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Were movies better in the 80s and 90s or is it just nostalgia?

hariseldon

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The thing I think some of those defending modern films are missing is that while modern films may be technically stronger, they are also sterile.
In some ways it’s the same as gaming - in the 90s games were less consistent, some absolute shit got released but we also had a tonne of stone cold classics that defined their genres for decades to come. Now most games are technically competent, we just don’t see the kind of absolute train wreck anymore, but we’re missing the amazing creations outside of a few special works like Kingdom Come Deliverance. It’s all 7/10 games now. Films are the same. Technically very polished, undoubtedly very good cinematography, but the magic has mostly gone. There are exceptions like the wonderful Joker (though that is basically a 70s film released in the 10s) and Parasite, but it seems that there’s a lack of passion in the industry. I think in part it’s because now we have Disney owning everything big and then some tiny crappy indie studios and nothing in between, nothing mid-sized where the risk-taking or even fun little films that don’t cost a fortune and just tell a fun self-contained story comes from.
 

Greedings

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They were better. I’m too young to have nostalgia for 80s movies, but they’re substantially better than the crap there is now.
 

TheExorzist

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Yes. Simply because Hollywood was still ran by creative people up until the 90s, so natuarally there was more varied content. Also no interet. Meaning, it was very hard to predict for filmmakers what would be sucessfull or not, which is why more risky stuff was approved.

I'd also say this level of filmmaking was extended until the mid 00s, when quality suddenly started to drop signifcantly - and from then on it became worse every year. Not to be misunderstood, every now and then still amazing movies are being made but it's less original stuff every year.
 

Hulk_Smash

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I don't know, I think movies are still great after 2000.

2001
Gladiator, Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Memento, The Devils Backbone, Amelie, Mulholland Drive, Dornie Darko, Artificial Intelligence, Shaolin Soccer, Training Day, A Perfect Mind, Oceans 11, Black Hawk Down, The Others, Zoolander, Kiss the Dragon.

2002
The Pianist, Minority Report, Secretary, One Hour Photo, Infernal Affairs, Catch Me if You Can, 28 Days Later, The Bourbe Identity, Panic Room, Changing Lanes, Punch Drunk Love, Spirited Away, Gangs of New York, Spider-Man, Blade 2.

2003
Monster, Mystic River, Lost in Translation, Kill Bill 1, X-Men 2, Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, School of Rock, Elf, Oldboy, 21 Grams, Bad Boys 2, Paycheck.

2004
Team America, Anchorman, Spider-Man 2, Million Dollar Baby, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kill Bill 2, The Life Aquatic, The Aviator, Collateral, Hellboy, National Treasure, Troy, The Terminal. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle

2005
Memories of Murder, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Batman Begins, Munich, King Kong, A History of Violence, Brick, The Island, Memoirs of a Geisha, Mr & Mrs Smith, The Descent.

2006
The Drparted, Pan's Labyrinth, The Fountain, Children of Men, The Prestige, Apocalypto, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, Blood Diamond, Deja Vu, Hot Fuzz.

2007
The Assasination of Jesse James, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Zodiac, The Bourne Ultimatem, Gone Baby Gone, Superbad, Ratatouille.

2008
Hellboy 2, Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, Wall-e, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Burn After Reading, Step Brothers, Cloverfield, Tropic Thunder, Gran Torino, Taken, The Hurt Locker, King Fu Panda, Pineapple Express, Let the Right One In, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Rambo, Changeling, Ip Man, Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Body of Lies, Speed Racer, Red Cliff

2009
Avatar, Mother, District 9, 500 Days of Summer, Up, Inglorious Basterds, Zombieland, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Blind Side, Coraline, Moon, State of Play, The Road, Drag Me To Hell, 9, Watchmen, Knowing,

2010
Shutter Island, Toy Story 3, Winter's Bone, 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Social Network, The King's Speech, The Town, Buried, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Insidious, Salt, The Book of Eli, How to Train Your Dragon, The Other Guys, The Expendables, Kick-Ass.

2011
The Help, Moneyball, The Descendants, Drive, The Artist, Fast Five, Bridesmaids, Shame, I Saw The Devil, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Warrior, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Adventures of Tintin, Super 8, Sucker Punch, In Time, Paul, The Raid.

