Movies and Cultural Literacy

Which films would you say are necessary to watch?

I propose to you an interesting dilemma: a friend who has closely guarded her offsprings’ viewing materials feels she’s done them a disservice now that they’re nearing adulthood. That is, the other teens talk a talk (and meme a meme) that she isn’t sure her teens can follow.

Cue: Family Movie Night.

Also cue: asking her friends which movies we thought were necessary.

We’re trying not to go crazy, but have started a list of ideas… and may have texted the instant a new one came to mind.

It’s a rare opportunity, really. I feel like I’ve been handed Tarzan from the jungle. It’s a Mormon Rumspringa* of viewing; nostalgia of youth; study of art; excuse to eat popcorn.

So, the question of today is an easy one: which movies do you think are a must to view in one’s life? Which do you love/hate/want your money back from? What would you add to the list?

—–

Here’s what I wrote for the past week:
Wednesday, May 3: Asked why you blog.

Thursday, May 4: Announced the Terrible Poetry Contest! We’re limerick-ing about Vermont cheddar cheese!

Friday, May 5: Friday Photo. Poor piano.

Saturday, May 6: A poem. Sort-of.

Sunday, May 7: Shared Stuart Perkin’s quote from his interview.

Monday, May 8: Atheist to Theist. I’ll probably re-work this one.

Tuesday, May 9: Responded to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Wednesday, May 10: This post.

ยฉ2023 Chel Owens

*I’d like to note that Rumspringa isn’t a wild glut of abandonment as is popularly-depicted, but worked as an analogy even at its tamest definition for use in this blog post.

31 thoughts on “Movies and Cultural Literacy

      1. Family night at the movies growing up was very different from others (my parents didn’t care for babysitters so I saw a lot of age inapproprate films) these I truly prefer any genre between 1930-1970

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  1. Although today I have little desire to watch a movie I do so if others want to. So, for me, none of these movies is a must see, but if I had to see one again it would probably an old Peter Seller’s Pink Panther movie. However, I don’t think I could find anyone else who would want to watch it with me (which is probably just as well).

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  2. I would ask their peers for which movies have offered the most in cultural currency (eg: Memes, catchphrases, etc). When my kids were growing up, Napoleon Dynamite was a must watch. Not so much, now. Princess Bride has too many wonderful “coins” of cultural currency to miss, for sure.

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    1. You make a great point, best to go by the opinion of their peers. I mean there are a lot of classic films from decades ago, but would a kid today enjoy any of them ? I suppose it depebds on the kid though too. I remember loving old time radio when I was 11-12 because my Dad who grew on that spoke often of it, i was an exception to the rule even back then lol

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    2. It’s true! I was trying to think of what’s current for that reason (and, unfortunately, I think most are not clean enough for her to consider -say, like “Deadpool”) but thought there should still be many (agree with you on “Princess Bride”) timeless and/or recirculating ones.

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              1. Think of it like this any film made prior to 1935 could be inappropriate. 1935 marked the first year that Hollywood had the Hayes code of decency…by the late 1960′ s RatIngs came to be with: G all audiences, PG some inappropriate things(although I will say some films from the 70’s definitely teeter between PG & R), R Nudity, simulated sex, violence, language X Soft Core Porn XXX Hard Core Porn, by 1983 PG 13 was introduced as a gateway between PG & R, NC 17 became the new X Rating primarily for Advertising purposes and Unrated which could fall under any rating but is usually No Holds Barred Offensive

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  3. Haha, I could use this list myself! I’ve never been a movie watcher, so I’m always hopelessly lost whenever people start talking about them. The Monty Python movie comes up a lot in conversation, and I’m thinking 20 years is a long time to put off watching it. Then again, I kind of enjoy that blank look I get when I start talking about books.

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    1. ๐Ÿ˜€ Honestly, it’s a very dumb show. It’s one of those that gets funnier over time. I say to watch it once (not with kids), and keep talking about books for most of your time.

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  4. Of course it depends on the age of the viewer and their sensibilities. Some on the above list would be fine for teens, but most of your kids are pre-teen, I think, so they shouldn’t necessarily watch them.

    With so much superhero stuff today, probably Avengers is a good general film that introduces the characters from most of the Marvel films. The original Star Wars for that group of films. They would have to decide how interested they were in going further into either one. Galaxy Quest pretty much sums up Star Trek in a nutshell.

    Tangled is a good animated, though older teens may not be interested in it.

    Definitely Princess Bride. Maybe Lord of the Rings, though that can be challenge.

    Something with the Minions – probably Despicable Me initially. Though most may already have seen this.

    These are the ones off the top of my head that have entered the cultural venacular. There are tons of other good movies, but not necessarily “must see”.

    – Deandra

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  5. My son and his partner were quite restrictive of what movies their children watched. They wouldn’t even let me watch Charlotte’s Web or the BFG with them. Now they can watch almost anything. I guess it’s the pressure of peers and memes as you say.

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  6. I would add Arrival (hugely underrated movie), movies by the Coen brothers like Oh Brother where art thou, Burn after reading and Hail Caesar, movies by Wes Anderson like the Grand Budapest Hotel and The French Dispatch, and maybe a Tarrentino flick.

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