February 8, 2001

Daze Rant

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Oh, I get it. So we’re supposed to believe that Tom Hanks, a manager for Federal Express, can survive a plane crash into the ocean (he was standing outside the cockpit at impact), and then four years on a deserted island? His ability to maintain sanity by talking to a volleyball named “Wilson” is somewhat intriguing, and I’ll take it as realistic when the ball falls into the ocean and Hanks cries in pain and sorrow. Hey, if your only friend for four years was a nylon ball, wouldn’t you cry? But can we take his ability to spear fish and survive alone, all for the sake of love, seriously?

I hate to say it, but when I’m in the mood to see an action flick, I want to see someone die at least every 10 minutes. The movie Vertical Limit delivers. But getting back to the issue of reality, the movie lasts two hours, an hour and a half centering on the mission to the top. Ninety percent of the rescue crew dies during the ascent. Of course, on his way up, the brother (Chris O’Donnell) manages to jump across a 150 ft. gap in the mountain and grab hold of the other side with an ice pick in each hand.There are so many incidents of obvious fiction that it is hard to believe real climbers acted as consultants behind the scenes. I don’t even need to mention that the descent from the mountain (with the sister minutes from death), is non-existent in the movie. It took days to get to the top, and supposedly O’Donnell was able to transport his sister down in 15 seconds. Scottie from Star Trek must have helped on that one.

Has Hollywood really given up on reality? I guess so. We can expect a realistic flick from foreign filmmakers on occasion, and once and awhile we get one from Spielberg. But, if you plan to make a realistic movie about survival on a deserted island or on a mountain, you can’t create scenarios where any normal person wouldn’t be instantly DOA. There is a movie about a couple of fishermen that bond and die together in what is known as a “Perfect Storm.” The movie is based on a true story and everyone on the boat dies at sea, so how do the writers know what happened after the boat left? Conceivably, the fishermen could be attempting to get laid backstage on Temptation Island (with no disrespect meant to the actual tragedy).

Play back the tape on Michael Douglas’s Traffic, which could expect a Best Picture Oscar this year. For those of you who haven’t yet seen this movie, I won’t spoil the sizzling details, but coming from the metropolitan area, I know that two preppy rich white teenagers looking for crack and heroine don’t need to go into downtown Columbus, Ohio to find it. Developing a story about a white teenage girl who goes from a Drug Czar’s perfect daughter to a heroine-addicted whore is not a typical addiction case. The movie was quite good, and I’m not trying to push the idea that embellishment can’t be used in movies to prove points. I’m saying that that is all that seems to be left in Hollywood. At times I feel sorry for those of us that revel in this “reality TV” nonsense, because it is quite disgusting. But I watch it anyway, because it is hilarious. I just wish I could count on the motion picture industry to put out a movie based on real life once in awhile. The real problem is that they already think they are.

Archived article by Josh Plotnik