I recently watched Midnight in Paris for a second time and decided that it was definitely one of my favorite Woody Allen movies to date. Besides the amusement of Owen Wilson basically channeling Woody Allen’s rambly and neurotic behavior, this movie pretty much speaks directly to my own obsessions. In the movie, Gil is obsessed with the Paris of the ’20s, always going on about how everything was so much more vibrant and alive in that era than in modern day. And when he magically gets transported into that time, he meets a girl who says the same thing about Paris at the turn of the century. The idea being: everyone has their own “Golden Age,” and what one person considers utterly boring and unexciting could someday be another person’s dream come true.
It made me realize that I have several distinct “Golden Ages,” periods and places that I would give anything to have lived through, but instead have to experience vicariously through movies and books. :P This includes:
Los Angeles in the 20s. I don’t really care for Hollywood nowadays, but to have seen it in its heyday back when movies were still a novel idea – that would be awesome. I definitely think that was the greatest era in LA’s history: people getting dressed up to go to the movies, the original studios, stars like Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson defining celebrity. I think the only times that I miss LA are when I watch an old film and start to get all nostalgic about how exciting those times must’ve been. Luckily I lived there when I first went through my silent film obsession, so I could visit the Chaplin Studios, Grauman’s Theater, and old celebrity mansions while I had the chance.
San Francisco in the 60s. It goes without saying: the music, the people, the Summer of Love…I am SO ENVIOUS of anyone who got to live through this time. I don’t care if it’s super idealistic (I mean, I know that things weren’t all peace and love and flowers), but, you gotta admit that there was nothing quite like SF in the 1960s. Oh, and people say Woodstock was the height of 60s music…just for the record, Monterey Pop was WAYYYY better (want/need this).
New York in the 70s. Like I’ve said before, I have this sort of metropolitan obsession, which I think is epitomized by NYC in the 1970s. There are tons of movies/shows/etc. that feed this obsession, including Taxi, Paul Simon’s first solo albums, the first seasons of SNL, and most Woody Allen films. I’m also fascinated with 1950s Greenwich Village (beat scene, anyone?)…but 70s NYC is always what I think of when I imagine city life.
I’m sure there are more random, obscure ones I can think of (Mozart’s era circa 1780s Vienna FTW!), but these are my obvious favorites. And if you haven’t already seen Midnight in Paris, I highly recommend it!