Monday, November 11, 2013
Everything old is new again again.
Lately I've been watching ME-TV, a local L.A. channel that broadcasts old TV shows from the late 1950's to the late 1960's. Shows like Ironsides, Rockford Files, Gunsmoke, Rawhide and lots of others. These were the shows the boomer generation watched as kids. Boomers, for those who don't know were born from 1946 to 1964 and represented the "baby boom" after WW11 when the soldiers came home.
A lot of my generation always talked about the great old TV series we had then and great ideas and stars.
But watching lots of these old shows, I have to admit some of them weren't very good at all. And I find it hard to watch the hour-long shows of the good series. After a while, I watch only a handful and even there just one or two.
And it also came to me that our generation has watched more movies and TV shows than any other generation in history. Of course we started watching TV in the mid 50's for most of the country (U.S. and Canada). We also watched old movies a lot, in fact my little town theater played movies that were made 20 years before I started to see movies.
Still, there were a lot of plotlines and ideas that spilled out and by now, we've seen almost every idea there ever was. The studios are even making remakes and sequels for the new generation of movies and TV shows we watched as kids.
And they now are coming back -- for the newer generations.
Lately there was an Ironsides sequel but was cancelled and Law & Order is a remake of an old series called Arrest & Trial. And when it comes to movies, how about remakes and sequels from Star Wars, Star Trek, Superman, Batman and on and on...
That's why many of my generation will say that most of the new stuff is crap. I don't think it's crap, they're made much better in terms of production values although you can't beat a good black & white movie from the 1940's. Casablanca anyone?
But there is a lot of "crap" out there now, but there always was a lot of "crap" back in the late 50's onwards.
We had a new wave of filmmakers that came up from film schools in the late 60's, Coppola and Lucas and Spielberg and Scorceses and Milius and a lot of others. And a lot of them are still working.
So what about the latest generation; the millennials.
They certainly aren't as great as that film school group, in fact barely even able to make anything new. Their stories seem to revolve around going back to that home town to find that girl/guy who dumped them. You should watch Scorcese's Mean Streets to see a great "first film".
He did one previous but Mean Streets is his best. He had DeNiro and Keitel and a couple other great actors.
And that's also where millennials fail... their cast. Millennial actors just don't seem to have that presence of form that the previous generations seemed to have. It just isn't there. Maybe it was because the 50's movies were written by people who experienced World War 11 and boomers dealing with assassinations of great men and Vietnam.
Maybe the millennials never experienced anything else than iPhones and texting instead of talking.
And they rarely, if ever, watch old movies the way we did. Maybe because it was new to us and they grow up with 500 channels.
A good example of bad and good is a series on Me-TV is "Wanted: Dead or Alive" about a western bounty hunter (bounty hunters would hunt down criminals; they still do now). It was a typical TV western, shot on a studio lot and most of the stories weren't very good but it had Steve McQueen (not the director now) and McQueen had something that millennial actors don't seem to have. And he could carry the show.
Carrying the show means simply, that with his presence people would watch. The boomer actors seemed to have much more presence, and it makes up for a bad script or a poor movie. Notice CSI has a boomer lead actor, there's also Tom Selleck in another TV show. In fact you'll see a boomer lead in most TV shows except for CW stuff.
They're there for the boomer audience of course, but they're also there because they can carry the show. Except for CW whose ratings are always at the bottom even though it's made for millennials.
Anyways, just a piece of history for around 40% of you who regularly read this blog.
And don't feel bad, because we boomers had lots of bad movies.