Lisa Schwarzbaum answers your movie questions
Why aren't movies made today as good as those made in the
1970s? -- Scott Parker, Chicago
Ah, a question from the Easy Riders, Raging Bulls school of cineast nostalgia -- an institution I didn't attend. American greats were great then, yes -- ''Nashville,'' ''Five Easy Pieces,'' ''Annie Hall,'' ''Taxi Driver'' -- but no better (and the ''Love Story'' junk no worse) than the political, aesthetic, and economic forces that shaped them. (''Herbie Rides Again''? ''King Kong''? No, thanks.) The '90s produced ''GoodFellas,'' ''The Piano,'' ''Pulp Fiction,'' ''Unforgiven,'' ''L.A. Confidential,'' ''Toy Story'' -- and, er, ''Patch Adams.'' Fair equals, I'd say. Who knows what fine movies (and memorable dreck) the first decade of the 2000s will bring?
How come you never give a movie an A+? -- Wayne, Los Angeles
You mean why, unlike every other review section in EW, don't we go to 11? Back when the magazine was launched, the movie-review section was built on the notion of the Platonic ideal -- an A+ film had to meet a standard of perfection that no movie (''Citizen Kane''? ''Say Anything''...?) could ever reach. You read it here first, though: I'm about to change those 1990 rules. In future reviews, I'm happy to raise the ceiling on my appreciation of excellence.
In the new movie ''The Hulk,'' The Hulk's growth will depend on how mad he gets. How do his pants stay on? -- Pam Giardiello, Boulder, Colo.
This is one of those Talmudic conundrums that have plagued students of the comic-book arts for decades. But if you really wanted a scholarly response, Pam, I'm guessing you would have posted your inquiry in a Marvel chat room, right? Just so long as we're both clear that the questions in this column call for opinion-based answers rather than facts, I feel utterly confident in explaining: spandex.
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