2012
John Carter, Avengers, Moonrise Kingdom, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Cloud Atlas, End of Watch, Flight, Prometheus, Dredd, Jack Reacher, Looper, Ted, Wolf Children, 21 Jump Street

2013
Gravity, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Prisoners, Warm Bodies, The Conjuring, Saving Mr Banks, Iron Man 3, Captain Phillips, Under the Skin, Spring Breakers, American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, Fast and Furious 6, Inside Llewyn Davis, Pacific Rim, Oblivion, Rush, Frozen.

2014
A Most Violent Year, The Rover, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Interstellar, Birdman, Whiplash, Guardians of the Galaxy, 22 Jump Street, Nightcrawler, Gone Girl, Boyhood, Chef, The Raid 2, The Lego Movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Edge of Tomorrow, The Equalizer, The Interview, Noah, Ex Machina, John Wick.

2015
The Revenant, Bridge of Spies, Joy, The End of the Tour, The Gift, It Follows, Mad Max: Fury Road, Creed, Room, Inside Out, Spotlight, Sicario, The Martian, Straight Outta Compton, Steve Jobs, Kingsman, Furious 7, Trainwreck, Crimson Peak, Ted 2.

2016
The Handmaiden, Don't Breathe, Hush, The Nice Guys, Arrival, The Lobster, The Witch, The Wailing, Swiss Army Man, Zootopia, Silence, La La Land, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Passengers, The Founder, London Has Fallen, Hacksaw Ridge, 13 Hours, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Accountant, Central Intelligence, Eddie the Eagle.

2017
Alien: Covenant, Lady Bird, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Okja, I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore, Dunkirk, Bladerunner 2049, War of the Planet of the Apes, Get Out, Colossal, IT, Split, Your Name, Wind River, Logan Lucky, Coco, Logan, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Wondoe Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, The Disaster Artist, Baby Driver, I Tonya, Mother!, The Post, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing in Missouri, The Shape of Water, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spider-Man: Homecomming, John Wick 2, Life, Blade of the Immortal, The Hirman's Bodyguard.

2018
The Mule, Mission Impossible: Fallout, You Were Never Really There, Annihilation, Ready Player One, Unsane, Green Book, Creed 2, Deadpool 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Upgrade, First Man, Isle of Dogs, Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Roma, Blackkklansman, A Quiet Place, Bumblebee, Searching.

2019
Joker, Us, Parasite, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Farewell, Knives Out, The Lighthouse, 1917, Jojo Rabbit, Midsommar, Dolemite is my Name, Alita: Battle Angel, Spider-Man: Far From Home, John Wick 3, Avengers Endgame, One Cut of the Dead, Ford V Ferarri, Dark Waters, The Kid Who Would Be King, Ready or Not, Hustlers, Crawl, Long Shot, The Report, Good Boys, Little Monsters, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Doctor Sleep, Hotel Mumbai.
You know what? You have a point my friend. There’s more than just a few gems. There really were great films in recent history. We just didn’t grow up with them.
 
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MrRogers

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Also anyone who wants to use the nostalgia argument for those of us that think modern flicks are by and large steaming souless turds. Well my impressionable kid/teen years were in the late 90s early 2000s, yet i believe the golden age of movies was in the 50s and 80s. I'll watch anything from the 50s over the utter shite release nowadays, cant nostagia me there. Even most of the movies from the 50s ive only seen in the last 3 years as a late 30 year old. The 2010s especailly, are a utter disaster and i've been watching flicks from the 40s and 50s for the first time as their replacement.
 
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sol_bad

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Also anyone who wants to use the nostalgia argument for those of us that think modern flicks are by and large steaming souless turds. Well my impressionable kid/teen years were in the late 90s early 2000s, yet i believe the golden age of movies was in the 50s and 80s. I'll watch anything from the 50s over the utter shite release nowadays, cant nostagia me there. Even most of the movies from the 50s ive only seen in the last 3 years as a late 30 year old. The 2010s especailly, are a utter disaster and i've been watching flicks from the 40s and 50s for the first time as their replacement.
So pretty much every movie I listed is a piece of shit?
 
