But whatever it was, it was evanescent and got swallowed up, again, in crummy commercialism and emotional banality—junk like those really awful John Hughes movies and Top Gun and Flashdance. My heart sinks just thinking about how the huge mass of teen crud in the 1980s pushed out what little bits of potential appeared, magically, every so often in the American commercial film.
Almost thirty years later, American movies are a cross-fertilized art of hyperactive cutting and visceral sensations—arcade games and theme park thrill rides. Movies are designed for the enormous resolutions and nanosecond refresh rates. Those who find the current experience breathtaking must be having the time of their lives.
|Generation gap. The Godfather (1972)|
Not so much these days, but there were times when I went to see an old movie (Genevieve, for example, or Panic in Needle Park) at a revival theater essentially to experience the audience reaction to my favorite parts. I wanted to see these strangers respond like me, because their responses made them seem momentarily closer than actual friends. After a good movie—an immersive, great narrative experience like The Godfather Part 2, for example—I loved walking back up the aisle in the dim light with the rest of the audience, and I just knew that everyone was dazedly thinking the same thing, and the god of movies had bestowed a rare gift.