October 03, 2009
I like classic movies more than just about anything else in the world, save my cats and family members. Yes, more than grapefruit juice. I love it so much, and feel so passionately about it that I think I'm what you might call a militant classic film fan.
I realized this today when I was talking to my grandmother.
My grandmother was born in 1937, and yet she apparently refuses to watch any movies made before 1990. Despite telling me when I first started liking classic movies that she was a huge Gene Kelly fan, she balked when I offered to lend her some of his movies. "I saw them when I was a kid, Katie. I don't need to see them again."
Today we were discussing her Netflix subscription. She doesn't have a computer, so today she enlisted my mom's help in adding new movies to her queue. Standing at the counter while I made my breakfast, she started telling me how sick and tired she was of these R-rated movies, and bad humor. There just don't seem to be any more good movies to rent!
"Jackpot!," I thought to myself, "my perfect opportunity to get her to watch classic movies. Don't like R-rated movies, you say? Well, most classic films would be rated G! Even those racy pre-codes would barely warrant a PG-13 rating these days." So I slowly approached the topic, dancing around it at first because she can be very testy.
"You know, Grandmom... there are an awful lot of movies made before the 90's that aren't rated R!"
She shot back at me, "Katie! I'm old, I've seen all those movies."
Excuse me?!?! You've seen every movie made before 1990? How then did you find the time to raise two children and work a full time job if you were apparently spending all of your time in movie theaters?
I let it go. I tried again.
"Well, you were only born in 1937. There were a lot of good movies made before 1937!"
"I can't stand movies from the 1930's!!" The look on her face was like she had just sucked on a lemon. Even the mere mention of movies from the 1930's made her sick to her stomach.
EXCUSE ME?!?! That was the last straw. I left the room, smoke fuming out of my ears. Did she really say that? To me?
After sulking about it for a few minutes, it dawned on me. I am a militant classic film fan. I will become irate with my own grandmother when discussing this topic. I will abandon conversations midstream if you so much as hint that you don't like old movies. And I really think that if she were a friend and not a blood relative, this discussion would have seriously put a damper on our friendship.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how important these movies are in my life. I don't think I could marry a man who didn't love classic film as much as I do. I don't think I could be friends with someone who refused to watch movies made before 1950.
Part of the problem is that people who don't like classic film seem to hate it. They aren't indifferent about it; they really don't like it. In high school, most people I knew thought I was some kind of weirdo for watching black and white movies, as if I was eating glue in the back of the classroom or something. And like my grandmother, they spoke of the time period as if it had cooties. "The 1930's???? Weren't films, like, not in color?"
It might seem closed-minded, but realistically I spend so much of my time talking about, thinking about, blogging about, or watching classic film that I don't think I could have a lasting relationship with someone who wouldn't share that with me. So call me a militant classic film fan ... I think the description fits.