five years on
What annoys me: How soon movie companies decide to make entertainment out of the event. How did such a huge, tragic event become trivialized into a money making event? Shouldn't we have at least gone a decade or so?
--The_Lex Mon Sep 11 18:45:35 2006
Does making a movie inherently trivialize something? Would an arbitrary waiting period really help matters?

Personally, the people I don't dig are some of the relatives of victims who are campaigning (I think) for the footprint of the towers to be left as a (flat, presumably) memorial. I hate to bring up the old "then the terrorist will have one" kind of theme, but I believe there will be appropriate memorials embedded in what is built there, that is some crucial real estate, and making a perpetual ghost block just ain't the right approach.
--Kirk Mon Sep 11 19:08:50 2006
Making a movie for mass consumption entertainment purposes without waiting for good emotional distance I think trivializes something, especially when it had such a big impact on the country.

And no. . .I haven't seen the two movies that have come out in this vein, but I don't know. . .it just feels as if the country hasn't adequately dealt with the whole thing emotionally yet.

Then again, maybe I'm more annoyed by feeling that it's equally propaganda, for either side, as entertainment until there has been time for the issue to settle, a STUPID war to end and large amounts of emotional contention happening.
--The_Lex Tue Sep 12 06:28:42 2006
Did you mean "...would have 'won'", or am I missing a subtlety?
--YELM Tue Sep 12 07:18:51 2006
Lex: But people don't feel that they're going to see these films as "entertainment", but as a tool for reflecting on and thinking about and processing these awful events and maybe even "honoring" the victims. I'm not sure if "time" causes the issue to settle so much as just letting opinions and biases have had time to become more entrenched.

MELM: No, just my somewhat worsening homonym-dyslexia, I meant "won" :-)
--Kirk Tue Sep 12 08:54:21 2006
Really? Nicholas Cage, a big movie star, is acting in his movie for non-commercial reasons? Oliver Stone make his movie for non-commercial reasons? How about that movie about that plane that crashed?

Big dollar movies are made for profit, entertainment and catering to the bottom line of the mass population's desire for entertainment.

Now, if the movies were released in big theaters in a documentary style, like Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' or that penguin movie, I'd have a different opinion. But since they're dramatization made by big name people without hearing anything about any donations to any charities or the like, I have to question cynically.

Also. . .another thing that cues my cynicism: as a promotion, they gave away the soundtrack for the Nicholas Cage one over a local radio station here in Chicago. If the movie was about bouncing ideas, I don't think they would need to promote the movie by giving away the soundtrack on the radio. Personally, feels like bad taste to me.

And what's with using that Coldplay song for the movie? How about something a little more, well. . .not poppy and more catered toward a non-entertainment pro-bouncing around ideas? Of course, they wanted to get as many people packed into the theaters to see this movie as they could, but did they want to make money or bounce around ideas?

I haven't heard any real discussion of ideas after any of these movies got released, personally. How about you?
--The_Lex Tue Sep 12 21:22:30 2006
Wait, so "not non-commercial" = "exploitive"?

Oliver Stone, Nicholas Cage... frankly I think these guys have enough money at this point that they pursue projects that interest them, and would hesitate to assume it's a money grab.
--Kirk Tue Sep 12 23:36:14 2006
Well, I consider it exploitative when the wounds are still fresh.

As for not a money grab, does someone who looks to become rich, famous and popular ever stop grabbing for money. . .even though they may try to make it look artsy? Why start now (even though I guess Oliver Stone has always been artsy in something of a pretentiously effective type of way).
--The_Lex Wed Sep 13 06:47:26 2006
Actually. . .after quick reflection, you made the wrong conclusion out of my argument or I presented a faulty argument or didn't provide the final conclusion.

Either way, strike the money grabbing aspect of the discussion. I wasn't really focusing on money grabbing, I was focusing on the use of framing the movie and promotions with a certain angle that presents the movies as entertainment, as a subject matter not to take seriously. Or maybe I should say it's more about the promotional effort and the marketing angle that goes into these movies, like a movie mainly made for entertainment, which includes getting maximum exposure and using big names to get attention.

Then put on top of that the mythology, tradition and propagandizing. Maybe the Oliver Stone movie (he did the one about the plane crashing) isn't so guilty of it, even though the angle does have a certain thriller genre side to it. But the Nicholas Cage one feels like huge amounts of mythologizing, focusing on the heroism of his character so much, getting attention with a, pretty much, best selling pop song that has an uplifting epic edge to it, placing ads everywhere, promoting with giving away a soundtrack (why should the movie even have a soundtrack and have pop songs on it)? The movie just feels exploitative of the event to basically stratify the "American identity" that has become such a contentious issue lately.

So, no, I'm not arguing the money aspect. I'm arguing that the framing of the making and promotions of these movies really just feel like bad taste since it's so close to the event. Maybe it is about "ideas," but not necessarily ideas to discuss. It feels more like an attempt at influencing the emotions than the ideas, even though the two are extremely tied together in this instance. After all, 9/11 was a traumatic event, and it feels like we, as a nation, are reaching a point where it might be able to reflect constructively.

If anything, I just feel these movies are so much about reflection as influencing the masses. (And during an election year, at that. . .maybe I wouldn't have made such a big deal about it last year or next year).

So yes, please strike any argument directly about money grabbing.
--The_Lex Wed Sep 13 07:22:01 2006
But there's a solemnity to it all. You could argue that it's weak, but it's not like they're saying "Quick! Come see! Ripped from CNN, it's the most exciting heart pounding adventure of the all!"

I'm a bit out of the popculture loop, I've only seen a few spots for the movie, and nothing about songs or the soundtrack.

And...you know, five years is a long time. I wouldn't TRUST our reaction to everything, especially with Iraq still going on, but I wouldn't say it's utterly premature to do so...
--Kirk Wed Sep 13 08:41:55 2006
The Oliver Stone film promotions felt like the "Ripped from CNN." Honestly, almost like a "snuff film."

I'll grant that "9/11" at least feels like it reaches for nobility, a story of heroism. I wouldn't necessarily consider it solemn, however. A lot more "ra! ra! This is an American everyday guy who's a hero, JUST LIKE YOU CAN BE."

I guess maybe I'm reacting more to the implicit messages and connections that, at least, the "9/11" promos have. "There's these bastards out there trying to kill us, but this everyday guy, JUST LIKE YOU, has made a difference, SO CAN YOU!" It just seems to stratify and support the whole American xenophobia rather than do anything more.

I'm not so sure what you're saying in that last paragraph. You seem to support and disagree an idea at the same time. You ambivalent?
--The_Lex Wed Sep 13 10:28:30 2006
You seem to say 5 years isn't it enough distance to make this kind of film, that it's kind of illegitmate. I think it's legitimate, but don't trust the analysis as much as I will the stuff that comes 10-20 years from the event.
--Kirk Wed Sep 13 12:52:02 2006
I'm not so much say it's illegitimate. I'm really just saying it's bad taste and has not so great aspects to it.
--The_Lex Wed Sep 13 13:49:38 2006
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