No, Music Isn’t Worse Than It Was in the Past

I can’t remember if I’ve written about this before, but I saw some interviews of musicians I respect, which reminded me of this topic. Both bemoaned the current state of music, one of them gloomily predicting the the end boundary-pushing. (This interview was from the 80s.) My sense is that the basis for their assessment stemmed from a comparison with the past. That is, the compared their perception and understanding of the music of the present relative to the music from the past. If this is accurate, I don’t think this is a good way to judge the present. Indeed, I think doing so leads to an erroneous judgments and pessissms.

Now, let me make a few things clear. One, I’m not taking this position because I necessarily think the present moment is filled with great musicians and great music. Instead, I’m basing my position primarily on the way we perceive and understand both the present and the past. The difference, I think, primarily explains why the present seems bleak, relative to the past; and I’m going to explain that in this thread.

(Note: This applies to movies, and I would suspect most other art forms as well.)

The Beatles: Get Back (2021)

This is a thread for the three-part film (streamed on the Disney channel)–The Beatles: Get back, a Peter Jackson documentary, assembling footage from 1969, while the Beatles worked on new songs for a live performance. Eventually, I believe, some or much of the music appeared on Let It Be, and Abbey Road. (Some like “Don’t Let Me Down” may have become a single.)

If I Went Back and Rated Movies I’ve Watched, Here’s the System I’d use.

I’ve been using a 100 point rating system, but I just realized a better system–and I’m not sure why I didn’t realize this much earlier. The system I have in mind is a 50 point rating system. Here’s the breakdown:

50 = all time great/favorite

45 = great/beloved film

40 = very good/like a lot

35 = good/liked

30 = good, but flawed/problematic

25 = just OK

20 = not good/disliked

15 = bad

10 = very bad

0 = all time worst/disliked

Suggestions for Killing Time Before Watching NFL Gamepass

As you guys know, I watch all the NFL games via Gamepass. To avoid spoilers, I have to avoid learning anything about the games. I don’t get TV stations, so the TV is not an issue. I do have to avoid some internet sites, and, in general, I would prefer staying off the internet, as I may accidentally learn about the games. Additionally, I’d like to find some activity that occupies my mind, since I do get antsy while I wait for the games to appear on Gamepass.

Do you guys have any suggestions? Some movie or TV show recommendations would be welcomed. I have HBO Max for at least a month, so I’m thinking of watching a TV series or movie on that.

Could Movies Featuring the Lower Classes and People of Color be Commercially Successful as Long as They had Strong Stories and Compelling Characters?

Near the end of Thom Anderson’s Los Angeles Plays Itself, neglect of the lower classes and/or people of color in Hollywood movies struck and dismayed me. And I should specify the neglect involves stories and characters that fall outside existing stereotypes–for example, there are Hollywood films that feature the lower class criminals. I would also add that films with the type of characters exist, but my sense is that many are not mainstream movies. Why aren’t there more mainstream films with non-stereotypical minority characters outside of the middle and upper classes tend not to buy the explanation that the audience would be too small. Would it be too hard to create good stories with these type of characters? I find that hard to believe.

To test this, I looked at the AFI top 100 films of all time. Of this list, The Grapes of Wrath seems to be the best fit–although perhaps they can be seen as a more middle class family that is going through hard times. Raging Bull and Rocky may qualify as well. However, what stands out to me is that violence seems to be a critical component. That is, a mainstream film can feature lower class characters, but they and their stories must generally involve action and/or violence.

Midnight Cowboy is there, but I’d argue the lower class character (if he is a part of the lower class) falls within accepted stereotypes–i.e., the poor are criminals or social deviants.

Can anyone think of good mainstream films that featured non-stereotypical characters, non-white characters, primarily from the lower classes?