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Too soon?
April 2, 2006 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Controversy over the new movie about United Flight 93. Just the trailer has proven so upsetting to NYC moviegoers that at least one theatre pulled it. I just watched it at the above link and was surprised at how visceral my own reaction was. Is it too soon?
posted by CunningLinguist (192 comments total)

 
yes, I think it is. Although it's not too soon for the History Channel or Discovery to do an episode on it, it is too soon for a major blockbuster. I believe the difference is that people perceive the movies as entertainment.
posted by WetherMan at 5:10 PM on April 2, 2006


I'm sure it'll be a big hit in the fly-over states.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 5:13 PM on April 2, 2006


Yeah, it's way too for a fictionalized recreation.

My hope is that the go through and release it, and it completely flops at the box office. That should stave off any future attempts for a while.

God help us if it succeeds, and 9/11 is thus considered fair game in Hollywood. From national tragedy to overdone joke in 5....4....3....2....
posted by tkolar at 5:14 PM on April 2, 2006


I think it's more a question of taste than timing. In Canada recently there was a movie released about serial killers Karla Holmolka and Paul Bernardo. It was met with real dismay all across the country -- not so much because it was based on real events, but because it was seen as trivializing them.
posted by 327.ca at 5:16 PM on April 2, 2006


Umm, "way too early", "they go through and release'.

This has me too depressed to type clearly.
posted by tkolar at 5:16 PM on April 2, 2006


The trailer I saw didn't convince me that the movie is going to have any artistic merit at all. And if it's not going to be a good movie, then it's purely exploitative.

They had to get permission from all the families of the people who died on the plane, according to that article. Ok...do we really think, then, that any of those people are going to be portrayed in a remotely negative light? Will the writers take any sort of liberties with the truth in order to keep the story interesting? Are the villains going to be anything more than cardboard cutouts? How can the whole thing play like anything more than a big-budget "re-enactment" drama?

I'm pretty hard to offend, and I wouldn't say that I'm 'offended' per se, but I was shocked when I saw the trailer...'too soon' is right, I think. Both in terms of decency and in terms of commercial prospects.
posted by bingo at 5:23 PM on April 2, 2006


I think it is too soon. Plus it looks like a bad movie (the trailer seems to assume that everyone knows what is going to happen... if it were possible that somebody didn't know what 9/11 was, would the movie make sense?). Here's to hoping for a flop- and I think it will.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:23 PM on April 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Nomatter how tasteless and "too soon" this movie is, you mustn't underestimate the hypocrisy of american audiences. They'll tell you how abhorred and disgusting a movie it is, but at the same time they'll bring the entire family to see it because it's important, or something - The passion exemplifies that.
posted by wumpus at 5:24 PM on April 2, 2006


If the marketing for this movie goes at all into the "This is important American History, so spend that $10 to see it...", I really really really will swear off movies all together. Gross.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:25 PM on April 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


I don't think this movie can be anything but lugubrious. We know so little about what occurred that any film will be 90% conjecture.

I also think it's too soon, but because we have no historical perspective on the events of 9/11, not necessarily because we're still suffering as a nation; we're not. Anyone who was "traumatized" by 9/11 and didn't lose a family member or who wasn't in downtown Manhattan or in the Pentagon is full of it (for a great essay on that exact topic, see Mark Slouka's "A Year Later" in the September 2002 issue of Harper's).
posted by CRM114 at 5:27 PM on April 2, 2006


I saw a promo of it the other day. It was longer than a trailer, but a sort of mini-feature that they played while all the house lights were still up. Shortly afterward, they played a real promo for the remake of Poseidon Adventure. I thought that was more tasteless than the one for the terrorist flight movie.
posted by crunchland at 5:27 PM on April 2, 2006


Wait - permission from all the families or just the families of the non-hijackers?

The trailer left a foul odour of "exploitation" in my mouth. Deathsploitation?

I wonder how accurate (to the best of certified facts to date) this will be.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:30 PM on April 2, 2006


It's grave robbery. A chance to collect some loose change falling from the pockets of the patriots headed out to celebrate "5 years later" day.
posted by eatitlive at 5:32 PM on April 2, 2006


I can't help but to imagine the meeting in which a group of suits predicted how much money a 9/11 reenactment movie might possibly gross at the box office (especially the FIRST ONE!). Do you think any of them said something along the lines of "The free market and freedom of expression were exactly what the terrorists were attacking in the first place, therefore we owe it to America to put this movie out!"
posted by etowernyc at 5:35 PM on April 2, 2006


Is it too soon?

Yes.
I saw the trailer too and this was my first question.

Thinking about it later: everything is going so fast now that 5 years is old. 5 years is the new 20 years. We are better get used to it.

Ray K. where are you when we neeed you?
posted by bru at 5:35 PM on April 2, 2006


Let's roll out to the lobby,
Let's roll out to the lobby....
posted by gimonca at 5:36 PM on April 2, 2006


CRM114 wrote....
Anyone who was "traumatized" by 9/11 and didn't lose a family member or who wasn't in downtown Manhattan or in the Pentagon is full of it (for a great essay on that exact topic, see Mark Slouka's...

What would we do without Literature professors to diagnose our mental health for us?
posted by tkolar at 5:36 PM on April 2, 2006


Burn books in the streets probably.
posted by eatitlive at 5:37 PM on April 2, 2006


There's no way it's going to make everyone happy. They're walking a ridiculously fine line, or rather they're trying to straddle and walk on both sides of a canyon.

How the passengers are portrayed is part of the problem, but the real issue is going to be how the hijackers are portrayed. If the producers of this film do what Spielberg did for the Palestinians in Munich, expect a huge outcry. Any hint of "Of course, what they did was wrong, BUT you gotta understand their grievances" is going to result in protests.

And if they aren't "sensitive" about the hijackers, and instead portray them as rabid dogs (which is close to the truth) then there will also be a huge outcry, from the other side of the political spectrum.

Either the film makers take sides or they don't. No matter which they do, someone's gonna get angry about it.

Is it too soon? I couldn't say. But I don't think that "causing an uproar" or "offending lots of people" are valid criteria for making that judgment.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:37 PM on April 2, 2006


'How can the whole thing play like anything more than a big-budget "re-enactment" drama? ...too soon' is right, I think. Both in terms of decency and in terms of commercial prospects.

I think this is a "two americas" issue... decency and commercial prospects are totally separate. A lot of people like to see cheesy exploitative movies - or "big budget re-enactment dramas". Apparently the cable movie on this topic was a major hit. Country pop songs about 9-11 and terrorists topped their charts. I doubt it will do well in NYC, or really on the coasts at all, but I would not be surprised if it had a good run in the states where it would be a sort of patriotic tearjerker, and make everyone feel important (The Day Everything Changed, blah blah blah - not to say it wasn't traumatic, but there are an infinity of Days Everything Changed, depending on what your expectations of your world are). Anyway, it looks bad, but I bet it will sort of hit that good feeling/tragedy spot for a lot of patriotic hero-seeking types.
posted by mdn at 5:39 PM on April 2, 2006


Just more propaganda to perpetuate the idea that flight 93 wasn't shot down. Meh.
posted by interrobang at 5:39 PM on April 2, 2006


Where were the snakes?
posted by ColdChef at 5:40 PM on April 2, 2006


I was really pleased to see that this movie is from Paul Greengrass.

