|Wednesday, April 14, 2004
01:12 - The movie idea that dare not speak its name
I'd like to take this moment to thank Mark Steyn for not showing up on Hugh Hewitt's show today.
Because if it had, then Lileks might have hashed all this out on the air, and he might not have written it down. And I might not have gotten to read it.
This will sound crass, but bear with me.
9/11 would make a hell of a movie.
It’s the most dramatic day of modern times. The story lines are clear; it writes itself. You don’t have to make up heroic characters; every minute has a dozen. No Hollywood falsities need intrude – no star-crossed lovers, no cheerful archetypes, no swelling music (take a cue from “A Night to Remember,” which didn’t introduce an orchestral score until halfway through, to great effect.) Just tell the story as it happened that day, and people would cram the theaters by the millions. Just like they went to see “The Passion.” And with the same emotions, I’d bet: from the opening moments the audience would have the same sick clot in their stomachs, the same old throb of dread we all felt during “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan.” This wasn’t pleasant, but it was important to see it, and know.
It doesn’t demean the day to make a movie of it, anymore than it would be an insult to write a novel about the events. Movies are how we tell stories; they’re the means by which the culture coalesces around certain ideas, or learns which ideas they should coalesce around.
And that’s the problem. I wonder whether Hollywood execs shy from a 9/11 movie because they think it might send the wrong message.
It would anger people anew, and we’re supposed to be past that. It would remind us what was done to us instead of rubbing out noses in what we do to others – I mean, unless you have a character in the second tower watching the plane approaching and saying “My God, this is payback for supporting Israel!” it’s going to come across as simplistic nonsense that denies the reality in the West Bank, okay? It would have to tread lightly when it came to the President, because even though we all knew that he wet his pants and ran to hide, we’d have to pretend and do scenes in Air Force One where he’s taking charge instead of crying help mommy to Dick Cheney, right? I mean the idiots in flyover people believe that stuff, and you’d have to give it to them or they write letters with envelopes that have these little pre-printed return address stickers with flags up in the corner. Seriously. Little flag stickers. Anyway, we would have to show Arab males as the bad guys, and that’s not worth the grief; you want to answer the phone when CAIR sees the dailies of the guys slitting the stewardess’ throats? And here’s the big one: if we make a patriotic movie during Bush’s term, well, it doesn’t help the cause, you know. People liked Bush after 9/11. Why remind them of that? Plus, you can just kiss off the European markets, period.
Richard Clarke’s book is available? Here’s a blank check. Option that sucker.
Yeah. That's what irked me so much about Sony's making that movie out of Against All Enemies. It's not so much that it's like a Michael Moore fantasy with a Titanic budget. It's that it'd be the first 9/11 movie, produced during our military response to it, and it'd be a movie with a political motivation other than let's win.
And that's just nauseating.
Anyway, read the whole thing; it's a keeper. (Like that's unusual.)