The FCM Blog-a-thon — What movie(s) will become a Future Classic?

What a brilliant idea! My pal Paula, who’s a confirmed TCM addict, have often wondered what movies from the 21st century would stand the test of time, like CasablancaGone With The Wind or Out of the PastInstead of just mulling those over on her own, she decides to get all of us movie bloggers to join in on the fun. And so the FUTURE CLASSIC MOVIES (FCM) BLOGATHON was born.

So what do we have to do? Well, we get to pick a movie (or more) from 2000 or later, and writes about why they think it will endure to become a Future Classic. 


To me, the key to a film’s endurance has to do with the main subject matter itself, whether its theme will resonate with people no matter what age/era. The reason Casablanca achieved its iconic status and can still be enjoyed by a new generation 70 years later is that the theme of lost love, patriotism and sacrifice are all something we can relate and aspire to, no matter how many years have passed since WWII.

All of these films below are visually stunning, but just like people, looks can only be interesting for so long. It’s the substance and message that makes a movie timeless. 

So with that in mind, here are three that I think has the ingredients to become a Future Classic.

It should be obvious but spoilers may be present in this post,
consider yourself warned. 

Gladiator

If you’ve read this blog for a while you’d likely know I adore this film. It’s the first film that came to mind when Paula invited me, and in my mind, it already IS a classic and I believe generations to come would still appreciate this one even decades from now.

I selected the very same film two years ago for a blog-a-thon called Movies That Makes Going to the Movies Suck as this Ridley Scott masterpiece pretty much launched a trend of swords-and-sandals flicks that threatens to tarnish the original’s legacy. One sign of an enduring film is that some of its quotes are still used even today, but of course that alone won’t make a *classic* if it doesn’t have an engrossing story and fused with a thrilling spectacle of action and memorable performances.

Brain, brawn and heart… there’s not a lot of films that capture all three perfectly, and still manage to impress us visually with its amazing cinematography. Oh, and there’s the soundtrack. I still get chills listening to Now We Are Free, it speaks so beautifully about Maximus’ humanity. Oh I long to see this film on the big screen once again in all its glory.

HUGO

A love letter to the movies, what could be more timeless? At first glance, Scorsese’s first family film seems to be about this 12-year-old orphan boy Hugo Cabret who lives in a railway station. That’s pretty much as much as I know when I went it to see it, so what a joy it is when the film takes us into a journey that ties the boy with a real life French illusionist and filmmaker Georges Méliès.

Loneliness, abandonment, disillusionment are sentiment any of us can relate to as we’ve all felt it at some point of another. No matter how modern technology has evolved, even when we’re able to watch movies via a hologram or what have you, our humanity is what will connect us across generations. And that’s what films do in many ways. That’s why *classic* films shall always have a place in the modern world and years to come. Our great, great grand-kids will still likely be fascinated by how the past generations create the films that  become the medium they enjoy today.

The 1930s world with that marvelous vintage clock where Hugo lives in is absolutely enchanting. There’s something so magical about the way its filmed that captures your imagination. 3D will become old news one day but its charm and heartwarming story won’t likely be lost with the passing time.

[read my Hugo review]

Midnight in Paris

Here’s another one from 2011 that’s also nominated for Best Picture Oscar. I didn’t plan it that way, but I do think both films has that certain everlasting charm, and not only because they’re both set in the city of lights. The fixation with time period of past and present drives the story here and the idea of time travel certainly has a lasting effect in cinema. It’s similar to Woody Allen’s other time travel fantasy The Purple Rose of Cairo, but even more beguiling.

The protagonist Gil is obsessed with a bygone era of the 1920s, so when he’s somehow magically transported to that period at midnight, the *lost generation* looks ever so fresh and as fascinating as ever. We watch in awe just like Gil marveling at its beauty… the car, the clothes, the music… and of course the seemingly immortal personas like Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso… the people in history books that we’ll always treasure for years to come.

What’s more, the predicament Gil faces is something we can all relate to. No, I’m not talking about his obsession with a certain era, but about pursuing his dreams and having the courage to break free from his stifling life to do so.

“Maybe the present is a little unsatisfying because life is a little unsatisfying” – Gil

The message about appreciating one’s life in the present will also resonate well no matter what era one lives in. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned that Paris in the rain in the finale, it doesn’t get any more timeless than this.