Most people probably know him from "The Bourne Supremacy", a really terrific action/espionage movie. He's probably less well known for "Bloody Sunday", a much lower budget, but no less excellent movie about Bloody Sunday incident in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 1972 in which 13 Catholic were killed British troops fired on civil rights marchers.

"Bloody Sunday" was shot in a very low key, "pseudo-verite" style; all ambient lighting, and hand held cameras, and had very unaffected acting. I thought it was very good. I'm thinking that if he can handle this film with the apparent lack of sensation that he applied to "Bloody Sunday" and just let the events speak for themselves, this has the chance to be a movie worthy of impact of the events depicted.
posted by hwestiii at 5:41 PM on April 2, 2006


you mustn't underestimate the hypocrisy of american audiences. They'll tell you how abhorred and disgusting a movie it is, but at the same time they'll bring the entire family to see it because it's important, or something - The passion exemplifies that.

I must disagree here -- the people who were complaining about The Passion being abhorrent and disgusting were not the ones that made it a blockbuster. Most of the people who bought tickets (and reserved entire showings for church groups) were not the ones complaining about it in newspaper editorials.

The problem is not hyposcrisy, it's that most of the mouthpieces of righteous indignation speak only for a minority of the population.

The audience that ultimately connected with the The Passion did so for many of the same reasons that it was decried in other circles.

As for United 93, is "too soon?" the right question? Can we ever have enough distance from a tragedy that it's OK to make a crass and exploitative movie about it?
posted by camcgee at 5:42 PM on April 2, 2006


tkolar: What would we do without Literature professors to diagnose our mental health for us?

I don't think that I need to be a psychiatric professional to tell you that post-traumatic stress disorder caused by being in the same area code as the Twin Towers on 9/11 is B.S.

I recommended Slouka's essay only because it was better written than any forum post you're likely to see in the near future.
posted by CRM114 at 5:45 PM on April 2, 2006


I wonder if anyone else tried to read the NYTimes Saturday and had to stop after a few paragraphs of transcripts of the 911 calls to victims trapped on the top floors of WTC. It's hard to keep from feeling overwhelmed this long after, and I sure didn't have any direct connection with anyone who died. I just simply can't see anything of value coming out of this, and I really didn't assume out of hand that this was purely a commercial ploy.

Worse still is the overwhelming disgust and anger I get thinking of the way we pissed away our opportunity to actually make headway against the Taliban and Islamic jihadists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some of those people who spent over an hour waiting to die in the upper floors of the WTC must have come full circle and actually felt, if even for a moment, that their government would avenge and bring justice, to some extent, to the people that led to their deaths. They could not even begin to imagine how horrifically fucked-up things would become.
posted by docpops at 5:46 PM on April 2, 2006


I couldn't even get past the Fabio ad.
posted by mullacc at 5:49 PM on April 2, 2006


Thinking about it later: everything is going so fast now that 5 years is old. 5 years is the new 20 years. We are better get used to it.

Yeah, my friend tried telling THAT to the judge. Now he has to 'register'.

(Not really)
posted by HTuttle at 5:53 PM on April 2, 2006


9/11 exploitation started September 15, 2001, with George Bush standing on the WTC wreckage with dozens of firefighters and police officers as props.

There are something like a dozen (more?) 9/11 movies in the works. We are going to be bombarded with 9/11 movies. There will be two different ones playing at the same time, in every multiplex, for a year or more.

The entire world's supply of uplifting, heroic music is going to be depleted for these movies.

So you might as well get used to it.
posted by jellicle at 5:53 PM on April 2, 2006


That was surprisingly hard to watch. I caught myself reaching to turn it off without much conscious thought.

Because I'm reminded of an Ebert line (re Schindler's List) about only bad movies being depressing, I'm willing to wait and see reactions to the full movie before making my own decision.
posted by NortonDC at 5:53 PM on April 2, 2006


I will sit in the theater, chomp-ing on my popcorn, wracked with suspense to see if they make it or not.

Honestly, I cant stand emotion/fact manipulating dramas that inevitably turn into a central narrative that has a single lesson to be learned. As others have mentioned... this whole thing just stinks of exploitation.

If I see only one movie about planes this year, its gonna be "Snakes on a Plane".
posted by thanatogenous at 5:57 PM on April 2, 2006


ColdChef beat me to it... the internet is always too fast for me.
posted by thanatogenous at 5:58 PM on April 2, 2006


The reality is more embarrassing than the dramatisation.
posted by fire&wings at 5:58 PM on April 2, 2006


It was bound to happen. We all know it. It'll either flop and there will be some time before the next one, or it will do well and there won't. Either way, the floodgates are now open.

Me? I find it tastless and wrong. Documentary is one thing, it chronicles the factual and probable aspects of an event and evokes discussion. This is like gawking at a car wreck.
posted by rollbiz at 5:58 PM on April 2, 2006


Anyone who was "traumatized" by 9/11 and didn't lose a family member or who wasn't in downtown Manhattan or in the Pentagon is full of it

I think that's a bit unfair, being anywhere in the city for days and weeks afterward was pretty painful. I can understand your comment if your talking about trauma in Omaha... But, if you live or work in New York it's a different story...
posted by Shanachie at 6:00 PM on April 2, 2006


They had to get permission from all the families

I wonder if they got permission from the F-16 pilots?
posted by wfrgms at 6:03 PM on April 2, 2006


What ending can they possibly give this?

Fade out on charred pieces of airplane in a field?

The guy saying "Let's roll," a loud thump, everything goes black?

It's not like they can do an epilogue saying "Now, X years later, we've found, tried, and imprisoned all those linked to the disaster, and we've tightened security so it can never happen again."

I guess they'll probably end with one of these remarks by the President that day -- maybe the original broadcast, if possible. But it's still going to be pretty unsatisfying, since we haven't actually met those goals yet.
posted by booksandlibretti at 6:06 PM on April 2, 2006


I don't know if it is too soon, and the only way to find out is for people to start trying it. Oliver Stone has World Trade Center coming out later this year (though it will be interesting to see how that is handled if United 93 completely tanks).

They were making movies that dramatized real events in World War II before the war even ended. But it was also a different communications age.

I don't know if it is too soon but I find that I have no real interest in seeing it because I'm too familiar with the source event. This is always true of movies based on real events; the more familiar I am with the source event the less interested I am in dramatizations (especially ones that must involve a lot of speculation).

