Friday, October 16, 2015

Reel time


I've been spending a couple of hours a week with some college students lately, and it's fun to chat with them. Well, I also got to talk with a few girls in their early 20s in a seminar I attended in September, and listening to them reminded me of just how fast I used to talk and how much I jumped from one topic to another when I was around their age. Conversing with dudes who have lived for half a century or more does have its striking moments, primarily because the wisdom they've acquired over the course of decades is evident. There's much to learn from them; the perspective they present, even from brief remarks they make about seemingly superficial topics, can make one reconsider previously held opinions.

Hanging out with fellows who are at the stage of pursuing formal education in their chosen field, on the other hand, has been delightful as well. We spent a good deal of time talking about movies and what we thought of them. I found it amusing that many of the titles they mentioned were unheard of as far as I was concerned, and I listened fondly as they gushed over what was a superb flick and why it was so, or lamented over some disappointing film that was a mistake to give the time of day.

Who's your favorite actor? What are your top movies? Such questions came up when we first delved into
the subject of the celluloid world, and just like when I'm asked what restaurant I'd like to go to, I was at a loss. It's funny, because movies are something I consider essential in life -- in a manner of speaking, of course, and not to be mistaken as being placed on the same level as food, clothing and shelter in the hierarchy of needs -- and there I was, drawing a blank when asked for my favorites. Why is that?

Well, at the risk of sounding like a page from those old slum books where you're asked about favorite food, favorite song, favorite singer, favorite everything... there really are too many to mention when it comes to movies. Of course, there are the critically acclaimed blockbusters such as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, unforgettable ones that somewhat "define" your decade (Back to the Future, among several), and the much-loved or funny but not really awards-material (for me that would be You've Got Mail, and some films that I wouldn't broadcast being a fan of due to the absolute lack of substance). And, though I don't think I've met any other fan of movies about hijacking, I thoroughly enjoy watching the likes of Air Force One, Executive Decision and, more recently, Non-Stop.

In one of our conversations, though, I remembered Argo and told my young companions how I found it to be immensely engaging (I even blogged about it here, if you'd care to read what I wrote).

Lest this becomes an enumeration of favorite movies, let me go to the point that got me started on this whole post: when I mentioned what a great team-up Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were in a lot of their movies, the girl I was chatting with was unfamiliar with Meg Ryan. I was positively amused by this and realized how old the movies I had in mind were! Well, Meg Ryan is not among your multi-awarded actors, and comical though she is in her rom-com films, she doesn't have the same caliber and/or high-profile blockbuster resume as, say, Meryl Streep, Robert de Niro or Tom Cruise. So, come to think of it, it should hardly be surprising that today's teens and twentysomethings have never heard of her.

Okay, that was the first thing that stunned me about our celluloid tete-a-tete. The other one was when I mentioned The Karate Kid, and the girl said something about Jackie Chan, so I realized she had the post-2000 version in mind. Danny LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi are it for me, and though I'm sure the movie's newer version has its merits if considered more closely, the original will always be the only one for me.

Here's a scene from the1984 movie.






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