03 June, 2008


*Cue BNL's "Who Needs Sleep" song. If you don't know who BNL is...um...just search for the song. I can't mention their name on my site without getting unwanted attention. Regardless, the song is ridiculously appropriate.*

Lately, my cures for insomnia involve adventure films. Granted, I've spent most of the last two weeks in the Big Apple (post forthcoming?), so my insomnia has been embraced and encouraged, but eventually I had to come and the late hours have followed. Anyway.

Tonight I watched X-Men 2. It's certainly got a few minutes of iffy-ness with regards to morality, and the premise is irrational, but (excepting the FFWD moments) I enjoyed it. I watched the scene where Xavier's academy gets invaded several times because the action's so...viscerally good. There's so much in there to chew on...the power of government and science, acceptance of "unusual" people, appreciating those you don't like/understand/are different, the role of religion in life, how disgusting it is that people have blindly accepted macro-evolution as a "theory," etc. etc. etc.

Last night (two nights ago?) I watched Annapolis, which is about a young man's first year in the Naval Academy. That move made me think about bravery, loyalty to self/others, motivation, and courage. It was wildly inaccurate, but I enjoyed this one also.

Why do I like these movies? Besides the fact that the leading actors were some of my favorite (though James Franco's expressions do get repetitive), I find them inspiring. People do things that are bigger than themselves. Their actions affect others in a positive way. These movies aren't "realistic" in that they're about people I know or situations that I could be in, but they contain themes that challenge me to think and to act beyond myself.

Prediction: If society continues down the path I see it going, the action/thriller genre will shrivel considerably. Everyone loves hearing about the glory and praise a hero receives, but eventually we will love comfort and ease and self so much that learning about the challenges a hero must overcome before earning victory won't be worth the thrilling end.

The more life I live, the more I learn that the journey determines the destination. One may choose a destination, but how often does one reach that destination? By all indicators as a high school senior, I should have just started my first week of graduate school, earning my doctorate degree in physical therapy. My journey has led me pretty far from that destination, though it may lead me back in the distant future.

I can't claim to know the future. So how does watching action flicks tie into this? Life is an adventure, even if the adventure lies in choosing to serve my church rather than slave over college classes. Watching others do hard things inspires me to do hard things in return, even if it isn't deflecting missiles with my mind or returning for a second semester of military school. Most of my challenges involve waking up early to get to church set-up on time, or putting my game face on (yes, coaches have them too) when entering the door of the fencing salle. Huge challenge: Budgeting. I hate doing it, but without it I can't glorify God to my best ability.

Note: I'm dying to read Do Hard Things, but since it just came out, I can't buy it. Anyone want to lend me a copy? I'll be nice to it!

...And this ties into sleep how? Action flicks help me sleep. Not kidding. My brain does not shut off, even in sleep. Chewing on the issues presented by these films keeps me from dreaming horrible, nasty things. Horrible, nasty dreams tend to drag on while my subconscious searches for something meritorious to end it on a good note, but "thinking" dreams are beneficial and usually end quickly. Garbage in equals garbage out, though, so some action flicks don't help.

I'm off to ponder the relationship between Wolverine and Rogue. What makes Wolverine seem like a father figure? How does Rogue respect him? Etc. etc......zzzzzzzzz


Breka said...

Sleep - It's the thing to blog about!

About that prediction? Isn't part of art the experience of being taken out of self? The more we love comfort and ease and self and are unwilling to look outside of ourselves, the more shallow art becomes. And I think that the more society becomes entrenched in self, the more we gravitate towards the thriller/action genre. We want the feelings that those give, of being part of something bigger, investing ourselves in a cause, being worth something. If those aren't found in our lives, we try to live them vicariously. Even as society becomes more and more lazy, there is still that inner desire - just not the drive that does something about it. I think action flicks will be the last to bite the dust. Well, maybe after romance...

Fuzzy said...

I gotta side with breka on this one (mostly).

Action films aren't about "challenging" the viewer, they're about revelling in the Good Guys' Victory over the Bad Guys.

They're about living vicariously through the Hero for two hours while He/She overthrows tyrrany or stops sinister plots against humanity.

They're a celebration of the perserverence of Justice when the Odds are stacked high against the protagonists.

And just to keep up the pace, you mix in Car Chases, Shootouts, or Kung-Fu-Marshal-Arts-Ninja fight sequences. A few Explosions don't hurt either.

We've been getting less of this films lately because for the past 7 or 8 years the people in charge of producing movies have been side-tracked by making movies for a "higher purpose", which in their case, is to preach to us about what's wrong with our government, how the industrial military complex is destroying the world, and other such drivel with a purpose.

I think this is mostly a phase that Hollywood is going through due to the ailment refered to as Bush-Derangment-Syndrome. Regardless of what you think of him as president, their frothing hatred of the man and his associates is creeping into their work (Lions for Lambs, Redacted, etc). Becuase no one wants to pay $10 to listen to these peoples' Screeds in movie form, these flicks constantly flop at the box office.

It probably also has to do with that in the Golden Years of Cinema, studios made movies to turn a profit. Now the writers and directors have thrown aside such repungnant capitalist ideas and now want to use their art to get on their soap box and hopefully win an Academy Award from their peers.

Eventually, (maybe) investors will decide that they don't want to lose money investing in these films and start producing movies that are more friendly to their bottom line.

BTW, if I seem a little ranty on this issue, it's becuase I've been reading This Guy a lot.

BTW, It's ok to say BareNaked Ladies on the blog. No one will think less of you ;-)

Laedelas Greenleaf said...

Fuzzy, I love how you Capitalize Important Moments in Cinematic Events. Also, I'm not afraid to say BNL, I am afraid that random people will search for something not related to the band...and find my blog...BTW, thanks for the link. That site looks good!

Breka, it's interesting that you say "maybe after romance," 'cos that's what I predict will be the next big thing. Although I wouldn't call it romantic, "Sex and the City" had the 51st biggest opening weekend ever. What's ahead of it? Mostly action flicks, with the occasional kid's movie thrown in. What's after it? Action flicks, and some more kid's movies. (Note: I am not dissing kid's movies. I love 'em. They just aren't action flicks.) I know very little about SATC, but I do know it's about sex (duh) and materialism. Rather...uninspiring, I'd say. Gratifying to most, but not inspiring.

I realize I'm basing this whole judgment on the data from one movie, so, statistically, I'm wrong. But I doubt my opinions on the state of Hollywood make a huge difference, so have them I will.