It’s A Kid’s World

I can’t say that Pete is being harsh on Police Academy (below) but I think it tells us something interesting about our childhood tastes and our relationship to them. My guess is that – like The Incredible Journey and One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing – Police Academy appeared on the Top 100 List because it held happy youthful memories for somebody round that fateful table. The question is – is that reason enough to praise something?

Acting as a memory-card is something pop music, for instance, does very well. “80s nights” and nostalgic compilations are routinely sniffed at but the ability of a half-forgotten song to bring back sensations, feelings and images can be devastatingly moving or deeply joyful. OK it’s a fair bet that ‘devastatingly moving’ is not what regulars at Skool Disco are after but this doesn’t justify the dismissal of nostalgia from the critical armoury.

So should nostalgia be an acceptable reason for liking a film? The problem is, as Pete identifies, that material which makes a film fantastic to an 11-year old may well be hard to take for that viewer’s adult self. (Of course I have no idea if Pete did like Police Academy when small). Some types of nostalgia are indulged – why else do so many thirty-somethings put themselves through the antics of Jar Jar Binks et al – but comedy films in this instance date as badly as comedy records.

I’m still a bit wary of using hindsight so freely, though – surely one’s youthful adoration should count for something?