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Millennials Don't Care About Old Movies, Article Claims. Prove It Wrong, Says I.

by Matt Singer
July 17, 2012 11:50 AM
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"The Amazing Spider-Man."

If you're under the age of 30 and you love movies, I need you to do me a favor.

Last weekend in The Los Angeles Times, Neal Gabler wrote a story blaming your generation, under-thirty-types dubbed "millennials," for the incredibly short gap between remakes like "The Amazing Spider-Man" and their predecessors. Young people, Gabler says, have "little use" for anything older than they are. That includes movies:

"[Millennials] don't seem to think of movies as art the way so many boomers did. They think of them as fashion, and like fashion, movies have to be new and cool to warrant attention. Living in a world of the here-and-now, obsessed with whatever is current, kids seem no more interested in seeing their parents' movies than they are in wearing their parents' clothes. Indeed, novelty may be the new narcissism. It obliterates the past in the fascination with the present."

For the moment, let's put aside the matter of whether Gabler is blaming the cart for a lazy horse and focus instead on his evidence. He makes passing mention of an MTV survey, and he quotes a few academics who claim their students aren't particularly engaged by old movies. In other words, he's got plenty of old people's observations about young people, but none from young people themselves. 

That's where you come in.

As a movie blogger and podcaster, I interact daily with young film lovers. Some of the folks I talk with on Twitter, over email, or in the comments section here at Criticwire are working or aspiring critics, or men and women with advanced degrees in film studies. But a lot of them are amateur cinephiles with no experience and no training other than a brief lifetime watching movies on DVD, Blu-ray, and Netflix, who read and write about cinema out of pure, compulsive passion. 

Gabler says he's less concerned with the attitudes of "fanatics" than "rank-and-file millennials" -- although if that's true I'm not sure why he based an entire article on the observations of cinema studies professors. Regardless, my equally anecdotal contention is that the line between the "fanatics" and the "rank-and-file" is blurrier than ever -- and that on the whole millennials are far more movie literate than their reputation suggests.

If you agree, here's what I want you to do: speak up in the comments section below. Tell Neal Gabler -- who has written some fantastic books, by the way, including a great biography of Walt Disney -- that you respectfully disagree with him. Tell him that thanks to your historically unprecedented access to media -- including classic films  -- you're quickly becoming far more movie literate than your parents. Tell him you love old movies.

What if I'm wrong? As Peter Venkman said, if I'm wrong, nothing happens (I look a little stupider for having written this article, but I'm used to that). "The Amazing Spider-Man" gets rebooted in three years as "The Spectacular Spider-Man" and life goes on. But if I'm right, and we can stop this thing -- this thing being the perception that young people are all a bunch of drooling, babbling, cellphone-obsessed morons -- then maybe there really is some hope for the future of movies. I believe that there is.

Read more "Perspective: Millennials Seem to Have Little Use For Old Movies." And please -- PLEASE -- leave a comment below.

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More: Neal Gabler


  • Paul | April 16, 2014 10:12 PMReply

    I am 21, close to turning 22. I can see his point (not saying he is correct) because most of my friends could care less about anything "old". However, I am a HUGE fan of "old" and predominantly hate anything new. My favorite movies include Gone with the Wind (#1!!!!), Rebel without a Cause, and To Catch a Thief among many other great classics. I love I Love Lucy, makes me laugh hysterically. I love movies from the 30s-90s and some 00s and some 10s but mainly the 30s-90s. I've been told I have an "old soul" and I feel I am better with it! I personally feel actors of older eras had more depth and are more believable than todays actors.

  • Kallen Munsan | February 28, 2014 12:43 AMReply

    He's not so far off. A lot of old movies are pretty boring. And a lot of the acting is mediocre. Seriously. I rarely watch anything older than the mid-80s and of those I rarely enjoy them. There's too much focus on being dramatic, not enough subtlety in emotions. There's a few realistic actors and actresses in the olden times, but for the most part, they're so incredibly unbelievable, they're unwatchable. And I know that a lot of the A-list actors have been around for some time and "made their start" way back when, but guess what? They've had time to grow and develop. I mean, I'm thankful that old movies exist so we can have the modern ones we have now, but that alone isn't enough to make them worthwhile by today's standards.

  • Tom Smith | February 18, 2013 8:31 PMReply

    >Tell Neal Gabler -- who has written some fantastic books, by the way, including a great biography of Walt Disney -- that you respectfully disagree with him.

    But he's right. While there are always a small group of people who are the exception, the vast majority of young Millennials hate old movies. You may wish that wasn't the case, but that's REALITY.

  • Sean Hagens | January 21, 2013 1:16 AMReply

    I am 20 and while yes sometimes it does feel that way, I don't think it's true. I grew up loving movies. Granted the farther I look back in film history the less I have seen but I have seen a lot from 70's to now. I am rectifying this however, I just watched the original The Blob yesterday and thought it was great. Almost all of my favorite movies came out before I was born. I grew up watching Star Wars (P.S. Han shot first), Back to the future trilogy, E.T., Jaws and in my tween and teenage years I watched A LOT of 70's and 80's movies like The Terminator, Ghostbusters, Die Hard, Carrie, Exorcist, Halloween, Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, First Blood, Hellraiser(yeah you can tell I am a horror fan), Predator, Alien, Aliens. Most of my favorite films are before my birth like Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future, Halloween, E.T., Rocky, Ghostbusters, Star Wars etc., etc. I will say it does annoy me when my friends refuse to watch a movie cause it's old, I mean it's there choice but they are missing out. Some of my friends do like old movies. I will say that I don't find movies cause they are "old" boring. To me I don't care when a movie comes out, that's not important to if a movie is good or not.

  • Aaron Hammond | December 19, 2012 12:16 AMReply

    I've already posted on this before, but to me, I think part of the problem with why this stereotype exists, and by extension why some members of our generation do feel this way is because of a narrative that says "old movies are boring and lame." Well, change the narrative. If someone can watch "The Wages of Fear" and not feel like their heart is in their mouth by the end of it, or watch "Citizen Kane," perhaps the most electric and purely entertaining film ever created, and find it "boring," then they have no pulse and they're dead anyway. I remember watching "His Girl Friday" in a journalism class in college. A lot of people groaned about watching it, but by the end, everyone LOVED it. Older movies are a different flavor than what we get today, but they're still can be as thrilling as anything we get this decade.

  • Marley Cornfield | December 18, 2012 10:16 PMReply

    Neil Gabler has stated that this generation, thirty years and younger of age, simply does not appreciate old movies, yet only new movies of "fashion." I would strongly disagree with Gabler on this statement. Not only have I been interested in old time films my parents have watched, but we have studied that classical hollywood films in class and they are very enjoyable. I won't disagree that I love the new "in fashion" movies, just like the revisionist error that we viewed in class. Gabler just seems full of himself and thinks he can put down other generations that he is simply not a part of; grow up.

  • Collin Keating | December 18, 2012 5:59 PMReply

    It seems that Neil Gabler has a classic case of Kids-These-Days Syndrome. He likes to hate on the new generation because of a misconceived perception that his generation was somehow better when, in all reality, it was not. Neal seems to think that his generation appreciates the "classics" much more than the millenials, but it is his generation that is responsible for the ever growing "reality" TV shows such as Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn, Storage Wars, and a whole list of other shows that are just rehashes of each other. I myself being a millenial, do appreciate a lot of older movies, but I do tend to judge them based on 21st century standards for film. I have seen Citizen Kane and agree that it is a great movie, but it is a challenge to get through the whole film. I feel that I am not alone in this sense either, as 19-year-olds in the 40's probably felt the same way I do. They would probably much rather see an action-packed crime drama or a thriller than sit down for 2 hours to watch Citizen Kane. All generations are the same, nothing has changed, get over it.

  • Elaina White | December 18, 2012 2:07 PMReply

    I think that Neil Gabler is wrong by saying that all “millenial” film lovers are only interested in whatever film is new or revisionist. Although I was less familiar with many of the classical Hollywood films that we watched in the beginning of the course, I still appreciated and enjoyed many of them. Although I did like the movies later in the course more, this was not because I thought they were not “current” and “revisionist”. I enjoyed the later films more because I related to the more recent movies more. Although I really loved watching Citizen Kane, I was confused by some of the references because it is an older film.

  • Jake McGuffog | December 18, 2012 12:07 AMReply

    I can honestly say that I am offended that a person can label the entire group of Millennials as a bunch of kids that do not care about old movies. Classics actually happen to be my favorite types of movies and I for the most part that is all I watch. My father loves showing me all the different types of movies that he grew up with and every movie he shows me, I thoroughly enjoy. Recently I just took a class at the University of Maryland where I viewed seven classic movies and seven revisionist films. I would much rather have just viewed the classic movies even though the revisionist films are more relevant to my time period. I agree with Singer in the fact that I think Gabler is out of line in stating that the Millennials do not appreciate a good classic!

