September 11th and the meaning of movies in our lives

posted by efriedmann on September 4, 2007 at 8:00 am

As the 6th Anniversary of September 11, 2001 approaches, I find myself reflecting on the weeks that immediately following those horrific events.

What I specifically remember regarding Hollywood was not only their (rare and temporary) sensitivity to violence (the release of COLLATERAL DAMAGE was postponed until the following spring) but their sensitivity to try and raise the spirits of the United States – nearly every comedy released by every major studio that summmer of 2001 had been immediately re-released for the public’s escape and enjoyment.

My wife (fiance at the time) and I were not exempt. As soon as we were able to leave New York City, we headed out to Westhampton Beach, Long Island to try and put our heads back together. It was there we went to see SHREK for the second time at the Hampton Arts Theatre. For 90 minutes of our lives, there was no better way to forget the recent events than to laugh along with the insanity of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy.

Unfortunately, the brief sensitivity Hollywood displayed was not to last long. Before we knew it, movies like THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, WAR OF THE WORLDS and TRANSFORMERS were out there showing just how exciting it can be to destroy society as much as possible.

Although I am too young (40) to remember the spirit of the country after we were forced into the throws of World War II, I can certainly appreciate Hollywood’s efforts to keep the country’s spirit alive with war heroes like John Wayne and the like up on the screen to fight for our country and our lives.

It’s a sad truth, but it may take another terrible tragedy in the United States before Hollywood once again wakes up and realizes that movies are meant to serve a much higher purpose other than cheap Saturday night entertainment and big bucks for those who make them. Movies can (and should, in my opinion) reach us, teach us and give some meaning to our lives.

I have to say, as this summer comes to an end and we once again will remember September 11, 2001, the current state of Hollywood and the movies it produces have never seemed more meaningless. We can only sit back and hope that there is improvement somewhere on the horizon.

Thanks for listening.

Comments (37)

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 4, 2007 at 9:14 am

Not to be cynical but to be truthful, the studios have one goal in mind for summer movies: $$$. The 3 movies you cite in your piece were all summer popcorn event flicks – the same kind that studios have been throwing at us every summer for the past 25-30 years. Then, like clockwork, the studios switch up to more “cerebral” and “meaningful” flicks for the fall. But, once again, reaching, teaching, hope and inspration isn’t their goal. Oscar nominations are.

But that’s what happens when you give MBA’s the keys to your studio. Art is sacrificed for “the bottom line”. It’s all corrupt. So what do we do? Stop supporting the film industry, or simply brush our shoulders off and escape for a couple of hours every weekend. I choose the latter. I have plenty of other sources to find hope, meaning and inspiration than the movies alone.

efriedmann
efriedmann on September 4, 2007 at 9:47 am

Chris, your definition of Hollywood and the MBA “pimps” that run it may be cynical, but it’s certainly dead-on! I’m glad you can still find the weekend escape enjoyable. I wish I could.

muviebuf
muviebuf on September 4, 2007 at 10:43 am

I take issue with your comment that post 9/11 the studios displayed anything what could remotely be construed as a “sensitvity to violence”. In the weeks following 9/11 all the studios seemed to release were nihilistic violent filled crap such as “Training Day” and “From Hell”. You could not give tickets away to family movie at that time. The families seemed ‘hunkered down’ and to have completely disappeared from the moviegoing scene. The only people that seemed willing to venture out to the movies were those who delighed in the gore. The families did not return until release of Harry Potter & the Socerer’s Stone in mid November 2001.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on September 4, 2007 at 11:33 am

And when Lord of the Rings came out a month after that, movies started to get better and more spritual. Heck, even the Matrix sequels had some Christianity in them and so did the new Superman movie. Remakes of older movies were updated for the post 9/11 world, such as The Omen, as well as movies based on pre 9/11 events such as Black Hawk Down, We Were Soldiers, and most recently The Kingdom, which I’ll be seeing soon. Finally, movies about 9/11 came to fruition a year ago, when “United 93” and later “World Trade Center” reminded people about the drama of 9/11, while movies such as “Team America” and “Fahrenheit 9/11” reminded us the parody and scrutiny of terrorism in our shores. Horror too made a big comeback post 9/11.

