indulge in some quiet time


what's for dinner?

take the poll





a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation


editor's note 

o lounge 
o nourish 
o host


submit your ideas

rented any good movies lately? jump to the boards and recommend it. 

copyright ©1999-2001

lights! camera! 
boot camp!
a beginner's guide 
to classic film
by Diana Goodman
| 1 2 3 4

There are three questions you get asked a lot as a former film student:

"What's your favorite movie?" is no. 1. This invariably leads to a half-hour lecture involving a list of every genre and subgenre of film, at least forty titles, and terms like "post-Paramount decree" and "nouvelle vague" get thrown around. The person who asks the question usually ends up running away crying. Unless the film student says, "The Matrix." But this student cannot be trusted.

"Did you learn how to make movies?" is no. 2. The short answer is no. I got my degree in "sitting around in the dark."

Question no. 3, if they're brave enough to make it through question 1, generally goes something like this: "You know, I just don't like old movies."

OK, so that's not a question. It's a cry for help!

I've spent a long, long time cultivating my movie snobbery. I damn near took out a contract on Ted Turner when he colorized Casablanca — and I was, like, twelve at the time. Most movie snobs look down on people who aren't movie snobs. What they think of people who don't "get" classic films can't be repeated in public. But where others see philistinism, I see a missionary opportunity!

So why should you get into classic films? Because film was THE art form of the 20th century. There is no human truth that can't be found in movies. Period. They're shorter than a novel, less complex than music, more personal than theater. They're cheap, they're portable, they're the primary influence on every media form that's been invented since: TV, popular music, video games, the Internet. Movies kick ass.

True, it's the 21st century, and talking about movies as the biggest thing in the 20th century makes them sound passé. But talking about movies in the past tense is the key to appreciating movies in the present: Everything you like today, right now, in movies, was inspired by another movie that was made previously. Every movie is an invention that builds off the last model. That's not to say movies are therefore better today than they were yesterday…it's the exact opposite. Today's movies are photocopies of photocopies. You want something great — find the original!

Besides that, there are some movies that are such classics, so important to so many people, that they are part of our culture. Would America be America without The Wizard of Oz? Without Rick and Ilsa parting on the Casablanca tarmac? Without Bonnie and Clyde and Harold and Maude? Could John Wayne have been French? Hell no! (USA! USA!)

So zip up those fatigues, lace up your combat boots and adjust your film snob beret, we're going straight into Classic Movie Boot Camp!

mosey along this way please ...

---------------------------> lounge . nourish . host . laze . home .