Friday, April 8, 2011

A Word on Watching Older Movies

Everyone has their own reasons for watching older films.  Some do it because they like the memories old black and white films bring up, others do so to capture a director's or an actor's filmography, and some purely for entertainment.  I do it for all these reasons, but given the opportunity, I do it for another.  Yearly Perspective.

To understand exactly what I mean, you have to understand my philosophy on the Oscars.  I talked about it in an earlier blog, but I'll do some quick summarization for you.  I don't prescribe to the notion that the Oscars award the best films of the year, but rather they highlight some of the best in their nominations, just not necessarily their winners.  What I like most is trying to get into the mindset of someone deciding those races, as a voter.  And to do this well, you have to see all the nominees in all the races in all (or most of the important) categories.  For example, seeing all the Best Picture nominees of 1999 (and other major categories) before claiming that American Beauty is my favorite of the year.  This isn't simply for personal annual awards, but rather, to see how everything stacks up.  There are a ton of winners out there that get panned because they don't hold up over other winners...but in many of those cases, the year itself was weak in that category.

Recently, I've been diving back into 1987, 1991, and 2002.  Here and there, seeing as many films from those years as possible that I hadn't seen before and figuring out what I like best.  In the grand scheme of things, this process is more for my amusement.  I like it because it allows me some concentration on a year, much like I get to do when I'm living out and following the current Oscar race.  When you're in the middle of an Oscar season, you're granted time to mull over your favorites, seeing how certain performances relate to each other and how they are dwindled to five nominees.  In concentrating retrospectively, you get to do the same thing.  Most people revisit a movie, and then watch another one that was made 30 years earlier, and then go see Hop the next day.  I just find this activity interesting, it's a fun investigation of one particular year of at the Oscars.  Only then can you say with confidence just which film is your favorite of any given year.

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