ceasar
ceasar on September 4, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Listen I remember it like yesterday. No kidding Late Movies. Want to know what movie I saw the weekend of Sept 14? Well for me,since the new releases were delayed,I went to go see Legally Blonde with Reese Witherspoone. I said to myself,having been through an extraordinary week,I wanted laugh. So When I saw Legally Blonde—it made my day. And by November the Lord of the Rings as well. And the dvd Amelie as well. For that year I visited London,Paris for my first time.
One fact I did learn when this tragedy occured how would Tinseltown cope with it. It has turned out psychogolically they couldn’t handle it. The trauma effected them. But I can tell you that very few 9/11 films haven’t fared at the box office. These include United 93 and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center. I’ve become a critic of these films becouse of historical accuracy. And familiy sensitivies. Frankly with a slew Anti-Irag war films coming out in the fall I expect those pushing a political agenda to be floppers. Already Brian DePalma is getting criticism by Iraq Vets accussing tinseltown of aiding and abetting terrorists.
At least on my 9/11 weekend I laughed but lower Manhatton wasn’t to far from my mind. U know I want to visit New York City now.

efriedmann
efriedmann on September 4, 2007 at 12:42 pm

Jonathan – believe me, I have just as much contempt for mainstream Hollywood as you do. However, it is a fact that during the first few weeks after 9/11, there was a sensitivity shift toward the people. It was very, very brief…

  • Comedies like SHREK and LEGALLY BLONDE were immediately re-released.
  • COLLATERAL DAMAGE which was due to open then, was pushed back to Spring 2002.
  • Cinemax cable channel cancelled a broadcasting of PASSENGER 57 (for obvious reasons).
  • NBC-TV broadcasted BACK TO THE FUTURE and deleted the word terrorist from its dialogue.

Like I said, it didn’t last long. The violence and the crap returned quickly and with a vengeance.

Oh yeah, and to correct you on one other point – TRAINING DAY was released in 2000. Denzel Washington won the Oscar for best actor for that movie is March 2001.

efriedmann
efriedmann on September 4, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Justin – the first 9/11 film to be released after the events was called THE GUYS, with Anthony LaPaglia and Sigourney Weaver; about the death of several firefighters and the writer who is challenged to write their eulogies. It was a decent film.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on September 4, 2007 at 1:06 pm

I believe the first movie to come out around 9/11 was that glorious movie called “Glitter.” It was to do for its star, Mariah Carey, what 1992’s “The Bodyguard” did for Whitney Houston. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on if you’re a Mariah fan, it didn’t. For me and millions of others, we were glued to the tv that day and most of the night watching the broadcast and cable news people as the events after 9/11 unfolded.

Love movies, to say that movies “are meant to serve a higher purpose than to…entertain…and..give meaning to our lives” asks too much from the film community. If one looks to life’s higher meaning, I suggest a search for spiritual enlightenment is in order from a source that transcends human frailty and self interest. If that hint wasn’t clear enough, then I’ll just say it plainly, go to church. :)

KJB2012
KJB2012 on September 4, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Whilst I hate to stand up for the “Hollywood MBAs”, the fact is that movies are a business and always have been. But all art is a business. Even Michelangelo needed the Pope’s money to paint the Sistine Chapel. As the line goes from “The Right Stuff”, “no bucks no Buck Rogers”.
Personally I think people ought to be “tough” enough to hear the word “terrorist” in “Back to the Future” even on 9-12-01. Actually following Pearl Harbor people didn’t want a media with “sensitivity”, they wanted a media that rallied the country to get up and whip Japan. So I think people need to toughen up.
By the way, if one screens a lot of early world war II films, you will find a lot of cheap, less than artistic films. But they served the purpose of getting Americans fighting mad!

ceasar
ceasar on September 4, 2007 at 1:08 pm

I saw the Guys on DVD and I watched it again on Starz a few weeks ago. What I like about it—it show how a tradegy affects us. I even put myself in Sig Weaver’s shoes for it made me ask myself what would’ve I done? How would I wrote an eulogy. But LePaglia and Weaver even gave this small film a sense of humor.

ceasar
ceasar on September 4, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Kirk you’re right on the money about the World War two films too. Also I believe a lot fans and movie goers are getting tired of political correct and political angenda films which are antiwar. I would love to see more 9/11 films but shows the human side. Not see a tradgy exploited for political purposes.

Ziggy
Ziggy on September 4, 2007 at 1:34 pm

I’ve browsed through some of the above comments, and just would like to say the following: It’s foolish to expect movies to serve a greater purpose than entertainment. Worse than that, it’s dangerous. To expect a fair assessment of life from people who are barely aware of reality outside of Los Angeles or New York is like expecting to get health and beauty advice from Rosie O'Donnell (or, indeed, like expecting Rosie O'Donnell to say anything intellingent, but that’s another story). I personally have given up going to movies because even the good ones aren’t that good.

