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Old 18th September 2009   #1
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default Blasts from the Past

This post doesn't relate directly to size-celebration, but since this forum often features discussions about how much nobler, more civilized, and more romantic the past was compared to the present, I thought I'd offer two film recommendations. These are romantic comedies, so neither is particularly cerebral, but both are sweet and touching, without ever being maudlin.

First, I'd like to recommend a film called Blast from the Past (1999), starring Alicia Silverstone (of Clueless fame) in her best role. The premise: A suburban American family in the 1950s is mistakenly led to believe that a nuclear holocaust is imminent, so they barricade themselves in their bomb shelter. Over the decades, the family's infant son grows to manhood, and after 30 years, he emerges from the shelter and ventures out into the world. (This character is played by Brendan Fraser.) He encounters Alicia's character, who introduces him to modern society. Their relationship develops from there.

What makes the film interesting is the contrast between Alicia's character, who is very much a modern girl, and the Brendan Fraser character, who, because of his circumscribed environment, has internalized his parents' wholesome 1950s family values, and is therefore decent, honourable, and in every way a gentleman. That practically makes him an alien being in today's society. Initially, Alicia's character considers Fraser's attitudes and mode of behaviour to be hopelessly eccentric and outdated, but after a while, she starts contrasting the degenerate values of the world in which she lives with those of Fraser's character, and discovers that his unapologetically old-fashioned, traditional values are preferable.

It's a really fun film, with many delightful scenes. Alicia Silverstone's acting is particularly good. She convincingly plays the part of a girl who is jaded with modern life, and puts on a tough, cynical act to protect her vulnerable heart. Plus, she looks gorgeous, and wears some of the loveliest hairstyles I've ever seen.

Here's the movie link:

Second, I'd like to mention a film with a similar premise, called Kate & Leopold (2002). In this case, a time-travel experiment by a 21st-century inventor goes wrong, and an English duke (played by Hugh Jackman) is accidentally transported to the present day. He encounters Meg Ryan's character, a modern businesswoman, and, as in Blast from the Past, the two of them experience a clash of cultures.

At first, Ryan's character doesn't know what to make of Jackman's integrity, nobility, and all-out decency. But in time, she discovers how much she prefers the traditional, aristocratic world that he represents to the modern world in which she lives. In many ways, this movie is a corrective to Titanic, because it shows how a member of the upper classes would actually behave in the company of a lady -- i.e., with respect and good manners, very differently from the caricature that Billy Zane offered in Titantic.

The execution of Kate and Leopold is not quite up to its brilliant premise, and Blast from the Past is definitely more entertaining (perhaps because it's aimed at a slightly younger audience). But it still provides an enjoyable film experience.

Here's the link:

So if you're up for some light movie fare, here are two films that confirm what we all know in our hearts -- that the values of the past are much preferable to those of the present, and that it would be wonderful if we could revive traditional, Old World culture in our own day and age.
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