September 11th and the meaning of movies in our lives
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.