As far as Michelangelo needing the Pope’s money to pay for the Sistine Chapel, that’s true, but when Michelangelo saw what the Pope originally planned, Michelangelo pretty much said, “I can’t do that, but I can do something much better”. When was the last time Hollywood actually tried to give us something better than what they thought the people wanted?

efriedmann
efriedmann on September 4, 2007 at 1:58 pm

Regarding a 9/11 based movie – somewhere down the road, we are inevitably looking at a big budget, action-filled, event-type film along the lines of TITANIC and PEARL HARBOR. Whether it’s done with any taste or sensitivity is anyone’s guess.

Probably not.

Oh, and to set the record straight – I am NOT necessarily looking for any type of enlightened spirituality in my life. I mearly suggested that when I’ve come out of a movie, I would rather feel a little brighter and wiser instead of dumber and intelligence-insulted.

ceasar
ceasar on September 4, 2007 at 2:10 pm

U hit on the money. What those Hollywood MBAs don’t get is why thier cinema numbers have dropped despite having action hits during the summertime. U know what problem I uncovered when our Cinema 4 was open and it was owned by Regel Entertainment Group and then Village Entertainment. In thier marketing they would bring in more black films here but not enough to appeal to the white ones. Another factor I uncovered operators would hold over a black film for months at a time. Which forced the whites here to go the Jackson Market where the choices were better. But I can tell you even the cinem operators here slighted the blacks too. Especially when a movie like Chicago or Dreamgirls was in release.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on September 5, 2007 at 1:29 am

It was movies I saw early on in my life — BEN HUR, KING OF KINGS, THE ROBE, ON THE WATERFRONT, THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY, etc., etc., etc. — that inspired me to want to become a Christian. But nothing has ever turned me off more to Christianity then the experience of going to church. I have seen churches of all different shapes and forms and in many different places. And if their role is to uplift and inspire us and commit to doing the Christian good, boy, they are doing one heck of a lousy job at it! As Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce in 1974’s LENNY put it so well, “People are leaving the church in droves and returning back to God.” Which I feel was true back when movie theaters were being run so well. But let me just say of the here and now, inless I just want to play a really cruel and unChristian-like joke on someone, the last thing I would tell anyone in search of any sort of spiritual uplift is: “Go to church.” Maybe church was a great place to go for this at one time. But I’ve never seen that in my lifetime. As a little kid being dragged to church, I hated it! But then movies like those I listed above made me a great lover of Christianity, so much so, that I actually started going back to church again with a whole new outlook. But oh how all the churches were so quick to disappoint. But I still love those movies! And believe me when I say it’s from them that I get my Christian values, not the churches. The churches are just out to make a buck, while I think it’s very dangerous for anyone to put much faith in them.

Jim Vecchio
Jim Vecchio on September 5, 2007 at 4:25 am

I disagree that all Churches are out to make a buck, but that’s another discussion. I’d just like to say that 9/11 had a horrific impact on me. For one thing, that was my birthday. For another, I’ll never forget that, even as the second plane slammed into the Tower, I had to attend an important meeting at work. My thoughts were of my wife and child, and how I could get to them. No one in that room wanted to be at that meeting. Our minds and hearts were elsewhere. I have a large collection of films, especially B-movies, B-westerns, and science fiction, which serve to make my spare moments more enjoyable, but somehow, these seemed very unimportant at the time. In a time of real Crisis, a simple thing like a movie or a movie theater becomes just what it is: something to serve to entertain in our spare moments. The real things of value became very clear that September morning.
However, as film making goes, I’d sure love to return to the days when movie houses dotted the neighborhoods and a family could choose from any one of several movie choices and walk in right off the street and not have to worry about the content or theme-just relax and be entertained. Though I haven’t seen it yet, I’m thankful there are films out there like “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” that prove a G-rated movie does not have to be a cartoon. Now, if the writers could only start telling good stories again. I recently corresponded with a writer who did a biopic about a famous husband and wife team whose faith was an integral part of their lives. The studios told the writer the script would never sell unless the part about faith was omitted. These types of choices are very wrong for this country if we are to survive and prosper in a post-9/11 world.

efriedmann
efriedmann on September 5, 2007 at 5:50 am

Fedoozle, it sounds like you were in NYC that day, as I was. I watched much of what happened from the street in Greenwich Village. By the end of the day, I was part of a massive exodus, walking uptown. I walked from the Village to my apartment on East 86th Street and held my fiance like I never had before.

The first movie I managed to come across on television after days of news and images was Spielberg’s CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. Suddenly, it was 1977, I was ten years-old, and all seemed more innocent and better with the world. And in those brief moments, I was watching a classic movie favorite of mine, which managed to give some form of meaning and hope in my life – without having anything to do with religion.

