While I do appreciate the classic films of the past, in many, many ways, I’m of the mind that, especially where entertainment is concerned, newer is better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not spitting on history. I don’t ever forgo plot and delivery for explosions and special effects. I hate those movies, but a good modern film is so vastly superior to a well-done oldie that there really isn’t much to compare.
With so much competition in modern show biz, good enough just doesn’t cut it. The acting has to be effortlessly believable, the cinematography better be better than good, and, generally, the stunts have to be somewhat within the realm of realistic. You’d also better be sure that the devil in the details better not have very noticeable inaccuracies, because these days, anyone with a mobile device can pick apart a flawed feature within a few days of its release. Actually, there are plenty of professionals willing to do just that for free, and they’re a quick Google search away. Neil DeGrasse Tyson will shred anything “spacey” apart at no cost to anyone.
There are some oldies that will always be the best of their genre because they just are (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for instance, or Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), but you can count the list of great old movies on both hands. The vast library of excellent entertainment released since the year 2000 alone dwarfs the list of fantastic pre-2000’s productions. Pre 90’s for sure.
And then there are the series’.
Season upon season of brilliance, multiple masterpieces brought to us by many purveyors of perfection. Outlets such as the BBC, AMC, Amazon Prime, and Netflix, wowing us with gems like Sherlock, The Grand Tour, Clarkson’s Farm, Our Man in Japan, anything “Planet” or “Life” with Sir David Attenborough, Breaking Bad and Peaky Blinders. The list goes on, and on, and on. Sure, M*A*S*H was great, and I Love Lucy too, but such productions are nowhere near as brilliant as the entertainment we get in modern times.
How many of the top brass today would give Mary Poppins the nod? Or anything with tap-dancing for that matter? Sorry Carey, hit the bricks.
Entertainment. Old or New? You be the Judge.
Let’s compare James Bond from the sixties to James Bond now, shall we? No, other than the links I just provided, I don’t think we’ll even bother.
Sly Stalone was great as Rocky back in the eighties, but looking back from the future, the acting sucks. The lines and scenes are cheesy as hell (Aaaaaaadriennn), and none of it is that believable. I love First Blood to this day, but it’s not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. It just isn’t.
The Man Who Would Be King, on the other hand? A great show, the story will always be good, and the acting is mostly great, but the video quality and some of the drawn-out scenes would never land it at the top of any entertainment list now.
Let’s not even get started on comedy (as I get started on comedy).
Old comedy shows and films are only good because they’re so bad. And they’re only good for mocking. It’s like all of them were written for children and half-wits. I stopped laughing at banana-peel gags and disconnected steering wheels when I was ten. Nowadays, even dumb comedy has to have some measure of intelligence to it. Dumb and Dumber was brilliantly written (I know, the ’90s, but it’s the best), and Blades of Glory is packed with dipshit genius (Are you drunk? Nope, but this oughtta do it!).
None of what I’m saying is meant to be negative or derogatory (far be it for me to stand on giant’s shoulders only to shit on their giant heads). I respect the past, but given the opportunity to watch an original classic or a pretty good recent show, I’ll almost always choose the pretty good new one. Actually, given the option to choose old over new in almost everything, I’ll take the new. An Aston Martin DB5 is gorgeous, but I wouldn’t even hesitate to jump in the DB11 if given a choice. Not for a second.
Without a past, nothing would exist now, I get that. I bow my head in respect and give many thanks to those who came before, but my eyes are focused on the now and on the future. Thankfully, much of what exists in the now is a lot of very well done music, movies, and motoring, and in most areas, it just keeps gettin’ better. And if society doesn’t completely fall apart in the next few years, I hope the standards of tomorrow make today’s look positively Neanderthal.