Hollywood, We Know What you Like

Commentary
The Tampa Tribune
Hollywood has found a new way to sell movies to you – endlessly
convince you to identify yourself or your loved ones with the characters
of a movie. The emotional rush may be just enough to persuade you to
run to the movie-theater with your time and money.

Lately, it is Susan Sarandon drilling into us that we will identify our
mothers with the character she plays in "Anywhere But Here". She even
claimed a few male journalists got all emotional over her character. So
much for Hollywood journalism! Bless her heart and integrity, Katie
Couric on the NBC Today show quickly pointed out to Ms. Sarandon,
"Fortunately, there are not many mothers like that out there".

Before that, Kevin Spacey and Annette Benning were telling us that the
sub-urbanites of America are identifying with the pathetic ones depicted
in "The American Beauty". Yes, cheating on your spouse, having a crush
on your teenage daughter’s best friend and going to an unrewarding
job is all that we shoot for. Pardon me, did I say "shoot for" as I left out
the fact that just like in the movie we must be reliving our stories after
being found dead in a large pool of blood.

I wonder and hope that many of my neighbors are not living the life
depicted in "The American Beauty". At least, they tell me that they are
not. Worse, maybe I am living a life like that and not even aware of it,
and this movie comes along and as John Madden says "Boom! Right in
your face", it wakes me up to my own imaginative and sub-conscious
reality. Or, maybe I am living in the twilight zone and I am the only
ignorant in town.

Movies are entertainment. If we want to identify ourselves with the
characters depicted in them, so be it. It is our choice but for our sake I
appeal to Hollywood – please do not shove the character identification
down our throats by going from one talk show to another.

Lately Oprah Winfrey has fallen for these cheap emotional roller coaster
thrills by devoting a whole show to the melodramatic mother-daughter
relationships shown in "Anywhere But Here".

I am glad that the movie did not open on Mother’s day – it would have
ruined a joyous occasion for many mothers as children would have
concentrated on what their parents did not do for them rather than
what they did for them.

I am surprised that Pikachu has not shown up on TV talk shows yet and
told us that every child identifies with the Pokemon-master "Ash" (or is
that monster). I am glad that my wife volunteered to take my 9-year old
daughter to the Pokemon movie as Ash and his gang would have driven
me crazy rather than been a constant reminder of modern social
commentary.

So when the new James Bond movie – "The World is Not Enough" comes
to town and I am waiting in line to buy my ticket on its first day of
release, please do not look at me strangely. I do not identify with James
Bond, I just like the entertainment value of James Bond movies.

After all, why would I want to identify with James Bond.

"[James Bond] smoked like Peter Lorre and drank like Humphrey Bogart
and ate like Sydney Greenstreet and used up girls like Errol Flynn and
then came out of a steam bath looking like Clark Gable. It was all
reassuring that we never stopped to think that all these people are
dead." – Harry Reasoner.



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