Film Canon's Boomer Bias
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A Hard Day's Night (1964) dir. Richard Lester

A Hard Day's Night made me like the Beatles less.  They come across as asshole who don't like their fans, don't like their jobs and act like 14-year-olds at age 24.

The "plot' is an endless cycle of the same sketch.  Beatles see fans.  Beatles run away from fans.  See Beatles run.  Run Beatles, Run.  Manager is mad.  See Beatles laugh.

Occasionally, we take a break for a terrible bit involving some awkwardly unfunny humor with Wilfrid Brambell, who plays a grandfather.

If the story had at least been used as a way to play some Beatles songs, it would have been OK.  I kept expecting the gang to say "hey, let's all sit down and play a song together."  But it almost never happened.  If Hannah Montana can figure out a way to work her songs into her movie, the Beatles should have been able to do the same.

How on earth did A Hard Day's Night make it into the expanded film canon?

My guess is that the movie plays into the Boomer nostalgia that currently dominates the film canon.  Here's the decade-by-decade breakdown of the brand-new, 2012 They Shoot Pictures Don't They? Top 1000:

1890s - 0.1% 1900s - 0.1% 1910s - 0.6% 1920s - 5.3% 1930s - 9.4% 1940s - 10.6% 1950s - 16.2% 1960s - 18.1% 1970s - 14.7% 1980s - 11.3% 1990s - 9.6% 2000s - 3.6%

I don't expect the decades to come out exactly even, but I also don't think the 1960's had more than 3 times as many important films as the entire silent era.

The next version of the Sight & Sound poll comes out this year.  In 2002, it stayed largely static, and kept the Boomer bias that the previous several decades had showed.

Canon-making is still relatively new for film.  Will demographic change make the 1960's peak a temporary affair?  Or will it become permanently institutionalized as younger critics are wary of voting down their grandparents' sacred cows?

A Hard Day's Night  is #427 on the 2012 edition of the TSPDT 1,000 list I’m blogging through.  I’ve now seen 423.