The Corner

2001: a Space Odyssey

Several readers have complained about my dissing of 2001. I stand my ground. There’s one point a couple readers have made though I will concede. They say if I’d seen it when it first came out I would think differently. That is undoubtedly true. But some movies — and books and bands and art — are significant because they break new ground and some are significant because they are timeless. I’m sure there are other Cornerites more qualified to discuss that point at length. But it seems to me that 2001 was pathbreaking but it wasn’t timeless. I feel the same way about Citizen Kane, by the way. I watched it in film class in college so I know all about the groundbreaking techniques used in the film. But those techniques have now been absorbed by the trade. What’s left is a pioneering movie which is more interesting as a historical document in the history cinema than as a movie. Just as the Model T was a great advance in the history of automotive innovation, but there are plenty of other cars I’d rather drive, there are plenty of “great” movies I wouldn’t choose seeing again over the chance to watch Road House one more time. There are plenty of music videos I’d rather watch than Un Chien Andalou, even though Un Chien Andalou is their artistic father.

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