  • DB | December 15, 2012 1:56 PMReply

    As many other 18 year old college students, I love revisionist films. However, I disagree with Gabler's claim. I am a movie connoisseur, owning and loving films starting with one of the very first films, The Great American Train Robbery. I believe that many "millennials" would agree with me in saying that if not for classical film, new, high-tech revisionist films would not be around to keep younger audiences entertained. Although I do come across many younger people who would be bored with a black and white film, it is ridiculous to assume that all "millennials" are only interested in newer films.

  • Pete | December 15, 2012 12:55 PMReply

    I am an 18 year old college student who loves alot of older and classic films. However do agree to some extent with Neil Gabler, I do not think that new movies serve as a social status, or a way to market social networking profiles the way Gabler suggests, however I do find that I am in the minority amongst my peers, in that few of my friends are fans of many movies before the year 2000, and even fewer of them will willingly watch one that they haven't seen before and deemed acceptable. Over the past semester I have watched a variety of classic and revisionist films, and I must admit not all of the classics kept me particularly entertained, however I can also say the same for the modern films as well. There is a certain appeal to the younger generation for fast paced, vulgar and violent films, which is why alot of the films now a days contain alot of these aspects. My father, who is 55 years old, refuses to go the the movie theaters any more, claiming that they aren't as good as they usedd to be. Now I admit, the features I described earlier do appeal to my, but that doesn't mean I am opposed to movie without them. I think that as a whole the millennials are moving on from olders films, but I think we are also being pushed by the lazyness of Hollywood. Instead of putting our creative films with decent plots, there are lot films now that were probably barely thrown together in 10minutes and to attract audiences the director added explosions and sex scenes. If Hollywood took the time to start making decent films without all the fast pacced and mature themes, I'm sure that there would still be a crowd of millenials wanting to see it.

  • WW | December 9, 2012 11:45 PMReply

    As an 18 year old college student, I strongly disagree with Gabler's assertion. I have watched a variety of both classic and revisionist films, and I can safely say that myself and many other so-called "millennials" realize that it is likely that the films at which we have marveled at in recent years would have never been made if not for the guidance and originality of classic Hollywood films. While classic films may not necessarily contain the visual appeal and be as attention-grabbing as modern-day films, these films contain genre conventions and plot structures that revolutionized the film industry, and set a precedent for the blockbuster films that we enjoy today. Recent box office hits such as "Avatar" would not have been possible without the innovations reached by classical science fiction films such as "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Furthermore, if watching classical films with an eye for plot quality and stylistic elements, one would realize that these films are equivalent, if not superior in quality to modern-day spectacles. Ultimately, it is incorrect to believe that millennials are blinded to the quality of classical films by the popularity of newer Hollywood successes.

  • A | November 1, 2012 8:10 PMReply

    SUCH bullshit. I came here to comment, because the LAT didn't seem to allow it. I'm a millennial who lives for old movies, has even read Gabler's books, etc. etc.

    Now, I may be an outlier, but more broadly, this is the fucking obnoxious hipster generation we're talking about: "kids these days" have access to everything, old and new, with a click or two, and are serious diggers. They listen to vinyl, fetishize the Criterion Collection, and so on. You're so far off, damn you NEAAAAAAAL! (shakes fist)

  • Andrew | October 26, 2012 1:01 AMReply

    In my experience "kids these days" have such shorter attention spans that they just can't handle the old scenes. Could you imagine a youngster - who taps away on the iphone all day, going from app to app - sitting through Tokyo Story or Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? If something doesn't blow up or get undressed, then nothing might as well be happening (rolling eyes).

  • Ryan Jackson | September 10, 2012 8:22 AMReply

    I like older movies because the always fell more real to me, where as the movies the I see today that are loaded down with special effects (yes even Avengers which I love very Much) just seem fake to me. Thats not to say new movies are bad, they just lack the feel of this old movie. But my generation will not accept them because they're old and boring.

  • John Muck | August 6, 2012 5:47 PMReply

    I am 26, I broke up with a girl at the age of 20 because she refused to watch anything that was not made in 2000+. I told her about the wonders and briliance of classic movies, however she told me I was lame. I broke up with here then and there. She cried and I walked out with my chin held high.

  • t-h-o-r | August 1, 2012 2:33 AMReply

    sorry for the shitty punctuation

  • t-h-o-r | August 1, 2012 2:31 AMReply

    i am under 30 years old and i love old movies

    and i love them, because the internet gave me a chance to find and explore them

    but my friends do not share the same passion :)

  • Christopher | July 26, 2012 4:54 PMReply

    I'm 18 and from a working class background. My dad ignores all things cinema, my mum likes 60s/70s crime thrillers and certain Hepburn Wilder/Wyler pictures. My school-friends have typically no interest whatsoever. Firsthand have I experienced their ambivalence, boredom and even tooth-gnashing contempt for old/foreign flicks (even the smuggest, most middlebrow arthouse farts with them will find surprisingly little applause). But I don't care. I'm fine with watching what I want to watch.

    I am here, however, to chronicle my two most notable attempts:

    (1) Film Socialisme: I tricked a friend who'd heard about Breathless / Vivre Sa Vie / Band of Outsiders via the hipstersphere to watch this one. Suffice to say, her reaction was less than favourable - but none-the-less hilarious.

    (2) Christmas in July: Perhaps the most underrated (and my personal favourite) film of Preston Sturges, I showed this to a friend in the morning following a late-night soirée at my house, while the others snoozed away unawares. She absolutely adored it. I'm not surprised in some ways, it's such a lovely movie.


    There'll always be hope. I'm starting University soon. The few other students on my course I've spoken to are morons. I'm holding out, though, for a true partner in crime to watch pre-code Raoul Walsh movies with me all day long. I'll keep y'all updated.

  • theduckthief | July 24, 2012 2:38 AMReply

    I'm 26 and thanks to my mother, fell in love with old movies. I actually watch more old movies than new, especially because there are so many movies and directors that I missed the first time they came around.

    In fact, most of my favourite movies are old. All About Eve, His Girl Friday, Night of the Hunter, The Thin Man, Some Like it Hot, 12 Angry Men for example.

    I will say that it can be tough finding others who love old movies but that's why I go to the net. We're everywhere!

    As for Mr. Gabler, people have always been about the 'next big thing' so I don't know why he feels that this is something new. Also, his quote that 'kids seem no more interested in seeing their parents' movies than they are in wearing their parents' clothes' is just strange. Was he interested in watching the movies his parents watched when he was a young man? Probably not.

    Geez Neal. Why not give us a chance before judging us? Also, do he really think it was young people responsible for the Spiderman reboot? I'm pretty sure it was a bunch of old guys (perhaps people Neal's age) giving the green light when it came to funding the film. He might argue that they only remade the film to get more money out of young people. Well I can't help it if people are catering to our generation. I'm sure the silent generation did much the same for when baby boomers were coming of age. Did they get on Neal's case about the movies he watched or the music he listened to? Why doesn't Neal get off our backs and focus on educating his own kids instead of worrying about everyone else's. Don't worry about me Neal, my mom's got this. I've actually seen movies in black and white, I've seen silent movies and foreign language films. I'm going to be fine. Just, stop freaking out about my generation and worry about your own.

  • Sarah | July 21, 2012 9:26 AMReply

    I'm 15 years old and I love classic films. I love them because through the years they don't seem to lose their essence. They remain as beautiful and captivating as when they first came out. And I would have to disagree with the comment stating that most of the younger generations is unable to see cinema as art. Films like Network, Paper Moon, American Beauty, Breathless, Casablanca, and Chinatown (and so on) are undeniably pieces of art.

  • Remy | July 20, 2012 11:04 PMReply

    At age 27 and the number of movies I've seen are easily in the 5-digit area. If you ask me which of those have floored me/ scarred me/ exhilarated me- almost none of them are of the past 10 or 15 years (with some notable exceptions like the movies of Dav id Fincher). You wanna know which? The Third Man. The Red Shoes. The Best Years of Our Lives. All About Eve. The Seventh Seal. The Nights of Cabiria. Network. Double Indemnity. Sunset Boulevard. Sullivan's Travels. The Petrified Forest. Fanny and Alexander. And of course, Casablanca.

    So there you have it.

  • Chris Collier | July 20, 2012 9:47 AMReply

    I am the Director of Special Programs for two art house theaters outside of Philadelphia. That means I get to put together our rep series. It is a fun job, which pays dividends watching the house fill up with eager audiences to watch classic films on the big screen. We have been offering our classics free to ages 18 and under for the past three years. We have seen growing numbers of kids and families coming to share in the theater experience and having a blast watching great, classic films.

