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March 14, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, March 14, 2011 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, March 14, 2011 - 7A

The allure of classic film
Why old movies captivate us, and r
why that's not too cliche
By Will Defebaugh I Daily Arts Writer

Just what is it about old films
that is so appealing? "Casablan-
ca." "Breakfast at Tiffany's." "The
Sound of Music." These mov-
ies are all considered classics,
rewatched time and time again.
But why? What is it about these
films that makes us love them so,
that makes them qualify as our
favorites? And do we actually love
them, or is it just for show?
These questions, particularly
the last one, were on my mind
after I learned that the State The-
ater would be giving away cinema
memorabilia this past weekend,
ranging from old 35mm trailers to
posters from every film the State
has screened in the last five years.
I thought about going - really,
Idid. Butsomewhere between my
being sick Saturday morning and
the thought of an overwhelming
crowd of pretentious film buffs
fighting for a copy of a "Citizen
Kane" poster they would probably
never even put up made me want
to stay curled up in bed. Then the
idea occurred to me that it prob-
ably wouldn't even be a crowd of
pretentious film buffs, but just a
crowd of wannabe pretentious
film buffs. Or freshmen.
Needless to say, I decided to
nap instead. But as I was lying
there, trying to drift off into
unconsciousness, I couldn't help
but think about all of the mov-
ies that could be there. I thought
about "The Graduate" and "Gone
with the Wind." I had dreams
of "Dr. Strangelove" and "Blade
Runner." "To Kill a Mocking-

bird," "Shawshank Redemption."P
Would they be there? Should they
be there?
All these films have made a
huge impact on pop culture at
one point or another. People have
loved them, cried over them. But
there is something different about
people liking them now - people
who weren't around when they
first made their mark. You have to
ask yourself whether their inter-
est is genuine or just trendy.
After all, we live in a culture
that is Hollywood-obsessed. The
films we like say a lot about us.
Does your list of favorites include COURTESY OF WARNER HOME VIDEO
"Star Wars," or are you more of It's OK if "Citizen Kane" is your favorite movie.
a "Clueless" fan? Whether in an
interview or on a first date, the I think it's more than that. it to the top of the Empire State
simple question, "What's your Just a couple of months ago I Building. But she sat there and I
favorite movie?" can serve as really felt like watching an old sat there, and it was painful and
insight into the soul. movie. After much debate I ulti- glorious.
And when we are asked that mately settled on "An Affair to Now, when people ask me what
dreadful question, we must con- Remember." Lookingback on that my favorite movies are and I say
front ourselves. Do I answer experience, though I do think "An Affair to Remember" or "A
honestly? Do I really want them in part it had to do with the fact Clockwork Orange," I know that
to know just how many times that I had never seen the film and it sounds obnoxious. Just like
I've seen "Uptown Girls"? Most I felt I would be a more cultured when people tell me that theirs
would probably say not. They go person if I had, I think my reason- is "Pulp Fiction" or "Psycho,"
the other route and pick some- ing largely had to do with escap- I secretly roll my eyes. But the
thing trendy or, more frequently, ism. I was on break and between truth is, no matter how annoying-
something classic. They do this to schoolwork, dating and applying pretentious-indie-hipster they
feel more original, which is ironic for jobs - I really didn't want to sound, the love people have for
considering how many people's think about the real world or real old cinema is legitimate. People
favorites said classic has been problems. I wanted to get away, to love these films because they are
over the decades since its release. a world that was so different from great films and because they do
But then again, that's not our own. exactly what movies should: They
entirely fair. Most of these mov- So I went to 1957.1 stayed glued give us an experience we couldn't
ies do have a genuine following in front of the TV with a box of have had otherwise. They take
- they wouldn't be classics if tissues, yelling at Deborah Kerr to us somewhere we've never been,
they didn't. And I'm not cynical just tell Cary Grant about the car somewhere far away. They take us
enough to chalk it all up to image. accident and why she never made back in time.

America is real
attle winner
By BEN VERDI That is, until one humbled
DailyArts Writer American fighter (Eckhart)
leads his band of brothers (and
It's becoming more accept- Michelle Rodriguez, "Machete")
able, one could say popular, to fight for something bigger
to cast "Big Bad America" as than themsel'es.
the enemy in That's a lot of cliches for one
adventure, * . sentence, but this movie just
war and action feels good. There's no point in
movies. Our Battle: Los denying it. We don't learn more
country's than we need to about the minor
image has sunk characters either, except for - as
so low that At Quality16 in every war movie - one of the
people around and Rave soldiers is about to get married,
the world and Eckhart's character is about
are willing Columbia to retire from the military on the
to spend bil- day the aliens show up. It's just
lions to watch blue creatures nice to see America saving the
defeat the American military on world again.

a planet that doesn't even exist.
America is cornered somewhat,
cast too frequently as a bum-
bling, crumbling empire on its
last legs. It tries desperately to
retain its power, and reveals just
how much moral fiber it has, or
lacks, in the process.
So, frankly, it's the perfect
time for a movie like "Battle: Los
Angeles." This is a film with a
$100 million budget about Aaron
Eckhart ("The Dark Knight")
commanding a group of Marines
against extraterrestrials as our
planet braces for extermina-
tion. That's it. But a half-baked,
didactic backstory about the
aliens punishing us for our sins,
or ignorance to their destructive
power, isn't the real story behind
this war movie. The story of this
movie is that, without warning,
things start to suck, America
gets its ass kicked and, for most
of the film, it looks like all hope
is lost.

USA! USA!
USA! USA!
USA! USA!
USA! USA!

This movie is a special effects
tour-de-force with a good-look-
ing cast, grunted, uber-mascu-
line quotes, epic battle scenes
and tearful goodbyes to the dead.
It's a burger and fries for a strong
country that the world likes to
poke fun at for the weight it's put
on over the years.
You leave "Battle: Los Ange-
les" withthe same kind ofnation-
alistic fervor that you probably
haven't felt from a movie since
"Independence Day" - another
See BATTLE, Page 8A

I

A

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