When the Kardashians are just too much to take one second longer, and when TMZ.com and People magazine are overwhelming in their overweening, I have found a calm oasis for escape where morality reigns and outstanding movie making takes center stage.  I’m talking about TCM.com — Turner Classic Movies — and their new iPad App is a wonderful guide for disappearing into the past.

The movies on TCM are always bundled.  You’ll get a whole bunch of Glenn Ford movies one night and a slew of Bette David movies the next and so on.  Name your favorite all time movie star from before the 1980s and they’re on TCM.  Keeping track of all those great films is made easier with the TCM App for the iPad.  You can read about your favorite movies and you get extra background information, too.

What all these great TCM movies remind us of is that we did, at one time, have a fantastic, aesthetic past where movies and art and singing and dancing all had an important place in the forming of the American experience.  We celebrated our past on film and we emboldened our future by aspiring to heights and feats that no common people would ever dare to dream.

When you watch the great movies from the 20s and the 30s and the 40s, you cannot help but wonder how we fell so far as a nation.  We’ve become corrupted by influence and celebrity and modeled by laziness.  A Twitter stream now has the faux significance of a John Ford movie and I cannot comprehend how or when that happened.

As a nation, we have traded our innate goodness for a celebration of the tawdry and the cruel and we find such pleasure in those dregs denominators that we laugh at the way life used to be when good men stood up and did the right thing and right women fought against evil and lasciviousness instead of celebrating it on a weekly television program.


    1. Yes, “The Artist” is a throwback movie — but can that one-off stave off a continued decline of cinematic relevancy? Turn on TCM and you see outstanding acting and writing and directing. The studio system worked! Today, everything is mushed together. TCM is a stark reminder of our lost greatness. I had no idea what a fantastic actor W. C. Fields was until I saw him on TCM. Funny, sure! Incredible actor full of substance? Oh, yeah!

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