Monday, August 21, 2006

Masked Mom's Media Monday: World Trade Center

As I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before, I read a lot--magazines, books, blogs, etc. So a lot of times before a movie comes out, I've heard/read a whole lot about it--enough to enter the theater with a popcorn bucketful of preconceived notions and preliminary judgments. Most movies are the opposite of a box of chocolates: you always know what you're gonna get. World Trade Center was not like that for me. I hadn't heard anything about it until I saw the previews about a week before Cranky Boss Lady asked me if I wanted to go with her.

My gut reaction after I'd seen the previews was that it was not a movie I wanted to see--mostly because 9/11 is too close in the hearts and minds of so many for it to really be bearable to watch. I didn't see United 93 for the same reason. I think, at the very least, it's too soon.

But Cranky Boss Lady saw Joel Siegel's review on Good Morning, America and needed no further convincing. She asked me if I would go with her and I didn't want her to have to go alone (actually, more to the point, I didn't want to be around her while she pouted about having to go alone), so I saw the movie--with CBL who brought a box of tissues (Joel told her to--and you know, what Joel says goes).

If this were any other movie, I would call it predictable and manipulative and unnecessarily drawn out. Because it's a movie about a very dark day in America's recent history, it seems almost unpatriotic not to mention just plain mean to say those things about it and for me, that's a big part of my problem with the film. To mix the attacks of 9/11 up in any way with "entertainment" feels incredibly wrong--distasteful, opportunistic, and just plain wrong--to me.

After I saw the movie, I came across interviews with Nicholas Cage, who plays John McLaughlin, and Oliver Stone, who directed the movie. (I was so out of the loop going into this movie that it wasn't until the end credits that I realized Oliver Stone directed it.) They both said all the right things about wanting to tell a story about the triumph of the human spirit in the face of enormous tragedy and I have no doubt that their hearts are mostly in the right place where this movie is concerned, but the bottom line is that this movie was packaged and sold as entertainment exactly the same way any other movie would be. In our local two-screen theater, it played (and is still playing, as a matter of fact) opposite Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby--I doubt I could explain why that's so offensive to me to anyone who isn't equally offended, but it's a revulsion I feel on an almost physical level.

Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Wrong.


  1. That's exactly why I won't see it. And don't even get me started on all the "one year after Katrina" crap. People, I'm just not ready!

  2. Maybe I would have better thoughts about it if all the $$ that the movie makes goes to the families of the victims of 9-11. I don't know, I just don't think I can sit and watch it, because I cannot say it is not real, it makes it worse for me.

    I don't think I can watch it either because I don't see this as entertainment. If I want to watch about 9-11 I will watch the news reports and re-caps.

  3. I said the same thing about the money to Hubby. That's part of why I read those interviews with Cage and Stone--thinking maybe one or both of them were donating their share of the money (or even part of their share) to victims or someting--anything. But no, which just becomes one more wrong thing about it as far as I'm concerned.

    And I would also rather see documentaries, news reports, etc because they're so much more realistic and less "packaged" (I mean I realize they're edited, but not to the same extent.) and, therefore, I think, much more genuine. I don't like the idea of Stone or the writers/actors, etc using something that really happened but then shaping it and playing it out for maximum emotional impact. It's just icky. (Which I already said, but clearly, I've spent way too much time thinking about this subject.)