On the other hand my wife can't get through the trialer without crying (no, she's not traumatized by proxy) so it has made going to the movies recently a bit of a gamble that before our selected piece of entertainment she'll end up having to first spend three minutes crying and thinking about unhappy things.
posted by obfusciatrist at 6:06 PM on April 2, 2006


i watched the whole thing from my fire escape in downtown manhattan.

i can relive it (and do sometimes) in nightmares.

who needs a movie right now??
posted by fisherKing at 6:08 PM on April 2, 2006


I dunno. It's certainly no surprise at all. Is it too soon? Was "Hotel Rwanda' too soon for Rwandans? Did anyone ask them? Did anyone ask the question here?

I can't care too much about any bullshit the Hollywood bullshit factory pulls, to be honest. I don't expect good taste or decency from that particular source.
posted by Decani at 6:11 PM on April 2, 2006


camcgee wrote...
As for United 93, is "too soon?" the right question? Can we ever have enough distance from a tragedy that it's OK to make a crass and exploitative movie about it?

Let's see now... Virtually every film about WWII ever made (and Hogan's Heroes), "M*A*S*H", most of the films about Vietnam, "Gone With The Wind", "Troy".

Leaving the war films: "Titanic", films that use the Great Depression as a colorful backdrop ala "King Kong", "The Hindenburg", "Airport" and "The Towering Inferno" were arguably thinly veiled ripoffs of recent events, and last but not least "San Francisco" which was filmed in 1936 and concerns the events in 1906.

There is also a large stable of Holocaust films, with different levels of crassness and exploitation about them.

Oh yeah, Oliver Stone's JFK.

These are just the films I can name off the top of my head that would have had a similar ickiness factor had they come out immediately after the events in question, but were delayed enough that they weren't seen as particularly exploitative.

So yeah, I think there is such a thing as enough time passing to make just about any topic fair game.
posted by tkolar at 6:12 PM on April 2, 2006


We all have our own eyes, and with them, different points of view.

I doubt this movie will come close to reflecting that at all. Islam, prepare to be demonized some more.
posted by Mikey-San at 6:18 PM on April 2, 2006


for myself...
no objection to anyone making a film about anything.
but i can't see it. yet. and my bet is many people in nyc won't go. not yet...

i guess the final, real question will be the usual one:
is it a good movie, or a mediocre one?
posted by fisherKing at 6:20 PM on April 2, 2006


What happenned was pretty much straight out of a horror movie anyway.
posted by SSinVan at 6:21 PM on April 2, 2006


"We know what happens when we just sit here and do nothing."

Ain't that the truth.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:22 PM on April 2, 2006


But is it too soon for an Airplane! remake to make fun of the entire event?
posted by TwelveTwo at 6:23 PM on April 2, 2006


It's just a movie. It exists purely to make money.

I'm not going to see it, not because I think it's exploitative or anything, or that it's too sensitive a topic (I'm not American, not that I think that'd make a difference) ... it's just that I think it'll be a crap movie.

They've made crappy disaster movies about things that've happened here, and they've been total rubbish (I didn't have to watch those to know - you could tell from the trailers). It'll be just more of the same.

Still I'm sure they'll make plenty of money out of it. Yay capitalism.
posted by Jelreyn at 6:28 PM on April 2, 2006


Interesting. The trailer seems to suggest that the crew knew about the two planes hitting the WTC before 93 was even hijacked. Is that accurate?
posted by zaebiz at 6:32 PM on April 2, 2006


I wish Paul Greengrass was making Watchmen instead.
posted by hughbot at 6:35 PM on April 2, 2006


I can't wait for the McDonald's Happy Meal movie tie-in toys.
posted by kcds at 6:36 PM on April 2, 2006


Of course this has to come out, everyone has to be reminded about the WAR ON TERRAH and how it was all Saddam Hussein's fault! Nevermind that Bin Laden guy, its all about Saddam now! 9/11 NEVAR FORGET LETS ROLL
posted by mrbill at 6:42 PM on April 2, 2006


I was surprised to see that the phrase "Let's Roll!" did not appear in this trailer. I wonder if the producers of this film showed as much restraint.
posted by ColdChef at 6:44 PM on April 2, 2006



Let's roll out to the lobby,
Let's roll out to the lobby....
posted by gimonca at 8:36 PM EST on April 2


ROFL
posted by quonsar at 6:45 PM on April 2, 2006


I would think that the movie will wind up having significant historical value. The makers of the movies will have access to people who spoke to people on the plane and to people involved. The memories of the people relating what happened will be fresher. It will be easier for the set designers and the directors to replicate 2001 airplanes, airports, clothing, speech patterns, etc. It is very possible that people in the future will look at this movie as the most historically accurate version of that flight.

If they had made a movie about Jesus five years after he died, it would have been too soon. But we would be watching the hell out of it today because we would know that in ways it would be way more accurate than any later recreation could be.
posted by flarbuse at 6:45 PM on April 2, 2006


Exploiting pain and suffering, it's bad, m'kay? Jus' bad. Who really knows what the passengers and terrorists were thinking on that flight? Who really knows what went on, m'kay?
It's exploitive, it's conjecture, it's bad conjecture, m'kay?
I hope the producers and anyone involved in the production of this cinematic turd lose their shirts for opening wounds that have not yet had time to heal. M'kay?
posted by mk1gti at 6:46 PM on April 2, 2006


tkolar: Let's see now... Virtually every film about WWII ever made (and Hogan's Heroes), "M*A*S*H", most of the films about Vietnam, "Gone With The Wind", "Troy".

I see your point, but I would suggest that there is a difference in making a movie about a war and one about a "tragedy," and not just because not everything that happens in war is tragic.

The main difference is that a war, extended conflict, or even a whole tragic scenario, creates a backdrop against which multiples stories may be told, but when you're trying to dramatize a single event where the dramatic action is more along the lines of "set up...inevitable punchline," then there is going to be manipulation of the depiction in order to fit it into a comfortable dramatic framework. The mere act of imposing that kind of narrative on it is, in my opinion, exploitative.
posted by camcgee at 6:46 PM on April 2, 2006


Of course this has to come out, everyone has to be reminded about the WAR ON TERRAH and how it was all Saddam Hussein's fault!

Was there anything in the trailer that even hinted at that?
posted by Cyrano at 6:48 PM on April 2, 2006


I can see this playing well for Bush - little bit of a reminder of why we're in Iraq. Unless it brings up difficult questions...
posted by RufusW at 6:50 PM on April 2, 2006


The exploiting has been going on for quite a while.

The movie will be glossy hagiography. You're witnessing how myths are made.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:51 PM on April 2, 2006


I'm confused. Are you saying it's too early to complain about a movie that hasn't been released yet? Because I think it is.
posted by my sock puppet account at 6:54 PM on April 2, 2006


10 years, 20 years from now, this film (and the ones to come) will define 9-11, just as most of us know world war II, or the vietnam war (or any war, or great tragedy) from movies.

who needs the real story, when hollywood is willing to write a much better one?
posted by fisherKing at 6:54 PM on April 2, 2006


Dammit! You know what I should have said? I should have said:

"That comment was lamer than FDR's legs..."

And for the whole issue as to how the hijackers are going to be portrayed, I think that's kinda missing the point. I know this movie won't get me into a theater (although lately, if it doesn't involve hobbits or a guy bitten by a spider nothing does.)

