What makes a classic?

Discussion in 'Classic' started by mutleyhyde, Apr 16, 2003.

  1. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    :D

    Yeah it's not the fact that NotLD "created" the mainstream view of zombies today that makes it the focal point of the change from classic to modern, it's more about how it was done. Even the "how" it was done by NotLD wasn't THAT original. I think a lot of its elements can be seen in Godzilla '54/56 for example.

    What I think caused the domino effect was how simple but effectively it was done in NotLD. Put some pancake mix on a few faces, put together a few simple but believable news broadcast to explain the plot and give the characters simple yet realistic challenges like boarding up windows and running for their lives. I think film makers used this as a jumping off point. The rules were changed.

    TCM only briefly used news outlets to pitch the plot. For the most part TCM takes for granted that you've seen movies like NotLD. They've built off movies like Psycho and The Boston Strangler, two movies that used the whole movie to develop that mindset. Once audiences "got it" we've been running off of those set rules since.
     
  2. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Probably something to do with the prominence of TV at that time more than anything else, no? I mean, we'd had decades of spinning newspaper headlines prior to that - but most people would have gotten their news through newspapers, so it was more "real" for the audience. By NOTLD, people mostly got their news from TV.... so maybe it was simply changing times, and reflecting how things were done at the time. For instance, there have been some films made today that feature news comin through cell phones or the Internet....?
     
  3. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    My point is not the fact that it was TV, just that they used the mundane so extensively. Can you think of any movies before that hinged so much on degrees of separation? Placing the main character on some farm house in the middle of nowhere where nothing of the overall problem is ever addressed none the less solved? NotLD is about a microcosm of the larger problem. Movies were always about fighting the larger problems, not focusing on the trickle down effects.

    For example, if Night of the Living Dead had been produced by Hollywood both Ben and Barbra would have probably been scientists. After the graveyard scene Barbra would have gone to a lab somewhere where she'd meet Ben, then we'd see a military engagement where they'd loose but we'd figure out it was aliens controlling the zombies. Then Barbra and Ben would use some scientific deus ex machina in a final decisive battle.

    I know someone somewhere will be able to name films that have done it before, but this movie really hit the reset button for the rest creating a down to earth view horror films have since adapted. It's no longer about protecting the world from Dracula or Dr. Frankenstein. NotLD wouldn't have even been a line item in a news paper in the context of that movie. A rather novel idea at the time. Any other horror movie before that would have been about what was headline making in the context of its own setting.

    Horror movies today still focus on headline making stories I agree, but what's at stake is much lower. The end game isn't that Dracula, the greatest evil that ever roamed the earth, no longer exists. All that matters now is that, quite simply, the last girl's still standing. Simple. Mundane. Down to earth.
     
  4. Horrorfan

    Horrorfan New Member

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    Glad to see I got a reaction out of some folks on here.
     
  5. Ghostkeeper

    Ghostkeeper Guest

    Ingredients for a classic:
    Good script,Bonafide acting,Nice cinematography,Excellent score, an interesting subject matter and a helluva director.

    Mix all ingredients in to good film stock and shoot until done.
     
  6. oaxaca

    oaxaca Guest

    Peter Cushing? :p
     
  7. jenniferm

    jenniferm New Member

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    Most classics I've seen were during my childhood. Probably the experience of seeing something new that you didn't understand and made a impact on you at the time. It usually starts with a good harmony in music, acting and story.
     
  8. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    In general, that's my definition too. Except the year of 1970 is so closely linked to 1969 and the line is so blurred. For example / best example is Dario Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. If you wanted to classify it as horror, there are sources saying it's a 1970 film while others claim it's 1969.

    I'm being very literal there, yes. Personally, I say 1968. Since that was the year of both Rosemary's Baby and Night of the Living Dead. That way, all of Romero's and Argento's full length films are prominently featured in the more contemporary post-classic era.
     
  9. NaNa

    NaNa New Member

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    Influence plays a major role in classic and I would consider The Shining (1980) as one of the best example.

    This movie has been receiving some good praising for a long long time. And also it has influenced many movies in that genre.
     
  10. Steve Freeling

    Steve Freeling New Member

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    When I think of a classic, I think of a movie that's at least 20 years old with a great plot with real meaning to it, a well-written script, top-notch acting, quotable lines, and unforgettable characters that stands up to repeat viewings and stays in your memory long after it's over.
    For example:
    Poltergeist
    (1982) ★★★★★
    To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) ★★★★★
    The Razor's Edge (1984) ★★★★★
    Forrest Gump (1994) ★★★★★ (it is almost 20 years old)
    Jurassic Park (1993) ★★★★★
    The Fugitive (1993) ★★★★★
    Regarding Henry
    (1991) ★★★★★
    A Christmas Story (1983) ★★★★★
    Home Alone (1990) ★★★★★
    Jaws (1975) ★★★★★
    E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) ★★★★★
    Groundhog Day (1993) ★★★★★ Big (1988) ★★★★★
    Vacation (1983) ★★★★½

    Also, possibly any 4½- to 5-star movie might be considered a classic.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  11. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    My tenth grade teacher defined a classic as "of it's time". Supposedly that meant if somebody like Romero made Night of the Living Dead in 1948 instead of 1968 it would have immediately been shelved and not seen the light of day for decades. Eventually it might be noticed, but not before something else had taken it's place in history. At that point, it would cease to be a true "classic" and instead be a "too bad, woulda coulda" cult phenom. Sort of like Spider Baby became. Never quite hit the big leagues.

    But my tenth grade teacher was kind of a dick. So screw him.
     
  12. elDomenechHDG

    elDomenechHDG Well-Known Member

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    "Looper" has the makings of a "future classic". I saw it upon first theatrical release and thought it was OK. Saw it again on Blu-ray and was blown away by it. I think the film could be listed among the best films of the last 20 years. That's the definition of "classic" in my book.
     
  13. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    I think of a classic as fairly timeless, something that engages the audience no matter when it was made and when it is shown. Now some "classics" can be like time capsules but they're able to communicate the time when they are made universally. A bad time capsule would just confuse an audience of different eras, so the occasionally well done time capsule shouldn't define all "classics" as such.

    There's something about the original King Kong that will let it live on past the '76 remake and the '05 remake. Doesn't matter that it's B&W and uses stop motion. It's also not like someone can walk away from the original with much of an idea how '33 really was either (it hardly hints at the depression for example). What it is however is told in an engaging way and will continue to find its audience.
     
  14. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    For me, "classic" would mean representative or emblematic of a particular "class" of something. So, in the case of films, say "Bird with the Crystal Plumage" would be a classic of the giallo genre because it contains and/or helped establish all the elements that would typify the giallo genre. There is also a bit about all the elements being handled really well. But, basically, if someone asked you what _____ types of films were like, the "classic" would be the one that you would recommend first.

    So, some modern films can probably be considered classic. I think "300" will get that reputation in time as it will be remembered as the first film that really exploited and showed off the potential of this new realm of digital film making. Even though films like Sin City, Sky Captain, and to some extent, the later Star Wars films all tread the ground first, "300" will probably be remembered as the first film where it all came together. Similarly, while the Spaghetti Western had been around for years, it's really Leone's films that represent the best that the genre had to offer.

    While it's easy to think of the older classics, I am sure that many contemporary films like Lord of the Rings, Nolan's Batman films, Pixar's Toy Story trilogy will all be easily held as classics as the decades roll on.
     
    mutleyhyde likes this.
  15. Christine88

    Christine88 Guest

    A good story that keeps me wanting more. :)
     

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