think it.
The music was always a great clue, sad when we were supposed to cry, joyous when we were supposed to be uplifted, silky smooth when a man in a double-breasted suit leaned over to kiss his satin night-gowned wife, as they stood, arm-in-arm, in between the two single beds in their bedroom…
Yep, no way could we get confused nor wander off course. For two solid hours we knew what was what and were very content in knowing that.
Somehow though, Hollywood like the rest of North America became jaded, harsh, mean.
We decided that the Truth, however caustic and callous it may be, was for more important to sear onto celluloid than some glossy fantasy, and from the mid 60s to today, 90% of what comes out of Tinsel Town is “real”, well, as real as anything you can expect from in Tinsel Town.
Now women and men wear crappy clothes, smoke at the dinner table, that is, if there even is one, swear like drunken sailors and there is no hint of crown moulding or solid silver tea services within miles of a so-called story. Drugs, sex, beatings, explosions….death. Sorrow, disappointment, failure and horror pervade in movie theatres that our now our living rooms so there is no escaping from reality anywhere. As TCM co-host, Ben Mankiewicz, said (paraphrasing), “We didn’t know how to blow up buildings back then so we had to have great characters and great story lines instead.”
And no where in these “New & Improved” movies do the Producers tell you what to think and when to think it, and it’s only a guess as to where The Start is and The End comes. We actually have to pay good money we don’t have, that’s charged on credit cards we shouldn’t have, to go from our mundane lives into the lives of mundane characters, all the while lost as to where in this so-called plot, we really are. It’s enough to make you wanna slit your wrists, but hey, like anyone would notice, because the characters in that last movie already did.
Yep, I miss The Good Old Movie Days, even if the movie was lousy…at least the Producers let you know when it would end.