He shoulda looked for the man behind th curtain
My obsession this week is alternate realities. Not the futuristic visions of Earth, like SOYLENT GREEN, or PLANET of the APES. No, I'm thinking closer to home, closer to our timeline. I'm thinking on how our personal realities can change in the blink of an eye.
This line of thinking started out, as usual, with a joke I remembered:
A man, on his death bed is being given his Last Rites. As the priest says, "Do you renounce Satan," the dying man replies, "At his time, I don't think I want to make any enemies." It got me thinking, what if everything we believe in is absolutely wrong? What if everything we KNOW, a total lie?
The cinema gives us a couple examples of having a certain perception of what our life is, only to have it turned upside down by an epiphany of The Truth, usually something so fantastic and unbelieveable, that your brain cannot immediately process the information.
In the movie, The TRUMAN SHOW, Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) suddenly discovers that his whole life, his entire existence, has been a carefully scripted tele-drama, that the entire universe that he knew was "in" on a colossal facade, a show for the rest of the world to enjoy, with Truman as the punchline. It was, in fact, discovering that you were a victim of a worldwide case of voyeurism, and everyone is peeking through your window.
The MATRIX gave us the supposition that we are all in a gigantic hive that have been in stasis for our entire lives, and that the "world" theat we exist in is, for lack of a better description, the video game The SIMS that is manipulated by all-powerful machines.
comment: the citizens of the "unplugged" city of Zion struggle every day for their survival, living virtually as primitive cave dwellers, with cool gadgets, never knowing if the machines will come down to destroy them at any given moment. Now, comparing that to living in a relatively ordinary life, where you can go to work, go to movies and shows, out to dinner, spend time with your family, and in general living a relatively stress-free life without the fear of certain death and destitution - That version of Freedom didn't really have that much appeal for me.
Whoa! This is what I've been missing?
Back on point.
Even in contemporary dramas, especially revenge movies, take a person's comfortable reality, and create a new reality for which there is no turning back. Movies such as The BRAVE ONE, DEATH SENTENCE, and the reality-changing movie that is the template for this genre, DEATH WISH; they all take a normal, well-adjusted, Everyman, throw them in an situation they would have never dreamed they'd be in, even in their worst nightmares, and create another person entirely, complete with a new reality that they must deal with for the rest of their lives.
The basic theme to all these movies, even the "revenge" movies to a point, is that a handful of "lunatics" try to convince the rest of humanity that the world that they know is not real. Now, a popular definition of clinical psychosis is that a person or persons may have one or more of the following: hallucinations, delusions, or a thought disorder. In these aforementioned movies, that psychosis is manifested as people or persons knowing that everyone else is wrong. That person in question might be described as a "nut," or a "lunatic," yet in all cases in the movies, it is the clinical psychotic that is
New York, Nighttime, Dark Alley - Life Changed Forever
Think about the homeless man in the street, talking to himself. Only a few years back, if you or I were to start talking to yourself, the men in the white suits would be coming to take you away (ha-hah!). But then came Bluetooth. Now, with your cell phone in your pocket, you can chat away, and no one takes a second glance. People may still look at you with caution, that is, until they see your additional electronic "appendage" discreetly hidden behind your hair. Taking that a little further, in the movie Fat Albert, the gang incredulously stared at the man they thought was talking on a phone with no one else there, because he was talking on a phone with no telephone cord. FAT ALBERT was a cartoon show done in the Seventies, and cell phones were not yet invented. So by their perception - wacko; his perception - nothing to see here.
What if we've been wrong about things we knew were Gospel Truth? In our past, we absolutely knew the Earth was flat. We absolutely knew we could never fly. In fact the person who first claimed you could was executed as a heretic for that and other "nonsensical ravings." We all absolutely knew that we still had to wait for the Messiah, and executed anyone who said to the contrary. You knew for certain that Santa Claus was real (well, the jury is still out on that one). Every day, our truths are challenged, by self-realization, by technology, and worse, by the changing opinions of philosophy (Example: eating meat on Friday was considered a sin, women must wear hats in Church, etc).
Movies make us question the reality we thought we knew was true. And in a way, that's good. We as sentient humans beings should ALWAYS think outside the box and be open to different possibilities. Otherwise, French actor Gerard
Depardieu would have never had the opportunity to play Italian explorer Christopher Columbus and discover America; James Stewart would have never substituted horns, which were the lead instruments of the day, with reeds, creating his distinctive Glenn Miller Big Band sound; and Mel Gibson would not have fought the American Revolutionary War, nor gotten his Junk ripped off playing a Scottish revolutionary (though most women and Jews would probably enjoy watching that again). These historical characters were all considered wrong at the time their stories took place. Who says what we believe right this very minute might not get ripped away by The Truth at any moment?
Charles Bronson Reborn
"We both have Truths; are mine the same as yours?" - Pontius Pilate to Jesus in "Jesus Christ, Superstar"
You just need to keep looking for the man behind the curtain.
Of course, I could be wrong on all of that , too!
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Every other Wednesday
Until I find my footing, I'd like to vent on the state of today's movies. I will occasionally praise a movie that piques my fancy. But it's a whole lot more fun railing against a person's work who makes more money on a single project than I would make if I lived 500 years. Oh, I will usually make observations on movies rather than films. The difference? Films are critically acclaimed, while movies are just darned good fun.
Born in the Fifties with an extreme phobia for movies in general, I became obsessed with movies when I broke that phobia with the first movie I actually enjoyed, “The Ten Commandments.” I particularly like the kind of movie where you can put your brain on hold. I get enough reality and drama in my everyday life; I refuse to pay someone to subject me to the same. |
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