Monday, March 28, 2016


I always thought Obama was able to be elected because of Denzel Washington. Well, not just Denzel Washington but all the handsome competent black men who've been featured as heroes in American action films. Denzel is just a striking example. I'm talking about American mass media films -- the kind that everybody sees to the movie theater to see or as a rerun on TV. In an action film, the hero struggles against insuperable odds but eventually saves everyone through his intelligence and strength and courage. Denzel saved enough people enough times that voters believed Obama could save us as well. Films have an amazing and powerful subliminal impact on viewers. And often it's very positive. Though not always. (See my blog on the reason I hate the film MILLION DOLLAR BABY.)
Take the recent film THE MARTIAN, for instance. Not a great film, not an Academy Award-winner, but a crowd-pleaser that's chock-full of very typically American themes. Theme #1 the lone American hero who is isolated from the bunch but doesn't give up -- far from giving up, Matt Damon displays great intelligence, ingenuity, and perseverance to stay alive. But Theme #2 he couldn't have made it alone on Mars without Mission Control -- that's what I call the room back at NASA that's filled with people of different ages, genders, races and so forth. When they wake up to the fact that a lone American has been left on Mars, they all get together and pursue the common goal of bringing him back alive. I don't think you'd see this diverse group of people talking to one another, listening to one another, respecting one another, and pursuing a common goal with one another in a film from France or England or  Germany. It's very American theme. Kind of OCEANS 11 on a bigger scale. And finally there's Theme #3 which is the team that in THE MARTIAN made the terrible error of leaving Matt Damon behind so they have to risk their lives to go back to get him. Shades of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Kind of stupid really - to risk a dozen lives to save one. But America has this football team, Marine corps, "I've got your back, bro" mentality or at least we aspire to believe that about ourselves. Probably dates back to the cowboy and Indian movies where you never left a wounded cowboy behind 'cause he might get scalped.
Anyway, let me know what you think on this....

1 comment:

  1. Infact its reality that all the movie themes are based around either politics, science or end of the world. There is need of innovation and need of reform to get something new to viewers.