Friday, January 27, 2012

Will we be raunchy old people?

Random thought that occurred to me the other day:

"If elderly movie fans still cherish the movies they loved when they were kids, does that mean we're going to still have a raunchy sense of humor when we're elderly?"

Think about it. If you came of age loving American Pie or the Farrelly Brothers, or worship at the altar of Judd Apatow, how do you think you'll feel about these movies when you're in your seventies or eighties?

I'd be tempted to say that I'll still laugh at Ben Stiller getting his balls stuck in his zipper when I'm decrepit and using a walker. But part of that is pie-in-the-sky, a willful denial of the fact that I'll ever be anything less than the jaunty picture of youth I am today. "I'll never be square, will I? Of course not."

But I wonder.

There's something untoward about the idea of an old person who thinks that dick jokes and poop jokes are funny. I mean, we'll still be us -- we'll still have the essential personalities we've always had. But doesn't some kind of sophistication have to overtake us eventually? Or will we just have to pretend to be sophisticated in polite company?

People who are old now have not really had to confront this. They came of age in a cinematic era when things were simpler. Sure, there was that era's version of raunchiness in some of the movies released before the Hays Code made everything prim, proper and innocent, a period that lasted from the mid 30s to the late 60s. But nothing like the raunch we see today. And those who came of age after the MPAA ratings began in 1968 are too young to be considered elderly yet.

When we sit a grandchild on our knee for a great lecture on the cinema of yesteryear, which will inevitably begin with the words "In my day ...", we'll definitely have plenty of appropriate movies to talk about. Star Wars will be an ancient relic, but it'll be just the perfect kind of thing to bring up here. The animation of Toy Story will look positively primitive, but the story itself will still be a classic. There will even be some great comedies that'll be pretty safe to talk about. Ghostbusters is pretty tame, all told, isn't it?

But maybe, just maybe, we won't bring up the fact that we all loved a movie where a guy has sex with an apple pie.

Out of propriety, maybe we'll just keep that one all to ourselves.

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