Sunday, July 06, 2008

it's the end of the world as we know it, and so I'm reading books and watching movies

Hey guys,
Thanks to everyone who made the KMSU parade scene. We had a lot of fun (except for blowing out the microphones and music anytime we wanted to talk above a whisper). Four hours out in the sun and little to no rest and relaxation all week prompted me to hit the sack for the rest of my 4th of July where I obliged my crazy doomsday fascination. I can't really say why I am obsessed with the end of the world in pop culture, although I think growing up in the 80's with Reagan didn't help things, but I watched 3 movies all about the end times. For those of you who may also find themselves into this kind of thing, but not on the "join a cult and live in caves" level, here are some of my entertainment recommendations.

The first film I watched was The Mist. I wanted to see this when it came out last year but never had a chance to. I grew up devouring Stephen King books, and this movie is based on the one story of his I was too scared to ever finish. I know that his movies have had a checkered past with hitting the big screen, but this movie had Andre Braugher from Homicide in it, as well as Toby Jones who played Truman Capote in Infamous (the other movie that came out at about the same time as Capote). Tim had warned me that the ending sucked, and boy he isn't kidding, but I am not going to give it away. The film is definitely worth sitting through even though the last 3 minutes manage to stink up the joint. This story basically hits all of my scared crapless buttons - the characters are seperated from family and who knows what has happened to them, there are monsters everywhere, and finally you know that surviving is probably just pointless if this is what the world has come to. Minus the last minute of the film, The Mist is really very good. I thought I'd try to finish reading the story of The Mist, having kept all my Stephen King books, only to discover that it must have scared me so much that I got rid of it. I'll have to hunt it down now..............

The second movie I watched was called The Signal, and I really enjoyed it. It is made by three film makers who each take on a segment of the film to direct. It's definitely dark, but I think that Michael O'Donoghue would laugh his keister off at some of the odd situations that pop up. Essentially, the "signal" causes people to become homicidal (unlike The Happening where people become suicidal), and it is transmitted over your TV, radio, telephone, or any other means of mass communication. As with The Mist, the terror arises in identifying with these everyday people and watching them try to survive in a world gone mad. What would I do in this situation? Where would I go? My worst case scenario thinking goes wild with these thoughts, and there is really no way to answer them. It didn't help that the directors of the film also included some more worst case scenarios in the extras of the DVD. They include a number of short films on other people affected by the "signal" in a TV studio, a Best Buy type store, and the darkest one - a family trying to find the highway in their car (if the kids would only have turned off their radios). Skip The Happening and rent The Signal, you can thank me later when you rent The Happening.

The third movie I watched wasn't so much an end of the world film as an end to a particular family's world. It was pretty horrible though, and I don't know if I should even mention the name of it. It was just tttoooooooooooooo slow. I will give you one hint though: if you find yourself watching a trailer of a film that stars Tim Roth, and you say "wow, I love Tim Roth, and I haven't seen him in anything for a really long time. And look - it's that kid from Hedwig and The Angry Inch!" just skip it. Don't bother.

All right, that's enough doom and gloom for one posting. I just finished reading Riddley Walker about the world thousands of years after we managed to blow oursleves up with an atom bomb, and now I'm reading On The Beach. It's all daisies and puppy dogs with me - but what can I say, we are atracted to what scares us.


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