While I knew there was a whole Somali point of view when I watched Black Hawk Down, it didn't bother me that it wasn't portrayed because that's not what the movie was trying to do. That movie, and probably this one, was saying This Is What Happened To These People On This Day. There's nothing wrong with that. Not every movie is going to be, or should be, The Longest Day. I'm fine with that.
posted by Cyrano at 6:57 PM on April 2, 2006


I saw the trailer in front of two movies this weekend in NYC.

In both cases, once the audience realised what the movie was about, everyone went dead quiet and noticeably tense.

I am pretty sure I heard more than one person say 'What the fuck'

The feeling in the audience reminded me the time I went to see The Aristocrats. Again this was in NYC. During the South Park version(.WMV, Very NSFW) of the joke the whole theatre was laughing their asses off. Then Cartman says 'And now we would like to do our impersonation of the victims of 9-11...'. There was a beat and then people realised what they were laughing at suddenly the laughter died very quickly.

A part of me wants to say that this film will definitely flop in NYC, but I think it really all depends on what comes out at the same time. If there is a good alternative, then I bet it will tank...
posted by toftflin at 6:58 PM on April 2, 2006


I was expecting a bunch of "Let's Roll" hoo-ra, so the trailer was actually not as bad as I expected. It certainly looked less offensive than Night of the Living Darkies Black Hawk Down.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:58 PM on April 2, 2006


Forgive me and may their souls rest in peace, but I can't help but think what a lame job the flight crew did defending the plane against a few college students armed with box cutters.
posted by zaebiz at 6:59 PM on April 2, 2006


When does this open? I recommend buying airline stocks short a couple of weeks before this opens. That's your big loser from this rehash.
posted by spock at 6:59 PM on April 2, 2006


Yeah, eustacescrubb is right -- I don't think this is too soon because it's horribly offensive, I think this is too soon because it's going to be exploited and mythologized and made into politicized pap.

More than it already has. This is just a bad idea on so many levels, and it doesn't help anything or anyone. But oh well. Love those nationalist mythologies!

Did I mention how I'm moving home to Canada soon?
posted by blacklite at 7:00 PM on April 2, 2006


ColdChef: I was surprised to see that the phrase "Let's Roll!" did not appear in this trailer.

That's because the phrase Let's RollTM is trademarked by somebody, maybe the Todd Beamer Foundation, depending on how the court battles turned out.
posted by iconjack at 7:04 PM on April 2, 2006


actually, i'm rethinking my opinions.

new yorkers love movies about challenged new york; we watch our city devoured by floods, tidal waves, aliens, giant apes...

maybe we can go and root for a better ending than the realworld one.

and then leave the theater pissed off when we don't like the end.

just a typical night at the movies.
posted by fisherKing at 7:04 PM on April 2, 2006


Honestly, the past five years has been such a comprehensive and unrelenting illustration of the poverty of human nature that only the really horrible footage from 9/11 has much of an effect on me anymore. But I don't think this movie's gonna define 9/11. It looks like it sucks too much to define much of anything.
posted by furiousthought at 7:06 PM on April 2, 2006


Evil to make money from deads
posted by matthewchen at 7:07 PM on April 2, 2006


I just can't get my dander up about this... not any more than I can about Titanic or Pearl Harbor. Then again, I have no direct connections with the event. I can see how someone would avoid the film if they had those connections.

Avoid it if you're offended by it, but blanket statements of "too soon" seem a bit foolish to me.

That said, I have no intention of seeing it. I found Bloody Sunday to be decent, albeit over-rated, while The Bourne Supremacy was an incoherent mess. I have the feeling there was some pretty decent stunt work in that film, but I can't be sure because Greengrass had the camera jiggling constantly and he was cutting every 15 frames or so.

On preview:
It certainly looked less offensive than Night of the Living Darkies Black Hawk Down.

Glad someone else saw that film that way. That movie was a waste of good technique. Incredibly visceral, but equally bigoted.
posted by brundlefly at 7:14 PM on April 2, 2006


camcgee
[...] but when you're trying to dramatize a single event where the dramatic action is more along the lines of "set up...inevitable punchline," then there is going to be manipulation of the depiction in order to fit it into a comfortable dramatic framework. The mere act of imposing that kind of narrative on it is, in my opinion, exploitative.

I agree that it's exploitative, but when I think of a movie like "Titanic" for instance, it sits okay with me.

A more recent example would be "Blackhawk Down". It was arguably a straight out exploitation of tragic events for commercial gain, but for me it's never had the 'ick' factor that this does.

I suspect the reason is that we were done with Somalia before the film came out. 9/11 still has an extremely potent emotional connection in the U.S. (which is why the government is using it to justify everything under the sun) and is still felt a little too personally.

From this point of view, perhaps Hollywood beating 9/11 to death isn't such a bad idea. Maybe the U.S. needs to have the wound cauterized, so that 9/11 can stop being the rallying cry of any idiot with a conservative agenda.
posted by tkolar at 7:16 PM on April 2, 2006


Hmmm, Flight 93 will open the Tribeca Film Festival.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:17 PM on April 2, 2006


matthewchen really brought the whole ordeal into perspective.
posted by cloeburner at 7:19 PM on April 2, 2006


"Flight 93 will open the Tribeca Film Festival".

hey, maybe "Birth of A Nation" could close it...?
posted by fisherKing at 7:23 PM on April 2, 2006


I fondly remember a time, long, long ago, when it was somewhat controversial to make a movie about The Titanic.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:25 PM on April 2, 2006


Double post?! (Come on people!)
posted by narebuc at 7:28 PM on April 2, 2006


The movie will be glossy hagiography. You're witnessing how myths are made.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:51 PM CST on April 2 [!]


Indeed.

This has nothing to do with "too soon" and everything to do with "making up stuff".

We already know what there is to know (or at least what has been released) about this flight. Necessarily then, anything else brought to this movie is pure fiction.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:28 PM on April 2, 2006


camgamgee: As for United 93, is "too soon?" the right question? Can we ever have enough distance from a tragedy that it's OK to make a crass and exploitative movie about it?

Winsor McKay's The Sinking of the Lusitania was made as an anti-German propaganda film shortly after the event. Just as another data point.

Of course the topic has already been broached in other media.

CRM114: Hear hear. I found it exploitative how the entire country was expected to fake personal grief over 9-11 over a year after the event, when my feelings regarding the death of personal family has been muted and ambivalent after the same time period. Having said that, every culture and every time period has its own martyrs.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:28 PM on April 2, 2006


Glad someone else saw that film that way. That movie was a waste of good technique. Incredibly visceral, but equally bigoted.

How was Black Hawk Down bigoted? I was told from the point of view of the Army Rangers and Delta Force. Do you really think that when a Ranger was drawing a bead on a Somali militiaman who was about to shoot at him he was thinking, "I wonder what geopolitical events led this man to do such a thing?"

