THE POPCORN REEL EDITOR'S DESK - a weekly word about the movies                      

Sunday, June 11, 2006


So what is it that makes us go to the movies?  A chance to escape from the real world?  A chance to escape from fear?  A chance to encounter fear?  To embrace it?  To reach for glories that are unreachable within our own lives?  To watch someone do something that we've always wanted to have the courage to do ourselves?  To avoid feeling lonely? 

There are so many reasons -- but very simply the bottom line may be that we just want to be entertained.  Whether in Sri Lanka, Australia, Germany, Uganda, Brazil, Japan, France, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Finland, The United States, Barbados, Turkey, Canada, China, Spain, The Dominican Republic, India, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Italy, Bolivia, or anywhere else in the world movies (or this website, for that matter) reach -- we all love the movies.  Movies can be therapy, they can be agony, they can be sorrow, they can be sublime. 

Two outstanding films this year are "Water" and "An Inconvenient Truth".  These two films are not the most "entertaining" films in the sense of the word, but they are films that depict a history and leave us asking if we are willing (or were willing) to change that history and transform it into a different present-day reality.  The oppression of women who lost their husbands through no fault of their own and the stigma that they faced throughout Indian society resonates long after the end credits of "Water".  Next, the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" is an indispensable film about the ever-declining state of the environment.  As a film critic I have sung the praises of both films and hope that many people around the world see them.  "Water" has recently crossed the million-dollar mark in the United States, while "An Inconvenient Truth" has zoomed past that threshold in just under two weeks in North America.  Globally both films will surely have an impact. 

Though "entertaining" and "uplifting" are critical keys to the success or failure of today's films, it is worth noting that some of the most uplifting films can be the ones where we have a chance to act and make a difference.  In short, we can be the heroes and protagonists of our own fears and dreams.  We can do the something that we've always wanted to have the courage to do ourselves.  As Tom Cruise's character in the film "Vanilla Sky" wryly and sarcastically quips when talking to Cameron Diaz's Julianna Gianni, "if you can reach just one person...". 

Movies reach us all.  How -- in the case of the two highlighted pertinent and sobering small-scale independent films -- we are willing to reach back, is a script or story that is yet to be written.  Each moviegoer has the power to write that script, and the movies in good times, and in bad, help enable us to do that.


Omar P.L. Moore
The Popcorn Reel

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