    I just wrote up a post on our blog sharing Gabler's article and your response with our audience, as well as adding my take to the whole thing. ( I hope that it draws more people to comment and continue to answer your call that there are us Millennials out there who love classic film and enjoy spreading that enthusiasm.

  • Lusson | July 19, 2012 10:27 PMReply

    Hi ,i am a 20 yeas old movies lover and i have my oppinion about this i would like you to read it. There i go.
    There is always gonna be good movies. If you are a pasionate of movies, that doesn't mean that you can only watch the great dictator or blade runner or casa Blanca. I love movies almost professionally... But I also love comics and I dont have any problem if the keep making spiderman movies every single year for the rest of my life, actually I hope they will... Everything depends on the choices of people... It hurts to turn on the radio and listen pitbul gaining millions and take a look at Hollywood calendar and seeing twilight like one of the most popular movies, because you finally believe that people is going crazy and you are the only one who kep a good taste, but that is not the truth. We have good stuff around coming to us and we should enjoy and at the same time respect the market, because I am a deep lover of classic movies and intelligent stories but I keep thinking spiderman is fucking awesome maybe just because I love the caracter and the comic books, so perhaps that girl that gets crazy with vampires and wolf wares also diserve her movies about that. We are not alone guys

  • Kevin | July 19, 2012 2:39 PMReply

    I'm 20. I don't love old films. Why? It's because I love film, in general. Films are essentially a series of still images that are accompanied with sound. These images capture moments in time; they capture moments of other worlds and universes, and even sometimes our own world. It doesn't matter when a film came out, it's still a film. It's still the telling of a story. One of my favorite films of all-time is THE THIN MAN. I don't care, at all, that it came out in 1934. What I care about is it's a fantastic, witty script that's entertaining and gave the world a great duo of Myrna Loy and William Powell. Just the other night I caught MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE. Does it matter it came out in '48? Nope. What matters is it's a charming film with a fun performance from Cary Grant.

    Bah, this conversation frustrates me. It frustrates me that we have "old" movies and it frustrates me that someone wrote a boneheaded article thinking young folk don't like "old" movies.

    I'm 20, I like "old" movies and anyone who thinks young people don't is an idiot. Done.

  • Dom | July 18, 2012 7:12 PMReply

    This is so true, but maybe not with 21 and over. I'm 17 and most of the people I know like what everybody else likes. They think "Death Race" or "The Avengers" or "Thor" as some of their favorite movies. It is so easy to please my generation, but I'm not falling for third rate tactics used by many studios. Many now just pirate movies or netflix it. Yeah, I'm sure you can stream Iron Man anywhere, but can you stream "Citizen Kane", "The 400 Blows", "Psycho", or "Chinatown" anywhere? No, only part of select distribution deals. I know my generation settles for way less and will like anything because Hollywood has set the bar so low. But I know that if I look for people just a few years older, they will have an appreciation for film like I do.

  • Ryan | July 18, 2012 5:01 PMReply

    I strongly disagree with Neal Gabler. I'm 23 fresh out of college and am working at an entry level position at a major Hollywood studio. However, although I technically work in this industry, no major summer blockbuster has interested me one bit. Quite honestly I'm sick of the super hero thing. I just sent my ten bucks toward the film foundation to help restore All That Jazz. I appreciate cinema as a whole, no matter what year a film came out. Whether it's 400 Blows, Taxi Driver, Citizen Kane, or great films of today, like Terri or Cyrus, films should be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age. Excuse spelling errors, this was done on my phone.

  • Ari | July 18, 2012 2:41 PMReply

    I completely disagree with Neal Gabler. Im 28 and my boyfriend is 25, one of the things we love most is watching and discussing films both new and old. Yes we have been very excited about seeing the new Batman but equally we have loved going through our (massive) collection of films watching a few classics. Often when we talk about new films it leads to us talker about older films we love, making comparisons and discussing how movie styles have changed, technology, discussing great actors etc and this isn't just us, majority of our friends who range in age are very much the same.

  • Corey Atad | July 18, 2012 2:04 PMReply

    Movies are good shit. New movies. Old movies. Whatever. It's not too crazy to say that newer generations are less likely to steep themselves films from previous generations. It's always been like that. But pretty much everyone I know watched Wizard of Oz as children and think The Godfather is a great film and were surprised to fall for To Kill a Mockingbird in school. People tend to go for what's new, but it doesn't mean this generation is lost or stupid, and plenty of us watch and love old movies.

  • Kristine | July 18, 2012 1:36 PMReply

    I'm a rank-and-file millennial (although on the older side of the generation at 27) and I disagree with Mr. Gabler. My favourite movie experience was a showing of The General, complete with live orchestra accompaniment. Millennials were well represented in that audience and other similar audiences I have been a part of. I am also a student of history and find it frustrating to hear the refrain "kids today are the worst ever" repeated as if it is the first time it has ever been said. Mr. Gabler, they probably even said it about your generation once.

  • Titania Plant | July 18, 2012 11:25 AMReply

    I'm a 21 year old about to start my Masters at the University of Toronto, with a focus on Classical Hollywood Cinema. To say that my favorite films are classics (from approximatley 1920 to 1960) would be an oversimplification. I love old films and will be one of the first people in line to say that the films being released today can't hold a candle. Back in the studio era, the talent was remarkable with spectacular actors, directors, even costume and set designers. When we consider the sheer volume of films being made in the Studio Era in Hollywood, it's amazing that so many still stand out as classics. Unfortunately, many of the films released in the last decade are too focused on the sheer spectacle of film. Things like 3D and computer graphics have been used to compensate for lesser talents and, while they may provide a cheap escapist experience for two hours, they are forgettable by comparison.

    I do not mean to sound as callous as I do in this comment, but I am simply appalled to hear that an older man - not from this under-30 generation - is so confident that we no longer care about over half a century worth of films; films without which the modern films he thinks we much prefer would not exist.

    I know that most people my age would discover some films they would really like – if they had the right advice. I have made it a personal mission of mine to encourage my generation - the 30-and-under gen - to watch classic films that they might otherwise deem irrelevant, boring, slow, etc. I write a personal blog under the pseudonym "Classic Flick Chick" and recommend essential classic films that I think everyone should see, with a bit of context and a bit of trivia. Hopefully you’ll discover some gems you didn’t know existed, with a stamp of approval from someone like you.

    It looks like many people in these comments are already fans of older films, but if you're interested please feel free to check out my website: or find me on Twitter @classicflikchik.

  • Andrew M | July 18, 2012 10:48 AMReply

    I'm 16 and have to disagree with Mr. Gabler. I love the films of Kubrick, Kurosawa, Wilder, Hitchcock, Godard, Truffaut, etc. Chaplin and Keaton are as funny today as they were when they were making films, and have a lot to say even if their films are silent. I'm hungry to watch more films, and the technology I have access to today allows me to do that. Not only do I have thousands of films available from Netflix to receive in the mail, but I also have access to movies instantly. All this, including other, more old fashion ways, means my hunger for cinema is being filled much easier than it would be a few generations ago.

  • Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? | July 26, 2012 4:59 PM

    Dom, it doesn't sound like you do either. What exactly is Italian Neo-Surrealism?

  • Dom | July 18, 2012 7:17 PM

    Man, that's a first. Most people my age shake their heads in question if I mention these names like Chaplin or Kubrick. I love classics, especially French New Wave & Italian Neo-Surrealism. A lot of people I know won't know a clue about those era's. Glad to know there's still someone around my age who appreciates film like I do.

  • Paul | July 18, 2012 10:34 AMReply

    29 years old. I love old movies. Three of my favorite directors are Hitchcock, Lang and Keaton. On my list of top 100 movies on Flickchart, 70% were made before I was born.

  • Max | July 19, 2012 10:33 AM

    Kubrick is my favorite director, and subsequently "Dr. Strangelove" is my favorite movie ever. So there. "Les Quatre Cents Coups" is another favorite, but for the Italian neo-surrealism side I didn't adore "8 1/2" too much.

  • Max | July 18, 2012 9:37 AMReply

    I might just be obsessed with my iPhone, yeah, like all modern teenagers are . But I absolutely love cinema with a deep passion, and that isn't relegated to superhero blockbusters (although I have lots of fun watching those too, naturally). Three of the "old" movies I've seen and loved recently - Douglas Fairbank's "The Iron Mask," which incidentally I though was as entertaining as anything done 83 years later; the terrifying "Nosferatu," the only horror film I've ever seen yet;  and  "The Invisible Man," which has one of the greatest use of visual effects incorporated in a timeless story ever. I've been wanting to see Buster Keaton's "The General" for a while now. I'm the only one in my family who appreciates black-and-white, silent movies the way I do. Is there hope for the future of movies? I really don't know. Yeah, I think movies will be fine. But either way, we'll always have the glorious films of old Hollywood to fall back on when we're not out slobbering over "The Dark Knight Rises."

