What influenced our lists
Just because we limited our New Classics list to the past 25 years doesn’t mean that we don’t like anything before 1983. Here are our top 10 entertainment moments from the rest of mankind’s history:
Living Single Cell
A series of hilarious cave paintings that trace the loopy fish-out-of-primordial-ooze adventures of a trio of single-cell organisms living cluelessly among the more evolved cavemen. Far more successful than when the concept was discovered, ripped off, and updated millennia later by a spelunking ABC exec.
C. 425 BC
Oedipus the King
Sophocles’ play not only was a theatrical sensation but also inspired Greek fashionistas to take up the daring but literally shortsighted ”gouged-out eyeball” fad.
C. AD 28
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
J.C.’s mad spoken-word skillz made Demosthenes look like Larricus the Cable Guy. Hey-oh!
Untitled Iroquois Anthem
An infectious, deeply moving celebratory paean to the Native American tribes’ independence, strength, and love of nature. Musical rights were traded for a sack of smallpox to the Pilgrims, who passed it down through generations until it ignominiously became the electric slide song.
The Sistine Chapel
We’ll concede that Michelangelo’s sprawling work now seems a bit ”small” compared with recent giant artistic achievements like the 3-D Hannah Montana concert film. But for its time, zowee!
The Return of the Herd, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Props must go to one of the first painters to depict everyday life: Without him we would have no Hi and Lois.
Jeffrey Lyons’ great(x9)-grandfather trashed Shakespeare’s tragedy with an ”Alas, poor Snore-ick!” But we side with Gene Shalit’s ancestor, who said, ”To be or not to be a must-see, that is the stupid question! To thine own self be two…two tickets in the front row!”
The Magic Flute
One of Mozart’s last compositions was arguably his best, even if the opera’s artistic achievement is marred by the fact that it was the first work ever to so conveniently inspire a porn parody title. And yet no one ever remembers Salieri’s Hot Sausage in B Minor.
Creating a battle against a larger-than-life threat but focusing on feelings and emotions, Herman Melville was the Michael Bay of his day. Minus all the CG. And crappiness. And plus the feelings and emotions.
The Facts of Life Goes to Paris
To be honest, 1982 faves E.T. and Gandhi (released just before our 1983 cutoff) now seem dated. But time will never overtake a roller-skating wiseacre and her chubby friend. Especially when they’re eating croissants.