Art Imitating Life: Escapist or Out of Hand?

Jump to Comments

Last Thursday, when I was looking into movies to discuss on last Friday’s blog, I watched tons of trailers advertising the week’s (and future) new releases. Later on that evening I was completely unable to sleep, and found myself staring at my computer around 3 am. That’s when I saw the story. The news was sketchy but what the media did know was grim indeed: a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami had ravaged a goodly portion of Japan. I stared at the headlines, and then my eye was caught by armed soldiers on the screen enmeshed in a deadly battle with an unseen enemy. It took me a full 30 seconds to decipher what I was looking at:  in the center of my computer screen was the Japanese earthquake story, while along the right hand side of my screen – those guys in fatigues firing automatic weapons?  The Battle: Los Angeles movie trailer.  It was a bizarre and very unsettling juxtaposition.

Cut to yesterday, when I began to scan the movie box office reports for who did what kind of weekend business (I loved Rango and hoped word of mouth would be strong enough that the Johnny Depp flick wouldn’t fade into oblivion.) As it turns out, Rango is still going strong – it came in second place. And what do you think was the #1 film at the box office?

Battle: Los Angeles.

It made $38 million dollars, which is a very nice way to start off your movie lifetime indeed. Now, I had thought the film would do very well but I was also pretty sure that given the emotional impact of last week’s real-life disaster, a lot less people would be racing off to see an explosives-laden, collapsed-buildings-strewn, Armageddon-style flick.  Boy, was I wrong. Is it strange that we still want to go see films like this amidst such horrific real-life occurrences? Are they somehow strangely diverting? Or does what happened there seem so far away from here that it doesn’t affect moviegoing choices? The whole thing stymies me. I say everyone should give Jane Eyre a chance (which also opened on Friday and which stars the gal from Alice in Wonderland). Nothing terribly brutal or apocalyptic there, just a great story with amazing actors. Nor am I so foolish as to think that this will satisfy the appetites of most film buffs; it just seemed like a quieter alternative for me at least, given the chaos around us. Then again, there are groups all up in arms about the smoking in Rango and how it’s a bad message for kids. And while smoking is of course a terrible message for kids, I do wish someone could remind me where and when said smoking occurred in Rango. I seem to have missed all of it. Then again, maybe I’m just as blind to deadly hazards as everyone who went to see Battle:Los Angeles.

Today’s poll:

This week we’re giving away free downloads from The Band Perry (more on these cool up-and-comers tomorrow). You may know TBP is made up of siblings…with this in mind, voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these other bands with sibs is your favorite:

1)   The Beach Boys

2)   The Jackson 5

3)   Kings of Leon

4)   Oasis

For the latest pop culture news and voting, make sure to sign up for the People’s Choice newsletter!