  • Teo Bugbee | July 18, 2012 5:39 AMReply

    The first movie I ever saw was The Adventures Of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland. On my wall in my bedroom at home there are collages I made as a middle schooler of Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh, Judy Garland, Paul Newman, Cary Grant, both of the Hepburns and other classic film stars I was obsessed with at the time. I'm 18 years old and I'm studying to be a filmmaker. We were shown around 40 feature films from all over the world and from all around the timeline of film history this year in my film classes at college and I had seen about 75% of them prior to taking classes. There's nothing wrong with loving movies that are recent. There's nothing wrong with having seen more movies from your own lifetime than from earlier generations. There's nothing wrong with loving films from this time period. That's pretty natural. Those films are easy to access and they are designed to appeal to people in this day and age. But that doesn't mean that millennials like myself don't place value in older movies too. This is selective blindness on the part of the older generations. It's easier to believe that the youth of the world is crumbling than it is to actually go out and engage with the youth of the world.

  • Virduk | July 18, 2012 4:57 AMReply

    I'm not really sure how thats different to other generations. At least us folks who grew up after the baby boomers. Certainly my anecdotal experience is that the majority much prefer whatever thing is currently in the metroplex or what they grew up on as kids than watch old b&w or silent or other older films.

    I guess it in part it explains why its better to remake old films rather than just show them now remastered into some kind of pristine glory.

  • Claire | July 18, 2012 4:51 AMReply

    I'm 23 and I studied film theory. I love old movies - I'm joining my local cinematheque this week!

  • Magen | July 18, 2012 2:11 AMReply

    Having grown up in a small town with a limited selection of video cassettes my interest in film was guided not by the latest movies but older movies. Now that I live in LA I still make time to see all kinds of movies. I make good use of the Criterion Collection on Hulu which has plenty of old movies.

  • Thomas | July 18, 2012 12:54 AMReply

    First off, a big welcome to any visitors! If I knew ya I’d buy you a shot. I don’t plan on having many of you so here I’m just gonna head right into it!

    This first post was inspired by an article from Matt Singer of that he wrote in response to an article from Neal Gabler of The LA Times which is linked after this paragraph.  This isn’t typical of what I plan to post, but it could be! Either way I hope you enjoy.

    I’m 23 years old and I got the movie bug a little later than most. It’s not like I wasn’t allowed to watch movies as a kid but there wasn’t really anyone in my family that loved them the way I do now to influence me and a 5 dollar allowance only gets you so far. My senior year however, I was in homeschool for my last several months of high school and, as a result of boredom, subscribed to Blockbuster’s subscription program. And I’ve never looked back.

    I’m now an aspiring screenwriter who has made the move to LA and is constantly reading, writing, watching, or thinking about Cinema as an art form and its place in society. It’s something that IS who I am as person. It truly defines me. So I think it’s fair to say that I’m more in the “fanatics” category than “rank-and-file” so maybe my opinion isn’t exactly valid in this. But I will say a vast majority of my friends fit into the latter category. And I’m consistently surprised at the film questions and recommendations I get from them. Netflix is a huge part of this. It allows the average person to catch films they most likely never would and I think Neal would be extremely surprised at some of the titles a lot of “millennials” have actually seen.

    The other side of the technological coin is that things like Twitter (which is used more frequently as a stream-of-consciousness rather than developed thoughts by people under 30) makes the views of those people (people who haven’t created fully formed ideas about the world surrounding them) known. Imagine growing up in a world where your every thought is deemed important because you can post it for the world to see and be “liked.” As if navigating youth wasn’t difficult enough. If the “boomers” had these tools at their disposal growing up I think a majority would look back embarassingly.

    It really comes down to something Matt alluded to: the fact that studios just aren’t putting out the same quality of movies that they used to. If you grew up watching Attack Of The Clones instead of Empire Strikes Back, I think we can all agree your opinion on what is quality filmmaking would be slightly askew. I’m not saying George Lucas is to blame (although I could be on to something with that) nor am I saying that everything that came out in that era was gold. There is however, really no question that the quality of storytelling in mainstream movies has been on a steady decline.

    The real problem is that movies will never go away. No matter what happens (outside of the Apocolypse) there will forever be a market for high-budget filmmaking. We yearn to be entertained and will forever seek it out where we can. Which allows for studios to be lazy with their storytelling (which is not to say their work is lazy, as a matter of fact it only makes business sense to crank movies out). This yearn however, is especially apparent when you’re young. There are only so many places you can go out to and movie theaters are at the top of a very short list.

    My point is although kids go to certain movies, this doesn’t necessarily translate to them liking them or thinking they are well-made or interesting. It’s only something to do with your friends on a Friday night. But it will sure look like it as the numbers come in. How in the hell else can you explain the success (and they are financial successes) of movies like Disaster Movie? Sure there will always be fans of any movie. I know my personal “Top Movies List” looks nothing like it did in high school. But this isn’t that. This is bad work being rewarded because we simply have nothing better to do, which is a scary thought in-of-itself.

    We live in a “plugged-in” society that is almost ALWAYS looking for ways to be entertained. More so than any other generation has because they can. And this scares me as a movie fan. Simply put: the supply of good movies really can’t catch up with the desire for them. But studios will try, they have to. But this leads to sloppy storytelling and unsatisfying films (and reality TV, but that’s a whole other article).

    So in conclusion, I guess I kind of agree with Neal a bit. I just don’t place the blame where he does.

  • Brad | July 17, 2012 11:54 PMReply

    So, I am 34, so I am a smidge past the age he's referring to; however, I am a film dork and have been a film dork since the age of 13. I realize that we film dorks are a select breed, and probably don't represent what the "rank and file" think, but I would argue that the "rank and file" 30-somethings, 40-somethings, and 50-somethings aren't that much different. My partner is 43, and I usually have to do some convincing to make him watch something that isn't a new release, much less an older foreign film or an older documentary. He's usually pleased with it once he has watched, but it takes a little finesse to make it happen. Same with most of my friends who are in their 4s and 50s. My two close friends that are also in their 30s are the ones I can get to join me for film festivals or will be interested in discussion about film.

    I think Gabler's premise is severely flawed, but most of the comments I've read pertain to 20-somethings who do seek out these films, but not much to acknowledge that the elder generations are just as guilty.

  • Wes | July 17, 2012 10:30 PMReply

    Not sure if I am in the minority or majority but I went to college to study film and video production. I am only 24 and I can really say that I have grown to appreciate, if not love, some of the films of the 'old.' I do not know what he considers as old but I can say some of my favorite movies come from the 80s and even 70s. One of my all time favorite movies is Alien (1979), but yet right behind it is movies from the 90s and 00s. I think that "millennials" can find a balance in both and can appreciate both the films of old and of the present because without our "parent's films" we wouldn't have the films we have today.

  • Wade | July 17, 2012 9:40 PMReply

    Maybe I'm out of place here at age 60, but I'm quite optimistic about the millennial generation and their enthusiasm for film. When I was a teen the only way I could see an old movie was late Saturday night on channel 11. Now there are multiple ways to access great films past and I see lots of people doing it. I think anyone who delves into film to a certain level eventually wants to look into the history of the medium.

    I never saw a feature length silent film until I was in college. Anyone with any knowledge of filmmaking is quickly blown away by the work of Chaplin, Keaton, Eisenstein and others. With a good century of movies around, cable TV, digital media and the web I see a great future for young old movie buffs.

  • Sebastian | July 17, 2012 9:40 PMReply

    As a 21-year-old looking at a career in the film industry, I'm sorely disappointed in the reputation my generation has gained as a collection of young people that treat culture as disposable. That being said, a blanket statement of us all being ignorant of old cinema is just as regrettable. While some of my favorite films and directors do come from this new millennium, much of the best work is much older; I don't think I'd have the love and respect I hold toward cinema without films like Chinatown, Network, Annie Hall, Psycho, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Singin' in the Rain, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Airplane!, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Ran, Enter the Dragon, and the like.

    While the films of today certainly wow me with their visual effects and eye-popping technology, the films of yesterday hold more weight, more gravitas, and seem to, at the end, mean so much more. I'm so happy and so excited knowing that there are still decades worth of film left for me to explore throughout my life; contrary to Mr. Gabler's statements, I find myself looking backwards into cinema's past as much as I find myself looking forward toward its future.

  • Alasdair | July 17, 2012 9:33 PMReply

    I'm 25, and I'm already sick of reboots. It makes me sigh every time they announce a new one. I for one would much rather see Hollywood come up with some original ideas, and I think most people of all generations would agree with that.

