This blog post is to confront various ideas people may have regarding young people and their tastes in film and how they can misconceived. This post may also seem like I am ranting (which is true in a sense) but they are based on things I’ve heard so I thought I would write something in response. I understand that not all young people have the same taste in film and that my taste is more diverse than most; however it’s frustrating when you hear about certain stereotypes people have regarding young people and their interest in film. I’m going to list a few things that I’ve heard people say and counteract them from my perspective as a film fanatic.
WE DON’T LIKE “OLD FILMS”
Roman Holiday (1953)
Now I’m sure there are young people who may not love classic film, however to assume that majority of young people are dismissive of films made pre-2000 is insulting. To limit myself to films of the past decade is criminal because some of the greatest films were made over 70 years ago and it allows you to have a broader sense of what film is. Some of my favourite films include Casablanca (1942), Gone with the Wind (1939), Roman Holiday (1953), Citizen Kane (1941), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and the list goes one. To see what has come before is insightful to see what kind of films were made in the past and how they can have a life of their own beyond their release date. I’m on a life long quest of watching more classic films because I want to have the broadest film taste possible and that doesn’t happen from watching only films released in 2017.
There are young people out there who know James Stewart, Orson Welles, Audrey Hepburn, Vivien Leigh and their films; so don’t be shocked when a young person says they love Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). We do know more films outside the Transformers live action film franchise.
IF WE DON’T LIKE “OLD FILMS” IT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE “DATED”
Rear Window (1954)
I’ve seen my fair share of Hitchcock films and obviously know what a revered filmmaker he is; I watched his films expecting to be blown away by this auteur and why cinema has held him in high regard. Yet when I watched some of his films I was actually not impressed: The Birds (1963) or Rear Window (1954) for example are seen as classics yet they both didn’t grab me nor interest me. Now that’s not because they were released in the 50’s and 60’s but in the case of Rear Window I felt the film dragged and The Birds was not as exciting as I thought it would be and the ending was frustrating.
It’s just because I’ve had people say to me that I probably didn’t like a classic film because it’s “dated” and that frustrates for various reasons. One is that I am able to watch a film objectively and know the context, that it was made in a different time and film has changed and secondly a true classic is one that can stand the test of time. Citizen Kane is an example where I watched it and was hooked because it had a modern feel in narrative structure (I know at the time it was groundbreaking and many films followed suit) and the mystery was exciting of finding out more about the titular character. So it IS possible to enjoy and NOT enjoy a classic film.
YOUNG MEN CAN ONLY LIKE “GUYS FILMS” AND CAN’T LIKE A “CHICK FLICK”
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
First of all the term “chick flick” is outdated like many opinions of what films either gender should enjoy. It’s 2018 and I’m sure we’re past the point where if a man says he enjoyed Pitch Perfect (2012) it shouldn’t be a groundbreaking concept to comprehend. However I hear it all the time when people refer to a romantic comedy or musical where they say, “It may be too girly for you” or “I know it’s a chick flick but…” and those phrases are dated to which I dismiss any idea that I am incapable of enjoying film because of my gender. A quality film is a quality film and a great film will be able to allow varying demographics to engage with the film. Yes a film may have a target audience but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be abnormal for another type of audience to also enjoy the film. I love films such as The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and 500 Days of Summer (2009) as well because they are more than one thing and I think there’s something in those films for everyone.
The same goes for when we say women may not enjoy the Fast and Furious franchise because it’s a “guys film”, again an outdated and excluding phrase. As I said before, I believe and hope we have moved on from stereotyping and putting people’s film tastes in certain boxes but it’s still something I hear often and people need to be more open minded.
WE CAN’T ENJOY FILMS ABOUT THE OLDER GENERATION
45 Years (2015)
The way to enjoy a film is to find something within a certain character or themes that are raised that you can connect with no matter what the subject matter. One film that comes to mind is 45 Years (2015) with Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling. I love that film. The film focuses on an elderly couple reminiscing about their lives together and who they were in their youth, but somehow I was immersed in the film because there was conviction in the performances and I loved contemplating about how would I look back at my life in the future. A quality film is one that engages the audience and is told with conviction, the fact that it focuses on a couple well into their married lives should not exclude other demographics.
Also another film is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) which is a feel good film showcasing the best of British talent (Oscar winners Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, Golden Globe winner Bill Nighy and Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson) and again focuses on how perceptive on life changes as we age and allows the audience (no matter what age) to think about life in general. Plus it’s just a great, fun, colourful film in general.
Point is that I’m sure I’m not the only young person that can appreciate a film focusing on leading characters who are older, because just like how watching classic films broadens your taste so does watching films that allow you to step into someone else’s world.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
I’m sure there are many more stereotypes of young people and film (if so feel free to comment) but I think it applies to everyone when I say don’t assume that a certain person may not enjoy a certain film; we all have different film taste and it’s always refreshing and exciting when one subverts people’s expectations and show how you can be open minded with what we watch.