Recently, I saw a film that I think is good, but I absolutely hated watching it. I’m not going to name it here because I’m not quite ready to write about it yet – because I do think it’s very accomplished, but right now I can’t get past the fact I feel like absolute garbage after having seen it. I’m at a point where I just can’t sit through something like that right now and I hate the fact that’s true.
Like a lot of people, I have been fairly depressed since Donald Trump has taken office. Added to all the other obvious reasons, living in New York City, I worry every day he just won’t pay attention to some sort of intelligence he thinks is “fake news” and someone I care about, or myself, will get hurt. It’s just non-stop anxiety every day.
The escapism of most movies does help. And, luckily, a big part of my job is to see movies. I will now rave again about Wonder Woman: I’ve seen some accusations that people are “grading on a curve,” or whatever. To that I say, “get over yourself.” The reason Wonder Woman is hitting like it is, it’s because people are anxious and depressed and looking for anything to hold onto as hope, even a fictional superhero fighting during World War I. Wonder Woman is great, but how it makes us feel right now is what makes it special.
Right before I saw the movie I won’t mention yet, Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement. (It really is every day with this guy. By the time this publishes, it will be something else.) I couldn’t help but think back to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel, which premiered at Sundance back in January. All of a sudden this movie is now a must-see if you want to know more about the Paris Agreement. And it made me sad to think about it. The film paints the Paris Agreement as an almost impossible task that took months and months and months of intricate negotiations. The politics of such an agreement are overwhelming. And then couple that with the backdrop of the terrorist attack in Paris happening at the same time Gore was there trying to finalize the deal – a nation mourning while it also tries to make the world a better place. And then Trump kills it all because he’s mad he got stood up during a handshake with French President Emmanuel Macron. So, yes, this world is not a great place right now.
I realize Wonder Woman is a happy accident in regards to its timing. Maybe if it came out two years ago today we wouldn’t be so drawn to the earnestness of it in quite the same way. And I’m not saying I can’t watch a sad movie right now, but it’s hard to watch a movie where the all-encompassing theme is “humanity is awful.” Well, yeah, I get that. This isn’t a particularly bold statement right now. And I certainly don’t want to sit through a movie right now that makes me feel ten times worse about humanity than I already do. Like a lot of people, I’m trying to hang on to some sort of hope. Right now, it’s bolder to make a movie that says there’s hope for humanity than that it’s awful. And that’s what Wonder Woman does and I do believe that’s going to keep this movie in the cultural zeitgeist a little bit longer than maybe other superhero movies do.
(Note, when you send me your eventual tweet or comment that says, “Aw, typical millennial who needs a safe space or trigger warning,” please get it right that I am a member of Generation X. So it would be, “Aw, a Gen Xer who needs a safe space or trigger warning,” and you could probably add something about not being motivated and being cynical because that’s all totally true, too.)
Here’s your “too long, didn’t read” summary (even though this wasn’t very long to begin with): At this moment, I don’t want to watch movies anymore that make me feel worse about humankind than I already do. And that stinks because a lot of those types of movies are very good, but for my own mental health, I just can’t right now. I need to feel hope right now, because that’s all we’ve got, really.
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