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Why Critics Are Gaga Over the Nostalgia Porn of ‘Super 8′

The Projector

Why Critics Are Gaga Over the Nostalgia Porn of ‘Super 8′

Like they used to make 'em. Paramount

Your cordial hosts here at The Projector confess to being baffled by the critical plaudits raining down upon "Super 8." (We didn't like it, and neither did Grierson.) But hey, more power to everybody: Certainly, it's not the type of movie you want to dislike. (We're looking at you, Bay.) What we really don't understand is the idea that somehow whether or not audiences go to see "Super 8" is some sort of referendum on moviegoing, like it's somehow Important.

If there's one common theme to all the reviews, it's "well, they just don't make 'em like this anymore." This is perhaps best summed up by the Orlando Sentinal's Roger Moore.

Kids don't play with their parents' Super 8 cameras anymore. They
don't devour movies the way they used to, either. But with "Super 8,"
Abrams offers up a summer entertainment that appeals to the inner 13
year-old in us all, so much fun it may be even make real 13 year-olds
put down their Gameboys and discover what it means to lose yourself in a
movie.

Yeah, they don't play with their parents' Super 8 cameras anymore because Super 8 cameras suck: They have a camera about 50,000 times better on their iPhone. (By the way, old fart, they haven't made a Gameboy in more than a decade.)

But this is a common refrain: You should like "Super 8" because movies today are bad and this is a movie that feels like it's from a time when movies were good. If you go see "Super 8," you will encourage movies to be better.

This is crazy, and, by the way, exactly the lesson Owen Wilson learns in "Midnight In Paris": The present always feels unsatisfying because life feels unsatisfying. Sure, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is a great movie, but it's not a great movie because it came out 30 years ago; it's a great movie because it's a great movie. You know what Steven Speilberg was doing in 1979, when "Super 8" was set? He was making "1941." Bad movies exist in every decade.

If "Super 8" surprises analysts and makes a bunch of money this weekend, it will not lead to fewer "Transformers" sequels and to more "original" (it is so odd that "Super 8" has been called "original;" even if you love it, you must admit it's the polar opposite of "original") entertainment. You're gonna get the same junk you've always gotten. You know why? Because not everyone's Steven Spielberg. He and Lucas created this summer movie spectacle world and then left it in lesser hands. Which is why there's "Transformers" and everything else. It's funny how everyone forgets to be nostalgic for that part.

"Super 8" [Metacritic]