It has become painfully obvious to me that the television and movie viewing habits of those more than around five years my junior are sorely lacking.
I blame the parents.
To begin with, I had a girl who, in her twenties (no lie) turned to me with a look of blank puzzlement on her face and asked, "What is Labyrinth?" It was absolutely all I could do to keep myself from bitch slapping her into next week. What is Labyrinth... Are you fucking kidding me?
First of all, you ought to at lease know the word and by the look of puzzlement on your face it appears that every vocabulary teacher you ever had needs to be fired or retrained or maybe shot. Secondly, HOLY SHIT! David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly and, most importantly, JIM HENSON! I mean... Muppet Show? Heard of it? How about Sesame Street. Thats the show with Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird... What?... Yes, Elmo too... Fucking Elmo. Remember when he was just in the background and occasionally annoying?
"I will regret this," I think to myself as I fearlessly plunge onward. "Tell me that you at LEAST know The Dark Crystal."
The look on her face makes a few of my own brain cells commit suicide. I'm not even able to hear the puzzled response, thank god, due to my ears shutting themselves down in self preservation.
By now, of course, there are several others who have joined in on the conversation.
My aching heart begs me to turn to some slightly more main stream titles. Ok, perhaps not exactly main stream, but movies that more or less anyone who breathes should be aware of.
Legend is put forth and greeted with something along the lines of, "That's the one with Will Smith, right?"
This is around when I start to cry. I point out that it has Tom Cruise, Tim Curry ("Who?) and that chick from Ferris Bueller. (Mia Sara for those keeping track. Legend was the only role she played priar to Sloane.) And still the look of stunned disbelief I receive pains me.
"Princess Bride!" I say, truly believing that every person alive needs to have, at the very least, a passing familiarity with the movie. Personally, I think I know just about every line from every character in the film.
Finally I get a hit! At least this one is still known by some of the younger folks. Not known well, mind you, but the awareness of it still floats around somewhere in the back of the collective consiousness. They seem to have no idea who Andre the Giant was outside of the confines or Fezzic and, it pains me greatly to say, are at a complete loss when I mention Mandy Patinkin. But I will accept the win in as much as at least the movie is still known.
Which is more than I can say for such other greats as The Never Ending Story. (The book is rubbish by the way. Keep away from it if you value your love of the film.)
The animated classic, The Last Unicorn. (I mean come on... What child, full of wide eyed wonder, doesn't want to see the magical majesty of animated unicorns?!)
Even movies such as the classically adapted The Three Musketeers barely register with people under around the age of 22!
I mean, that is some of the best written witty humor ever! I like to think that it was writing like this that gave birth to films like The Pirates of the Caribbean! And who doesn't need to know that a chase is properly refreshed by serving a Cabernet and not champagne?!
Revisited classics aren't exempt either! Hook, the re-visitation of Peter Pan, starring the truly genius Robin Williams is rapidly fading from memory!
Now, I don't mean to disparage the newer tales and movies. The majestically forged Lord of the Rings trilogy brought forth a new epoch in fantasy films. Harry Potter disappointed me in the theaters but, hell! It created a complete generation of new readers! The Twilight series doesn't really do much of anything for me but it has done wonders for book sales around the world and has helped maintain the literacy of children across the globe!
What I am saying is this:
Show your kids the new generation of fantasy and fancy films! By all means, watch them yourself! But for the sake of all that is good in film, PLEASE go back and share the stories that began it all! These films are far too wonderful to be lost in antiquity.
You will be glad you did. More importantly, (to me anyway) I will be glad you did. And I won't feel quite so powerful an urge to belt you one when you have no reference to what I am discussing with you. And that is something you will be as thankful for as I am.
Once long ago, before there was such a thing as time, the world was shrouded in darkness.
Then came the splendor of light, bringing life and love into the Universe, and the Lord of Darkness retreated deep into the shadows of the earth, plotting his return to power... Banishing light forever.
But precious light is protected, harbored in the souls of Unicorns, the most mystical of all creatures.
Unicorns are safe from the Lord of Darkness, they can only be found by the purest of mortals... Such a mortal is Jack, who lives in solitude with the animals of the forest.
A beautiful girl named Lily loves Jack with all her heart. In their innocence, they believe only goodness exists in the world.
Together they will learn there can be no good without evil... No love without hate... No heaven without hell... No light without darkness.
The harmony of the Universe depends upon an eternal balance. Out of the struggle to maintain this balance comes the birth of Legends.