Wednesday, August 29, 2012


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by Burt Prelutsky

Those of us who are conservatives tend to be dismissive of the popular arts. We say, and with good reason I’d argue, that music has been going downhill since the days when composers and lyricists named Gershwin, Porter, Kern, Berlin, Loesser, Rodgers, Hammerstein, Hart, Mercer and Fields, were writing the songs; people named Astaire, Rogers, Kelly and O’Connor, were dancing to them; and folks named Crosby, Sinatra, Fitzgerald and Stafford, were singing them.

I would also contend that TV has never matched the days when Sid Caesar, Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers, Playhouse 90, Studio One, and Philco Playhouse provided top-notch comedy and drama on a weekly basis. I would add that things have only gotten worse ever since Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour was dug up from the cemetery where old TV shows are buried, re-named American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and, for all I know, So You Think You Can Play the Zither, and been expanded to fill several hours over several days of the week.

Where I draw the line is when we get to the movies. Perhaps it’s because so many actors, writers and directors, have shown themselves to be idiots, propagandizing for the likes of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Roman Polanski, and donating millions to Obama’s re-election campaign, that conservatives are so contemptuous of Hollywood. I would also assume that Hollywood’s approach to producing movies, which generally consists of churning out sequels, basing dumb movies on dumb comic books and re-making good movies badly, has turned off nearly everyone who isn’t a 14-year-old in mind, if no longer in body.

The problem is that too many people have concluded that there’s nothing worth seeing simply because so much of it is a total waste of time and money. That makes about as much sense as assuming that every politician is stupid and corrupt simply because so many of them are.

While it’s true that they’re not making as many good movies in any single year as they did in, say, 1939 or 1940, there have been, on average, two movies every year going back to 1990 that are as good as any movies ever made.

While it’s true that a few of them were foreign language and eleven of them were English, most of them were made here in America.

Because I realize that taste in movies is every bit as subjective as taste in food, I don’t expect anyone to feel the same way I do about the following movies. But I do think it’s fair to say that if you haven’t seen at least half of them, you really aren’t in any position to bloviate about how terrible motion pictures are these days.

The 44, in alphabetical order:
A Family Thing
About a Boy
An Ideal Husband
The Artist
The Blind Side
Cinema Paradiso
Defending Your Life
The Dish
Enchanted April
Falling Down
The Firm
Four Weddings and A Funeral
The Fugitive
Galaxy Quest
Gran Torino
Green Card
Groundhog Day
The King’s Speech
L.A. Confidential
Lives of Others
Lost in America
Love, Actually
The Matador
My Cousin Vinny
Nanny McPhee
Nobody’s Fool
Peter’s Friends
The Queen
Remains of the Day
Secrets and Lies
Sense and Sensibility
Shattered Glass
Sliding Doors
Thank You for Smoking
Toy Story
The Upside of Anger

As I said, you may not enjoy these movies as much as I did. I merely wanted to go on record to say that, in my opinion, the silver screen is not quite as tarnished as some people, generally those who never see any movies, insist it is.

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