I just finished watching Angel Heart, the old Mickey Rourke movie from the 80s. I was discussing it with some work colleagues and someone said, "I don't watch old films." Although, it was pretty hard to take that something from this time period is now an old movie, but I guess it is. I think Alan Parker did a brilliant job adapting a decent novel--after all, he's an author as much as a director--so I recommended they watch it despite the "age" problem.

Anyone think crossing genres worked here? Any other good books to recommend where they cross-pollinate different genres?


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Damn, what a great movie -- I'm having a flashback to '87. I'd rent it again, but my Netflix queue is packed with recent releases.

Dean Koontz -- late '80s, early '90s -- did a great job with genre-crossing.
I liked that movie, too, although--at the risk of sounding like a pig--what I remember most is the redhead taking off her clothes and making love to Mickey. That woman was so gorgeous IMHO.

Heart stopping.
No, that isn't it. The movie has aged: it's terribly dated. The story was strong. The acting was good. But it was overproduced. I understand what you're saying, but I really don't think that's the case with this film. It was at the cutting edge for filmmaking when it was made, and that edge has pretty much passed.
ANGEL HEART is a classic. John Connolly crosses a detective story with supernatural elements, especially in THE BLACK ANGEL, which I highly recommend. I haven't read his most recent yet to see if he continues the trend.

I would be suspicious of someone who doesn't watch old films. (I hope he's not a writer.) Leaving history out of it, cultural context depends on knowing what came before. He's missing a lot of good in a new film if he hasn't seen some relevant older flicks. I've made it a point to expose my now-sixteen-year-old daughter to older movies for several years now. (BUTCH CASSIDY, JAWS, GODFATHER I and II, APOLLO 13, etc.) She loves it, and can point out homages - as well as rip-offs - in current movies.
I know what you mean--I had a mate who loved the movie "The Shawshank Redemption". When I told him it was a Stephen King story that was a homage (or maybe a re-hash) of the Paul Newman film Cool Hand Luke, he watched it and was blown away.
Oh my gosh: a movie made in the 1980s viewed in the context of 2008 is for sure an old film. A couple of decades have pased. For one thing, it's a completely different sensibility to contemporary filmmaking. The visual phrasing is different, the storytelling techniques are different... the pacing, of course, is different, different, different.

IMHO Angel Heart is a tremendous film to have this conversation around. It seems to me it is utterly of its own moment. It experiments with then new forms of storytelling and phrasing in a way that makes it look a bit dated when viewed through a new century lens. But arguably, it was pushing the envelope in a way that altered the films that would come after. That is, anything as au courrant as Angel Heart was in 1987 is going to look dated sooner than films that push the envelope less.

All of that, plus a terrific cast (Rourke? Sure. But De Niro!) and a great story arguably make this an important film. It's a classic.

Thanks for bringing it up: time I watched it again!
Yeah, but wasn't there way too much looking through fans? Slow turning fans.

We're now further from the Second World War than Birth of a Nation was from the Civil War.
I thought Angel Heart was an outstanding film. It also truly scared the heck out of me. Thinking of Angel Heart as an old movie is, to me, a hilarious concept, but I'm 49: maybe I'm the hilarious concept. I never read the book- now I think I should. I actually own the DVD but have not been able to get far watching it (again).

Actually, I almost never watch any DVDs I own. I think I buy DVDs that I'd like to study in detail, but they tend to be too depressing or horrific or simply sad for me to want to put them on. I tend to have a strong visceral memory of watching films in the theater, and sometimes just the opening credits spark a recurrence of complete viewing experience. I suppose the upside is that this is much faster than actually watching the film again.

A film that I found similarly terrifying is The Tenant by Roman Polanski. He both directs and stars in it. This is, I suppose, more of a pure horror film than a crossover film, but it also has an element of mystery throughout, and mixes the paranormal with the psychological thriller very effectively. Highly recommended, but not for watching alone unless you are impervious to the horror.

Chinatown is as much classical Greek tragedy as it is detective story- does that make it a crossover?

I would say that Blood Simple crosses several genres, from comedy to murder to, shall we say, family dynamics, all seen through noir-ish glasses. I know people who fainted or had to leave the theater during this one, so horror may be one of its genres, also. I suppose the film's power, like any film's power, is greatly diminished on a small screen, so it may be hard to experience for new viewers (though I shouldn't assume that their TVs are as small as mine).

Does your friend also not watch old plays, like those of Aeschylus, Sophocles or Shakespeare? No need to give this person a hard time! Actually, I have a friend who wanted only pure digital recordings after getting a CD player to avoid hearing the tape hiss. Such things (DDD CD's) don't necessarily exist anymore, but they did for a while. They were also often quite lousy compared to other CDs, but that is just my opinion. Unfortunately, my kids can't take old movies seriously because the violence and special effects are so substandard vs. today's films, but those are the least importance aspects of a film for me (at least usually). Maybe your friend has these issues.

Interesting post. Thanks.
My favorite line of Mickey's is still the one from Barfly:

"It's not that I don't like people, it's just that I feel better when they're not around."


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