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hariseldon

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Also anyone who wants to use the nostalgia argument for those of us that think modern flicks are by and large steaming souless turds. Well my impressionable kid/teen years were in the late 90s early 2000s, yet i believe the golden age of movies was in the 50s and 80s. I'll watch anything from the 50s over the utter shite release nowadays, cant nostagia me there. Even most of the movies from the 50s ive only seen in the last 3 years as a late 30 year old. The 2010s especailly, are a utter disaster and i've been watching flicks from the 40s and 50s for the first time as their replacement.
Yeah my Plex is full of stuff older than 80s - I even have a few gems from the 30s. Some fantastic work out there, some of it feels far more modern than you might expect.
 

Kagey K

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My 12 year old says they were better back then, and he grew up exposed to modern movies early and my nostalgia movies later.

He actively goes out out his way to watch Top Gun and Goonies, instead of whatever Netflix hit of the Week is out this Friday.

The movie he is most excited for coming soon is Bill and Ted Face the Music.
 

hariseldon

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My 12 year old says they were better back then, and he grew up exposed to modern movies early and my nostalgia movies later.

He actively goes out out his way to watch Top Gun and Goonies, instead of whatever Netflix hit of the Week is out this Friday.

The movie he is most excited for coming soon is Bill and Ted Face the Music.
The Top Gun soundtrack is just pure sex on a stick. Best film soundtrack ever.
 
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Kagey K

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The Top Gun soundtrack is just pure sex on a stick. Best film soundtrack ever.
Mighty Wings, Danger Zone and Take My Breath Away are hard to top bangers written just for a movie.

Playin with the Boys, was actually what made him interested in watching it when it was featured in Rocket League last summer.
 
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EviLore

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Movies peaked in the 50s through 90s for sure.

CGI-everything, short attention span pacing, and Hollywood releases consolidating into a small number of endless trash franchises and reboots have led to a massive decline in cinema magic over the past 15 years or so.

The medium budget film exists again via Netflix and the other streaming services, but they’re mostly even worse than Hollywood’s output.
 

H4ze

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I love "older" movies a lot, they have that special feeling to them.
I always feel like they ain't doing sound as good as they did back then.
 

hariseldon

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The medium budget film exists again via Netflix and the other streaming services, but they’re mostly even worse than Hollywood’s output.
The problem is that they're just as consolidated, just to a different corporation. Netflix aren't really creative and neither Apple nor Amazon are companies you'd describe as interested in art.
 
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John Mullins

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All style no substance that's one of the biggest problems in a nut shell.

I feel like most film makers today are in it for the wrong reasons. End result is that we end up with things that are films only in a technical sense, in that it is a bunch of moving pictures with sound. Low grade 'content' hoping to turn a profit.
 
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BlackOlivesMatter

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Movies were better in the 80's because people took chances with their scripts (for better or worse). Today it's nothing but regurgitated comic book garbage, or shitty remakes of better movies.

Hopefully more people take chances with indie films, the studio's don't give a fuck and probably never will again.

If you consider yourself an "aspiring" film maker, listen to Joe Bob's advice...

 
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Gp1

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The Top Gun soundtrack is just pure sex on a stick. Best film soundtrack ever.
Mighty Wings, Danger Zone and Take My Breath Away are hard to top bangers written just for a movie.

Playin with the Boys, was actually what made him interested in watching it when it was featured in Rocket League last summer.
Top gun is a "ok" movie (if you don't like aviation), but as a audio visual experience alone is almost porn.


I saw this at a cinema with a good audio in one of those reescrenings some years ago. But given the current situation, i really recommend the new 4k hdr blu ray.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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I think the continuously shortened length of cuts has something to do with this. If you watch film from the past the camera shots are on screen longer, allowing for you to soak it in, to memorize the experience, and to really immerse yourself in that world.

Movies nowadays are edited so tightly, moving the audience from one set piece to the next, because the movies have to be a certain length so that the companies can sell a specific number of screenings per day.

