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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 Initially, Alicia's character considers Fraser's attitudes and mode of behaviour to be hopelessly eccentric and outdated, but after a while, she starts contrasting the degenerate values of the world in which she lives with those of Fraser's character, and discovers that his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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Old 28th December 2009   #2
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Blasts from the Past

Originally Posted by Emily
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.

Thank you for providing such wonderful film suggestions. Just think, for a moment, about much more beautiful the world of the past was to the one in which we live--not only in the "high art" of the time, but even in much-derided "commercial culture."

The following is a page from a wildly popular Coca-Cola calendar from 1901, showing the company's first-ever identifiable model, the singer and actress Hilda Clark. Clark was the only genuine rival to Lillian Russell as the most gorgeous woman of the age, and her look, as you can see, was very similar to Lillian's. (This is hardly surprising, as the turn of the century was still a time when the Classical ideal was recognized and prized as the epitome of beauty.)

The title of this image is Hilda Clark with the Roses. Observe how soft and full Miss Clark's facial features appear. She clearly was a very well-fed beauty. But she was also universally praised for her attractiveness. Her blonde tresses are luxuriant, her expression gentle and soothing, her peaches-and-cream complexion dazzling, and her outfit is opulent and feminine. Even the setting, with the lovely model surrounded by roses, is gorgeous. This image resembles a work of art more than an advertisement. Were it not for the logo, it could easily pass for an Angelo Asti painting.

Think about the kind of glorious world it was, when beauty such as this surrounded one everywhere one went; where even an ad, even a calendar, featured full-figured womanhood.

Is it really our commercial culture that is the problem today? Or rather, is it the degenerate modern turn that the culture has taken? If all of the magazines on our newsstands, and all of the billboards around us, and all of the films in the theatres, featured models such as Miss Clark--i.e., plus-size models--and dressed them elegantly rather than in next to nothing, and depicted them in a feminine manner, in lovely settings, consider how much more agreeable our world would be. Women would be at peace with their bodies and appetites, rather than starving themselves into androgyny. And stepping out into society would mean stepping into a happier, healthier existence.

The films that Emily mentions have the lead female characters (played by Alicia Silverstone and Meg Ryan) symbolically standing in for the general public today, a public that can choose between the values of the past and the values of the present, and that, as the ladies in the films do, will hopefully embrace the nobler morals and ideals of a century ago--ideals that can be imported into the present, to enrich the contemporary world.

The movies also offer excellent advice on a personal level. Many women, individually, are faced with a choice in their lives between traditional men and modern chaps, and these films break a lance on behalf of the old-fashioned guys--as does the Twilight series.

Let us hope that more than a few viewers heed the films' messages, both from a philosophical and personal standpoint.

HSG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th December 2009   #3
Join Date: August 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 61
Default Re: Blasts from the Past

I like the vintage Coca-Cola ads. When I was a child, I had a Coca-Cola keepsake tin that featured artwork and an ad similar to this one.

And thank you for posting the review about Kate and Leopold. I had missed it when it first came out, so I bought a copy yesterday and watched it. Now I'm sorry I missed it on the big screen--what a treat it was.

While watching, I noticed an intriguing detail:

When Leopold wakes up on the time-traveler's couch, he accidentally leans on the television remote control. The set switches on, and there on the screen are images from the ground-breaking 1960s television series, The Prisoner.

Are the creators of the film suggesting that the modern era is a prison, an artificial village within which Leopold (and by extension the film's viewers) is imprisoned? An interesting subtext for a light romantic comedy!
kirsten is offline   Reply With Quote

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