No Spin Zone
American Graffiti 40 Years Later
By: BillOReilly.com Staff Thursday, October 10, 2013
Saturday night at my house I often trot out classic movies and force the urchins to watch them. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I think it's important to teach kids about American culture, and films are certainly a big part of it. Actors like John Wayne, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn are worth seeing and remembering.

So the other night I trotted out American Graffiti, a film released 40 years ago. The movie was directed by Star Wars guy George Lucas and chronicles one night in the lives of some California teenagers in the year 1962.

The first thing the kids noticed was Harrison Ford, playing a young hood driving a hot rod. That got their attention. The movie featured other great actors like Richard Dreyfuss and Charles Martin Smith along with Ron Howard and Cindy Williams. Those two later turned the Graffiti success into the TV shows Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley.

About twenty minutes into the movie, which is heavy on dialogue, light on explosions, the urchins pulled out their iPads and began typing away. Dismay enveloped me.

"So you don't like this?" I asked the 14 year old.

"It's okay, I'm listening."

"But you're playing with that machine!"

"I can multi-task!"

A few minutes later the ten year old demanded popcorn. I told him we'd get it halfway through the flick.

"Do they get out of the cars ever?" The urchin wailed.

"That's the culture in California. They cruise around in cars listening to the radio."

"But there's so many cars!"

I was losing them.

So I paused the movie and brought in snacks. I demanded they shut off the machines while eating.

"Why?" The 14 year old asked.

"Because you can't text, eat, and watch a movie at the same time."

"Yes I can. I always do that."

"They're still in cars," the eight year old said.

We got through the movie but just barely. Interest peaked when the Pharaohs, a gang of juvenile delinquents, forced Dreyfuss to vandalize a police car. Finally some destruction!

After American Graffiti concluded I asked for their reviews. I got them while their heads were down looking at their iPads.

The consensus: It was okay. Too many cars.

These days the machines and awful films that blow things up every ten seconds are delivering heavy blows to American culture. The graffiti is on the wall. Attention spans for young people average about 30 seconds. Baseball? Forget it. Chess? Are you kidding me?

We live in a time where machines that deliver instant gratification rule. But I will continue to fight the cyberspace power. Coming attraction: Hitchcock's The Birds.

Let the texting begin.
Appearances
MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
NOVEMBER 25, 2014  | PM Rating: A
'Is it Legal?' Segment
Chaos in Ferguson, MO last night after the grand jury reaches the decision to not charge Officer...
Top Story
Charles Krauthammer reacts to the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri and what the long...
Impact Segment
Are there two different justice systems in America - one for whites and another for people of...
Personal Story
Should President Obama have done more or less when it came to Ferguson? We'll ask Karl Rove...
Personal Story
Tonight we'll ask the St. Louis Police Chief about the challenges of keeping the peace in Fe...
Back of Book Segment
The networks have been all over the Ferguson story. Has there coverage been fair? Bernie has...
Get KP free when you become a PM!
Newsletters
Learn More about our newsletters here.
BillOReilly.com Column
Talking Points Memo Transcript
The Bill Bulletin
The Factor Insider
This Week on The Factor
E-mail Address
Follow The Factor
Terms & Conditions   |   Privacy Policy   |   Acknowledgements   |   Advertising   |   Mobile Site
Copyright © 2002-2014 BillOReilly.com. All rights reserved.