    I also like old movies - I haven't seen as much as I should, but I'm trying to gradually acquaint myself with Hollywood's rich history. "Chinatown" and "Casablanca" are probably my favourite films. Personally, what I'd really like is if more cinemas devoted a screen or two to showing old films, to bring them to new audiences and for the benefit of those of us who didn't get to see them on the big screen first time around. Watching a film on DVD, however great it is, just isn't quite the same experience.

  • Stuart | July 17, 2012 8:59 PMReply

    21 years old. Fell in love with movies about four years ago, when I watched many canonized classics like Ikiru, Taxi Driver, and Citizen Kane. Currently I am obsessed with classical Hollywood cinema (special emphasis on the 50s) and French cinema of all stripes. My favorite films include Lubitsch's The Shop Around the Corner/Heaven Can Wait, Dovzhenko's Earth, Ford's The Sun Shines Bright/My Darling Clementine, Antonioni's L'Eclisse, McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow, Anthony Mann's Man of the West, Rivette's La Belle Noiseuse/Celine and Julie, Godard's Week End/Histoire(s) du cinéma, and just about everything directed by Bresson. This love of movies would be impossible without the Internet, and the proliferation of cinephile websites that have sprung up over the years. Sometimes I'm as worried as Gabler about the popularity of old movies and the collective cultural memory of 'millennials', but I feel that these things have always been concerns to an extent. What is unprecedented is the ease with which young people who truly have an interest in cinema can pursue that interest, largely thanks to digital media.

  • Adrienne | July 17, 2012 8:41 PMReply

    24 years old. Not a film student, nor do I claim to know anything about the film industry, greatest directors of all time, or anything like that. But if you're looking for a "general public" type of person, I will say that I have a diary from when I was eight years old and in that diary, I talk about my celebrity crush at the time, Jimmy Stewart. When I was 13, I had an Alfred Hitchcock themed birthday party. In my room now, hangs a 'Casablanca' and a 'Sabrina' poster. Just actually watched an Alfred Hitchcock today. I was inspired to watch it because I had a conversation with an 18-year old recently who told me his favorite movie was Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rope'

    Although we may be in the woodwork, we're still out here.

  • Matthew | July 17, 2012 8:37 PMReply

    From a young age movies were simply little attractions to me. I would watch them to pass the time and think little of their importance in terms of artistic merit or value to culture. But then something changed 4 years ago. One summer Saturday morning I awoke and our family TV had a new station, Turner Classic Movies. I was intrigued. I had oft heard my mother, father, and especially my grandfather, wax poetic on certain films. Speaking highly of the skills of actors and the fantastical worlds movies could take you to they would speak to me and I would remember the movies names, placing them in a file within my brain. When I turned to this channel and saw the crisp and contrasting glow of a Some Like It Hot in beautiful quality on TV I was enraptured. But most important of all that file of movie titles burst open. The films of yester-year my aging parents and parents parents would ramble on about as I sat listening now became available. I can without a doubt say that classic cinema is the reason movies, movie culture, are essential to my life. Now 20 and entering my third year as a student studying films I'm can still remember days in the summer when I would spend hours indoors gorging myself on the films of Zanuck, Chaplin, Ford, Keaton, Fellini, Antonioni, Visconti, Godard, Truffaut, Kurosawa, Lang and so many more visionary directors, producers, and astounding performances by actors. Classic cinema and old movies are as essential to me as the films released today because I love movies. That includes all of the them from the early Lumiere's and Melie's, up to Malick and Winding Refn's most recent offerings. Movies are my life.

  • Andrea | July 17, 2012 7:57 PMReply

    When you look at the 'best films of all time' lists of would-be younger critics, it's downright pathetic. They list movies like 'Pulp Fiction', 'Tree of Life', and worse. Yes, there are lots of young film geeks around, but they're a bunch of hipsters without the patience, fortitude, depth, and insight of past critics like Sarris, Kauffmann, Rosenbaum, etc.

  • Matthew Hall | July 17, 2012 7:08 PMReply

    27 year old filmmaker and fellow cinephile here from Southern California... Gabler's biography of Walt sits on my shelf alongside other biographies of DeMille, Harryhausen, Lucas, Spielberg, Kubrick, Hitchcock, etc. It saddens me to say that Gabler thinks that the younger generation doesn't buy in to our predecessor's work. If parents and teachers took the time to screen classics like 'North by Northwest' or 'Singin' in the Rain' to their children (like mine did), things might be a lot different today. My great grand uncle was Charlie Chaplin's art director on 'Modern Times', 'The Gold Rush' and 'City Lights'... They don't make them like that anymore, and if kids were given the chance to see those, they might agree. Films today play out like glorified television commercials, promoting the latest products and relying on visual effects to tell the story (what little there may be of it). I say push for film education as a general ed in schools, right alongside Literature and History where it belongs.

  • Christian Gregory | July 17, 2012 6:25 PMReply

    This pisses me off since I am currently reading Gabler's Walt Disney biography. Well, my favorite movie of all time is from 2010 that is true... But the rest of the ones (and yes I have made a list) consist of two other movies from my lifetime and seven from before I was born.
    My favorite actors are almost all dead and most were even dead before I was born. 24 years old, and the only thing I can currently imagine loving more than film? Myrna Loy IN film!

  • Brendan | July 17, 2012 6:03 PMReply

    21 one year old here. Look, I'm not going to deny that my love for movies comes from more contemporaneous sources. The reason I fell in love with movies was seeing Fellowship of the Ring on the big screen at age 11. But that doesn't mean I ONLY like new films. Instead, loving the new has instilled a hunger to learn about the past and find the influences and sources that modern filmmakers, writers, artists and thinkers draw on when creating their own works.

    So it was BECAUSE I love modern cinema that I hunted down for the older films by guys like Jackson, Raimi, Nolan and del Toro. And from there I looked for the films that had inspired them, ranging from Romero to Lean to Harryhausen to Fellini to Kurosawa and all the rest. And then I dug even further to explore as much as possible. Silent comedies, German expressionism, Neorealism, the surrealistic works of Bunuel, etc.

    It's not about MODERN movies versus OLD movies, or about this generation versus that one. It's about the love of movies, the love of knowledge, the love of having more to learn, the love of, well, love, essentially. So long as people possess curious minds and seek to understand the things they are passionate about, there will always be an audience for the old, the strange and the little-seen. In movie and in anything in life.

  • Brandon Isaacson | July 17, 2012 5:57 PMReply


    I'm 21 years old. I definitely have a bias towards newer films, but that has more to do with seeing things in theaters vs. at home. Unless you live in a major city, it's very difficult to see old films in a theater. I go to school in Boston so I do have this opportunity. One of my most memorable moments in my 3 years at school was seeing Bicycle Thieves at the Brattle Theater.

    Some other old movies and auteurs I love (since Gabler mentioned movies older than we are, I'll do anything 30+ years old): Cabaret, The Shining and earlier Kubrick, Shock Corridor, Safety Last!, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Repulsion, Twelve Angry Men, early Tarkovsky, original Scarface, Annie Hall, Bergman, 400 Blows, La Jetee

  • Nicole | July 17, 2012 5:56 PMReply

    As much as I would like to say "yeah totally" to this piece (like I almost did BEFORE I actually read it), I think it's flawed. Case in point this year was the 3rd year in a row getting to go to the TCM Film Festival. Now mine you there were obviously a huge majority of older attendees, but this year I noticed that I wasn't the youngest person there. This year I was meeting kids who were 18/19 years old freaking out about seeing Robert Evans in person and rushing to see Thief of Baghdad w/ a live orchestra. One of this year's major guests was Kim Novak, and I remember 2 girls around 14/15 years old giggly beyond repair because they got their poster of Vertigo signed by her. That alone made my weekend.

  • Samantha Klein | July 17, 2012 5:50 PMReply

    I am a 26 year old female living in NYC and could not disagree more with Neil Gabler's article. Tell Neil Gabler to buy a copy of Simon Reynolds' book 'Retromania' and tell me what he thinks when he finishes.

  • Brent | July 17, 2012 5:36 PMReply

    I'm a 25 year old male living in Kansas. My favorite film is Felini's "8 1/2." There are many older films that I've yet to watch, but I'll list out twenty that I've enjoyed within the past five years: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cool Hand Luke, Breathless, Band of Outsiders, The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus, Strangers on a Train, Rebel Without a Cause, Chinatown, Silkwood, Paper Moon, Annie Hall, Days of Heaven, Taxi Driver, Dog Day Afternoon, Rebecca, Rosemary's Baby, Don't Look Now, and Badlands.

  • Brent | July 17, 2012 5:37 PM

    *Fellini's. Well, that's embarrassing.

  • Rachael | July 17, 2012 5:33 PMReply

    Twenty years old, majoring in Cinema Studies. I have been a fan of films from all eras and nations from the time I was twelve. I love silents, films from the American studio era, and Russian cinema. At the same time, I am very open to new movies, including reboots or updates. It's all art!

