One might reasonably assume that a professed love of movies wouldn’t be exclusive of any era, that a movie fan would be open as much to the joys of classic cinema as to the thrills that can be generated by modern films. But that may not always be the case. In introducing The Muriels Hall of Fame, an off-shoot of the Muriel Awards, in which I proudly participate every year, Muriels cofounder Paul Clark notes that an enthusiastic compulsion to look back and dig deep into the treasures of the past may not be as compelling as you’d expect. Clark quotes critic Mike D'Angelo, who recently complained about the tendency of some moviegoers toward a certain sort of myopia:
“By far the most galling aspect… is seeing people condescend to movies made before they were born. Often, they’ll allow that some canonical masterpiece was hugely influential, or “good for its time,” but in the next breath confess that they just can’t take it seriously given the enormous advances that have been made in the decades since.”
Each year the Muriels have always reserved a spot in the ceremony for a 50th anniversary award, highlighting great achievements from a half-century previous. In that spirit, Clark and Steve Carlson have initiated the Muriels Hall of Fame to keep the spotlight more firmly fixed on the classics that still speak to us from several generations past, but which may be in some way daunting or otherwise uninteresting to moviegoers, many of whom might consider anything made before 1990 as “old.”
Over the next two and a half weeks Clark will announce this year’s inaugural MHoF inductees, one each day, beginning with previous Muriel anniversary award winners. Clark promises that many of the usual suspects will naturally be present in the accounting, but he also says that some surprises are also afoot. Muriel voters have also been asked to contribute some writing about the movies they’ve voted for this year. Right now you can read Phil Dyess-Nugent on past Muriel Anniversary winner The Seventh Seal and Peter Labuza on Vertigo. And coming soon, my own piece on a great and influential movie dear to my heart—you’ll just have to keep clicking to find out what it is.
So stay tuned to the unveiling of the inaugural inductees into the Muriels Hall of Fame. If a title comes up that you haven’t yet seen or is already a favorite, I hope you’ll be inspired to check it out for yourself or revisit it and be seduced all over again.