Of course those geopolitcal influences are there, but they're just not relevant if you're telling the story of someone on the other side who was right there, right then. This movie will probably be the same, regardless of its quality.
posted by Cyrano at 7:32 PM on April 2, 2006


It's too soon when the people who lost loved ones still mourn and still seek answers. In this case, it may be a hundred years before it's appropriate to fictionalize this story.

They might as well dig up fresh graves and sell gold fillings and wedding rings on the street corner.

I say boycott any theater that shows it. Because they're making money on this tragedy, too.

Greed is killing this country, and I can't think of a better example than this movie being made, in this way, at this time.
posted by JWright at 7:34 PM on April 2, 2006


The whole "too soon" thing seems a little daft to me. if this film was released in ten years very few people would bat an eyelid, but because we remember this happening - and because it happened to "us" - why does it need to be off limits for some indeterminate time?

The issue is (as has been mentioned, but not emphatically enough) that we really do not fucking well know what happened.

If they're making a film based on assumptions, I'm glad its coming out "too early" - before our memories fade.

I worry for future generations who might forget this is fiction.
posted by 6am at 7:34 PM on April 2, 2006


If the rest of the movie is on par with their trailer, then that movie sucks.
This type of thing needs to be left to documentaries.

I don't think it is too soon so much as not necessary.
posted by a3matrix at 7:36 PM on April 2, 2006


There was a good movie about 9/11 called Munich.
posted by muckster at 7:52 PM on April 2, 2006


I choose not to watch it. I don't buy the premise.

I think 93 was shot down and this "passenger revolt" scernario was concocted to cover it up.

On 9/11, CNN reported three or 4 times this plane was shot down by an F-16-- and then it was never mentioned again.

How about a movie about THAT story?
posted by wfc123 at 7:56 PM on April 2, 2006


whatever else is true about this movie, you know it's a business decision to make it; someone decided to cash in on being the first to get this story into theaters, someone in marketing knows the controversy will be good for business.

we live in a capitalist society; we EXPECT (and in fact DEMAND) that business put profit first.

what we really need is more movies about 9-11, so that future generations will at least have a viewpoint based on numerous stories (as opposed to just one).

just as, for example, my viewpoint about world war II is built from dozens of films...
posted by fisherKing at 7:56 PM on April 2, 2006


I don't think that I need to be a psychiatric professional to tell you that post-traumatic stress disorder caused by being in the same area code as the Twin Towers on 9/11 is B.S.

No, you don't. Because no psychiatric professional would ever say that. Being in the vicinity of an event like 9/11 is more than enough. Just watching the continuous footage of the attack on TV has been found to cause post-traumatic stress.
posted by magodesky at 7:57 PM on April 2, 2006


Disgusting on so many levels. I guess what struck me was the typical Hollywood fascination with military competence and the esthetics of technology. Um, no, there were no jets scrambled over NYC, at least not until after the airliners had hit. Our military was caught completely unprepared, even though it was clear that something like this might happen. This happened on George Bush's watch, and no one under him lost his or her job in light of the greatest terrorist tragedy on US soil ever. So now we get to see Gene Shallitt pontificating on the horrible nature of these deaths. Fucking sick.
posted by bardic at 8:08 PM on April 2, 2006


Ynoxas: We already know what there is to know (or at least what has been released) about this flight. Necessarily then, anything else brought to this movie is pure fiction.

That can be said of any fictionalized version of actual events. Again, SEE: Titanic. This isn't a documentary.

Cyrano: How was Black Hawk Down bigoted? I was told from the point of view of the Army Rangers and Delta Force. Do you really think that when a Ranger was drawing a bead on a Somali militiaman who was about to shoot at him he was thinking, "I wonder what geopolitical events led this man to do such a thing?"

No, I wouldn't expect that. I would expect the enemy to be something other than a screaming horde of faceless young men. Dehumanizing the enemy is pretty typical of most war films, but it's taken to a new extreme in Black Hawk Down.
posted by brundlefly at 8:10 PM on April 2, 2006


I think 93 was shot down and this "passenger revolt" scernario was concocted to cover it up.

Sigh. Someone will always have to come up with a conspiracy theory, won't they? For Gore Vidal, it's a conspiracy because the planes weren't in the air fast enough. For wfc123, they were in the air, and did exactly what they should have done, but the government wanted to cover up their interception of the fourth hijacked plane.

And CRM114, you don't know what you're talking about.
posted by Dasein at 8:13 PM on April 2, 2006


Just watching the continuous footage of the attack on TV has been found to cause post-traumatic stress.

If you're so emotionally fragile that watching the towers fall on your 28" television gives you a case of PTSD, then you had a pre-existing mental condition. People who were "traumatized" on 9/11 from the comfort of their living rooms are just looking for attention/pity.

The alacricity with which we label people as "traumatized" goes hand-in-hand with the over-diagnosis of ADHD and the lack of individual responsibility in American society.
posted by CRM114 at 8:17 PM on April 2, 2006


I think 93 was shot down and this "passenger revolt" scernario was concocted to cover it up.

I had no problem with this theory when I first heard it articulated. If I had been in charge, I would have made that same decision. And I would have covered it up. Crappy decision to have to make, but that would have been the right one.

Nowadays, however, I find it hard to believe that that secret has been kept this long (or that the people in charge had it enough together to follow through).
posted by brundlefly at 8:22 PM on April 2, 2006


No, I wouldn't expect that. I would expect the enemy to be something other than a screaming horde of faceless young men

Exactly. Structurally, Black Hawk Down is virtually indistinguishable from a zombie film. During a long night, our plucky, clean-cut heroes fight off wave after wave of relentless crazed skinny Negroes dressed in rags and waving machine guns. It's not that the movie didn't tell the "other side"; it's that the other side was basically presented like a bunch of flesh-eating zombies or giant carnivorous insects.

Somalia: it's an ugly planet, a bug planet.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:24 PM on April 2, 2006


Maybe it'll make it substantially clear that the hijackers were Saudi Arabians, not Iraqies; and maybe it will mention that the Saudis are (possibly) in possession of nukes.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:27 PM on April 2, 2006


Maybe it'll make it substantially clear that the hijackers were Saudi Arabians, not Iraqies; and maybe it will mention that the Saudis are (possibly) in possession of nukes.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:27 PM on April 2, 2006


For the life of me, I do not know why "nukes" isn't pointing to nukes...
posted by five fresh fish at 8:28 PM on April 2, 2006


CRM114 writes...
The alacricity with which we label people as "traumatized" goes hand-in-hand with the over-diagnosis of ADHD and the lack of individual responsibility in American society.

Must ... resist ... urge ... to taunt.


Hittting.... "Post Comment" ... now.
posted by tkolar at 8:28 PM on April 2, 2006


Taunt away, tkolar.
posted by CRM114 at 8:29 PM on April 2, 2006


My problem is this: Making a film about these particularly grewsome and cruel murders is insulting to the victims if it

A) is used to make a political point that would deepen the angry divide in our, and their nation...

B) Did not address a larger issue a truth.