  • Oliver Lyttelton | July 17, 2012 5:33 PMReply

    Firstly, lovely piece/call-to-arms, Mr. Singer. Secondly, I'm 26, and I've been making a living writing about movies (old films as much as new, to my immense pleasure) for a couple of years now. But long before that, I was learning Marx Brothers routines off by heart at 11, or falling in love with North By Northwest at 14, or seeing Apocalypse Now at midnight on the big screen at 17, or taking a girl to Casablanca on Valentine's Day at 21 (it totally worked...). I suspect I'm in the minority for my age group, although the heartening comments make me feel I'm not. But in a way, I suspect I always would have been; the same complaints Gabler makes could likely have applied to at least the last few generations before mine. And I think you're absolutely right to say that the greater our access to media, the more likely we are to delve into older stuff. And that doesn't just involve streaming services. Here in London, there's the Secret Cinema brand, which sold nearly a million pound's worth of tickets to The Third Man over the course of a month. Or the open air screenings at Somerset House, which sell out ever year, and this year, are showing things like The Bicycle Thieves and Paris Texas. A proportion of that audience are cinephiles, sure, but a big chunk aren't. You're never going to have forty million people watching The Wizard Of Oz together on TV or anything, but the idea that an entire generation, layman or not, are rejecting older films is pretty ridiculous.

  • Ryan Michaels | July 17, 2012 5:30 PMReply

    Personally, I'm 15 years old and have written about films for the last five years, contributing both to many local newspapers in the Michigan area, and to my website, (Perhaps you saw Kevin Smith's Twitter pimping out my positive 'Red State' review a year ago? Totally self-promoting here.) It may just be because of the fairly left-wing college-town I live in, but film has always been a fairly significant part of both my peers' lives and my own. If millennials didn't give a shit about movies, we certainly wouldn't spend some Saturday nights bickering between Truffaut vs. Malle, Aronofsky vs. Nolan, et cetera et cetera. As I said, it may just be my area, but I think the widespread availability of just about any film imaginable has amplified our generational curiosity about the form. Just my two cents.

  • Pete | July 17, 2012 5:27 PMReply

    I'm 31 and thus slightly out of this study, but agree with much of what is being said here. Remakes are not new to this generation (see Gaslight being remade in 1944, four years after the original). James Bond has been rebooted every decade or so. Five different actors played Philip Marlowe in the 1940s. Kids these days.

  • Jenny | July 17, 2012 7:13 PM

    Thank you. I consider movies similarly to how I consider theater. There is nothing wrong with using the same source material but presenting it with new acting talent and their own interpretation of the characters. So many good movies (Wizard of Oz, Streetcar Named Desire, Scarface, The Thing) were remakes but managed to become classics in their own right. I just like seeing actors take an iconic figure like Tony Montana or I dunno... Peter Parker... and doing their take on him. I heard they're re-making Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. I loved the original, but you know, I'm kind of looking forward to it. Get a couple of really talented contemporary actresses to take on juicy roles like that and it could be something special.

  • Jake | July 17, 2012 5:24 PMReply

    19. The seeds of my cinephilia were sown at a young age through watching films like "The Adventures of Robin Hood," "Captain Blood," "The Wizard of Oz," and countless John Wayne movies. Today, I count 1960's "The Apartment" as my favorite film. My dad and I always bond over our mutual appreciation of classic film noir. I will add the caveat that I am currently majoring in English and Cinema Studies, so my interests aren't likely to coincide with the "Average" 19 year old.

    In terms of the debate of "appreciation", I would say it is only fair to take younger generations to task for their short term memory only if one also makes an effort to do away with the "they-don't-make-'em-like-they-used-to" fallacy. Statements like this always irk me, cinema as a whole is always in some sort of golden age; the audience member's role is to do a little leg work to ferret out the best work and sites like Indiewire and others make that relatively painless.

  • Josh | July 17, 2012 5:21 PMReply

    Hi, my name is Josh, I'm 18, and my favorite movie is Seven Samurai. I know that perhaps I'm in the minority in my age group, but that doesn't mean that I -- and others like me -- don't exist. I think that services like Netflix and Youtube have really opened the door for young people to experience older films. Also helpful? The Criterion Collection. I probably would've never seen Bicycle Thieves without it, but now it rests comfortably on my shelf. Right next to Batman Begins.

  • John | July 17, 2012 5:02 PMReply

    I think people are already like that, and have been for years and years. If not, then why didn't people in 1977 realize just how much Star Wars stole from Flash Gordon (people are always shocked when I show them the opening scrolls moving away from camera in the old Flash Gordon serials) or why everyone thinks Tarantino is such a genius when all he does is steal from older films like "The Killing", "Deliverance", spaghetti Westerns, or literally hundreds of other movies. I know 30 somethings that are employed in the film business that couldn't pick Humphrey Bogart out of a line-up of Bogey, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable or Ester Williams.

    This is not a new trend and I wonder why the LA Times is actually wasting time and print on it. That said, I think it depends on the film. My 13 year old nephew LOVES the original Star Wars films (the first of which is 35 years old).

    Batman Begins was only 8 years after the last Batman movie, and it started this whole new trend on retooling franchises. It's a trend to restart a franchise as if the previous films didn't exist, and the LA Times should know better. The fact that Sony is retooling Spiderman has more to do with having to make a film to retain the rights (there was a clicking clock on it) than anything else. You can get the film before the cameras faster if 60 to 80% of your story is just rehashing what has already been done.

  • Linda | July 17, 2012 4:48 PMReply

    I teach a class at our local high school called Art of Film. About 30 to 50% of the senior class signs up for the class knowing that it is challenging and a study of old films and directors they haven't heard of. I sleep well at night knowing each year I introduce 100s of students to our American film heritage. Rosebud. 'nuff said.

  • Pablo L. | July 17, 2012 4:45 PMReply

    21. Apart from enjoying the gift that is TCM, ever since I was thirteen I've been buying cheap DVDs in order to satisfy my love of film. This was probably jump-started by "The Great Dictator", which led to young me buying "Young Frankenstein" and "Duck Soup" (SO MUCH WIN). Just for starters. Now my dvd collection goes from Buster Keaton's The General to Nolan's The Dark Knight. The great thing about this has not only been looking for classics (Casablanca), but also finding movies I hadn't heard much of at the time (Paths of Glory, I knew so little about you when we met), and hunting for a particular film (it took time, but Once upon I time in the west, I caught you).

    Also, I the article doesn't seem to take into acount how many of this millennials grew up with reruns just like all the other generations (that had a TV). Apart from the constant exposure to 80's action movies you get out of being born in the nineties, you had films like Jaws, Star Wars, E.T., Raiders, Die Hard,... And because of VHS and DVDs, most of this millennials have seen and/loved the most famous Disney films (Snow White, Bambi, Pinocchio, Dumbo, etc.). And I already said Jaws, but, I have probably seen that movie for each summer of my life (not literally).

  • Allie | July 17, 2012 4:40 PMReply

    Neal Gabler, I respectfully disagree with you. I'm 25, neither work in the film industry nor have a degree in film studies, and I regularly watch films made long before I was born. (The Philadelphia Story is my favorite film of all time.) I usually go to the theater once or twice a month, and watch a DVD or two a week, so I'm by no means a huge cinephile. Sure, I love watching newer films too, but it has less to do with their cultural cachet or keeping up with the Joneses, and more to do with following directors and stories I'm passionate about.

    Thankfully, Netflix, streaming video, the Criterion Collection, film websites, Twitter recommendations from friends and critics, and other amazing innovations have made it easier than ever for me to watch older films, and for that, I'm grateful. Now if only my town would get a decent repertory theater!

  • Allie | July 17, 2012 4:51 PM

    I'll also add that my parents, who are rank-and-file boomer moviegoers approaching their 60s (i.e. "just give me something funny and easy to understand, nothing sad or boring") probably haven't watched a single movie more than two years after it was made in more than a decade. My dad showed me a few of his "classics" when I was a kid (think Caddyshack and Monty Python and the Holy Grail), but they don't own any old movies and don't watch them. So it's not just those under 30 who are entirely absorbed by the new. I've probably seen more films from my parents' heyday in the '60s and '70s than they have-- I know for a fact that they haven't seen any of the original Star Wars films, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, anything Kubrick other than 2001...