The problem with movies today, and I think that Roger Ebert says it best in his book, THE GREAT MOVIES II, is that audiences would rather be assaulted than seduced by a movie. I think this may account for why many action movies are made with so many fast edits and jump cuts that practically give you a headache. Tony Scott’s MAN ON FIRE is a perfect example. When I walked out of that one, I felt dizzy and very angry. I could not believe what movies had just turned into! Everything it seems has to be fast, fast, fast and in your face!

Do you think today’s audiences would wait patiently to finally see Harry Lime appear in THE THIRD MAN? I doubt it.

ceasar
ceasar on September 5, 2007 at 6:21 am

What I remember about 9/11 was how insensitve some of the leaders of Vicksburg Ms acted. I heard accounts that some were glad to see the towers come down. Also the city didn’t exstend a hand at all to help those in New York. But the credit should go to some of the merchants here who set up a fund at the time becouse I contributed money for the families. I ran into some transplanted New Yorkers and some told me about Manhatton and such. Just thinking how certain narrow minded leaders here acted still incense me from time to time. Also I heard all sorts of stories. Get this one of the Arabic doctors who worked at the local hospitol was real pleased to hear that the towers fell. I can tell all sorts of Al Qaeda rumors were flying down here.
The worst thing that these community leaders didn’t do was send to help when NYC really neaded.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on September 5, 2007 at 8:10 am

After 9/11, the movies that I went to see were mostly light hearted fare like drama, comedy, and fantasy. Here’s a list of them in chronological order: Hearts in Atlantis, Iron Monkey, K-Pax, Monsters, Inc., Harry Potter 1, Not Another Teen Movie, LOTR 1, The Royal Tenenbaums, A Beautiful Mind, Black Hawk Down, Collateral Damage, We Were Soldiers, Ice Age, Blade 2, Panic Room, The Scorpion King, Spider-Man 1, Star Wars II, Minority Report, Men In Black II, Austin Powers 3, Stuart Little 2, Signs, and XXX. I saw 24 films at the plexes, mostly at either Succasunna, Clifton Commons, Aviation Mall 7 in Queensbury, and Mansfield.

ceasar
ceasar on September 5, 2007 at 8:18 am

I did the samething by the way. I saw most of the movies mentioned above. Still Legelly Blonde stands out for me that weekend. And I went to comedies,dramas,while at the sametime I started my own collection of photo books of 9/11. One thing I didn’t do with my photo books was to look at the photographs for a while. I’ve also have 9/11 dvd collection with World Trade Center,United 93 documentries,news casts etc. But the film I’m looking forward to watching is September 11th and it shows how the tradgy affected various filmmakers around the globe.

KJB2012
KJB2012 on September 5, 2007 at 10:33 am

I think in times of war, depression etc, people do tend towards comedy. Surrounded by sorrow we need a good laugh. Some of the great Hollywood comedies were made in the 1930s.
I remember reading that when the Second World War started in Sept of 1939, the cinemas and theatres in the UK closed. But Churchill ordered them reopened because he understood that people need entertainment all the more in wartime.

efriedmann
efriedmann on September 5, 2007 at 10:55 am

If you’re a fan of Warner Brothers cartoons, there’s a great videotape I urge you to try and find on Amazon.com or Ebay. It’s called BUGS AND DAFFY – THE WARTIME CARTOONS. These were cartoons shown in theaters before the movie that reflected the spirit of the United States during World War II. There is one particularly hilarious one where Daffy Duck does battle with huge black crows with German accents that are supposed to represent the Nazis and even an animated Adolf Hitler himself.

I’m not old enough to know, but it must have been incredible to sit in a movie theater and watch beloved heroes like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck take on the war effort!

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on September 5, 2007 at 11:44 pm

