12/10/2013 10:39 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Finally, Some Films That Don't Make The 1960s Look So Groovy


While it’s likely entirely coincidental, it’s nevertheless fitting that the Coen brothers’ latest movie, Inside Llewyn Davis, has its initial release on December 6. That was the day of the Altamont music festival in 1969, at which four people died and about which Ralph J. Gleason wrote: “If the name ‘Woodstock’ has come to denote the flowering of one phase of the youth culture, ‘Altamont’ has come to mean the end of it.”

The 1960s are often remembered in pop culture for the “youth culture” Gleason wrote about—the wave of hippies, drugs, rock and roll, passionate activism, and social revolution we see in films like 1969 and Forrest Gump and catch the tailwind of in Almost Famous. But this year, the 6th brings an anniversary and movie that both serve as reminders that the storied optimism and magic of the era did, indeed, end, and was perhaps has been exaggerated to begin with.

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