Monday, December 20, 2010

Fun Movies! And Political Reflections

Sometimes I feel like I'm overly critical of movies in general. I think that's because certain movies get really hyped up for some reason, and I just don't see why. Like Slumdog Millionaire. Or Inception. Or Crash. Although Crash, in my opinion, is not even a "good" movie, much less worthy of being named "Best Picture" of 2005. (Oh, those ridiculous judges!)

But anyway, oftentimes, I do very much enjoy a good, fun frivolous film. We watched two this past weekend:

Night Train to Munich (1940): Often overlooked, perceived as derivative of The Lady Vanishes (1939), this WWII espionage thriller is simply delightful. I have not seen The Lady Vanishes, but if it's anything like Hitchcock's other films, I'm sure Night Train to Munich is a great deal more humorous and lighthearted. Which I would imagine to be an improvement.

Tron (1982): Such an odd film! The visuals, the story, the dialogue--they're just so ... interesting. Solid storytelling, acting, character development--all the elements of a pretty good movie--with the added element of novelty.

Tron is especially interesting from a theological viewpoint because the citizens of the digital world, personified computer programs, regard their programmers ("users") as deities. Programmer Kevin Flynn, having been transported into the digital world in the likeness of a program, becomes a Christ figure of sorts.

A fun moment that stuck with me was when one of the programs, named Tron, discovers that Flynn, who has been assisting him in his mission, is actually a "user" (i.e. a god). Tron exclaims that this must mean everything Flynn has been doing was according to a greater plan. Flynn shakes his head and says no, actually, users, just like programs, are often just going along, trying to do their best, without an overarching plan in mind.

While I don't think this insight can appropriately be applied to God (I have a high, Calvinistic view of Providence), it's very apt with relation to human authorities. However much people may complain about the way the country is run, for the most part, here in the U.S. we have a sense that the people in charge, though they make some mistakes, generally know what they're doing (or at least we think that of whatever political party we support).

But I'm pretty sure that in reality, the people at the top don't know what they're doing. And I've always found that very disheartening. So I liked that moment in Tron, because it wasn't a terrifying, depressing revelation to the programs--merely surprising. I guess it's okay to find out that that's the way things are; we can still work with that.

Perhaps the real difference it makes, knowing that politicians are just as stupid and incompetent as regular people, is that it means it's our responsibility as citizens to work with them, alongside them, helping them in whatever way we can--rather than looking to them to fix everything and handing them the blame when things go badly.

That is, instead of being angry at politicians, especially those in the White House, we should have compassion on them, because they have one fucking hell of a job, and we would probably not do so well at it ourselves, despite the best of intentions. Perhaps if we could be inspired with pity for all the stupid, incompetent politicians, we would more willingly try to do something to help, rather than just complaining all the time.

1 comment:

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