So, Hi! Mr. Rogers. Captain America. Can I call you Steve? If not that’s okay. I’m the newest intern here at S.H.E.I.L.D. Um, we haven’t really spoken, like in person, but I’ve noticed a few things while getting coffee for Mr. Fury. Specifically that you seem really confused by a lot of things. And that’s okay, you’ve been kinda out of the loop for a while. But I thought, “Hey I can really help with this!” You see, before I got into the super spy business, I actually wanted to get into film. So I took some film history classes. And I was thinking I could write you up a little list of things to watch so you’ll get peoples’ references. You know, instead of just rolling my eyes when you don’t get it. …Not that you guys talk to me but… Anyway, here’s the list! I helpfully arranged it by era. Probably best you go through it chronologically.
I heard you got frozen in 1942, so you just missed this one. But it’s a super classic, many people consider it to be the best film of all time. It still gets referenced a bunch today. After you watch it you can watch the Looney Tunes parody of it called “Carrot Blanca.” Because the main character is a rabbit. …You should probably watch some Looney Tunes too. They were called Merry Melodies when you might have seen them.
It’s A Wonderful Life
So this one actually wasn’t a big hit when it came out. But it became incredibly popular on television. Yes, those picture boxes you see everywhere. Back when networks needed to fill programing slots, the rights to the movie were cheap. So now it’s become ubiquitous with the Christmas season. Everyone has seen it, probably a few times.
This is a musical adaptation of the classic novel. The most common reference is probably “Please, Sir, may I have some more”, but I’ve heard things from it mentioned a ton of times. Plus it’s pretty catchy, and since you saw the Wizard of Oz, I figured you probably like musicals. …I was kind of eavesdropping, sorry about that. But your “conference table” is like right next to the bridge. It wasn’t really my fault. At least I pay attention to the higher ups, not like Kyle, always playing Space Invaders…
Leave it to Beaver/Lassie
You don’t have to watch the entire run of these shows, just a few episodes to get the general idea. These are staples of the 50s popular culture, and are how most people remember the 50s. Or more like they’re how the 50s would like to be remembered. I mean, I’m not trying to teach you history, just pop culture. So, the 50s weren’t really like this. So, you know… you didn’t totally miss out. It’s not like you would have been settled down in this era with kids. Well, maybe you would have. But. Your dog wouldn’t have been as cool, I promise.
The Day The Earth Stood Still
So, after World War Two there was this thing called “The Cold War” where the US and Russia were basically playing chicken with nukes. It lasted up until the 80s, and this is one of many movies influenced by it. One of the first, actually. People were uncomfortable talking in the open about how we should all try to get along or else we were headed for mutual destruction, so they made a movie where an alien has to tell us. So yeah, this is the part of the 50s left out of “Leave it to Beaver” up there.
Universal Monster Movies- Dracula, Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolf Man
These get referenced all the time, and were very popular in their day. If you like them there are lots of sequels and crossovers for you to check out. And even some comedy specials with Abbott and Costello, who you should probably look into too. They are technically horror movies, so… warning? I’m not sure what will frighten you, and it’s about to get a lot worse.
Like right here. This director is considered one of the best ever, and he has a lot of other work that’s good too, but this one seems to be the one most people remember and make references to. But I’m warning you, it’s really really scary. I know you beat up super Nazis and everything, but uh… watch out.
To Kill A Mocking Bird
So, it’s really great how you’re like… not… racist and everything. I mean. Racism probably isn’t even… A thing to you. But. In the time period you come from, it was pretty culturally ingrained. So, in the 60s we had this whole movement called “Civil Rights” wherein people stood up for the rights of minorities. So that’s why you don’t see “colored” water fountains anymore and your boss is Nick Fury. This movie depicts the the gross unfairness of the old system and came out at a time when people were fighting to change it. I know you were from New York and not the south, so you probably didn’t see it as much. But still. It’s not okay anymore. Not that you seem to need to be told. So that’s cool. So yeah. Uh. America got even more awesome while you were frozen. Go us.