Just as is the case now, I was residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the day of 9/11. And being as the terrorist attacks that day were both on New York City and Washington, D.C. — with Philadelphia being right in between the two, plus Atlantic City, New Jersey as well — I very much felt the impact and emotion of both attacks full throttle, while having every good reason to fear that these two in-between cities could get hit next. Particularly given how a third terrorist mission had been intercepted and forced to crash land in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. And for me personally the attacks came totally out of the clear blue. As was I’m sure the case for many, I was totally clueless who all was behind them and at a total loss to comprehend what the provocation was. And now, just as was the case then, I know that there was no justification for them, now that it’s well known who was behind them, plus what the provocation actually was. But I can also see how naive I was at the time for thinking that Philadelphia and Atlantic City could’ve been terrorist targets next. For just as is the case now, there was little about Philadelphia or Atlantic City at that time that could be said to be truly legitimate. Case in point, during the moments when New York City’s World Trade Center towers were coming under attack, certain Atlantic City casino operators considered shutting down all operations for the safety sake of their gambling clientele. But those playing the slot machines in Atlantic City that day wanted no parts of that. As always, they were playing the slot machines feverishly that morning right before the news broke, continued feverishly playing when the news broke, and feverishly played the slot machines non-stop well into the night long after the news had broken. I.e., they could not possibly have cared less! Meantime, here in Philadelphia, all members of the Philadelphia Fire Department joined in solidarity with the firefighters of New York City and Washington D.C., and that much I felt very proud of, for I thought it was a magnificent act on their part. However, Philadelphia’s fire commissioner saw this action quite differently. When Philadelphia’s firefighters put out the black flag in front of all their fire stations to show their solidarity, he immediately ordered every last single one of those flags taken down, saying such should only be reserved for tragedies that happen in Philadelphia, not New York City or Washington. And that was very typical of how Philadelphia’s governmental agency heads and politicians reacted to the attacks over all, both that day and in the weeks following 9/11. As for the role that Philadelphia’s and Atlantic City’s movie theaters played in all this, then, just as now, Philadelphia had no great movie theaters to speak of, while Atlantic City lost every last single one it had when casinoization overswept that once great seaside town. So in my case, there was no cinematic outlet to look to, other than one or two multiplexes some distance away. And they’re no good for anything. Meantime, upstanding religious establishments here in Philadelphia and Atlantic City had disappeared years before. So there wasn’t that to look to either.

As much as I hate to say it, I can say now in looking back that there was plenty of solidarity on the part of Philadelphia and Atlantic City that fateful day of September 11, 2001. But let the truth now be told, the solidarity then, as is the case now, aside from those such as me, was with the terrorists. And today we’re seeing living proof of that as Philadelphia prepares to go the way of casinoization as had Atlantic City, with everyday Philadelphians having no say over it whatsoever. There’s also a renegade cancer center up here in Philadelphia’s northeast section — where I live — that’s about to do some very devastating stuff in its zealous quest to expand, and which to me has all the smell of America’s next big terrorist attack to come. It’s a cancer center that boasted having Nobel chemists on its team at one time, but appears as if it’s been hijacked. That might sound like an exaggeration, but believe me, it’s not. And just to make a special note, the movie theater closest to it was just shut down. As if in preparation.

ceasar
ceasar on September 6, 2007 at 6:07 am

Hey theatrebuff when I took my second trip to Europe. I had an oppertunity to lay over at Philadelphia International Airport. In fact I layed over twice. I went through effecient TSA security. But I can tell you the airport is very colorful I love the movie posters which dot the escalator ride and highlight the movies shot there. And it was never dull a moment neither.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on September 6, 2007 at 10:58 pm

Caesar, I’ve been airports all over the world, and I’ve never seen any anywhere even near as bad as Philadelphia International! You’re talking about the other Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Mississippi, right? For if you’re talking about the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania International Airport, you’re the first person I ever met who ever liked it!

It had been a great airport way back in the 1960s, and even the early ‘70s. But then it all went downhill and has been downhill ever since. Contrast that to Norfolk, Virginia’s International in your neck of the country which I feel is one of the best airports I’ve ever been to. It’s so great that even a McDonalds I ate at while there was run exceptionally well! But nobody in Philadelphia who’s in the know uses Philadelphia International. We all go up to Newark, New Jersey’s instead, even though the New Jersey Turnpike we use to get up there is really showing its wear for age these days. But, that’s the trade-off. Either the potholes of that or Philadelphia International….and so it all comes down to, “Hello, potholes!”

ceasar
ceasar on September 7, 2007 at 6:25 am

I’m not referring to Philelphia Mississippi at all. I’m not kidding you I did go Philelphia,Penn. I had to catch a US Airways flight from there to Barcelona,Spain. Now the worst airport in my opinion is Jackson International Airport outside of Jackson. No color,everything stade and stale looking. But the Philly Airport I like the fact that the railroad station is connected to it; in Spain Madrid was the worst. U know I’ve never seen Philly International from the entrance side at all. But Barcelona’s international airport is a classy one through out all the terminuses. And I want to comeback and visit Philly.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on September 7, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Although I know Philadelphia traditionally shows its best face to outsiders, even in that context I can’t even begin to imagine how it could do this with its airport. For there were instances when I was living away from Philadelphia for such long stretches that when I returned it was like coming to this city as an outsider. But even then I found Philadelphia International in comparison to other airports throughout the world a grave disappointment. You know, for instance, that Philadelphia is the national leader in the sale of illegal arms, don’t you? And how its murder rate is now one of the highest in the country? Add to this that Philadelphia International is about to become one of the first American airports to have nonstop flights between the U.S. and China, compliments of U.S. Airways which you mention. And though I don’t know for a fact yet, I believe one of its main purposes will be to assist in human smuggling. With everything about Philadelphia kept shrouded in such huge mystery, in Philadelphia’s case if the answers to this or that question aren’t clearcut or forthcoming, you can be absolutely sure the information being withheld is bad.