This ends up making everything go by too fast and feel flashier and empty. I think a lot of it has to do with digital filmmaking, how easy it becomes to just shoot and shoot and shoot and make it up later in the editing bay. Whereas an old school filmmaker would plan these things out in advance, pondering the same one shot over and over again, adjusting the lighting, camera, etc. on the way to that final take. Analog film is expensive and you couldn’t just do it over and over until you got it right, you had to think things through in advance. We use a lot of shortcuts nowadays that makes the entire process far easier, thus less challenging, thus less creative.


Older movies are more memorable on a formal level simply because the images last longer. Which would be more natural of an experience simply because jump cuts don’t happen in real life, it is not how we experience the world, and a slower more considerate pace thus creates a more immersive and authentically human experience. This makes it more relatable and ultimately more memorable and iconic to the mind’s eye.
 
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Happosai

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Movies peaked in the 50s through 90s for sure.

CGI-everything, short attention span pacing, and Hollywood releases consolidating into a small number of endless trash franchises and reboots have led to a massive decline in cinema magic over the past 15 years or so.

The medium budget film exists again via Netflix and the other streaming services, but they’re mostly even worse than Hollywood’s output
.
It seems that has partly to do with the medium budget cinematographer studying the same format Hollywood is regurgitating and coming out more so mediocre with their limited budget. This is why I left my film pursuits in art school in the 2000's and their discouraging career advice. My professors told me in short, "You'll get paid less-than a teacher's salary." Now, I'm working as a teacher...ironic.
 

sunnysideup

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I just saw once upon a time in hollywood. And it reminded me how fucking good cinema can be and how good used to be. And how fucking crappy it is today.

Cinema was THE premium medium/art form 20 years ago. Everyone talked about jurrasic park when it was released, and smaller art films made a huge stir. These days it is beyond its peak and it is regressing. It simply is not relevant as it used to be. No one cares about the latest (marvel) movie. A lot of cinemas thunder has been stolen by tvseries. But its a different medium at its core. Tv is a writers medium, cinema is the directors. Honestly a lot of the tv series end up being overly long and full of filler. Rarely does a tv series have a solid and cohesive beginning, middle and an end. Its to often written just to keep you watching.
 

Kagey K

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I just saw once upon a time in hollywood. And it reminded me how fucking good cinema can be and how good used to be. And how fucking crappy it is today.

Cinema was THE premium medium/art form 20 years ago. Everyone talked about jurrasic park when it was released, and smaller art films made a huge stir. These days it is beyond its peak and it is regressing. It simply is not relevant as it used to be. No one cares about the latest (marvel) movie. A lot of cinemas thunder has been stolen by tvseries. But its a different medium at its core. Tv is a writers medium, cinema is the directors. Honestly a lot of the tv series end up being overly long and full of filler. Rarely does a tv series have a solid and cohesive beginning, middle and an end. Its to often written just to keep you watching.
Back then movie stars wouldn’t even consider signing up for a TV series, it was beneath them. Now you see them signing on to series left and right.

I think it speaks to how far Cinema has fallen and not to how much TV has grown. (Not that TV hasn’t grown)
 
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Happosai

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Back then movie stars wouldn’t even consider signing up for a TV series, it was beneath them. Now you see them signing on to series left and right.

I think it speaks to how far Cinema has fallen and not to how much TV has grown. (Not that TV hasn’t grown)
Gaming always seems to have something good to offer. Obviously, not everything comes out great. I mean to say, entertainment as a whole seems to be collapsing under excess. Movies, TV, music, and writing. That's why I feel like a dinosaur at the age of 33. I grew up with things seeming to be more and more cutting edge. 25-45 years ago it seemed cinema would only get better for the future. The same with music and other mediums. I feel that we exhausted these artistic and technological advances from the 70's-80's before 1999. Film makers didn't leave much of a future for predecessor students because they stopped teaching film theory, physics, and scoring. Many film schools that brought in what I call "the last great film masters" were those who studied at the Roger Corman film school in the 70's-early 80's. Even those guys seem to have lost some of their touch. The only hope is for independent film students to build on where past technology left off. It's an expensive excursion and many fear rejection from producers to fund something new.