What is a “classic?”

I took Preteen to see the Iowa City Community Theatre production of To Kill a Mockingbird on Saturday night. (Teen had a better offer…though I’m not sure how going to a LAN party and hooking a bunch of computers together really qualifies as “better” than going to see live theatre…) Preteen and I had a great time! A friend of mine had a small part…her daughter had the lead. Plus one of Preteen’s past directors also had a part…and we knew all three of the kids who were in it because they’ve been in Young Footliter’s productions with Preteen. I was planning on going to see this production anyway, but it’s even more fun when you know some of the people who are in the show!

I was happy that Preteen actually liked the story, too…that it wasn’t just about going to see people he knew. Now I would’ve thought he would’ve liked the story all along. But when auditions were announced a couple months ago, he was all set to try out (he thought it would be fun to do a show with adults, rather than just kids)…until I told him what the story was about. I have no idea why or how I turned him off, but somehow I did. (Though it certainly made my life easier not having to drive him to rehearsals the last two months….) And of course, during the intermission, he said he wished he had tried out after all. Oh well.

On the way home we had a nice discussion about what makes a book, movie or TV show a “classic.” Well, we had a “nice discussion” until I told him that while Stargate SG-1 is a great show, I’m not sure it’s a “classic.” Then he got mad at me.

We continued our conversation when we got home. And Teen was home by then, so he put in his two cents, too (he did agree with me on Stargate SG-1, BTW). Teen and I have had numerous conversations about what makes something a classic, too. He thinks personal opinion has a lot to do with it. But I’m not so sure about that…I think there are books/movies/TV shows that almost everyone would agree are classics. To Kill a Mockingbird is one example.

Much of these conversations I’ve had with Teen have centered around Catcher in the Rye. He thinks Catcher in the Rye is way over-rated. I, on the other hand, LOVE that book! I personally think Lord of the Rings is over-rated, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “classic.”

I think a classic:

1) stands the test of time
2) breaks new ground
3) is something that, for whatever reason, touches a wide range of people

So then Teen brought up Miracle on 34th Street (the original black and white version! I’m sorry, but remaking Miracle on 34th Street, setting it in modern times, doing it in color…all of that is just plain WRONG!). This is one of my favorite movies. I think it’s a classic. It’s certainly stood the test of time…it touches a wide variety of people…but did it break new ground? Hmm…I’m not sure.

Okay, maybe personal opinion DOES factor in…

4 thoughts on “What is a “classic?”

  1. So…if SG-1 isn’t a classic, would the original Star Trek, according to your three points? 🙂 Maybe that would make preteen happy???

    What a wide variety of interests your family has!

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