You Can Like Movies and Still Hate Jane Fonda

Those of us who are conservatives tend to be dismissive of the popular arts. We say, and with good reason I’d argue, that music has been going downhill since the days when composers and lyricists named Gershwin, Porter, Kern, Berlin, Loesser, Rodgers, Hammerstein, Hart, Mercer and Fields, were writing the songs; people named Astaire, Rogers, Kelly and O’Connor, were dancing to them; and folks named Crosby, Sinatra, Fitzgerald and Stafford, were singing them.

I would also contend that TV has never matched the days when Sid Caesar, Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers, Playhouse 90, Studio One, and Philco Playhouse provided top-notch comedy and drama on a weekly basis. I would add that things have only gotten worse ever since Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour was dug up from the cemetery where old TV shows are buried, re-named American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and, for all I know, So You Think You Can Play the Zither, and been expanded to fill several hours over several days of the week.

Where I draw the line is when we get to the movies. Perhaps it’s because so many actors, writers and directors, have shown themselves to be idiots, propagandizing for the likes of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Roman Polanski, and donating millions to Obama’s re-election campaign, that conservatives are so contemptuous of Hollywood. I would also assume that Hollywood’s approach to producing movies, which generally consists of churning out sequels, basing dumb movies on dumb comic books and re-making good movies badly, has turned off nearly everyone who isn’t a 14-year-old in mind, if no longer in body.

The problem is that too many people have concluded that there’s nothing worth seeing simply because so much of it is a total waste of time and money. That makes about as much sense as assuming that every politician is stupid and corrupt simply because so many of them are.

While it’s true that they’re not making as many good movies in any single year as they did in, say, 1939 or 1940, there have been, on average, two movies every year going back to 1990 that are as good as any movies ever made.

While it’s true that a few of them were foreign language and eleven of them were English, most of them were made here in America.

Because I realize that taste in movies is every bit as subjective as taste in food, I don’t expect anyone to feel the same way I do about the following movies. But I do think it’s fair to say that if you haven’t seen at least half of them, you really aren’t in any position to bloviate about how terrible motion pictures are these days.

The 44, in alphabetical order:
A Family Thing
About a Boy
An Ideal Husband
The Artist
Babe
The Blind Side
Chicago
Cinema Paradiso
Defending Your Life
The Dish
Election
Enchanted April
Falling Down
Fargo
The Firm
Four Weddings and A Funeral
The Fugitive
Galaxy Quest
Gran Torino
Green Card
Groundhog Day
Housesitter
The King’s Speech
L.A. Confidential
Lives of Others
Lost in America
Love, Actually
The Matador
My Cousin Vinny
Nanny McPhee
Nobody’s Fool
Peter’s Friends
The Queen
Remains of the Day
Secrets and Lies
Sense and Sensibility
Shattered Glass
Shrek
Sliding Doors
Swingers
Taken
Thank You for Smoking
Toy Story
The Upside of Anger

As I said, you may not enjoy these movies as much as I did. I merely wanted to go on record to say that, in my opinion, the silver screen is not quite as tarnished as some people, generally those who never see any movies, insist it is.

Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
Author website: http://www.burtprelutsky.com/
  • James King

    Burt, I agreed with the thought process of your inventive mind til I got to the list. Even if I could still go to a theater, and I can’t–even if I still wanted to sit through a long list of commercials, even if I wanted to experience bad sound or really loud sound, I wouldn’t walk across the street to see anything on your list. I would, however, go buy a new release of a Sinatra album that I don’t have, and there aren’t many, but I do record movies on disc, many of them from HDNet Movies, and no, I just buy the package from Directv and have no other connection.

    Movies haven’t been good for many years, but some do come out. The best makers, in my opinion, to which you are entitled just like I have been telling my kids for many years, are Redford, Eastwood, and Costner. I’m getting ready to record several this month, like The Flight of the Phoenix and, from your list, The Fugitive,  but I wouldn’t set foot in a theater even if the ticket price reflected the value. I used to record a lot of good movies from TCM, but since they went HD they block recording so I don’t really watch them much because of that.

    We used to have a lot more great writers of scripts than currently, again in my opinion, to which you are entitled, and for sure there is no great music left. I think I’m probably closer to Romney’s playlist simply because he is closer to my age. But Paul Ryan mentioned people I’ve heard of but wouldn’t give a listen to even in my own Oval Office.

    • BurtPrelutsky

      James:  It wasn’t my intention to get you to go to the movies.  I happen to hear from a lot of people who want to let me know that, one, movies all stink and, two, that they haven’t seen any in 30 years.  I wasn’t even trying to get people to see the movies on my list because I recognize that, along with taste when it comes to food, there is nothing quite as subjective and as eccentric as taste in movies. 