And as I say, the day of 9/11, Philadelphia was little phased by it. It just took it all in a happy-go-lucky ho hum stride. I personally was emotionally devastated by the news surfacing that day. But this city’s reaction as a whole was the polar opposite. Instead of Philadelphia rethinking all its corruption — and that would have been an excellent time to — it just made use of that breaking news as a smokescreen to become corrupter still. And the same with Atlantic City.

At least with Pearl Harbor America was blessed with having a great president in place at the time. But with 9/11 it was the total opposite. Meaning that there really hasn’t come a time yet when we have been able to fully come to grips with what happened on 9/11. That much continues to be kept on hold. It’s like you break your leg and go to a hospital to have it treated, but alas, here it is 6 years later and you’re still waiting in that dang emergency room to have a doctor come look at it. For looking back to 6 years ago, seriously, folks, whatever happened to “Osama Bin Laden dead or alive” and all that good stuff? Remember that? Answer: He’s still out there grinning at all this; nothing’s changed. And Al Quada today is stronger then ever. And is America now much safer than it was 6 years ago? Hah! Given how 9/11 was totally mishandled it’s now such that America these days is one of the corruptest places on the planet. As the saying goes, “The greatest victory you can give your enemy is to become just like them.” Or as Jesus asked, “Can Satan cast out Satan?” And when I look around me at how Philadelphia is right now — aside from the nice, but false, face it shows to outsiders — it’s like, gee, what’s keeping the dang doctor? And oh, silly me, why he’s out playing golf, of course! Looking at that green instead of the gangrene of my leg.

ceasar
ceasar on September 10, 2007 at 7:49 am

I can tell you Vicksburg Ms reacted much differently to the 9/11 attacks. At where I worked everything was thrown into chaos,I heard rumors of Al Qaeda being here as well. I tried to get those veritfied. Then one story that got out was about the Arabic doctor who said he was pleased to see the world trade towers fall. As a result he mysteriously disappeared. One thing that stood out the old Pemberton Mall closed at 1pm that afternoon. But when it came to sending volunteers this town didn’t send any up to New York City. But the other parts of the state did. I feel that Vicksburg has an arrogant insenstive attitude toward anyone or anything new.
As for a new cinema questions are now being asked on why the city the size of Vicksburg which is 25,000 and 49,000 county doesn’t have one.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on September 10, 2007 at 10:27 pm

I would hope that on this 6th anniversary of 9/11 — it officially being that right now as I’m typing this — that all of us, or at least a large number of us, are much wiser and less gullible then we were on that fateful date six years ago. Some people, of course, are hopeless, as always has been the case since time immemorial. I’m sure when Pearl Harbor was attacked there was probably somebody somewhere having a high stakes card game, and didn’t even so much as blink when news came over the radio of that horrific event.

But the difference between that time and 9/11, such type Americans were not “highly regarded citizens” who all else must get sacrificed for. Today everything in America is geared towards the lowest common denominator. When it comes to saving and restoring a beautiful historic old movie palace or rushing up the next new Wal*Mart or Target Store, guess what prevails? As in who needs terrorists destroying our country when we’re already doing it to ourselves? And the thing is, I wasn’t born into a country like that. It wasn’t always this way. Yes, there were always lowest common denominator people. But they weren’t always on top and the element of Americans most catered to. And when that wasn’t the case that is what made America so great.

There should’ve been a Finest Hour in reaction to 9/11. And there certainly was on the part of America’s police, firefighters, rescue workers and the everyday people who put everything else aside to rush to the aid of New York and Washington. Not to mention the first who lined up — including NFL great Tillman — to go to war in Afghanistan. But in terms of who America had in political leadership I can’t imagine a list of people more trashier and worthless — names including Rumsfeld, Rice, Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft. And now when I look back to 9/11, that comes across as the most sinister aspect of all.

