Home > blogging for Britain, movies > Things ain’t what they used to be…

Things ain’t what they used to be…

ironladyAn unpromising title for a blog piece, I’ll grant you, but the death of Margaret Thatcher and the hostility this has provoked between her admirers and normal people has made me think about other changes that have occurred over the last thirty years.

More specifically, it is based on my observation that many of the people on my Facebook timeline who have declared their grief at the passing of FW DeKlerk’s most forthright ally are those who are regularly vocal about our nation’s perceived decline. This is, of course, ironic, as many of the values whose passing they mourn were those that Maggie laid waste to during three terms of fairly single-minded and transformative leadership. Say what you like about the lady, she was the least conservative Conservative you’ll ever find.

Anyway, apart from our sense of community, compassion for those less fortunate than oneself and a viable manufacturing base, what else has got demonstrably worse since 1979?

I’ll tell you what: movies.

There are other things, but…has any other art form been superseded so dramatically in the recent past?

Put it this way: what was the last great movie you saw? Truly great; not passable or reasonably diverting. I rarely watch films, so my annual transatlantic visit to the States provides me with an opportunity to catch up with the latest releases. I managed to watch only two this year – Arbitrage and Argo – both of which were fine. But compared with some of the television around nowadays, these two hour dramas felt as satisfying as a meal from McDonalds.

Sure, the Coen brothers pretty much guarantee ten quid’s worth of snappy dialogue and quirky characterization; and if you’re a Tarantino fan at least you get a three-hour opus to carry you over till the next film.

But Mad Men, Modern Family, Breaking Bad and Curb Your Enthusiasm (amongst others) are brilliantly written and crafted and engage me much more than any two hour movie can, no matter how good. Have these series made movies seem incidental and trite, or has the quality of films deteriorated?

I am not sure. But whatever the answer, I blame Thatcher.

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