My point is, I don't think it's possible to make a movie that doesn't denegrate the victims somehow. We haven't figured out how to move on from 9/11. When we do, then we can look back. I just don't see this film as a way to promote healing or understanding.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:32 PM on April 2, 2006


If you're so emotionally fragile that watching the towers fall on your 28" television gives you a case of PTSD, then you had a pre-existing mental condition. People who were "traumatized" on 9/11 from the comfort of their living rooms are just looking for attention/pity.

The alacricity with which we label people as "traumatized" goes hand-in-hand with the over-diagnosis of ADHD and the lack of individual responsibility in American society.


As much as I'm sure that you have more expertise in this area than, say, the American Psychological Association, you clearly just have no clue what you're talking about. And not only is what you're saying wrong, but it also does a disservice to people dealing with real psychological stress.
posted by magodesky at 8:43 PM on April 2, 2006


I can't wait to see it (on free-to-air TV, naturally) just to see how ridiculously over-the-top stereotyped the hijackers will be. My guess would be something not unlike the preposterous "Crimson Jihad" from True Lies...although these ones will probably have babies in their carry-on luggage...in case they get hungry, y'know?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:46 PM on April 2, 2006


Somalia: it's an ugly planet, a bug planet.

Ha! Starship Troopers: the greatest pre-9/11 post-9/11 movie.
posted by brundlefly at 8:51 PM on April 2, 2006


I won't go see it because it looks like a piece of shit. I don't give a crap about how long it's been since this happened. I'm not living in fear. The attack has never left me emotionally paralyzed.

To the guy that heard, "What the fuck?!": That was me and I was expressing outrage that hollywood is pandering this piece of shit to the American public.

The damn movie looks like it will be a gung-ho kick-their-ass-and-sacrifice-ourselves schlock-fest.

People, you've got to laugh. It's never too soon for that. Anyone that's still floored by that fateful day has been in mourning for 2 years too long. Nobody can forget it, but we can damn well get over it. That is, unless you enjoy being led around by your nose every time someone sees the terrorist boogey man.
posted by apiaryist at 8:56 PM on April 2, 2006


Wait, is this the one where Jodi Foster loses her daughter? Or is the one where Wesley Snipes is the anti-terrorist guy? No, it must be the one where Harrison Ford fights the russian terrorists on the plane.

Best case scenerio: it will be acurate (aka boring) or entertaining (not even vaguely realistic), either way it will be lame. Personally I hope they go for the 2nd one, and make the terrorists into snakes.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:03 PM on April 2, 2006


Pulp fiction.
posted by subaruwrx at 9:04 PM on April 2, 2006


There are a a lot of preconceived notions about this movie here. Read this from an interview with Paul Greengrass in December 2005 whilst the film was in production:
"I think it’s very, very important that we try to understand what happened and what it meant. For me the most important thing about this film is that it’s a film about 9/11 that can talk about just that – what happened. In a simple, unvarnished way, without being presented in an excessively fictionalized way. It can just give you the 9/11 experience.
That, in a way, ought to be the starting point. We’ll be grappling with and reflecting on 9/11 for years, in many different ways. There will be some fantastic films that will be purely fictional, of all types. A film that just gives you what happens on that day, which is a great place to start."

posted by tellurian at 9:05 PM on April 2, 2006


just gives you what happens on that day

Which is why they made and marketed it as a documentary.... oh wait, no they didn't.

I'm sure it will keep the truthiness intact, however.
posted by tkolar at 9:16 PM on April 2, 2006


you clearly just have no clue what you're talking about

And CRM114, you don't know what you're talking about.

*looks around*
.. this is the Internet, isn't it? Everyone knows what they're talking about.
posted by CRM114 at 9:25 PM on April 2, 2006


They might as well dig up fresh graves and sell gold fillings and wedding rings on the street corner.

The sub-text of a lot of comments in this thread reads: "This is my tragedy - hands off". Every other true-life film is OK because it didn't effect you. Was Monster too soon? [The families of the seven murdered Florida men aren't too happy about the film - but there weren't many other complaints about it being "too soon".]

And for some strange reason, a few of you think that documentary on the event is OK - they're money making ventures just like films and just as subjective. Or to make it even clearer, looking at books on the subject - I think that we can agree that some non-fiction books [Alice in wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster] can be inferior to some fiction [Windows on the World or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close]

The important question about this film is whether its any good, not whether you were effected by the event portrayed.
posted by meech at 9:26 PM on April 2, 2006


Aren't they still finding bodies at ground zero? If nothing else, shouldn't that be a decent yardstick?
posted by VulcanMike at 9:29 PM on April 2, 2006


The film will not be any good. Paul Greengrass is a director who mistakes historical verisimilute for truth and paints his villians blacker than black and heroes whiter than white, which is why I suspect he was chosen for this story.
posted by dydecker at 9:34 PM on April 2, 2006


They're still finding bodies in Rwanda. And, if I remember correctly, Cambodia.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:36 PM on April 2, 2006


For the movie to work for me they have to get at least some of the details right. The plane is not even a United plane. I fly almost every week on United and this is just some Hollywood stock plane set.

Not only that, the cockpit voice recorder tapes were never released so how can the film be accurate...
posted by joshiz at 9:37 PM on April 2, 2006


Good points, meech.

To me, it seems wrong to suggest that a film that isn't a documentary can't be used to portray reality. In many ways, a film that isn't a documentary can be far more effective. A documentary can only go so far. You can watch documentaries about ancient Rome all day long, but it's not the same as actually seeing Roman life played out in something like HBO's Rome.

I do get the impression that the biggest reason people think it's too soon to make a movie about 9/11 is because it's an event that effected them personally. Black Hawk Down was brought up before, and I found that to be FAR more offensive than anything I have yet to see dealing with 9/11. But that movie's okay because Americans don't really know or care that much about Africa. 9/11, on the other hand, is something they care very much about.

While I do maintain a healthy bit of skepticism where this film is concerned, it does seem to have the most potential of the 9/11 films that have been/are going to be released. Does the company producing it hope to make a profit? Of course. But that in itself doesn't mean it's a bad film. It's probably best to withhold judgment until we actually see it. Crazy idea, I know.
posted by magodesky at 9:38 PM on April 2, 2006


Too soon?

If not now, when?

It seems to me the time is right to start to pick at a scar that's keep the American people standing in the shadow of their former selves.
posted by ed at 9:43 PM on April 2, 2006


When the goddamn fuck is the US gonna get over the WTC and start focusing on actual issues?
Jesus.
posted by signal at 10:08 PM on April 2, 2006


I forgot to use the words: "narcissistic" and "morbid" in my previous post.
posted by signal at 10:09 PM on April 2, 2006


"Oh my gosh".

I actually laughed out loud in the theater at that line.

Me and my friend both thought the movie looked "boring".

But we live in Iowa.
posted by delmoi at 10:10 PM on April 2, 2006


And not only is what you're saying wrong, but it also does a disservice to people dealing with real psychological stress.