  • Jaguar | July 17, 2012 4:31 PMReply

    Some of my favorite movies from when I was 12 (I'm 32 now) to, well, the present day: A Clockwork Orange. The Lion in Winter (w/Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole). Double Indemnity. Touch of Evil. Every Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes ever. The original Italian Job and the original Psycho, neither of which should have been remade because they were fine as they were. The Sting was and remains one of my favorites. Metropolis holds a place of honor on my DVD shelf. So does The Aristocats, which was one of my favorite Disney movies as a child. And it would be hard to deny that people of all ages, including millennials, appreciate the value of the Indiana Jones series or the Star Wars trilogy, or even the classic Star Trek films. Never underestimate the power of genre fiction fans! The sweeping generalization is just that, a generalization, and it frankly sounds like the kind of nostalgic complaining stereotypical of anyone old enough to whip out the phrase "before your time."

  • Nicholas Kelly | July 17, 2012 4:25 PMReply

    I'm 20 years old, and yes, my favorite movie is a fairly recent one ("The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"), but I would say it's almost tied with Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" and Richard Lester's "A Hard Day's Night" in my favorite movies list. Kurosawa happens to be my favorite director. The first movie I can remember watching is David Lean's "The Bridge on the River Kwai," and I can also remember watching "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Searchers" at a very young age. I did my high school senior thesis on American Cinema from 1967 to 1980, and of course I loved writing about "Star Wars," "Jaws" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," but I also loved the fact that I could write a school paper on "Nashville," "The Wild Bunch," "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and "The Godfather." And just like this article suggests, modern media has made it even easier for me to see old movies. Through Netflix, I was able to see "The General," "M" and "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." Hell, I just watched Murnau's "Sunrise" on Youtube! And who could forget good old TCM?
    Yes, there are many new movies that I love, too. My list of favorite directors includes Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro, Wes Anderson and Christopher Nolan. I am one of the millions of people who can't wait to see "The Dark Knight Rises" this weekend. But guess what? My dad told me that he has never been as excited to see a movie as much as "The Dark Knight Rises" and he is well over 30. And of course, he is the one who introduced me to old movies, who showed me "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "The Searchers" when I was probably way too young to have seen them, who taught me about letterboxing and made sure that I knew the names of the directors and not just the stars. The thing is that I love movies. I don't care when or where they were made just as long as they absorb me in the stories that they tell. Of course, as a lover of film, I have an affinity for certain film periods, and interestingly enough, they tend to skew older. My favorite era of American cinema is (you guessed it) 1967-1980. I love the way movies from that era look and feel. But above everything, I love black and white. If I had to choose between watching movies only in black-and-white or only in color, I wouldn't hesitate for a second in choosing black-and-white.

  • F.P. | July 17, 2012 4:19 PMReply

    the flaw in asking your question here, Matt, (aside from the fact that most young people are generally navel-gazing twits anyway, be they from the age of Shakespeare, colonial America, or the social network) is that the proletariat "millenial" texter-in-the-theatre is that they're not reading indieWire, they're reading Twitter. if you're a millenial reading the question here, you're already inured to the way filmmakers uphold the work of masters from past eras by your desire to know what else is playing in theatres besides The Avengers. ask your question there via a proletariat account, like @LATimes or @KimKardashian, and you'll get a better mix of answers.

  • Ken | July 17, 2012 4:18 PMReply

    I'm 27 years old and I love movies. I almost got a degree in film, and only changed during the home stretch because the politics of my particular program were sucking the joy from what was otherwise an enriching education.

    I've been fortunate to catch theatrical screenings (sometimes in their original 35 or 70mm formats) of a number of terrific movies, including 2001: A Space Odyssey (twice), the African Queen, and my favorite movie, full stop: Taxi Driver. I am not privileged to live in an area where such screenings occur regularly. I have to seek them out, and often travel far out of my area.

    I did see the new Spider-Man, and I did enjoy it. I'm far from convinced that the American public's voracious appetite for superhero stories can be explained by a lack of appreciation for what has come before. Remember that these characters have been around for a very long time, and much of the satisfaction with seeing those stories retold on the big screen is seeing how the telling evolves and how it remains faithful to the platonic ideal of these characters that reside in our collective consciousness.

    I've heard a lot of talk that it's too soon to do another take on Spider-Man, but really... when these movies are old enough to be considered in hindsight, is that even going to matter to anybody?

  • Jenny | July 17, 2012 4:16 PMReply

    Hi, I'm Jenny, I'm under the age of 30, and I love movies! Fritz Lang's M, The Third Man, Rashomon, Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, 12 Angry Men, Peeping Tom, and Psycho are all pre-70's movies that rest securely in my top 20. :)

    I do have to roll my eyes at the "kids these days" sentiment which has been ubiquitous since the beginning of recorded history. Also, it being attached to the Spider-Man reboot which by-the-by ended up being better than the "old" ones anyway. Regardless of the state of modern blockbusters, if you're really having a hard time finding a good movie to watch amidst the throngs of decent, sometimes lesser-known offerings every year, you aren't paying attention.

  • WriterDudeLA | July 17, 2012 3:46 PMReply

    I'm an old codger. Most of the respondents weren't around when I was thirty so my comments are not about the so-called "millennials" movie preferences but rather about sweeping generalizations about the viewing preferences of groups. You know, comments like "Men don't go to chick flicks," "Women don't like action movies," "People over forty don't go to the movies," or "millennials don't like movies that are older than themselves." Nonsense. A good story is a good story and crosses gender and age lines precisely because it resonates with viewers. An action movie without a great story isn't going to be appreciated by any group no matter how robust the marketing hype behind the film. "John Carter" anyone? Likewise, a chick flick with cliched and unsympathetic characters isn't going to resonate with men or women. Yet, chick flicks like "The Help," and "Mamma Mia!" appealed to male audiences because the stories weren't cliched, the characters were sympathetic and the stories transcended gender and age lines. I suspect, that "millennials" like all of us, respond to movies that are relevant to them and to the times. If a movie doesn't resonate with viewers, don't blame the audience, blame the filmmaker or blame the marketer that hypes and doesn't deliver, but don't blame the audience because they don't like the Castor Oil that's being offered instead of the Champagne that was advertised.

  • Rathan Krueger | July 17, 2012 3:41 PMReply

    I'm 26 and I run the Stanley Kubrick section on Reddit ( Methinks that's all I need to say.

  • Thomas Itpick | July 17, 2012 3:33 PMReply

    I love old movies. I watch them all the time. Just watched Carmen Jones recently OnDemand with the always beautiful Dorothy Dandridge. Not sure how much help I am in that I'm right on the cusp of being 30. I turn 29 at the end of September. I think what it really is, is that making movies has become a business. a very profitable business. The ones calling the shots are far older than 30. I think with Spider-Man, the real problem was that the movies had gone so far off track from what the source material dictated, and the 3rd one (while admittedly having some of the best fight scenes I've seen) was pretty abysmal story wise, to make a 4th film in the same continuity might have been a patch job and delivered a substandard product. And as I recall, if Sony hadn't cashed in on Spider-Man, the rights would have reverted back to Marvel. The point I'm trying to make is that Spider-Man isn't the best evidence in Gabler's case. My generation, the under 30 crowd, are fine with old movies. One of my favorites is Butch Cassiday and the Sundance Kid. The chemistry between Newman and Redford is dynamite. The gaps between reboots is less about the audience than it is about the suits making decisions. Amazing Spider-Man pulled in about $140M in it's first 6 days which is probably on track for what a 4th in the series would have produced after Spider-Man 3. That says to me that people turned out to see spider-man do stuff. Avengers was a work of art in that the story was spread out over 5 movies before climaxing in the big 6th film. People were invested in where all this was going and it showed at the box office with $200M weekend. People are willing to pay the money for good work, but the suits have to be willing to give us something to pay for. And they have to drop the cash to market the movie correctly (I'm looking at you John Carter).

  • Camille Bert | July 17, 2012 3:33 PMReply

    I am 23 and my favorite film is The Night of The Hunter, 1955, before my parents were born.
    The beautiful thing is that we have access to many more 1960s films today than Neil Gabler ever could get to as a young cinephile and student in that same decade.
    Let's take advantage of it

  • Tara | July 17, 2012 3:27 PMReply

    YOU ARE TOO WRONG, NEAL GABLER. From ages 16-18, when I really discovered how much I enjoy film, I dedicated my movie-watching life solely to old movies, in fear that I would become too caught up in newer, more superficial movies. The public library/netflix had it all; everything from Metropolis to Casablanca to Woody Allen to Raging Bull. The newest movies I had seen were Almodóvar's later ones and Inglourious Basterds. Also, I wear many of my mother's clothes. Cheaper to take them from her closet than a vintage store.

  • JADE | July 17, 2012 3:26 PMReply

    It is not that at all. It is in fact that money minded hollywood is cashing in on nostalgia. They know you will go and see Ghosbusters 3 etc to relive your youth or share with you children or nieces and nephews. I personally as well as ten of my friends have vowed not to go and see the new Spiderman because they 'Do not see the point' and ' The Toby McGuire one felt like it was only out 5 minutes ago'. The guy is talking drivel. There are very little risk takers in blockbusters so they will continue to regurgitate the same things so what else is left to feed on.

