Hey did you know that 2001: A Space Odyssey isn’t just a source for visual references on Mad Men and the inspiration for a bizarre Jack Kirby comic book, but is also a pretty darn good movie? At the time a radical departure for both Stanley Kubrick and the science-fiction genre, 2001 hit at exactly the right time in popular culture, connecting with spiritually questing hippies, the emerging art-cinema crowd, and a generation of SF/fantasy/comics fans who were already making the case in the late 1960s for a more adult approach to their favorite genres. Because 2001’s groundbreaking visual effects were copied by less ambitions B-movies over the next couple of decades, and because so many of 2001’s scenes have become fodder for parodies and homages in the decades since 1968, the film is one of those of those canonical classics that can leave some young cinephiles scratching their heads over why it’s so acclaimed. (Okay, I admit it, I’m talking about the 15-year-old me.) But further exposure to movie history—and more exposure to Kubrick—makes 2001 look better and better. It’s not just the scope and technical achievement of 2001 that makes it great. For all of Kubrick’s reputation as a control-freak, there’s an intuitive quality to the way he takes on Arthur C. Clarke’s millennia-spanning story about the origins and future of humanity and adds his own quirky sense of humor and fascination with human folly. 2001: A Space Odyssey airs on TCM at 8 p.m. Eastern.
June 03, 2014 newsreel