      On the other hand, I hope for their sake that anyone who enjoyed most of the movies on my list would give the ones they hadn’t seen a chance.  I should also state that after thinking about it, I added a few other movies to my post-1990 list.  They included “Silence of the Lambs,” “Beauty & the Beast,” “Election,” “Juno” and “Mumford.”

      Burt

  • Deny916

    How could you forget one of the (if not the) greatest movies of all time…Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid…ahh those blue eyes!!!!!

    • BurtPrelutsky

      Deny916:  Did you not notice that mine was only a list of post-1990 productions.  If I had gone back to the beginning of sound, I would have had far better movies than “Butch Cassidy”(1969) on my list.  I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy “Butch,” but there were a great many I enjoyed more.

      Burt

  • Concernedmimi

     Right again, Burt. I haven’t been to the movies in years because of the underlying propaganda but I do think I will check out “2016”; seen the preview. I have a feeling it will only confirm what I already know or suspect. FlaBelle

    • BurtPrelutsky

      FlaBelle: Wait a darn second.  Are you FlaBelle or Concernedmimi?  In any case,  I think you will enjoy “2016” even if you have to buy two tickets.

      Burt

  • FlaBelle

    You’re right Burt, they sure don’t make em like they used to. Now a days, all movies have some looney left wing ulterior motive and it sticks out like a sore thumb; especially to a conservative. I will not waste my money or my time on this harmful propaganda.

    • BurtPrelutsky

       FlaBelle: My point is that so long as you’re selective, there are always a few–very few–movies to be seen, even these days.  I highly recommend “2016,” the documentary about Obama.

      Burt

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A55FZMFUP4X2ORU2W766HKI2BI Lawrence B

    I thought I was the only male who likes “The Upside of Anger”.  Popeye”s  (played by Evan Rachel Wood) speech at the end is amazing!
    One I put on my own list is “Secondhand Lions”.

    • BurtPrelutsky

      Lawrence: I thought it was a terrific movie.  Besides “Field of Dreams” and “The Untouchables,” it’s the only Kevin Costner movie I ever really liked.

      Burt

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/A55FZMFUP4X2ORU2W766HKI2BI Lawrence B

        Including thoese two movies you mentioned, it’s the only Kevin Costner film I like.

        • BurtPrelutsky

          Lawrence: Assuming that photo isn’t recent, we might have been separated at birth.  If it is recent, you are extremely precocious.

          Burt

  • Tsav672000

    Loved LA Confidential, I would like to add, The Game, The Usual Suspects and Seven, along with Snatch, The Boondock Saints (only the first one) and one that was under the radar but was excellent with a great cast, Lucky Number Slevin

    • BurtPrelutsky

       Tsav:  I have always said that taste in movies is every bit as subjective and eccentric as taste in food.  I didn’t see “The Game,” but I liked “Snatch,” and, alas, I disliked “Seven” and hated “The Usual Suspects.”

      Burt

  • CCNV

    Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood), Lilies of the Field (Sidney Poitier), and The Cowboys (John Wayne). Sorry, Burt…you started it.

    • BurtPrelutsky

       CCNV: But I limited my list to post-1990 releases.  I didn’t care for “Lillies of the Field,” but the truth is I never liked a single Poitier movie.  I couldn’t stand his phony, over-enunciated, delivery of lines.  I didnt see “The Cowboys,” mainly because I rarely enjoyed westerns.  There are only about half a dozen that I ever liked.  My favorite Wayne movie was the non-western, “The Quiet Man.”

      Burt

  • Lonesome George

    Thanks for mentioning some of the all time greats; Gleason, Silvers and Caesar.  Good friends of mine I might add!

    • BurtPrelutsky

       I met and spent time with Gleason and Caesar, but never met Silvers.  I did meet the other Lonesome George, Gobel.

      Burt

      • Lonesome George

        Gobel and Gleason; I would have liked to spend a few hours with both sipping a cold one.

  • GlenFS

    I never get tired of My Cousin Vinnie and The Fifth Element is way off the wall, but so funny and well done.  Thanks for your list, Burt.  I’m adding to my queue.

    • BurtPrelutsky

       I’m not aware of “The Fifth Element.”  But you’re welcome for the list.  Keep in mind it only covers post-1990 releases.  Most of my favorites came prior to that.

      Burt

      • GlenFS

        It’s a farcical sci-fi set in a futuristic city with oppressive & corrupt police and pols. It keeps you involved with wild action, humor and great characters. You’re not a fan of longer movies, but some of the best humor and drama are near the end.  (Bruce Willis & Mila Jovovich)

  • Bruce A.

    L.A. Confidential.  Great movie with all the twists & turns.

    • BurtPrelutsky

       Agreed.

      Burt

  • John Daly

    Fargo and L.A. Confidential – two of my all-time favorites.

    • BurtPrelutsky

       Certainly two of the best over the past couple of decades, although I rarely like movies directed by Clint Eastwood or those written and directed by the Coen brothers.

      Burt