Blogs > Liberty and Power > Just a Movie?

Aug 8, 2005 1:06 pm

Just a Movie?

Don't know about others, but I'm refusing, on principle, to see the eco-disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow. I'm not in the mood to drop money in the hands of folks who are clearly trying to score political points with highly dubious science. Same reason I've never watched a minute of Bowling for Columbine (although Moore is worse for not acknowledging his film is fictional).

Were I to say to friends that I'm not seeing the movie on principle, I can already hear them saying "Oh come on, it's just a movie." That response just drives me crazy. No it's not "just" a movie; it's ideas in the form of a narrative, and those ideas matter. Perhaps it's the old Randian in me, but whatever the cause, I just cannot abide supporting forms of art that project ideas that I find fundamentally in error, or morally wrong. To think that I could somehow shut off the "ideas" part of my brain and just "enjoy the action" strikes me as so anti-rational and anti-intellectual that I don't know where to begin to respond to it. It's the same way I feel when I'm in class and talking about serious, if abstract, ideas, and the students give me the "roll of the eyes" look like "here he goes again...". I guess I expect more from adults, but having had the "oh, it's just a movie" reaction before, I'm sure I'll get it again.

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Max Schwing - 5/31/2004

Maybe that is true, but still most people will go unaffected, since this is a film mainly made to entertain people. Most of the audience will leave the movie having seen an action-flick and not bothering with the themes behind.
It was the same with Independence Day where aliens attacked mankind (again a stupid scenario).
Still it is interesting how dangerous nature can be, although it is most unlikely that something like this would ever happen. It should get people to realize that there are threats we have ignored and should try to avoid by being more clever.
(best example, reoccuring earth quakes in the LA San Francisco area and the stupidity of people still building houses that couldn't resist a small quake..)

I rather liked the solemn serenity of the scene where everything was in ice, but still felt no urge to support any "Green" activities whatsoever...

Steven Horwitz - 5/31/2004

Maybe, but when environmentalist groups are trying to make some hay out of it, then I worry a bit. I'm not sure any of the other examples you raise had former vice-presidents talking them up in the context of policy-making, not to mention the movie's explicit reference to Kyoto and obvious poke at Bush and Cheney (not that there's anything wrong with it... in and of itself).

Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 5/30/2004

BTW, there is one classic line in the film; I can't give it to you verbatim, but I'll set it up for you.

Some of the characters have taken refuge in the NY Public Library, and they need firewood to keep themselves warm. So, they start burning books. One of the librarians jealousy guards the Gutenberg Bible as the first printed book in the Age of Reason. But the characters start to argue over which other books to burn. They argue over Nietzsche's books; another character tells them to forget Nietzsche's books, saying something like: "Start down here with all these IRS tax law books."

Got the biggest chuckle from the audience.

Marty Hobratschk - 5/30/2004

Yeah, it *is* just a movie, just like the recent astroid flicks, the recent earthquake miniseries, that Dustin Hoffman disease flick, the Andromeda Strain ...
Michael Chrighton's been doing it for years. *All* of them rely on twisting tiny realities into fictional devices designed to entertain. Where do you draw the line that a particular idea is fundementally in error or morally wrong? Are films like the Godfather just as dangerous as TDAT?

Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 5/30/2004

Well, I have to admit it: I saw the film. I understand your apprehensions, but I gotta tell ya: It's just a science ~fiction~ film, with emphasis on the fiction. It's a typical popcorn-disaster flick, with terrific special effects and cardboard-cutout characters. The great advantage of seeing it in downtown Manhattan, however, was coming out of the theater and being reassured that the skyline you just saw destroyed is actually still standing... the Ground Zero pit, notwithstanding.

Steven Horwitz - 5/30/2004

The problems with Columbine are NOT its politics. Rather, it's that Moore has skillfully edited the film to make it look like the representation of real events, when in fact it's not. The film is full of lies and misrepresentations. Best site to visit on all of this: . Go there and decide for yourself.

Otto M. Kerner - 5/30/2004

Fiction can sometimes be more dangerous than nonfiction. Western fiction, at least, strives to be realistic, but a skillful author can pass off anything he wants as the truth. Think of the black-on-white thuggery of "Birth of a Nation" or the gallant state apparatchiks of "The West Wing". Nonfiction authors are bound, at least ideally, by facts, having to cite sources, etc.

By the way, I didn't think Michael Moore's movie was so bad. At least he's from a small town and knows something about guns. And he points out that they have a lot of guns in Canada, etc., etc. You probably know this stuff. I haven't seen the end of it, though, maybe that's where he busts out the hardcore socialism.

Keith Halderman - 5/29/2004

I do think I will see this film either, however, I think it may turn out to be a net positive event. If it turns out to be as over the top as its commercials seem to be, it may have the effect of discrediting the Global Warming Socialists in the general public's eye. If people dismiss it as just movie maybe that dismissal will transfer to the so called serious arguments put forth by Gore and his ilk. One can only hope.