Okay, this is a super long series. But it’s culturally important especially for the 60s. You see, we were undergoing a “cultural revolution” at the time. And a lot of that… well, it had to do with “free love”. This is probably going to seem kind of shocking but… people were… well… they were having lots and lots of… um… “relations.” And also experimenting with drugs. And while that didn’t blatantly make it into many movies, you can see a lot of the overtones in this movie series. So. Yeah. Ease you into the idea. Also the Beatles did one of the theme songs. You might want to look into those guys too.
2001 A Space Odyssey
So, yeah… that drug stuff I was talking about. That’s pretty much why most people loved this movie. It was really cool to watch it high. Not that I’m suggesting you should ever get high. I’m sure you wouldn’t. It’s just, this movie gets referenced a lot because of how popular it was. Because of drugs. So. There you go. I don’t do drugs either, by the way. S.H.I.E.L.D. has some really strict testing policies. Is super serum a drug? Um… if you ever need someone to pee in a cup for you… I’m just saying.
Planet of the Apes
This one gets referenced a lot, and I mean a lot a lot. I don’t want to tell you too much about it, because the ending has been spoiled for everyone since about 1980 onward, and I think it would be cool if at least one person could be shocked by it. Even if they had to be frozen for fifty years to do it…
Okay, this is a huge one. So you may or may not have noticed that these days there’s lots of big movies released in the summer that lots of people line up to see. You probably haven’t noticed, considering you’re like… saving the world and stuff. But anyway. The Blockbuster movie is totally a thing now, and it all started because of this movie. I think the music from this gets referenced more then the plot, but still. You really need to see this one.
I know I said the other one was huge. But this one is huger. Super mega huge. It’s actually three movies, but the first one came out in the 70s. So, this is so ingrained in our popular culture that people won’t even realize they’re making a reference to it. So you really extra super need to see these movies. Plus they’re really great. You might have seen “Flash Gordon” in your time. These are kind of inspired by that, at least the serial format. So hey, hopefully they’ll feel a little familiar.
Uh, we’re getting into the gritty stuff now. I’ve been trying to avoid the grindhouse because well, it’s shocking stuff. Lots of bloody gory violence, but most of it was kind of fringe. But this one is really important today and gets quoted all the time. Also, movies keep getting bloodier from this point on, so. Better start getting used to it. I’m sorry.
Another scary one. This one is pretty gory too. But it gets talked about a lot. I don’t know what genre of movie is your favorite, but some how I really doubt it’s science fiction horror. But, you might like it if you give it a chance. The second movie, called Aliens, because there’s… well… multiple aliens in it, is less scary and has some military people in it, you might like that one better.
So, there’s really only two good movies in this series, and no one remembers the others. So just watch the first two. If you’re wondering who that guy is who used to be the governor of California with the funny voice, this is pretty much where he became a big movie star. Well this and…
Conan the Barbarian
So, um. This one is kind of weird. But I know that it was based on a genre of books that was really popular right around your time. So maybe you even know the character. Well, they made a movie out of it fifty years later. You never know what will have lasting appeal. Apparently it’s men and women wearing very little swinging swords at each other.
So, in the 80s we had a huge surge in crime. Some blame drugs, some blame over population and movement to city centers. Eventually the crime wave stopped, but people imagined that it might get worse and worse, leading to a lot of dystopian movies about a future run by criminals. So in this movie they make a robot cop to fight the many many criminals. A robo-cop, if you will. Another warning, this one is also really bloody.
Finally, a family movie. This one has a super iconic shot in it that has been referenced and parodied a million times. I won’t spoil it for you, I just have a good feeling you’ll really like this one. Not all modernish films are violent or sexual.
Because neither is this one! Well, wait. Okay, there’s some… moderately sexy stuff in this one. But it’s really funny, and everyone has seen it. Hopefully you’ll like this one too. Also, there aren’t any real ghosts, so don’t worry. Well, at least none that are that funny.
