Movies of New, Lame New York; or, Why People Like the 1970s


Gawker says the media “seems to be pining for the crime-fueled depravity of New York in the 1970’s and 80’s. It was so gritty and exciting.” Then it tosses some videos of gritty, exciting films about New York when it was “dangerous, scary and cool.” The italics, in case you missed it, are ironical.

Everyone’s entitled to his own nostalgia, so we answer their “Movies of Old, Violent New York” with these “Movies of New, Lame New York.” Keep in mind, this is what our children (or their aborted fetuses in heaven) will remember us by:

You’ve Got Mail. When else but the 90s would we be expected to approve Tom Hanks destroying a little bookstore and then sweeping in to claim its ditzy owner as his conquest? When he showed up in her apartment we were sure he was going to rape and kill her. And he has a dog named Brinkley.]

Rent. The kids from Fame eat at the Life Cafe. The milieu is the 80s, but everything about it screams, “You know what these tenements and squatters need? Some art direction.”

Chasing Amy. The dream of every Jersey dork: to travel to bohemia and turn a lesbian. And then to get mad because she isn’t, like, a lesbian lesbian.

Big Daddy. We could never understand how the developmentally disabled character played by Adam Sandler got such a big loft. They must have explained it, yet somehow it never registered. (And we don’t care that Steve Buscemi was in it. He was in Armageddon too.)

Coyote Ugly. A charmingly crummy little East Village Bar is turned into Cirque de Soleil. Life, love, a “record contract,” vomit.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 29, 2009


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