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The Age of Cinema

Posted on the 08 August 2011 by Raghavmodi @raghavmodi
Heads Up! This post is not at all as epic as it's title suggests. It has nothing to do with the actual age of cinema, nor does it have to do with the age at which you can watch a movie. It deals more with the age at which you should watch a movie. What I plan to talk about is two simple yet important questions that to me are basically two sides of the same coin;
1. When is a good time to make children watch the modern classics like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and the likes?
2. Does a movie say The Goonies or Stand By Me, if viewed by an adult now for the first time, have the same effect they had on the masses when they were initially released?
To start off with the first question, recently I made a group of four children/young adults aged 10-15 watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off. For me, the movie is the ultimate feel good movie. I do have to point out that I watched it much later in my life (late 20s) and it has stayed in my favourites ever since the first viewing. Not only did it take a lot of convincing before the four young adults agreed to watch it (they were having an X-Men marathon and the third disc wasn't working resulting in a movie change), but when I told them about some film essentials like "The Breakfast Club" all I got in return was laughter and that the sequel is probably called "The Lunch Club". I feared the outcome of this.  
The Age of Cinema
Now, the reviews of Ferris Bueller's Day Off were somewhat mixed. They laughed at most comic scenes. The heavy philosophical scenes might have been a bit too much, I'm not sure. I asked them to give me a short review and this is what they said;
Sehar (15): The film is just full on entertainment. From the acting to the storyline to Ferris' impromptu performance, everything makes the audience wish that they were living the teenagers life.
Maha (13): I did not enjoy this movie very much. I found the plot quite cheesy and the acting was over the top. However, in places it was quite funny and enjoyable sometimes.
Harun (13): I thought that the movie was very funny and entertaining, and the idea of the film was good. However I would have really liked the movie to have a scene with Cameron and his dad arguing about the ferrari.
Hashim (10): The movie was really funny and I liked how the principle stopped at nothing to catch Ferris.
The Age of Cinema
My question after this little experiment is that what is a good age to watch some of the modern classics? I often wonder if I would not have liked Ferris had I seen it earlier in life? For example, just as I found out about movies like The Breakfast Club (seen again in my late 20s) through forums and twitter, should these be discovered by the younger generation on their own? Or is it that with time something like Say Anything or 16 Candles will slowly move into the group of movies that should be viewed by everyone, but just are not? Will my daughter (almost 4) consider Harry Potter and Twilight as the modern classics and consider the movies of 70s and 80s and even 90s too old to be viewed? Only time will tell.
The Age of Cinema
Moving on to my next question, which came to my mind when someone on twitter recently stated that they did not like Stand By Me. This adult had seen the movie for the first time, and putting his review aside (no disrespect) what I tried to figure out was that had it been watched at the time of its release or when the said person was younger (closer to the age of the characters in the movie) would he have liked it?
Take The Last Emperor. It is one of the few movies from my childhood that I remember watching and liking. It is a rather strong drama and by no means is a children's film, but then why do I remember watching it? The only connection I could figure out was that it features a child in the title role. Once again the question arises, should the younger generation be introduced to movies like The Goonies at their age or should we just let it be?
Recently I saw people talk about Super 8 with a sense of nostalgia linking it to the movies of the past. Does age and the time you watch a movie really have an effect on you liking it? What would people think of Super 8 if they have not seen the movies they relate it with (Goonies, Close Encounters of the Third Kind)? Could it be that the age you watch a movie at is almost as important as the content of the movie? I know I watched most of the modern classics in the late 20s and liked most of them, but maybe I need to dig deeper and watch some more and see if this theory holds true?
I do know one thing. Whatever the case, when the time comes I'll make sure my daughter get to watch these modern classics even if I have to pay her to sit and watch them.
If you have any thoughts about this, you know what to do smarty pants :-) 

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