David and I never go to the movie theater anymore. Except for the exceptional ‘Golden Oldie’ I don’t watch movies on TV either. Nor do I rent them. I had a Netflix membership for a short while but gave it up. Last year, I gave away most of my DVD collection. I only kept the classics:
1. French films. Years ago, one of friends from New York City got me interested in French films. My love of French films came in handy when I took a course on the History of Europe since WWII and our professor showed French films in class. I understood then what had transpired in the art of European film-making since WWII, and how French films had influenced American films.
2. Daniel Day Lewis films. I stopped collecting DDL films when I got to the Gangs of New York, but have DVDs of all of his previous films, even My Son the Fanatic. Just this week, I ordered the new Lincoln DVD.
3. Shakespeare and Jane Austin films. Got all of them even Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Fell out of love with Gary Oldman when he tried to take over Air Force I. Got rid of most of his films except R&G and Beethoven.
4. War films Too many to name. My interests tend to run to films like The English Patient, Friendly Persuasion, Sayonara, and Winds of War, the latter with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh. Except for Patton, The Search for Private Ryan, and Ride with the Devil (Ang Lee film) I don’t have the hard-core stuff…too much mayhem for me.
5. DVDs of British sitcoms and mysteries which will mostly be dispatched to Goodwill or our local library in the near future.
I won’t keep British sitcom and mystery DVDs anymore. Our local Public Television stations have dedicated channels bringing us all the oldies and goodies 24/7.
They have also brought us a couple of new series this year.
No, I don’t mean Downton Abbey. I don’t like East Enders, Monarch of the Glen and Ballykissangel either. I am probably the only person in America not watching Downton Abbey. That’s what studying real history does to you, ruins make-believe. And that’s saying a lot for me because I have been a Julian Fellows fan for years. I kept my DVD copies of Gosford Park (which he wrote) and the Scarlet Pimpernel (in which he plays the Prince Regent, later King George IV).
Miranda, The Cafe, and Born and Bred are three of the new series I find worth watching on our PBS stations dedicated to British TV (two here in the Washington DC area). You might get these programs on your local PBS stations. I first saw Miranda when I was in San Diego in October of last year. If you haven’t discovered them, check them out.
What I like best about these British shows is their use of older actors. For years, older American actors, especially older female actors mostly disappeared or become the sad failures depicted in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane and Sunset Boulevard. But the British make good use of older actors, both male and female, and you can find them in the well done series. David and I love to play ‘name the actor.’ We know most of the British actors by name if we’ve seen them before. On the other hand, I probably can’t name three of the newer American actors unless they are former Aussies like Naomi Watts or Brits like Emma Thompson.