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Questioning What Makes a Classic Classic
After a year’s hiatus it is time to reengage and start pontificating again. With a daughter off at college with aspirations of writing for film and television, I have taken it upon myself to school in the classics. What I have come to discover is the list of great films is much like AP college football rankings; once you gain a spot high on the list, it takes seismic shift to move you off. Case in point, Citizen Kane. In 1941 it was groundbreaking in its approach to cinematography but in the intervening 70 plus years has there not been a better film made? From an entertainment perspective and the shear brilliance of its dialog I submit a better film, Casablanca, hit the screen the very next year. Yet Citizen Kane still sits a top most greatest film lists at number one. Visually it is innovative but the pacing is stilted and acting almost amateurish.
In a prior life I was film critic for the predecessor of New York magazine. I was low man on the totem pole so I got to see some truly awful films. I maintained my sanity by finding something redeeming in everything I had to sit through. So I understand the gap between Earth Girls Are Easy and Citizen Kane but through seeing films I revered through my daughter’s eyes I am getting a better sense of what makes a classic classic. So my goal is to begin to delve into what makes a film worthy of the moniker of classic.
However, it’ll have to wait until I am done watching Caddyshack for the 23rd time.
Happy New Year