“Classic” Movies are Now “Ancient” Movies

Last night I decided to show my kids a classic movie: To Catch a Thief. Cary Grant. Grace Kelly. Alfred Hitchcock! This was one of the movies I’ve always labeled “Cabin Movies” in my head. Movies that my family had on tap at the family cabin, which were often watched again and again, year after year.

Sure, it’s a bit older now, but that doesn’t make it any worse. And as we’re watching it, Tomas observed, “Wow. This is actually a pretty decent movie for being done in 1955.”

My first instinct was to say, “Well, duh.” But I didn’t say that, because parenting. But then I began to wonder just how old a 1955 movie would seem to me when I was his age. To the math!

To Catch a Thief came out in 1955. If I first watched it when I was 15, it would have been 38 years old then. For Tomas, an equivalent would be for him to watch a movie that came out in . . . 1981.

Folks, if this were an SAT question, it would be phrased like so

Bryce : To Catch a Thief :: Tomas : Raiders of the Lost Ark

For those of you who don’t know how to read those (and that’s probably a fair number, seeing as how I just discovered the SAT ditched that style of question in 2005, 14 years ago), Tomas views Raiders of the Lost Ark the same way I viewed To Catch a Thief at his age.

I’m almost sure I’ve written a post about this sort of thing before, but I guess this is something that just constantly amazes (or depresses) me.

Of course, the next question to ask is how would I have viewed a movie as old as how Tomas views To Catch a Thief? The answer is simple. The movie is 64 years old to him. When I was fifteen, my dad would have had to trot out a movie from . . . 1929 to be the equivalent. 1-9-2-9!

We’re talking Charlie Chaplin territory here, people. Early Laurel & Hardy material. So when I trotted out To Catch a Thief last night, it would have been like my parents telling me to watch The Cocoanuts.

And yes, I’m now good with appreciating early cinematic efforts, but when I was fifteen, if I’d been asked to watch a Marx Brothers movie, I think I would have probably said, “Wow. This is actually a pretty decent movie for being done in 1929.”

Score: Tomas 1, Me 0.

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