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.
Autar Kaw, "Hollywood, We Know What you Like", Commentary,
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