*Midnight in Paris*

I don’t want to over-recommend this movie — it is good not great — but it is certainly enjoyable to watch.  It works because Owen Wilson self-consciously imitating Woody Allen, down to his shuffle and shoulder shrugs, is so absurd that it deflates the rest of the film down to the appropriately non-pretentious level, whether intentionally or not.

More importantly, the movie serves up some conceptual social science.  It focuses on why we so commonly overrate the cultures of previous eras and see them as golden ages.  It also asks the following question: if we somehow managed to meet the cultural titans of previous eras, how many of them would come across as blowhard hacks, if only because their own subsequent work has made their personae obsolete?  Gertrude Stein and Man Ray are the most impressive characters in the movie, even though (perhaps because?) they are the least well known of the figures paraded across the screen.  Hemingway and Picasso sink like stones and the viewer suddenly realizes that Allen sees Hemingway as his foil figure on issues of bravery and death.  He cannot be allowed to look like anything but a blathering fool.  (My view is that artistic creativity is sufficiently g-loaded that none of these people would seem anything less than extraordinarily impressive.)

Once again, this movie is Woody Allen wondering what other people think about him.  Ultimately the point of view of the main character and the director/moviemaker are the same.  You cannot say that about Larry David and that is why these superficially similar figures are very different and ought never to collaborate.

Comments

nice review
great movies are paradogically overrated. i just want to have a good time when i go to the movies

I think is false to assume that the passage of time, economic progress or technological saturation are correlated with excellence in culture, or that cultural excellence should "grow". Therefore, there may well be periods of artistic and cultural excellence in the past that far surpass the present day. There are many plausible explanations for this, the best is that reduced necessity of effort to survive is not easily replaced by artificially enforced effort. It's the struggle and rapid change of circumstances that produce the inspiration. There are also network and local effects of great art (Vienna/music) that seem difficult to reproduce with technology (why?). A homogeneous, mediocre level of existence is not that interesting, even if it rises over time. In some sense,. this may be the artistic equivalence of the TGS argument.

Beethoven is a good example of this. His genius found its outlet in the invention of the piano, with its variation in volume versus the harpsichord . The piano will not be re-invented. Therefore there cannot be another Beethoven. Note that technological progress is different than technological saturation. Note also that the human capacity for producing great culture does not change over time, but the conditions that enable it do, and they do not necessarily grow over time like economic output may. Note also that the human capacity for appreciating great cultural achievements waxes and wanes. This is an important aspect of this dynamic as well.

g-loaded? It's not even in urban dictionary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_intelligence_factor

"It focuses on why we so commonly overrate the cultures of previous eras and see them as golden ages."

Without having seen the movie, my guess on the general question would be selection bias.

People expend far more effort on preserving and recommending the good stuff than they do on the crap, so a disproportionate amount of the good stuff survives and that colors our entire perception of past cultures. Meanwhile, we're exposed to a much more representative sample of what's being produced by our modern culture, and 90% of everything is crap. So we mistakenly compare our 90% crap culture to a 90% good sample that has been heavily biased through generations of careful cultivation.

First, if artistic talent was distributed perfectly randomly among eras, under a normal distribution there would be periods of much greater than normal artistic talent and periods with alot less artistic talent.

Second, while we may question the existence of golden ages, their opposite, dark ages where just about no artistic production has survived, has definitely happened.

Third, societies themselves have all sorts of ways they can increase or decrease the amount of artists, whether talented artists or hacks get noticed, the mediums they perform in and so on. There is a reason realistic portrait and landscape painting developed in the West and not the Middle East. There have been notable periods where artists could make a living selling to the middle class (definitely not the norm), others where if you are any good you will get thrown in jail or exiled.

So yes, there have been golden ages.

Maybe this is why I never got Allen and consider David to be the Kwisatz Haderach.

Ya nice movie is that mentioned above. Paris is nice place . Its the place know as fashion city. Peoples and Visitors enjoy there by seeing the beauty of the city there peoples, there styles. The Secret behind there propriety is there world class Fashion Industry such like fashion industry many common industries like Industrial Chemical Manufacturer and Bulk Supplier are make important role in developing the life styles of the peoples city or country .

Nice movie there. The Paris is great place to go and feel the enjoyment there. There are fashionable markets which is known to all the world. Night lighting is much pretty to see. Thing is peoples more believe in styles because they are rich . Industry is a big factor to make a place more attractive and make there peoples richer. Some products related to nanotechnology as single walled carbon nanotubes and more are make a big roll in the development .

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