Many people are attracted to shiny new cars, the feel of new books with unlined spines or new clothes with no signs of wear and tear. People love newness. The idea of something new inspires a feeling of cleanliness and originality. I certainly share these feelings, but there is one thing where, for me, the old trumps the new.
That's old movies.
"They don't make movies like they used to." If I had a nickel for every time my dad said that, I'd have a sizable nickel collection. But my dad is not simply lamenting a time when he had more hair than he does now. Recently made films, in my opinion, can't compare to old classics like "Roman Holiday" or "The Philadelphia Story." Old movies exude a feeling of easiness and truth. They do not try to force out a laugh or put forward a moral. What you see is what you get.
As a form of art and entertainment, film is relatively young. The first "talkie" was released in 1927, while other media such as plays and opera have been around for centuries. The directors, writers and cinematographers of these old films had arguably less to draw upon, no style to imitate, which made them truly original.
That's not to say I don't like new movies, because I do. I can get down and sob through all 123 minutes of "The Notebook" like any other 17-year-old Nicholas Sparks enthusiast. There's little I enjoy more than watching a side-splitting Judd Apatow movie where Seth Rogen plays a stoner and Michael Cera is awkward. Just last weekend, I went to the theaters and watched "Monsters University" (highly recommended), but I always come back to my beloved classic movies.
"Why?" You may ask. What is it about grainy black-and-white and actors talking in a made-up accent that I find appealing? To that, I say: Cary Grant, the dry wit, the constant haze of cigarette smoke, good handwriting, weekend parties, Cary Grant, likable characters and organic dialogue. Above all, it's the story line. To me, old films have strong, original plots that make them timeless. While they explore many of the same themes that new movies do, such as love and happiness, many old movies lack the contrived plot twists used today in an effort to attract an audience.
So give me Scarlett and Rhett over Noah and Allie any day. I want to hear the witty banter between Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in "Sabrina," not the stale jokes used in every boy-gets-girl movie that comes out these days. And maybe, if I've been persuasive, you're interested in giving old films a try. The absence of color, CGI, 3-D, explosions, swearing and convincing special effects may be a bit jarring at first, but in time you may also appreciate the old masterpieces alongside contemporary ones.