Saturday, January 5, 2008

Non-vintage Vintage Movies

For a moment I'm putting the sartorialist aspect of this blog on the back burner for something a bit more...entertaining.

Hollywood, as out of touch as it is, has found it nearly impossible to ignore the Golden Age. It was a time period that is so close to us, roughly only 70 years ago, but seems so completely different from how we know life today. It was a fleeting moment in the history of humankind, a transition from the old pre-modern ways that formed so many of our western traditions to the post-modern world where those same traditions are being tested and stood on end. The Golden Age was a cocktail mixture of the new and the old; where automobiles still had graceful lines, Art Deco was the main design element and clothing not only looked good but was functional. Even war was waged differently, with advanced assault rifles still being made of wood and steel and airplanes advancing from metal and fabric biplanes to aluminum jets within a short decade. Neither before or since has so much changed so quickly.

That is why we are unable to ignore the struggles, challenges, triumphs, victories and defeats of the Golden Age. Neither can Hollywood.
Here are some of my favorite non-vintage vintage movies, filmed no earlier than 1970 and in no particular order.

Chinatown (1974)
L.A. is in the middle of a drought in the mid-1930s and there's a growing battle over water. P.I. Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is sent to investigate the city water commissioner and stumples upon a murder.
A classic Film Noir, "Chinatown" has so many twists and turns and a surprise ending it'll make your head swim. Filled with humor, some dark, this movie will make you both laugh and cry.
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."

The Sting (1973)
Portraying two grifters trying to make the Chicago big con in 1936, "The Sting" is another vintage masterpiece from the early 1970s. With the interaction between Robert Redford and Paul Newman it was bound to be a classic; the deal was sealed with actor Robert Shaw playing the bad guy.
Great humor and plot twists in this classic film the family will enjoy.

"Your boss is quite a card player, Mr. Kelly; how does he do it?"
"He cheats."

The Road to Perdition (2002)
A more recent film, "The Road to Perdition" is based upon a graphic novel. This is a dark film dealing with the struggles of a mobster and his son as they seek revenge for several murders in a small Irish gang-ruled town. Paul Newman stars as the old head of the gang who has to choose between his spoiled biological son and his much beloved "adopted" son.

Seabiscuit (2003)

An inspiring true depression-era story of a too large jocky riding a too small race horse into the history books, beating all odds. It is a story of the little guy beating the big and powerful and is an uplifting story.

The Natural (1984)

Robert Redford stars as a mysterious and seemingly useless baseball player who finally makes the big league and is given a chance, turning into a baseball sensation. But the powers that be are against him as he deals with a medical condition that could not only end his career but also kill him.
A great vintage sports movie with several back-tingling moments.

Here's a new one due to be released in the summer, 2008:

George Clooney, John Krasinksi and Renee Zellweger star in a 1920s-era story about the newly born professional football league. Clooney portrays a burned out football player who recruits the youthful and up and coming Krasinski to join the struggling league. This romantic comedy looks quite promising and I am looking forward to it, though I am not a big fan of Clooney.

The website and trailer for this movie can be found at

I hope you enjoyed this quick look at some of my favorite modern vintage movies.

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