You Can Like Movies and Still Hate Jane Fonda

| August 26 2012
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,” “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

Artist, The

Babe

Blind Side, The

Chicago

Cinema Paradiso

Defending Your Life

Dish, The

Election

Enchanted April

Falling Down

Fargo

Firm, The

Four Weddings and A Funeral

Fugitive, The

Galaxy Quest

Gran Torino

Green Card

Groundhog Day

Housesitter

King’s Speech, The

L.A. Confidential

Lives of Others

Lost in America

Love, Actually

Matador, The

My Cousin Vinny

Nanny McPhee

Nobody’s Fool

Peter’s Friends

Queen, The

Remains of the Day

Secrets and Lies

Sense and Sensibility

Shattered Glass

Shrek

Sliding Doors

Swingers

Taken

Thank You for Smoking

Toy Story

Upside of Anger, The

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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