The guy who happens to be my best bud here in Mondoville and I were talking at lunch today, and as it often does, the conversation turned to movies (Other frequent topics include music, showbiz references that neither of us are old enough to make, and various other bits of pop culture detritus.) In any case, we were talking about the various Best Picture Academy Award winners and nominees over the years, plucking the low-hanging fruit like the insane way The Greatest Show On Earth beat High Noon in 1952, and how 1939 was easily the greatest year in cinema history (Gone With the Wind, Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Goodbye Mr. Chips? You can try to come up with a better year — 1950 wasn’t shabby at all, and ’41 was even better — but you’ll lose.)
From there, we started talking about how weak the past 30 or so years have been by comparison. Not that they’ve all sucked, but come on — Gladiator ain’t Ben-Hur, and Chicago can’t even compare to nominees (not winners) like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or The King and I (although to be fair, it was better than nominee Dr. Dolittle.) And that led us to wonder when the big dropoff really happened.
Well, we agreed that it was sometime circa 1980 (I’d take 1979, where Kramer vs. Kramer won, but YMMV.) As it happens, my buddy and I weren’t the only ones having this conversation today. Your take on all this, as always, is welcome. When did even “Good Movies” start to suck and why?