Retro Cinema Programs Reboot Hollywood Classics
By Christy Blevins
Hollywood may be making more original films than they have been in the past years, but that still doesn’t mean they are stopping their attempts to create remakes or washed-up sequels of movies long ago. This unfortunately means that most children and the high-school-aged generation will probably neglect to see films deemed classic or original versions of their modern favorites. They would instead pick the easy way out and watch the more contemporary pictures.
I have always enjoyed watching movies. From early on, I fell in love with the story-telling from most eras. My mother would show me the classics, from Alfred Hitchcock’s films to To Kill a Mockingbird, all the way down to the old John Wayne westerns. Recently, though, I have found myself becoming lazy and, when given an option, I would sit down to watch a more modern film with friends than the classics. This is unfortunate, because I consider these classics from the ’20s to the ’80s to be an important part of American and film culture.
This is a part of American culture that people are and will miss out on because Hollywood is so intent on making things “better” and “more modern.” Film makers are leaving original films alone and going for a new screenplay altogether. Don’t get me wrong, some remakes are great, maybe even better than the original, but most aren’t.
In the past years movies from Carrie to True Grit have been remade to feature more modern stars, effects, and a more contemporary take all together. This takes away from the feel of watching a movie. Yes, there are still good movies out there. I love a lot of the effects and techniques put into movies today, but nothing beats sitting down to watch a “classic” film that forces you to use imagination, listen to the songs in the background, and really watch the story unfold.
Luckily for us, some theaters are adopting a new promotion and are screening “retro” movies (as one place calls it) on certain days or weekends. Now this is the way to watch the classics. Not only is it a great ploy for the theaters to sell more tickets, but it’s a chance for the public to watch original films the way they should be seen and experienced: in the big screen.
This trend of showing retro movies has recently been popping up in larger movie theater chains such as The Grand Theaters and AMC theaters, but there are also smaller and more local chains that are adopting the idea as well. With a little research, it’s easy to find theaters with “Classic Series” or “Retro Cinema” programs. In Virginia, there seems to be only two currently, unless the Regal theater chain picks up a program. One in particular is in the smaller chain of Paramount Cinema, and they are currently offering 2001: A Space Odyssey, Mary Poppins, and an original James Bond Marathon. Other theaters following in this trend have been offering other originals such as The Breakfast Club and Cool Hand Luke.
Showing retro films and hosting special weekends or week days to screen these movies is a perfect way to combat the loss of people experiencing these stories. Yes, we have Netflix, Hulu, and illegal sites online, but that doesn’t cut it. Netflix offers plenty of classics, but not all. Plus, some people can’t even access Netflix. And besides, what’s better than catching an old favorite with movie popcorn and the drama of the big screen?