Sunday, March 28, 2010

Throwback Cinema

     So, with the proliferation of television and cable channels that are devoted to showing old movies, and with constant harping from my elders, I have been taking some time to watch older movies and see what they are all about.  And I have to tell you: most of them are awful.
     Now, I am not saying that movies these days are all great, Hollywood lays as many stinkers these days as they did back in the days of yore.  But there are lots, and lots, and lots of bad old movies.  Maybe it's a matter of quantity, I don't know.  But they are awful.  I am not talking about the movies that are showing on TCM or networks like that: those have been carefully chosen to be shown precisely because they were pretty good.  But if you skeeze your way down to the digital subchannels, which are like the bars in college towns that cater to the locals (because they are still bars, and you are still going to be able to get laid, but the pickings aren't going to be like they are at the meat market down by campus) you notice a lot of crap.
     It seems to me that back in the day they had a thing about singing in their movies.  And I am not talking about musicals like Rent or Chicago.  I am talking about those stupid movies like Elvis did, where normal movie things are just going on but for some reason the main characters feel the need to sing songs all the God damn time.  Elvis did a lot of these movies because he was a shitty actor.  And I just had to watch one today with Franky and Annette.  These songs are meant to show off the musical talents of the stars, and they sort of work them into the story line, but they really aren't integral to the plot, and they generally just get in the way.
     And oh are they awful.  Cheesy awful, as are the rest of the movies.  And the special effects.  I understand that they didn't have the computer stuff that they have these days, and that's fine, but some of these movies they are showing just look like the producers weren't even trying.  I am talking Mystery Science Theater 3000 type movies here folks, and they are all over on channels ending in -2 and -3. 
     So why do we watch them then?  Why are these channels that feature them allowed to exist?  Good question, and as far as I can see the answer is the same one that created gaper's block - that annoying traffic jam that happens because there was an accident on the OTHER side of the freeway and everyone wants to slow down and look: we love disaster.  We love to see accidents.  If there is a train wreck of a movie showing we will sit and watch it just to marvel at how unGodly bad they are.  As Adrianne, she loves Road House.
     And so I will keep watching, even if just for the hell of it.  I mean, they take the time to create these channels, and who knows?  These movies were probably middle of the road when they came out.  And every once in a while one turns into something interesting.  If I can get past the 70s clothes that is.

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