Page 2 of 3
Also on hold are Jennifer Lopez's terrorist-themed Tick-Tock, Jackie Chan's comedy Nosebleed, involving a window-washer on New York landmarks, while "Law & Order" has halted plans for next year's five-hour miniseries called "Terror." The Broadway debut of Stephen Sondheim's musical Assassins has been cancelled, even though its exploration of what motivates political criminals speaks very directly to events in the headlines.
The harsh echoes of real world events make such stories seem inappropriate, although video renters have been seeking both escapist humor and terrorist-themed works. "Mostly people come in and say, 'I need a dumb comedy,'" says Ron Hughes of Movies Worth Seeing. "We've had a lot of people asking for Nostradamus: The Man Who Saw the Future, and the action movie where similar things happen, like The Siege, and the made-for-TV movie about the prior attack on the World Trade Center -- which isn't something we carry."
The Denzel Washington/Bruce Willis drama The Siege was scheduled to air Sept. 20 on the USA Network, which hastily pulled it from broadcast. (Mass destruction films like Independence Day also have been replaced with milder fare.) When released in 1998, The Siege was attacked by Arab-American groups and some critics for its portrayal of Islamic terrorists striking targets in New York. But the film's larger issue is prejudice against Muslims, who are rounded up and put in detention camps. The Siege may not always be realistic, but with hate crimes already being committed against Americans of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian backgrounds, its message could not be more relevant.
Or consider the Gulf War comedy-drama Three Kings, which reflected the complexities of the U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf. One scene has Mark Wahlberg's character tortured by an Iraqi soldier of comparable age. The interrogator proves ruthless but not entirely unsympathetic, describing the death of his son in the U.S. bombings, and giving voice to anti-American sentiments: "Your sick fucking country made the black man hate himself, just like you hate the Arabs and the children you bomb over here."
Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down was scheduled for March 2002, but may see a fate like The Manchurian Candidate, an assassin-themed drama pulled following the Kennedy assassination (in part due to star Frank Sinatra's relationship with the Kennedy family), that went unseen for years. Black Hawk Down offers an account of the disastrous Somalia episode of 1993, in which 18 soldiers died. It could be highly constructive of the kind of actions we should and should not be taking in the Third World, but if studios are already pulling the posters for Robert Redford's The Last Castle -- which features a U.S. flag upside down, the sign of distress -- Black Hawk Down may be shelved for months.
If the war on terrorism does indeed resemble the war on drugs, it could easily be a decade before we see a cinematic treatment akin to Traffic. Instead, we could view the kind of Arab terrorists of True Lies and Executive Decision, films that now have uncomfortable similarities to actual events. True Lies tries to compensate for casting Muslims as villains by giving Schwarzenegger a thoroughly Westernized Arab-American hacker as a sidekick.
The Arab terrorist could become like the "Krauts" and "Japs" of World War II films. "Most Americans who lived through World War II and went to the movies came to regard them as demonic and sub-human, as the combat films and other propaganda of the time dictated," says Matthew Bernstein, another Emory University film professor.
Cook, in his A History of Narrative Film, estimates that 500 of the 1,700 films made during World War II involved the war or fascism. While the movies tended to idealize combat and the cause early on, "As real Americans were killed in greater numbers, there began to be a national sense of mourning, and movies became more serious about depicting battles. Now, we too should admit that we have been badly injured by this," he says.
But Nagesh Kukunoor, an Indian filmmaker and former actor who lives part-time in Atlanta, thinks that one positive result of the terrorist attack may be a more nuanced point of view toward people of the Middle East and South Asia. "Hindus and Muslims are treated interchangeably, and even the accents are wrong," he says. "As an actor in Atlanta, I auditioned for everything -- Iraqis, Iranians, Palestinians, everything. Anyone from the region could tell the difference, but here people didn't. Someone from the Middle East is very different from someone from India."
He adds, "After this, there will be more attention paid to the religious element. If more distinctions will be made between different people and different countries, hopefully there will be greater understanding. Hopefully, in the coming days we'll get our identities."
106.7 said its the first such sensor in the nation, apparently it senses the heat…
The Braves are dead to me.
Hans Utz for Mayor
Okay, this is hilariously awful. Hans Utz, the Deputy COO, has now been suspended without…
Truth, I guess my answer would be to ask if fewer people would get shot…