Monday, October 3, 2011

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close gets extremely cloying and incredibly pandering Oscar-bait trailer.

There is a Law and Order episode from late 2002 that deals with a woman who was murdered right before 9/11 and dumped around the World Trader Center wreckage, creating the impression that she was another victim of said terror attacks.  As the truth slowly comes out, there is resistance from the victim's mother, who doesn't want to believe that her daughter was merely a victim of infidelity gone wrong.  Point being, the grieving mother wants to believe that her daughter died in the 9/11 attacks, as if that specific violent end would give her death more importance than if she were merely a victim on a 'normal' murder.  I bring this up because the trailer above, as well as the hoopla surrounding it, is a prime example of what is arguably '9/11 porn'.  In that, I merely mean that it (this trailer and apparently the original Jonathan Safran Foer book as well) uses the 9/11 attacks to add a level of 'importance and prestige' that the story itself does not earn.  Whether the movie is good or not, ask yourself this: Would the film be getting the same sheer amount of preordained Oscar buzz and/or presumptions that it's a 'very important movie' if Tom Hank's character was shot to death in a convenience store robbery?

Aside from that issue (which may be my own pet peeve), I do find it humorous that the film stars Tom Hanks, who receives top billing over Sandra Bullock despite being dead.  What I find amusing about this is that, in all honesty, had the film revolved around a young boy's feelings about his dead mother, said mom would barely merit a cameo, let alone a starring role.  In films and television in general, when single-parent families suffer from dead mothers, said mothers are barely mentioned or even acknowledged (The Little Mermaid, Super 8, Garden State, Hesher).  Yet when a father is the dead one (or, in cases where both parents are dead), the paternal figure will merit at least a few potent character-expanding flashbacks and/or a major speaking part (The Lion King, Batman Begins, Lost).  There are a few exceptions here and there.  Bambi's mother has a screen presence before she dies, while Orlando Bloom's late father never appears onscreen in Elizabethtown.  But as a general rule, for reasons I'll let others speculate about for now, dead dads take center stage while dead moms are just glorified women in refrigerators.  Speculate accordingly below.

Scott Mendelson              


Guest said...

What a stupid and snarky article.

Scott Mendelson said...

Perhaps, but at least I signed my name at the end of it...

Diane Lowe said...

I can't stand "9/11 porn" either.

Ai4411 said...

Where is the grade for this picture?


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