Such as…? I can’t think of a single teen comedy in the last decade that can hold a candle to Fast Times in terms of writing, acting, topicality, or even nudity.
I think the Sex Pistols, and maybe punk itself as a genre, suffer from this. It’s hard to imagine people getting so worked up about Mohawks and piercings back in the day.
applauds Pochacco’s post Read the freakin’ OP before you post, guys!
This is true of a lot of groundbreaking music, I’ve found. As a personal example, it took me ages to get into The Pixies, who are rightfully credited with setting off the entire alternative rock movement of the 1990s. The loud-soft dynamic, atonal, jagged guitar solos, and emphasis on creating compositions that work as songs rather than as technical wankery were revolutionary in the music scene of the late '80s, but have since become the basic formula for rock songwriting. As someone raised on mid-to-late 90s rock, I spent a long time wondering just what people saw in The Pixies (though I’ve since come around, thank god ;)).
I enjoyed all of the following far more than Fast Times:
Harold and Kumar go to White Castle
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Bring It On
Of these, American Pie is probably the closest comparison.
Fast Times wasn’t intended as simply a teen comedy; it’s much more realistic and hard-hitting. I’m pretty sure none of the films mentioned above has a subplot wherein a character gets an abortion.
ArchiveGuy is right; Fast Times remains pretty much untouched as far as teen “dramedies” go. Maybe Breakfast Club earns an honorable mention, though it’s far more contrived and slick.
And in regard to Pochacco’s comment: Warner Bros. may have ripped off some of Disney’s “barnyard”-style plots, but the characterization and energy of their films was very much their own (and it came far more from Tex Avery and Bob Clampett than from Chuck Jones, who was the most unabashedly Disneyesque of the TT directors).
Well, for what it’s worth, I love high school movies, both comedic and serious, and I didn’t see Fast Times until I’d already seen many, many movies made later, and thus presumably influenced by it, and I thought it was thoroughly “meh”.
Seems like this fits the OP perfectly…
The Mohawks and the piercings were just eye-catching symbols that could be used by the media as shorthand for the music itself. What people forget about punk rock is that its rise was directly linked to what was going on in Britain during the 70’s when the empire had declined to a shell of itself, its once-mighty economy seemed wrecked beyond repair, and the whole country looked like it was headed toward permanent strife-ridden decrepitude. It was fairly accurate when Johnny Rotten sang about there being “no future” since it looked as though many young Britons would spend most of their adult lives being either unemployed or underemployed and end up having a standard of living below that of their parents. That’s probably the reason why punk rock was never more than a cult phenomenon in the U.S. during the late 70’s; the environment from which it sprang and the conditions it addressed were uniquely British and had little to do with what was going on in America at the time.
I was wondering how long it would take for a Sondheim fan to butt in. I’d just like to register my strong disagreement with the ‘it is pretty well agreed’ part of this post. No, it isn’t. Sondheim fans like to think so. But to the rest of us, self included, SS couldn’t write a song worth singing if his life depended on it. As a lyricist, he was okay and had some moderately good ideas, although he wasn’t in the same league as a true great, such as Cole Porter. As a songwriter, he had grand ambitions but was seriously hampered by the fact that he hasn’t a clue what the word ‘melody’ or ‘tune’ means. As a writer of shows, forget it. I’ve had to sit through an awful lot of SS shows, and there isn’t a one that I would consider worth seeing.
…and back on track with the OP, after the Sondheim derailment that usually occurs in these discussions, I have a few suggestions.
I think the original Siegel/Schuster Superman would be a good contender. I’m not a comic books fan at all, and don’t know much about the genre. But I think it fits the OP. It’s hard looking back now to see what was so special about it, but that’s because they got a lot of what is now the standard formula right, and it had proved to have enduring appeal and influence.
Back in the realm of movies, how about The Usual Suspects for a fairly recent example? I know some (younger) people now who have trouble seeing what the fuss what all about, but that’s because it spawned so many imitations and copycats.
Hear Hear! Pulp Fiction is anything but groundbreaking - it borrows heavily in style and execution (as does Reservior Dogs) from Stanley Kubrick’s 1956 film “The Killing”
I’d nominate Edgar Allan Poe, particularly his storyMurders at the Rue Morgue. Future authors writing in the genre, from A.C. Doyle to Agatha Christie, owe their livelihood to him.
Some might argue that Poe doesn’t qualify the OP’s specs in that his stories still hold power and haven’t been diluted by the years of imitators and homages, and I couldn’t dispute that for the most part (The Raven still gives me goosebumps), but the bulk of his most famous “horror” works have been so hyped and oft imitated that new readers going back to read them find them “boring”.
I can’t think of a single show that’s tried to be the “new Buffy”. Can I get a couple of for instances?
Tarantino pretty much admits to copying from every film ever made. Every time the subject of how original is “Pulp Fiction” comes up I hear someone naming a different director Tarantino copied every time.
Pulp Fiction is groundbreaking because no one has copied so many past director’s styles and blended them as well as Tarantino has.
Since the Sondheim brigade is out, I might as well toss in some Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice with “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Even people who don’t like ALW agree it’s good, but they don’t realize how controversial it was when it was first released.
The difference between SS and ALW is the latter knows he can’t write lyrics.
The first well-known movie to show you something acted out that isn’t actually what happened. Groundbreaking at the time, but today’s audiences are incredibly familiar with that- it’s hard to even imagine a world that wasn’t.
And as for Citizen Kane- the first time I saw it (age 18) not only was it not unimpressive to me- it uses more unusual techniques and to better effect than most of the films/tv made today- but I agreed that it was the best movie ever on story and storytelling merits alone (w/o knowing yet of the tech. breakthroughs).
Rashomon, OTOH, is indeed Kane-d- nothing to even keep my interest, really.
And The Exorcist is still the SHIZNIT- the unedited version has her go down the stairs upside down like a spider w/ blood coming out the mouth- SCARY, scarier than anything but The Ring made in the last 30 years.
And The Wizard of OZ is still wondrous, more than any CGI adventure could be.
Casablanca actually never did it for me.