[read my Midnight in Paris review]


Do check out what other films people think will become a Future Classic.


Well, what do you think of my picks? Feel free to share what movie(s) you think have a long-lasting appeal.

FlixChatter Review: HUGO (2011)

Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton. Based on a historical fiction by Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret

This project wasn’t really on my radar at all until I saw the trailer a few months prior. I immediately took a liking to the visuals and the vintage setting of 1930s Paris. By the time I got to the theater, I had only glanced through a few reviews, not remembering much about the plot, so much the same way with Midnight in Paris, I only knew that a famous director had directed it, this time it was Martin Scorsese.

I haven’t watched many of Scorsese’s films as they’re generally not my cup of tea, but I was quite intrigued to see his foray into family movies… in 3D no less. It feels rather odd to hear Scorsese and 3D in the same sentence, but you know what, this is perhaps one of the best use of 3D technology I’ve ever seen. More on that later.

From the time the film opens, the visuals immediately grabs me. The train station with the giant clocks and the people in retro costumes are meticulously crafted. It’s just another day in the young life of Hugo Cabret, but for everyone watching him, it’s an enchanting world.

It’s a rather slow-burn kind of story, I didn’t immediately connect to this Hugo character other than deep sympathy for a lonely orphan left alone to survive in the world. In fact, his scenes of him running around in the cold, snowy weather with only a pair of shorts on reminds me of the tragic story of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that since he lost his father, his most-prized possession is a broken automaton his father’s been trying to fix before he died.

The key characters Hugo encounters are a toy story owner Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley) and his goddaughter Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz). Who they really are is for you to find out for yourself, but lets just say that Mr. Méliès and Hugo did not meet on amiable terms. It’s through her friendship with Isabelle that things are slowly revealed and to me, that’s when the real story begins.

Most Scorsese fans probably already know that Scorsese is a master in coaxing great performances from his actors. Asa Butterfield who is 14 seems a lot younger than his age and has that melancholic innocence about him. I almost couldn’t believe that he and Moretz are the same age as she seemed a lot more mature in this one. In any case, both are quite good, and the Atlanta-born Moretz’s British accent is pretty convincing as well. Kingsley is excellent as the disillusioned Méliès, no surprise from a thespian such as himself, and Helen McCrory as his longtime wife is equally engaging. The cameo from Christopher Lee is pretty memorable as well.

I gotta admit I find Sacha Baron Cohen‘s Station Inspector rather annoying though. Not as annoying as Michael Sheen in TRON: Legacy but pretty darn close, he’s supposed to be a comic relief but I don’t think the story needs it, nor do I find Sacha to be all that funny either. Emily Mortimer is also practically wasted here as the object of Sacha’s affection, which is a pity as she’s a talented actress. I also have a bit of a quibble about the dialog between the two young stars, at times it felt rather awkward and their friendship lack warmth I’d expect from such a friendship.

Those are small quibbles however, as overall I’m really pleased with this film. The strength of this movie lies in Scorsese’s utter love for films and film-making, so naturally the last third of the film is the best part for me. It’s the Italian director’s love letter to cinema, the scenes depicting that sentiment is truly moving. The one particular scene that showed Méliès ‘get his groove back’ so to speak really packed an emotional punch! I was tearing up quite a bit and I didn’t happen to have any Kleenex on me which was cumbersome! In the first half hour or so, I kept wondering just what is the  Hugo and Méliès connection, but I’m glad to say that by the end Scorsese tied their stories together well. Without Hugo, Méliès’ life just would not be the same.

Back to the 3D effects for a moment…  now this is perhaps one of the BEST use of 3D technology I’ve seen so far. It looks seamless and enhances the story instead of hindering it, for a while I even forgot I had the 3D glasses on. Some of the lush visuals remind me of Pixar’s Ratatouille a bit as it’s taken place in the City of Lights as well, and the Paris scenery is almost a character itself here. I’ve always been fascinated with clocks, especially vintage ones and if you’re like me then you’re in for a treat as there are tons of gorgeous shots of them all over this movie!

I’m glad I saw this on the big screen, and if you’re looking for a family entertainment for everyone of all ages to enjoy, I highly recommend this one. And surely, any fans of cinema will love this one and would surely cherish this for years to come.
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Have you seen this movie? I’d love to hear what you think!