Back in the Good Old Days — Films About Nostalgia

1
The World's End
The World's End
Universal Studios
Don't you wish high school could just go on forever and Sisters of Mercy never stopped touring? Simon Pegg gets his ultimate wish fulfillment, as he teams up with his former Hot Fuzz mates Nick Frost and Edgar Wright this comedy/sci-fi/buddy film about finishing the ultimate pub-crawl — end of the world be damned.
2
Midnight In Paris
Midnight In Paris
Sony Classics
Owen Wilson plays a frustrated screenwriter who inadvertently time-travels every night to experience the "golden age" of to 1920s Paris and never wants to leave. What is the golden age becomes increasingly unclear, as Allen hits us over the head with the lead writing about nostalgia, while experiencing nostalgia and pontificating about… you guessed it — nostalgia.
3
Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused
Gramercy Pictures (I)
In a role that paved his way to stardom, Matthew McConaughey plays the guy in every small town whose glory days are behind him, while he still scamming on high school chicks, trying to keep the illusion alive. We cringe at his efforts but also look back at our own stupid fumbling of youth so perfectly captured by Richard Linklater.
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4
Pleasantville
Pleasantville
New Line Cinema
Pleasantville successfully mocks the wholesomeness and hypocrisy of the suburban 1950s by supplanting two modern teens into Leave-It-To-Beaverville. Its use of Technicolor as a metaphor in a black and white world is certainly obvious, but it holds up to this day and their 5 servings of starches served each morning is an appealing alternative to gluten-free scones with artisanal berries of today.
5
Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard
Paramount Pictures
Before George Valentin lit up the silent screen in The Artist, there was the original aging silent star, Norma Desmond — who kept her ex-husband as butler rather than a plucky lapdog to facilitate her delusion. Sunset Boulevard is perhaps the best film about Hollywood itself and the mechanics of fame and failure. Skip The Canyons and just watch this film instead.
6
High Fidelity
High Fidelity
Touchstone Pictures
John Cusack goes down the road we all wish we could go down but have better sense not to, when he seeks out all his ex-girlfriends to figure out what went wrong — all set to a killer soundtrack of Stevie Wonder and The Beta Band.
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7
Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
RKO Radio Pictures
Anyone who took a film class elective has enjoyed (or been forced to enjoy, depending on who you ask) this film as the ultimate American story of a self-made man and the pitfalls of that success. Orson Welles as the publishing giant Hearst, mourns the loss of his childhood, but we'll save the "rosebud debate" for another time.
8
The Sandlot
The Sandlot
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
This coming-of-age cum baseball film is filed along with Stand by Me under feel-good rainy day flicks about summer and childhood bonds that you never forget. Its Wonder Years-type narration didn't bother us back in '93, but those were more innocent times then.
9
The Artist
The Artist
The Weinstein Company
Video killed the radio star, but the "talkies" absolutely destroyed the silent film stars of yore. Fleeting fame is a common theme, but the simple act of watching a film with no dialogue in theaters today created a whole new viewing experience that transcended nostalgia. Word to the wise; don't eat Bunch A Crunch during silent films.
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10
Hugo
Hugo
Paramount Pictures
It might strike you as odd to make a film about the birth of cinema and splendor of past filmmaking in a 3D format, but hey it's Martin Scorsese and he can do whatever he wants. As the film charts the fall of filmmaker George Méliés career, it shows not only an inescapable future but also the trouble we face with transition.

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