It was pretty sickening to hear people talk of their traumatized state having not even been in the city when it happened. "I... I was just thinking of going to New York. Oh my gawd, what if I had gone?!!" Please. Talk about doing a disservice to real trauma.
posted by dreamsign at 10:11 PM on April 2, 2006


I think we should all check out the imdb forums on this movie for some civilized, rational discussion.


I wonder what the freepers will say...
posted by papakwanz at 10:14 PM on April 2, 2006


Bunch of trauma queens.
posted by horsewithnoname at 10:18 PM on April 2, 2006


All I could think when I watched this was how much better the A&E movie was than this one looks like it will be. This movie should be aired in a double feature with Paradise Now, a film about Martyrs in Palestine.
posted by Megafly at 11:32 PM on April 2, 2006


All I could think when I watched this was how much better the A&E movie was than this one looks like it will be. This movie should be aired in a double feature with Paradise Now, a film about Martyrs in Palestine.

Errr, have you actually seen Paradise Now? Oh wait, it would be consistent to comment on two movies you haven't actually seen.
posted by Zombie Dreams at 11:45 PM on April 2, 2006


I have to disagree with most posters, I think. It may be a very crap movie, but you know what? People saying things like "too soon" pisses me off and makes my life more miserable than a crap movie would. The lack of critical thinking that "too soon" enables is disgusting. It's also too soon to discuss what the Turks did to the Kurds. It's too soon for democracy in China. It's too soon to let Muslims into the Netherlands, and still too soon after communism and colonialism to have elections in half the countries in the world. "Too soon" is bullshit. I didn't lose any family when they took out the Towers (I'm not going to call it 9/11 because that's stupid), I was no less secure (I lived in suburban Minnesota at the time), my life didn't Change (capitals, you fucks) at ALL. I felt sorry for people, the same way I feel sorry for the millions of victims of this kind of violence around the world every year.

If you've suffered personally, I'm sorry. I'll do everything I can for you. I'll listen, I'll house you, I'll donate what money I can, I'll do whatever you need me to. But don't you try to tell me what movies to watch. It's just like fundamentalist Christians objecting to teaching evolution in schools. There's a point when you just need to say "tough shit". I hit that point the minute Bush said we were invading Iraq because of the Trade Towers collapsing.

It's too late.
posted by saysthis at 12:23 AM on April 3, 2006


If you don't go to see this movie, the snakes have already won.
posted by Pinback at 12:58 AM on April 3, 2006


But don't you try to tell me what movies to watch. It's just like fundamentalist Christians objecting to teaching evolution in schools.
Uh, no. One is an opinion and one is an attempt to undermine the First Amendment's separation of church and state. No one here is even suggesting that this movie should be censored; just that it's in bad taste.

I don't think "too soon" is the total objection. I guess when I first saw the trailer I also got angry because I felt that this movie (deliberately or not) would fire up the jingoist base. Same deal with Passion of the Christ. The exploitation pisses me off the most, though.
posted by Skwirl at 1:12 AM on April 3, 2006


Bunch of trauma queens.

Ok I hadn't heard this phrase before, so it made me laugh violently. Thank you.
posted by beth at 1:51 AM on April 3, 2006


All this talk of too soon is a bit late. There's the Hamburg Cell, and lots of other documentaries out there, too.

If the argument is against any type of artistic or exploitative use of 9/11 imagery, well that idea is noble but lost. Right after the first plane hit, news organisations and many political entities, including a lot of websites, have been force feeding lots of imagery and the *appropriate* narratives. To say it's "too soon" is the height of naiveté, we've already been assaulted and imbued with this stuff. And one of the biggest exploitation rackets is perpetrated by many of our elected leaders, invoking terror terror and even more terror. With a little dose of idiocy.

In short, take off the rose-tinted spectacles and enjoy the film. If one is horrified by the money aspect, rest assurred that within six months a torrent of the movie will be available -- stick it to the man!
posted by gsb at 2:00 AM on April 3, 2006


Six months? Try a couple hours after opening day.
posted by a_green_man at 2:36 AM on April 3, 2006


What meach and saythis said. I'm really kind of surprised at this dominant reaction from the mefi crowd. It's hypocritical, too. One of the first comments was "it'll be a big hit in the fly-over states". The attitude I see here is a) 9-11 is a sacred cow and b) popular entertainment about it is vulgar and disgusting but we can expect the country bumpkins to eat it up.

Far be it from me to defend the vast numbers who listen to flag-waving country radio—it tends to nauseate me. But I don't find that the attitude behind both of those notions much different than the attitude behind the assumed red-state, hagiographic one. Both place the events of 9-11 in some special category. Both implicitly endorse the idea that a film—any film—can be nothing more than worthless entertainment or propoganda. Both evaluate how the world should be on the basis of an emotional, visceral viewpoint.

This is a movie like any other movie. It may be an authentic artistic expression, or it may be mindless entertainment, or it may be a combination of both. If film never rose above pap, I might agree to some degree that a depiction of 9-11 is dismaying, but then I'd feel the same way about the depictions of large numbers of other historical events, too. But I don't assume that this film can't have value and I certainly don't assume that the events of 9-11 are so sacred that it's profane to fictionalize them or present them in any dramatic narrative fashion, even immediately after the events.

The events of 9-11 have great historical importance because they were of great geopolitical consequence. But as human tragedies go, it was minor. Even my former (but at the time) SO, whose brother was killed in the WTC, thinks that the idea that 4,000 people dying is a monumental human tragedy of the ages is unbelievably culturally narcissistic and is repulsed by that attitude. And this flight and crash was the smallest portion of the day's events!

By the way, it'll be in New York, not Kansas City, that eventually an elaborately staged musical with a chorus of doomed firefighters debuts to a sold-out audience.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:40 AM on April 3, 2006


The exploitation pisses me off the most, though.

Holywood constantly exploits history. There's nothing new here. Too soon? I'm surprised it wasn't sooner.
posted by twistedonion at 3:11 AM on April 3, 2006


Before I read the Newsweek article I wondered how much of the proceeds of the film would be donated to victims, memorial funds, etc. If Universal really wanted to stand by their assertion that "This story has to be told to honor the passengers and crew for what they did", doing the right thing would mean donating a large percentage of profits. So how much are they donating? 10% of the opening weekend.

Disgusting.
posted by gfrobe at 4:22 AM on April 3, 2006


Bunch of trauma queens.

BINGO!

(i'd say you hit the nail on the head but that mental imagery is likely too fucking traumatic for most of the mefi bunch...)
posted by quonsar at 4:26 AM on April 3, 2006


Too Soon?
posted by fullerine at 4:32 AM on April 3, 2006


"On the day we faced fear; we found courage"

Great. Did the Defense Department underwrite the funding of this flick?