For as for the terrorists, and please don’t misread me when I say this, I feel sorry for them. That is, I feel sorry for anybody so stupid as to lay down their lives for what they’re fighting for. For these aren’t people fighting to be free, but to be oppressed in the worst possible ways imaginable. At the same time they have plenty of company here in the U.S. Classic case in point, what led up to the demolition of the historic DuPage Theater in Lombard, Illinois last winter. In a small Chicago suburb that had nothing else good going for it, at the very least it was home to a movie palace designed by Rapp & Rapp no less, and which major efforts had been underway to restore. But a sizeable and unruly portion of the populace there wanted no parts of it, and of all things they fought tooth and nail to get that theater torn down. And today Lombard is a very dark and creepy place as a result of that. So as I say, given that, who needs the terrorists?

To me, people fighting to be oppressed, whether in Afghanistan or in various places here in the U.S., is so far out there that I can’t even begin to comprehend it. But in the wake of 9/11 I see it ALL the time now. And Philadelphia, where ironically this country’s longing for freedom was born, is far from being the exception now. Interesting to note, the quest away from freedom is the number one thing now driving America’s prison overcrowding crisis. I.e., they can’t build prisons fast enough for the many people who want to get into them.

Anyway, just my own thoughts for this 6th anniversary of 9/11. With that said, I wish there was a movie theater around somewhere that I could go see MESSAGE TO LOVE: THE 1970 ISLE OF WIGHT CONCERT in…

ceasar
ceasar on September 11, 2007 at 6:02 am

Well I haven’t forgotten. Where some locals here acted callus and insentive over what happened,I gave money to help out the families.I wanted to go to NYC and help to be honest with u. But what made my morning this morning? Well at my alma Warren Central High School the ROTC are lined up for thier commerative on this day. Also Theatrebuff I’ve become a 9/11 historian. Any new documentry that comes on,I’ll watch it. Right I’m reading the Looming Towers and I’ll be reading about the photographers next. Which I’m looking forward too. Now here’s one story that didn’t get told during the week of 9/11. Those that jumped from the world trade center. The editors self censored stories related to it; news broadcasters back off from showing the videos. I can’t blame them at the time. I learned all of this from the Discovery Times documentry the Falling Guy which is photographed which didn’t get published in all of the papers.
But Lower Manhattan in the present has sprang back to life. They make Vicksburg look redneck stupid in my opinion. U know no one from Vicksburg didn’t go to help New Yorkers at all. Now that’s insenitivity at its worst. Some here still bear a civil war grudge-I say to them: Get over it.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on September 12, 2007 at 12:13 am

Regarding the side of the 9/11 story as it took place in Washington, D.C., two distinct memories I have of that both had to do with relatives of mine. And to this day it’s a side of the story that remains very upsetting. One of the relatives was a cousin of mine who works for the Library of Congress. When I got in touch with him right afterwards to find out how he was holding up, he said he could see the smoke billowing from the Pentagon from the Library of Congress building where was working, but just seemed very annoyed that he had to walk home from work that day, given how the police had all the streets in and out of Washington blocked off. “Weren’t you afraid at all?” I asked. “No, just displeased with the inconvenience it caused,” was his only reply. As cousins go, he’s the cousin of mine who it seems every other week is taking lavish trips to Europe on your and my taxdollars, rather than working at the Library of Congress, yet getting paid handsomely nonetheless. And these are personal trips he takes, not related in any way to his Library of Congress work. Anyhow, after I saw how he reacted to 9/11, I instantly decided I wanted no more parts of him.

The other relative of mine was an aunt who’s retired from working at the Pentagon. And figuring she had to be upset by it, I got in touch with her as well to check up on her. But to her, living in a beautiful retirement complex across the Potomac River in Arlington, VA — again on our taxdollars — it was as if “nothing bad ever happened.” For what did she possibly care since she was no longer working there? That was her whole attitude.

And it is said in Washington’s case that when the firefighters, police and rescue workers risked their lives to save those working in the Pentagon that day they didn’t even so much as get a thank you afterwards. And today the fact that the attack on the Pentagon was part of the 9/11 story is all but forgotten. And for very good reason I would say. For I don’t know, are we Americans supposed to be impressed by how callously Washington, D.C. reacted to all that happened that day and ever since? For I sure as heck am not. I don’t like such people, whether blood relatives or otherwise. For to me there is a certain obligation that goes with being alive and well.

