Saturday, March 13, 2010

As a followup to my previous service to readers, here's the trailer for the last Hollywood film you'll ever need to see.

Monday, March 01, 2010

More Advice For Men
I discussed here what we learned from the films "Groundhog Day" and "Superman" about how a typical man should go about winning the heart of the woman he desires. But what if, in addition, he wants to regain the respect of his nine year old son?

(Spoilers ahead!)

Fortunately, Hollywood has some answers for us here as well. One helpful film is "Night At The Museum". Ben Stiller is rejected by both his son and the woman he loves, until he hits upon the obvious solution: become the night watchman at a magical museum where everything comes alive at night! Of course, that's not nearly enough. He has to gain the trust of most of the museum's inhabitants -- including monkeys, dinosaurs, cowboys, ancient Romans, Teddy Roosevelt and Attila the Hun -- and organize them all to defeat the bad guys. Then he introduces the woman he loves to her role model Sacajawea and voila, he gets all the love and sex and respect he deserves. Piece of cake.

The reason I'm writing a(n infrequent) blog post about this is because I just finished watching "2012". John Cusack has the same problem that Ben Stiller had: how to gain the love of a woman (his ex-wife) and the respect of his son (who won't even call him "dad"). It turns out that John's solution is a bit more difficult than Ben's. John must save his family from, quite literally, the end of the world. He must drive the car while dodging huge projectiles emitted from sudden volcanoes, while at the same time avoiding massive rifts that are opening up in the Earth, and driving around and through falling skyscrapers. For a start. He must then get everyone on board a number of airplanes (strangely, he doesn't have to pilot the airplanes himself) and make their way to a secret location in China, stowaway aboard an "Ark", dive underwater to fix the Ark's hydraulic system, and then surface for a well deserved hug from woman and son.

I suppose one can say that these movies are really about special effects, and the motivations of the characters are irrelevant. But both of the directors felt they had to give some motivation to the main character other than survival, and they both chose the same motivation. They felt that the audience would naturally and unthinkingly accept the premise that for a man, winning the love of a woman and the respect of a son is a Herculean task of Earth-shattering difficulty.