Confessions of a Movie Disgrace
I’m fascinated by gaps in cultural knowledge. Sometimes you’ll bump into a person who hasn’t heard of the Rolling Stones, or who’s never seen Ghostbusters. I know someone who’s 25, and only just watched the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time. But it’s not just crazies – everyone has those gaps, to some extent, and it’s usually surprising. I feel like I couldn’t even sustain an existence without having seen Con Air, but some people will just throw you a blank look and start screaming if you start quoting Nic Cage and actually crashing a plane into the Vegas strip, as a means to jogging their memory.
I touched on this before with this piece about Planet of the Apes. Personally, while I consider myself a massive movie nerd who’s seen a vast amount of movies, and could probably whup any man or woman in a straight up duel of trivia or knowledge, there are some pretty big holes there too. It’s time I fessed up to what would be deemed by most folks as the worst of these crimes.
The entire Toy Story trilogy. Much renowned, greatly loved, and thoroughly unseen by Millard. For whatever reason, animation never grabs me in the way live action does, so animated movies tend to slip on by. The Godfather trilogy. Again, I haven’t actively avoided it, it just never really happened. Hitchcock is another one. I bought a box set a few months ago to remedy this, but haven’t given it a spin yet, while, on the subject of notable directors, I saw my first, and only Woody Allen film last year. Raging Bull, Citizen Kane, Sunset Boulevard; I hang my head. All in all, my experience of pre-80’s cinema is pretty shoddy, and the further back you go, the worse it gets. Classic Hollywood is something I have a sense of, but no actual experience. Casablanca exists only to me as that famous (mis)quote, while your Bogart’s, Cary Grant’s and Clark Gable’s are merely flickering, stately ghosts in Oscar-night montages. I’m just a big, fat fake.
But hold on, before you beat me to death with this month’s issue of Total Film, because I’m atoning for my sins. See, 2011 was the year I decided to use my Lovefilm subscription to put right these awful wrongs, and rent out nothing but classics. Last night, a first viewing of Chinatown made me a little less wretched, and as the weeks go on, I’ll continue to educate myself, and maybe, eventually, I just might be worthy of my self-doodled movie geek label.
So, what are your cinematic holes? Which classics have passed you by, either by design or simply because you’ve never gotten around to them? Leave a comment, and let’s confess our nerd-sins together. And if you’ve got some recommendations of classics you think I should see, but probably haven’t, drop them in too.