Thursday, August 12, 2004

Summer Box Office Connects the Dots

'Manchurian Candidate' movie posterEllen Dana Nagler has been talking about movies over on BOPnews this week, and the way movies tap into our dark anxieties.

'Fahrenheit 9/11' movie posterI say she's onto something. Because every movie I've seen lately seems to speak directly about politics. And I don't mean Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 or the remake of The Manchurian Candidate--I mean movies that aren't overtly about politics.

'I, Robot' movie posterI, Robot is a great example. I am a long-time fan of Isaac Asimov's science fiction, and many writers have made their social commentary palatable by disguising it as science fiction. The movie tells a great story, and a presents who-dunnit mystery (unfortunately marred by the obscenely conspicuous and gratuitous product placements)--but the subtext is all about how when we stop being skeptical and give up too much power, all our power may be taken away from us. (I would have cheered at some of the more politically apt moments in the movie if Neil hadn't been there to restrain me.) ;)

'The Village' movie poster We also saw M. Night smallness Village last weekend, a great movie about a community united by the threat of an external attack--which some people exploit and wind up trapped or damaged by their own duplicity. It seemed far too similar too the way the Bush cartel jumps at the chance to exploit national security issues for political gain.

'Napoleon Dynamite' movie posterFinally, there's Napoleon Dynamite, a delightfully off-the-wall film (maybe I have a soft spot because I dated a guy who is a dead ringer for Napoleon, and because I, too, was sent to school in moon boots). Okay, so it is not a "political" movie per se. However, it is certainly a movie about the importance of picking the right campaign manager--and I'm happy to recommend it to political organizers and potential candidates on that basis.

What about the movies you are watching: Are you getting the same impressions? And do you think anyone else in the audience is connecting the dots?