  • Jess Hicks | July 17, 2012 3:06 PMReply

    I'm 25, and I must emphatically but politely disagree with Neal Gabler. This is the same debate that literally every generation has: the young kids these days don't respect the golden art of yore. In the early 1900s, elders criticized the young for enjoying the novelty of cinema instead of embracing the tradition of print novels. The fact of the matter is that more artistic films still have their popular place; the Almodovars and Von Triers of this world aren't going anywhere. Their work may be overshadowed by the pop culture-driven box office, but that's the doing of more than just people under 30. We're all responsible for box office numbers.

    Certainly, there are some people who refuse to see older films, but let's cut these kids some slack. As time moves forward, there's always a greater distance between the next generation of viewers and the so-called "Classics". The Netflixization of America makes us all amateur cinephiles, and our cinematic viewing histories are more varied than ever. We watch and consume more than ever, which may be the reason why remakes are more frequent. More importantly, legal rights for certain characters will change hands if the likeness is not used frequently enough. If there hadn't been a new Spiderman film, the rights may have defaulted back to Marvel. Obviously, the issue is quite complicated, so let's not be lazy and blame those young whippersnappers.

  • Ryan Clark | July 17, 2012 3:03 PMReply

    I'm 24 years old and I've ALWAYS loved old movies. Most of my favorite movies are from the 70s and 80s. I think Gabler is mostly right – the majority of young people DON'T care about old movies – but he's overlooked the fact that many older people don't even like the movies from their generation anymore. We live in a very youth-obsessed society, and the older people are caught up in it, too. They don't want anything old because it reminds them of their age. This is nothing new, of course, but it's becoming more apparent as cinema grows older. There are always exceptions, but, unfortunately, we students of film are in the minority.

  • Hipstercrite | July 17, 2012 3:02 PMReply

    Neal, I'm 29. Recently, I met another twenty-something who had a tattoo of Harpo Marx. I recognized it as the same tattoo Harpo Marx had of himself in the film Duck Soup. The girl and I had a moment. I nearly started crying. We exist.

  • Scott Nye | July 17, 2012 2:57 PMReply

    According to his short bio at the end and the newspaper in which this appeared, Mr. Gabler obviously lives in Los Angeles, and I would suggest he take a trip to the New Beverly or Cinefamily on any given weekend. Doesn't matter what's showing - young people will be there, and more often than not, will be the majority of the audience.

  • Malcolm | July 17, 2012 2:53 PMReply

    I'm actually 32 so I don't qualify. I do, however, come to offer proof that a lot of millenials DO have an appreciation for older films. Check out these links to youtube vlogs:

    That's just scratching the surface. There's actually a vibrant amateur youtube movie reviewing/amateur film critic community and they value being film-literate. And many of them are under 30.

  • TheMajorNL | July 17, 2012 2:51 PMReply

    I mostly agree with Gabler. You can't prove him wrong by showing there are youngsters who care for classics. Of course they do exist. I am one of them at 26 years of age.

    In my experience, he's mostly right. The majority does not care for older films and with most of them it takes quite an effort to get them to watch it and if they do, it takes quite some exposure for them to appreciate the old films as much as they do recent films.

    However, the point Gabler is trying to make is that the fact that young people seeing films as fashion is the cause for the short gap between remakes. Well, most theater audiences go there to see the latest release, not to see an old film. But I don't see how this relates to the small gap between remakes.

  • Chris Ward | July 17, 2012 2:49 PMReply

    As it happens, I'm currently trying to compile a list of every film I've ever seen (don't ask what prompted it). This has involved trudging my way through the yearly listings of the IMDb ( in chronological order and taking notes as I go. I haven't counted shorts under around 10 minutes (so no Looney Tunes, Disney shorts, really early Lumiere brothers, etc.), but more or less everything else is fair game. As it stands, having reached 1962, I have 289 films on the list. I turned 26 in May. That means I still have another 24 years' worth of films to list before I even reach the year I was born. I have no formal qualification in either film-making or film criticism. Please, Mr Gabler - don't patronise me.

  • Cody MacDougall | July 17, 2012 2:45 PMReply

    I'm 20, and I just had the time of my life watching The Red Shoes on the big screen.

  • Da7e | July 17, 2012 2:45 PMReply

    I'm a spry 27 years old and am usually hanging out with my peers. I'm an avid consumer of movies ever since I worked my way though the AFI Top 100 in my youth when it was first released (believe it or not), I attended a university program that taught me about the old studio system where stars were paramount (sometimes at Paramount) and writers churned out films. I watched to educate myself before I watched to entertain myself and that only lead to welcome surprises. I think this argument is being taken from the completely wrong perspective. We're a generation capable of absorbing more, full stop. We've been raised with it, we've adapted to it and we're learning how to use it for our benefit. Believe me, I had the exact same questions for the producers about why Amazing Spider-Man exists, but they did it because we have money they want: Same as it ever was. I acknowledge that we are by far the worst American Generation currently crawling the planet (at least the small vocal sect of us self-identifying as Millennials before someone yells at us for something), but maybe you, Mr. Gabler, missed the point of Amazing Spider-Man. If you want to trash remix culture for not creating new art, start with music and work your way up.

  • John Sutton | July 17, 2012 2:41 PMReply

    The first movie I watched, as a 24 year old, when I got Netfilx streaming was the 1948 film The Bicycle Theif, my favorite movie of all time is Shawshank Redemption which I first saw at the age of 13, and my 22 year old girlfriend has a worn down VHS of Some Like it Hot that we have watched no less than 3 times.

  • Madison L. | July 17, 2012 2:40 PMReply

    My son is 18. He's been coming up to me for well over two years, hey, Mom, did you know this movie, or do you know this actor? Latest was DeNiro in Cape Fear. Because of Netflix, instant watch and DVDs, he's been exploring old films on his own and with friends. He's become quite the film lover and at times quite astute critic. Because the under 30 are doing it quietly at home or college, not making a lot of noise about it, it doesn't mean it's not happening. I find the same has been happening with music from the 6os and 70s because of family iTunes libraries.

  • Danny Baldwin | July 17, 2012 2:37 PMReply

    Matt- As one who firmly qualifies as a Millennial, I think Gabler is right. I didn't go to film school, but I took every elective I had at USC in the film department, and a solid majority of the film students there had no interest in anything made before their birthdate unless it was directed by Lucas or Spielberg.

    There was a class which surveyed the entire body of work of a renowned director--Scorsese and Hitchcock, for instance--in which they got to see almost every movie by said director projected on archival prints... An opportunity that most cinephile-types would salivate over, but all I would hear was complaining about how long and tedious sitting through it was.

    Undoubtedly, there are many Millennials interested in this stuff--just look at the comments here--but a disproportionate number of them are visiting sites like this one.

  • Rebecca N | July 17, 2012 2:36 PMReply

    I'm 30 and grew up loving American Movie Classics (before they had commercials) and wandered over to TCM later on. Don't forget the REAL oldies - the silent films. If you're aware of Kino DVD's, then maybe you're all set.

  • Laura | July 17, 2012 2:36 PMReply


    I strongly disagree with your comments about millenials wanting the newest fad in movies and demanding remakes within just a couple years. I've read previous comments and found them to be almost exactly like mine. I love new blockbusters (and even some recent remakes) but I also have a love for movies created in the last 40 to 50 years. Heck, I know more about movies from the 1960s to 1990s than my 60 year-old parents do, and they are huge movie buffs.

    In my opinion, the studios are the ones to blame for the parade of remakes. I was 13/14 when the first Spiderman came out with Tobey Maguire and now I am 24. Did you ever think studios were wanting to target the next generation and see if it can still be a viable franchise? Regardless, I enjoy all types of movies and am often sometimes so disappointed with a new movie that I've seen that I resort back to my old favorites made over the last several decades. Give me Fight Club, Grease, Pulp Fiction, Godfather Part II, and many others any day of the week!

  • john lichman | July 17, 2012 2:32 PMReply

    i've seen a chinese propaganda film from 1915 in a theater. your entire argument is invalid, old man.

  • Becky | July 17, 2012 2:31 PMReply

    Guess as a 32 yr old I dont count but I felt the need to comment. So friends and I have been distance watching (thank you Twitter!) movies together just about every weekend since the beginning of the year. I decided to keep track of just how many movies, including these distance watched films, I see for this whole year. That list ranges from movie made (so far) as far back as 1939 thru this year. Our calender for what we watch next includes a lot more older movies as well. A good movie is a good movie, doesn't matter how old it is. If those that own the rights to older films decided to market them or even have special screenings, you'd probably be surprised how many millenials and others show up!

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