Jul 20, 2012

FILM FANS UNITE! The Healing Power Of Movies

Last night I went to my local movie theater to see all three of Nolan's Batman films, culminating with The Dark Knight Rises at midnight.  I'd been having a really terrible week and there was a part of me that almost wanted to skip the whole thing and just go to sleep early, but instead I ended up staying awake till almost 4am, surrounded by fellow movie geeks and comic book nerds, some dressed up in costumes both authentic and hilarious.  (Summer Batman, clad in black booty shorts, was my favorite.)  It was the best thing that happened to me all week.  While I enjoyed the movie, really it was the transformative experience of sitting in that darkened theater, engrossed in my single favorite communal activity on the face of the planet.  It calmed me, it cheered me up.  It made me feel safe.

By now, there's no need to rehash the events that took place in Aurora, Colorado early this morning.  I've been sitting at my computer all day, staring listlessly at Twitter and finding it more than a little hard to focus on anything other than this senseless act of violence and the ensuing aftermath.  I'm dumbfounded.

There's going to be a lot of bizarre sideshows and residual fallout in the coming weeks and months.  Warner Brothers has already pulled trailers for Ruben Fleischer's upcoming Gangster Squad that were attached to the Dark Knight Rises prints due to a scene depicting gangsters firing automatic weapons into a crowded movie theater.  It's one of the highlights of the trailer and I'm betting that there are some WB execs sitting in a room somewhere trying to figure out if they can cut the scene out of the movie entirely.  Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have stopped running campaign ads in Colorado, but you can rest assured that gun control laws will now be heavily featured in this fall's presidential debates.  And, just as The Dark Knight will forever be associated with the death of Heath Ledger, now The Dark Knight Rises will be always remembered in the shadow of this tragedy.  And let's not forget that a mere twenty-four hours ago, Nolan's film was making headlines because moronic internet commenters were making death threats against reviewers who panned a movie that the commenters hadn't even seen yet.

Here's the story I hope we don't see, but kind of think we will: how the Aurora shooting impacts TDKR's box office take.  There was already plenty of digital ink devoted to predictions on how this third Bat-film would compare to this summer's reigning box office champ, The Avengers, a movie whose bright color palette, super-human characters and rollicking sense of humor and adventure make it almost the polar opposite of Nolan's vaunted but dour trilogy.

Guess what?  That doesn't matter anymore.

How about this instead?  For one weekend, instead of looking for someone to blame, let's show each other some support.  Let's come together as movie lovers.  I'm echoing the call of Badass Digest's Devin Faraci and Meredith Borders, CHUD's Tim Kelly and Ain't It Cool's Nordling.  I say movies are the best medicine.  So go see The Dark Knight Rises, or Magic Mike, or Moonrise Kingdom, or Brave or Beasts of the Southern Wild, or Ted.  Check out that film you've been meaning to see for weeks but just haven't gotten around to yet.  Or go see something you loved for the second time, just to experience that joy once again.  Just go to a movie...any movie.  Theaters have been taking it on the chin for far too long, and they need you to show them a little love, this weekend more than most.

But it's not just about the theaters.  Right now there are film fans everywhere that are second guessing their weekend plans, newly afraid to do something they've done countless times without a hint of trepidation.  That's not the world I want to live in.  Let's not let the James Holmes' of the world get the better of us.

Go to the movies this weekend.  Don't just support your local theater.  Support your fellow film fan.

Because, to paraphrase Commissioner Gordon, "I still believe in movies."

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