About Schmidt

Screw Mock-a-Blog week. I’ve got more important things to write on. I watched About Schmidt last evening and it was alright. Definitely an old person’s movie. It was solidly put together with interesting shots but nothing fancy. Jack Nicholson made the movie. It is obvious why his performance got him nominated for so many awards. Kathy Bates was even nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance. I wasn’t stunned by her performance but I was stunned by her getting bare-ass naked for a hot tub scene. She is not an attractive woman.

Watching About Schmidt got me thinking though. I’ve got the feeling more and more films like this are going to start appearing in the wake of baby boomer retirements. I’m not and not meant to be interested in films about old age. The demographic is my parent’s. I am sort of interested in how aging and the decline of the boomers will be portrayed. This article by Michael Moses appeared in the January 2002 edition of Reason and sort of gets at some of the problems that boomer cinema might throw up.

In an interview Spielberg granted when Saving Private Ryan was released, the director summed up his view of the great conflict. “I think it is the key — the turning point of the entire century. It was as simple as this: The century either was going to produce the baby boomers or it was not going to produce the baby boomers. World War II allowed my generation to exist.” There you have it. The ultimate benefit, the highest justification and sanctification of the greatest, if not the bloodiest, war in human history: the birth of the baby boomers.

Pretty inflammatory; but what he is getting at finally shows up in his second to last sentence.

The baby boom generation, for better or worse, is the first fully committed to the view that to control the visual representation of history is to control history itself, and thereby one?s own destiny.

I find this troubling because my parent’s generation has so much clout that it can enforce cultural and ideological change to a high degree. Its the message of the 60s aged 40 years. In this way, boomers are still rebelling against their upbringing and trying to define themselves. I think I’m uncomfortable with this because I feel the same way. I think the boomers are obsolete and should stop worrying about themselves so much. I think by now they should have come up with some sense of stability. I think they should give it up and let GenXrs come into their own. I don’t want an influx of movies about being old because I want to celebrate being young. At the same time I’m interested in what boomers are going to produce in their evening years.

I suppose every generation feels this way as the previous generation ages. So I guess my tirade is nothing more than the pot calling the kettle black.

2 thoughts on “About Schmidt

  1. I thought About Schmidt was kind of like a more modern Death of a Salesman, where the protagonist realizes that all he ever cared about in life was material and, in the end, worth nothing, while he had let the people who really cared about him fall to the side until he had no one and nothing left but himself.

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