Saturday, May 19, 2012

Junk Food Culture

I was talking with friends about films we remember and why. Some films are shown many times because they are worthy like The Good The Bad and The Ugly or The Searchers. Their are other films that we love to watch and are dreadful and are played over and over again like Dirty Dancing, Kelly's Heroes, Flash Gordon and the Revenge of the Nerds films.

Kelly's Heroes was a film that was chopped to death. Watching it over the years and growing up it takes new shapes as you age. The film would likely be forgotten if it were not for the proto hippie played by Sutherland and the edgy NYC scammer played by Rickles. Telly Savalas plays Sgt. Kojak well and Eastwood is there but almost secondary. As a young child the combat held the attention as we age the comedy and the perplexed reactions to the beatnik are hysterical. The original film had more charachter development and antiwar sentiment and allegedly showed Eastwoods crew getting caught. In the end the actual ending is better because you wonder did they get away. In reallity the answer has to be no except for the Germans who likely had a greater chance to bury the loot and come back.

On certain levels these films are memorable and you want to see them again knowing they aren't high art but they are fun. Maybe the fun factor is why we don't see the Deep or Black Sunday as often. I saw the excellent Harry and Tonto a year or two ago. For whatever reasons the second Planet of the Apes film is never shown. Our own Ducky has a cameo playing a mutant worshiping the atomic bomb. Logans Run is seldom shown but was a good film.

Maybe the trick to fims impact is to have a great star like Wayne or Eastwood and be shown for generations. My daughter hates surf music and quckly knows who John Wayne is. Similarly, I have a fun time watching Zach and Cody or Wizards of Waverly Place with my kid. She doesn't get Fonzie or Alex Keaton or that dad was a cross between the two. It doesn't have to be high art if you watch it with your family.


Ducky's here said...

Speaking of films, you should head over to Film Forum. The great Celine and Julie Go Boating is playing.
It is very rarely screened and Forum is showing a new print.

If it's too experimental for you, Renoir's magnificent Grand Illusion is also playing.

If you want a war film that showcases the wisecracking Brooklyn native then get Miestone's A Walk in the Sun. Richard Conte is superb in the role. Unfortunately the available prints ae rough since the original camera negatives were lost.

Of course the nonpareil ground pounder is Gene Evans as the great Sgt. Zack in Sam Fuller's, The Steel Helmet.

Also overlooked:
Burt Lancaster in The Train
Robert Ryan in Men in War

jams o donnell said...

Some films stand the test of time wonderfully. The Searchers certainly does - certainly Wayne's finest performance - not that I care for his films usually.

I think we all have our guilty pleasures. I can sit and watch films like the Life of Brian, Serial Mom and This is Spinal Tap over and over again. Same goes for some of my favourite home made films like Get Carter, The Long Good Friday and The Wicker Man (and not the appalling remakes of the first and the last).

I don't watch many family or children's films, not having kids myself, but Wallace and Gromit films I can watch over and over again

Ducky's here said...

True, those remakes really butchered a couple of pretty good films.