Review: Michael Caine swings back to the ’60s in entertaining new doc My Generation

Miniskirts! Jaguar convertibles! The Beatles! You really should already know what to expect from a documentary about London in the 1960s. My Generation gives it to you with insight, careful research, and an electrifying personal perspective from producer/narrator Michael Caine.

Caine’s involvement elevates the film in several ways. He’s still friends with all the big cultural icons from the era — Joan Collins, Roger Daltrey, Marianne Faithfull, Paul McCartney, Twiggy and others — so we get to hear their stories as well, he’s a great storyteller, and he influenced the cultural revolution as much as he benefited from it. This is an interesting story, and it’s worth hearing again in this context.

England had never been cool before. The war had been devastating, and food rationing seemed to go on forever even after peace arrived. Then, all of a sudden, there was rock music, sexy clothing, and The Pill. In London, it was enough that the stifling Class System relaxed its stranglehold a little bit, and young people could suddenly choose their role in society, rather than just doing what their parents did.

But of course, you know some of this. We all do. My Generation does an excellent job of explaining it all to baffled younger viewers, but audiences who know the names and dates will get more out of the film.

Now here’s a weird question: Why did I watch this? I was born in 1969, and grew up in an era that wasn’t ready for the ’60s to end. The radios weren’t playing new music, they were still playing stuff for my parents. Even the pop culture I grew up with — Archie comics and Spiderman cartoons — were frozen snapshots of a previous era. I was sick of the ’60s without even realizing it, and it took way too long for the people in charge to snap out of their nostalgic reveries and start thinking about the future. Shut up about the ’60s! I’ve had enough!

Unless the story is told as well as it is in My Generation. Then, I’ll listen.

(Photo courtesy Jeff Spicer.)

My Generation opens Friday, Sept. 7 at The Plaza Theatre. For show times please click here.

John Tebbutt is the Video Vulture. He has been writing about obscure and ridiculous cinema since 1997. You can keep up with his nonsense on his websiteFacebookTwitter and through episodes of a program he’s doing with NUTV.