Meantime, regarding many Southerners' reaction (or nonreaction) to 9/11 — as you say, a grudge leftover from the Civil War era — hopefully this feeling changed somewhat with the North’s reaction in the Katrina disaster. For just as 9/11 was devastating to me and many other northerners, I can’t see where our reaction to what took place in New Orleans was any less. I know for me personally it wasn’t. Katrina, just as 9/11 did, hit me like a brick wall. While to me the same ultimate band of culprits was behind both disasters — the Bush administration. For sure, we can keep blaming terrorists for this and that, and continue blaming hurricanes likewise, or whatever else. But at some point we just have to say, “Oh come on!” But sadly, America hasn’t done that yet. Which in turn has both New York and New Orleans still hurting. And that isn’t going to change until we finally face up to who the real enemy is and have a Finest Hour for real accordingly. For if we don’t, and soon, there ain’t gonna be any America by the time all this is through, North, South or otherwise. And yes, I DO think that matters.

ceasar
ceasar on September 12, 2007 at 6:39 am

The Civil War grudge has always been real issue down here. But the young ones have gotten smart on these elders who bear this dumb grudge. What struck me about 9/11 this port didn’t send any of thier own Police help out like other members of the country did. And with a new mayor elected at the time he cut funds to fire department which in my honest opinion was stupid. But all of us Southers helped out during 9/11. I honestly wanted to go up there and help. One of my friends described this town’s real problem at the time was this: that they didn’t know what to do. But since 9/11 I have met some cool New Yorkers I might add. I met a few from Brooklyn I might add who were down here helping out with Katrina.
By the way what made this hurricane season interesting two rapidly developed cat5s storms.

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on September 13, 2007 at 12:22 am

The day and night difference between terrorism and natural disasters, we can overcome the dangers of natural disasters by coming to grips with them on their own terms. As FDR once brilliantly put it, “we should work with nature rather than fighting her.” And it was through that understanding that he brought our country out from the Great Depression. Not to mention final victory in WWII. But God help us all if we come to grips with terrorists on their own terms in that same fashion. We know with hurricanes, for instance, or at least we should know, that they occur for good reasons. And if we accept and work with that, nature will reward us a thousandfold. But with terrorists, if we use that same approach with them, what can be expected is the polar opposite. For where did all this terrorism America is wrestling with today originate from, anyway? Answer: By American leaders in the past consenting to things that no one with any sort of wisdom or foresight would’ve done — whether it was the first OPEC agreements back in the late 1950s/early ‘60s, or Nixon’s shaking hands with Chairman Mao in 1971. And when do those leaders of today finally learn?

Now as for the lingering Civil War grudge you refer to, or what many Southerners call “The War of Northern Agression,” there’s hardly a lingering grudge on the North’s part, not when you consider how when GONE WITH THE WIND was exhibited at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall for that film’s 50th anniversary the audience of 6000 mainly New Yorkers went wild and cheered when Vivien Leigh proclaimed, “As God is my witness I’ll never be hungry again!” And last year (2006) when the “Second Battle of Gettysburg” was being waged, that time around to stop a casino from being built right next to the historic battlefield, both the North and South came together to stop it. And though many say racism still lingers in the South, in all my travels I’ve never seen more racism than right here in Philadelphia, PA. And the South has nothing to do with it. It’s purely a Northern thing. And embarrassing I might add.

tube2005
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MPol
MPol on July 12, 2008 at 10:40 am

Since I recently resumed posting here on CinemaTreasures after not having posted here for sometime, I realize that I’m sort of late to the party, but I still remember that awful day. 9/11/01 started out as an ordinary day for me, and when I heard about the horrific attacks on NYC’s World Trade Center Towers, and later, the Pentagon, I thought it was all a hoax. However, when I turned on my little TV and saw the horrible footage of the WTC Towers being hit by planes and collapsing, I knew differently. To get to the subject at hand, however; back in mid-August of 2001, shortly before 9/11, I’d just gotten back from an eye-dilation exam when I received a call from some friends of mine who’d lived in Boston but moved down to NYC years ago (and who knew that West Side Story is my favorite film), telling me that there was going to be a special 40th-year anniversary screening of the film West Side Story at Radio City Music Hall in early October, and that many members of the cast would be present. Enthusiastically, and from the bottom of my heart, I said yes when they asked me if I wanted them to send off for some tickets for me. After some snafus, the tickets were obtained.

Saturday, October 6th, 2001, was the big day. Since West Side Story is my alltime favorite film, I drove down from Boston to the Big Apple specially to see it, and to see old friends and relatives. What a Saturday night out that was! Radio City Music Hall was packed with an exuberant, friendly, fingersnappling, applauding crowd (of about 5-6, 000, to be exact), and there was a beautifully remastered, cleaned-up and restored print of WSS. My friends and I enjoyed ourselves immensely, and it was fantastic that several thousand people could get together for such a wonderful evening less than a month after the horrific 9/11 attacks. This, imo, is another great example of how to bring people together.

MPol
MPol on July 24, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Thanks, Justin Fencsak. It would be nice if these get-togethers happened more often, with great classic movies, to boot.

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