I've seen so many old movies recently! (Apologies for starting off this post with something right out of Zooey Deschanel's Twitter drafts folder.) I guess it started when I was reading some piece about romantic comedies that referenced "Broadcast News," which I hadn't seen before and felt like I should; I ordered it on Netflix and watched it that weekend. That led to my populating my Netflix queue with a whole slew of notable movies from previous decades that I had never seen.
There's probably some kind of psychological effect at work here, or
maybe it's just that I usually have no prior knowledge of the actors
when I watch these movies, but the leads in these films just seem so much more
like movie stars. They're alluring, sturdier (?)...
unknowable, mysterious, beautiful. I'm not simultaneously thinking about
what they look like wearing sweatpants coming out of the supermarket, or who they're married to in real life (since I don't even know!). It's hard to watch "An Officer and a Gentleman" and not
consider with a frown that if that movie were made today, it would
probably star Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in the Richard Gere and
Debra Winger roles.
By the time the movie's finished, I'm itching to Google the actors,
scan their Wikipedias, see what they look like now. Of course,
invariably, the findings are depressing. I find out that the
twentysomething hearththrob from the movie I just watched is now a
grandfather (as my friend Alice put it, regarding this phenomenon: "[your] crushes turn into Giuliani"), or that the leading lady
hasn't been in a movie since 1987. These revelations usually lead my mind to two different places: 1) I imagine a young guy watching, like, "Eternal
Sunshine" 30 years from now and then looking up this intriguing "Kate
Winslet" and clicking through her Google Images and realizing she's the
mother of that young actress he just saw in a small part in a new Jane
Austen adaptation on HBO, and then deciding to add "Revolutionary Road" or
whatever to his queue, and 2) I contemplate how weirdly jealous I am of
the children of famous actors who can watch their parents' films (the
equivalent for them of old home movies, I guess) and "hang out" with
this strapping younger version of their mother or father whenever they
feel like it.