Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nostalgia for our Youth

Whenever I go out recently, people that find out that I'm a "movie guy" always recommend JJ Abrams Super 8. Inevitably, I have to tell them that I am not a fan of the film and I already  reviewed it on the podcast that I cohost (Episode 21, Super 8/ If I want to Whistle, I Whistle.) As always, the other people become defensive and tell me that they enjoy the film on the level of it being a good summer blockbuster. This line of reasoning is classic Roger Ebert; basing a film's merits around what genre it belongs to. In the case of Super 8, many people, particularly in the Generation X and Y ("millenials") age brackets, yearn for a throwback family adventure film such as Goonies or Back to the Future (which I hope to host an entire podcast about later this summer) that they grew up with in the 1980's. Simply put, Super 8 is not that film. It is entertaining on a summer time mattinee level, but the characters are instantly forgettable, with only Elle Fanning's leaving any lasting impression, which is more a statement on the talented young actress. What sets Richard Donner's Goonies apart is it's hilarious and touching characters and it's tightly wrapped story. There might be an actor in the movie known as Chunk, but the story has no fat to it. It moves along at a brisk pace, walking a tight balance between scenes of emotional discovery for the children and family friendly action sequences.
So the next time you see me out, I'm glad to discuss one of the major passions in my life- films- but please, no more Super 8 arguments. I yearn for the type of coming of age adventure films I loved growing up. And when I see one, I'll let you know.

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