Oil

The Day After Sensationalism

She was pretty. She looked straight at me, asked a simple question and I earned her undying hatred with my reply. I still chuckle about it.



Back in college, I was giving a speech about the drug war entitled "Poor Little Misunderstood Heroin" (being a perceptive kinda guy, I realized that subtlety was the way to go.) The point of the speech was pretty clear. While many people had strong issues about the drug war, few people had any accurate information about drugs or their effects. Thus they were getting into passionate, heated arguments about a topic they knew little about.

When the speech was over, it was time for questions from the class. Pretty Girl was aghast at my pointing out that heroin, though extremely dangerous, is not as nearly as harmful as the media make it out to be. She asked how I could believe anything so ridiculous and before I could respond, followed it up with the question "Haven't you seen the movie 'Trainspotting'?"

Some days I think there must be a God because he drops these little gems into my life to either test my spirit or brighten it. I'm not sure which. People like that must never get colds because I'm convinced that if they blow their nose their heads will implode.

I looked at Pretty Girl and replied "No, I haven't seen it, but I also don't base my opinions about complicated subjects on one and a half hours of Hollywood entertainment."*

So much for my chances of getting laid.

As some of you are doubtless aware, I can be brutal when it comes to stupidity. Just read my review of What the Bleep ... if you're not convinced. This time, I have to be merciless about the movie The Day After Tomorrow. Well, no, that's not strictly true. There wasn't much particularly good or bad about the movie. I thought it kind of lay there and twitched, but occasionally it twitched in interesting ways. My capsule review: wait for the video.

No, the problem I have with this movie is the reaction of the media. First off, this movie is a major release. It's being released at well over 3,000 theaters across the US (1,500 is considered a "saturation" release) and with a release this wide, it's understandable that it's going to garner some press. Some press, such as this review by our own dtaylor, sums it up pretty accurately. It's mindless big budget entertainment. And hey, I like mindless big budget entertainment.

Some press, however, posit a sinister plot. They seem to think that Fox -- the Bush administration cheerleaders -- is putting out liberal propaganda. That anyone can say this with a straight face is astounding, but what really confounds me is that everybody agrees it's junk science. For anyone to take this seriously, doesn't someone have to think that it's realistic or educational or something? Conservatives call it bunk. Liberals are calling it bunk. Scientists are calling it bunk. Greenpeace is calling it bunk bunk. Newspapers across the country are calling it bunk. No one out there seems to think this is ... real. I can't believe anyone is seriously thinking this is propaganda. It's entertainment. Real life is not entertainment. In real life, there is no crazed hooker in the attic with a chainsaw. In real life, zombies become the Secretary of Defense and aren't out roaming the streets. In real life, we get up, brush our teeth and pick the lint off our shirt while we're getting dressed for work. Real life is mundane. It's usually boring. Nobody would think this movie is real, would they?

Then again, some people evidently thought Trainspotting was a documentary.

And was it just me, or did anybody else thing that the computer generated wolves looked like leftover wargs from the "Lord of the Rings" set?




* OK, OK, it was a British film. Shut up.
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Re: Haven't seen it yet
"The Day After Tomorrow" is a B-movie; nothing more, nothing less. On that level, it is a fine B-movie, in the same strata as "The Blob," "Godzilla," "Poseiden Adventure", etc.

And I have to disagree with Mr. Ovidius; this movie is only worth seeing on the big screen. On the small screen, all the power of disaster will be diluted, and all you're left with is cheesy and insipid dialogue, and thus absolutely no reason to watch it. So wait to see it at the Bagdad or Laurelhurst or other cheap screens. People who take this film with even the slimmest sliver of seriousness, either way, needs to be battered about the head with an inflatable penis filled with guacamole. Sadly, the reason people do get up in arms with movies like this and "Passion of the Christ" is that as America grows more anti-intellectual and less able to process abstract thought, movies are becoming the media of record. Can't I just watch a fun movie about nature shitting all over humanity without some blowhard ruining it for me??