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Old School

Why so many movie reviews reference old or obscure movies. Check out the latest Ask the Critic question and post your own

HISTORY CLASS (From left) The Gene Krupa Story 's Mineo and Walk the Line 's Phoenix
Image credit: Sal Mineo: Sid Avery/MPTV; Joaquin Phoenix: Suzanne Tenner
HISTORY CLASS (From left) The Gene Krupa Story's Mineo and Walk the Line's Phoenix

Why so many movie reviews reference old or obscure movies

Why do so many of your reviews reference old or obscure movies? — Jamie
The easy answer is that film history matters. If that sounds stodgy, consider how going to the movies brings out the closet film buff in all of us. I've been in half a dozen watercooler debates already about how Walk the Line compares to Ray (I say it's not as good; many would disagree). Once you've taken that leap, why not go back even further, to a movie like, say, 1964's Your Cheatin' Heart? I bet you had no idea that George Hamilton once starred as Hank Williams! The biopic that Walk the Line really made me think of is The Gene Krupa Story (1959), starring a brooding Sal Mineo as the druggie jazz legend. Admit it: You're having fun now. The key, I think, is to take old movie references in reviews not as stuffy trivia but as a way to discover timeless films you'll want to see.

(Got a movie-related question for Lisa or Owen? Post it here.)

Originally posted Nov 23, 2005

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