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The Hotel Rwanda Effect

Apparently Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters disappeared from the list on iCheckMovies for 1980s, my bronze medal in that category disappearing with it (yet my dignity remains!).  To rectify things, I need to watch another movie from the 1980s list.  I’m thinking Fanny and Alexander (kids in Sweden and their imaginations) or Fitzcarraldo (love me some Werner Herzog).  I’m not ashamed to admit that Das Boot and its 293 minutes is way more time than I’m willing to put into a film at this point in my life.  I have trouble sitting down to watch war movies, especially ones about Germans and/or submarines.  To people who have braved Das Boot, I ask you, was it worth it?  Did you enjoy it?  Would you do it again?  More importantly, would you recommend that I do it?  I can’t wait for your answers, so for now I’ll just have to go ahead with Fanny and Alexander.  But someday, I will have to make time for Das Boot.  It’s on 14 lists, after all.

I call this “the Hotel Rwanda effect.”  A few years ago, during the reign of Hotel Rwanda, Slate had a piece on the movies Netflix users keep the longest.  By and large, the list is dominated by uber-depressing movies that everyone feels obligated to see because they are “great” films.  But when it comes down to gouging precious hours out of your lovely Sunday afternoon to watch a film about genocide?  Not a chance!  I see two things here:  one, we are an ambitious people, and two, we love movies for the escape.  A well done film can be about anything as long as it has two out of three of the following: an engaging story, stellar acting, and cinematography that doesn’t hurt my eyes.  Overwhelmingly, we love movies for the fantasy and wish fulfillment.  Happy endings and dramatic resolutions.  Please, don’t keep me mired in reality.  If I loved reality so much, I wouldn’t be here at the cinema, paying you $12 to sit in this dark room with strangers so I can eat popcorn that cost 900% more than what it costs to make at home.  Really, the last movie I’d want to watch right now would be about a lackadaisical secretary who blogs on Friday nights and whose most invigorating moment of the week involves a renewed dedication to flossing.  [Note to self:  get a better plot line for your life]

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One response to “The Hotel Rwanda Effect

  1. Mr. Peter

    If you don’t like war movies, forget Das Boot. The takeaway is a good sense of the cramped claustrophobia inside a submarine, especially when it is under attack. And, for months afterwards, it prompted my girlfriend to cry “Daaasss Boooooot!!!!” followed by a peal of laughter any time a situation even remotely called for such an exclamation.

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