Back to the Future
So, if you want to see the 80s remembering the 50s and also get a lot of pop culture references, this one is a must see. Also it’s really clever and funny. The 80s did comedy well. Also time travel! It’s like you backwards! Um, also, no, there’s no real time travel either. Sorry.
Nightmare On Elmstreet/Friday the 13th
These two franchises were huge and defined horror in the 80s. There are a ton of movies in both of them, but you need to see a few of them to really get was going on. I’d say see the first Nightmare movie, but at least number three on Friday the 13th. They so over saturated popular culture that they are still referenced all the time today. So sorry for making you watch more scary stuff… But it’s for your own good. Maybe you could just look up the trailers.
So, I’d say only watch the first one of this movie series. Actually, let’s just say only one even exists. If anyone asks you about the sequels just give them that face. You know the one. The “that is a thing that exists?” face that you do so well. …I promise I’m not spying on you. At least not outside of my professional obligations.
You pretty much have to see this movie. I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, it’s just, everyone has seen it. So many lines and iconic shots. Also… you might cry. Not that I think you’re a cry baby. But. Everyone cries.
So, this movie kind of serves as an abbreviation of American pop culture all on it’s own. So, yay! I’m sure it’ll cover some things I’ve forgotten. Plus people like to reference it in and of itself. Feel free to ask me if there’s anything in it you don’t get. Not that I think you know me. Um, I have the work station on the far far left. Way far left. It’s technically in the broom closet. Well, not really my own work station. I share it with three others. But I’m usually at the latte machine. Mr. Fury is very particular about his coffee. Also he’ll only eat burgers from European McDonald’s. He likes to ask new interns for a “Royal with Cheese” and see what we come back with… Luckily we were flying over France when he pulled it on me.
So dinosaurs are neat, huh? Want to see some really cool looking ones? Well great! This movie has them. It was a really big deal when it came out. Also, don’t worry. There aren’t real dinosaurs. They used computers to make it look like there are. But there really aren’t. At least not we’d let Hollywood film.
Lord of the Rings
This time you have to see all three movies. Or read all the books. I think the movies would take less time. And considering everything else I’ve given you to watch… yeah just watch the movies. Also, since they take place in an alternate fantasy world, you don’t need any modern references to get this one. Yay!
So, these are also based on books. You might want to just read the books. But don’t let Mr. Stark catch you reading them. They’re kind of for kids. But everyone has read them. I bet he’s read them too, but it’s not like he needs an extra reason to make fun of you. Not that… you should be made fun of. He’s just like that. At least he’s stopped pinching asses since he got together with Miss Potts. …Not that you would have to worry about that.
So, this one is also a lot of references that also get referenced for being in this movie. I left off a lot of genres like kung fu movies from the 70s, and samurai movies from the 50s and 60s. Well this references them all. I could make a whole non American movie list for you I guess… but… you’re Captain America, so I thought I’d start locally. This one is also super mega bloody, but everyone has seen it so… you kinda gotta see it. Sorry again.
Pirates of the Caribbean!
This is another throw back! Pirate movies were really popular for a long time, but none of them really stuck around in the public mind. Until this revival. We seem big on revivals. But um, this movie is kinda based off of a ride in Disneyland. Oh, right. Disneyland was made in the 50s… Uh… Did you see Snow White? The cartoon version? Well, those guys kept making movies. And then they made a park with rides based on those movies. And then they made movies based on those rides. …Yep. Uh, you’d like the park.
Well, we’re only a few years into the… 10s? Is that what you’d call it? So, if you get out of your room once in a while and start going to see some films, you’ll be right as rain. Not that I… keep track of what you’ve been doing. Or that you’re under 24 hour surveillance or anything. Or that I’d even be allowed to look at the surveillance. Well, not nearly all of it.
Er, well… uh… this list turned out way longer then I meant it to, so you’d better get cracking. Good luck!
PS. I tried to email this to you before I remembered you don’t have a computer, so I’m just printing it out. Also your door just happened to be open, I didn’t break in. And your hairbrush was already gone when I got there.
Article by Meagan of “Thinking Too Hard”