Not to be tin foil hat about this, but there's not enough information on Flight 93 that's been made publicly available to either confirm the "official story" or refute the rumors about happened. So, whatever the case, the principle story in this film is going to be bullshit based on a couple of cell phone calls that are still somewhat in dispute. Did Todd Beamer say, "let's roll!" (which is to say, "let's kick ass", the mantra of the chickenshits in the administration), or "let's roll it" in reference to the drink tray they were going to use to break down the cockpit door. In terms of the drama, there's a big difference.
posted by psmealey at 5:48 AM on April 3, 2006


I can't believe it's opening at the tribeca film festival! I thought they had... some kind of taste, anyway.

what tkolar said above bears repeating, though: maybe a little exploitation is a good idea at this point; we seem to be sanctifying the experience a bit here. 9-11 was not a uniquely tragic event. It's hard for us because we were there, we watched it live, we knew people directly affected /etc/, but the truth is, the world is a harsh place, and people deal with this kind of pain every day. So yes, the movie looks like an analogue of the bad country songs that glorify the issue as immense for any american, and essentially unique in the world, but let's not glorify the issue in the opposite direction so to speak, as too immense and unique for idols to be made.
posted by mdn at 5:50 AM on April 3, 2006


I wonder if people complained about the numerous Pearl Harbor movies which came out in a time period shorter than five years after the event, which is the situation with this flick.
posted by Atreides at 6:57 AM on April 3, 2006


EB: One of the first comments was "it'll be a big hit in the fly-over states". The attitude I see here is a) 9-11 is a sacred cow and b) popular entertainment about it is vulgar and disgusting but we can expect the country bumpkins to eat it up.

It's because New York is gawsh, unique and special and if we don't bow to their wishes in regards to good taste they will unleash the Guppies.

Real country bumpkins are not a viable market for first-run movies. Movie houses are vanishing quickly in rural areas.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:39 AM on April 3, 2006


Making a film about it is never going to exploit the event as much as the US government has done.
posted by Acey at 7:43 AM on April 3, 2006


It'll be a big hit in the explode-over states.

Too soon?
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:49 AM on April 3, 2006


It was pretty sickening to hear people talk of their traumatized state having not even been in the city when it happened. "I... I was just thinking of going to New York. Oh my gawd, what if I had gone?!!" Please. Talk about doing a disservice to real trauma.

Well, maybe you should try reading some of the research that's actually been done on the matter. Dr. Roxane Cohen Silver from the University of California, for instance, would appear to disagree with you:

Silver's study, based on a national random sample of 1,400 adults, evaluated emotional, cognitive and social responses to the attacks nine to 14 days, two months and six months post-Sept. 11. She plans to survey the same sample every six months for the next several years, and sooner if there is a subsequent attack.

In November, Silver found a "substantial" percentage of people outside New York City reported symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder. (More on her research will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.)

In her presentation in Washington, Silver described general results from the study, including:

* The degree of exposure to the attacks, rather than the degree of loss experienced, was a significant predictor of the amount of emotional distress a person reported in November.


That's just one of several studies that have reported similar findings. And it really irritates me to see people reinforcing our society's utter lack of concern for psychological problems. It's precisely that kind of attitude that makes people with real and sometimes serious problems not do what they need to do to help themselves because they think they should be able to just snap out of it.

I'm really kind of surprised at this dominant reaction from the mefi crowd. It's hypocritical, too.

Mefites being hypocritical... how is this surprising?

As far as the movie goes, just be glad it's not DC 9/11.
posted by magodesky at 8:17 AM on April 3, 2006


Well, there is something rather insulting about people who live nowhere near New York acting like they're in mortal danger, while the vast majority of those of us here looked at the fear and just kept going.

And lest you think I'm a hypocrite, I am well aware that my experience of the attacks pales before that of people who were downtown or who lost someone. But I respect that. And it would be nice if some people who were further away could understand they have no idea.
posted by dame at 8:34 AM on April 3, 2006


Yes, you were in mortal danger. 4,000 people died in a city of 15 million. Oooh, scary.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:40 AM on April 3, 2006


No, I wasn't. But seeing as I actually went down there pretty often, I had a way higher chance of being there than someone who lives in Iowa. And, like I said, I know how unlikely that is and how relatively safe I was. Hence, I was scared for about ten seconds and it's really lame to be sooooo traumatized when you weren't even close.

(Though you know, if someone is going to blow up a US subway, I can guess which one it'll be.)
posted by dame at 8:47 AM on April 3, 2006


Though, those bastards did make it so I only got CBS for months. And that's trauma.
posted by dame at 8:51 AM on April 3, 2006



People, you've got to laugh. It's never too soon for that. Anyone that's still floored by that fateful day has been in mourning for 2 years too long. Nobody can forget it, but we can damn well get over it. That is, unless you enjoy being led around by your nose every time someone sees the terrorist boogey man.
posted by apiaryist at 8:56 PM PST on April 2 [!]

The more sensitive of us who are psychologically invested in this country treat this with respect as we would an unexpected death in the family. No amount of carefree attitude will make us laugh about personal loss. Its not about propaganda or sympathy (with most) but genuine grief, I'm surprised at the comments here. Having said that...

Making a film about it is never going to exploit the event as much as the US government has done.
posted by Acey at 7:43 AM PST on April 3 [!]


Exactly...
posted by uni verse at 9:00 AM on April 3, 2006


Yes, you were in mortal danger. 4,000 people died in a city of 15 million. Oooh, scary.

Yet another flyover state asshole heard from.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:04 AM on April 3, 2006


Well, there is something rather insulting about people who live nowhere near New York acting like they're in mortal danger...

Umm...I know that New York wants to be the terrorist capital of the United States, but for most people the most traumatic part of 9/11 was realizing that they, personally, were in mortal danger.

All those years of hearing about car bombs, and truck bombs, and people with dynamite strapped to their chests blowing themselves up in markets suddenly came home to roost. It was no longer "Gosh it sucks to live in the Middle East, I sure am glad I'm in America." It was suddenly "All the stuff I've read about, it could happen to me next time I leave the house."

That frightened an awful lot of people in a very personal way. One minute they were safe in their homes, the next minute an organized, determined, and successful terrorist group was killing random people en masse.

The lack of further attacks has given people a breather, and slowly we've gone back to convincing ourselves that we can get on with our lives, that our office buildings won't explode, that our children will make it home from school, that random strangers in the market won't suddenly blow themselves up.

All this talk of "9/11 only affected those directly involved" is really and truly misguided. An attack was made in U.S., against Americans, for the sole reason that they were Americans. And there was every reason to believe that more were coming.
posted by tkolar at 9:16 AM on April 3, 2006


Well, there is something rather insulting about people who live nowhere near New York acting like they're in mortal danger, while the vast majority of those of us here looked at the fear and just kept going.

And lest you think I'm a hypocrite, I am well aware that my experience of the attacks pales before that of people who were downtown or who lost someone. But I respect that. And it would be nice if some people who were further away could understand they have no idea.


Why do we have to compare them at all? Why do we have to take a national tragedy and turn it into a pissing contest? Does the fact that someone in New York may be hurting more in any way diminish the pain that a person in Iowa may be experiencing?

I have the deepest respect for what the people at the scene went through on that day, but this kind of reaction, to me, just seems like more of New Yorkers not being able to stand anyone else being the center of attention. There's this attitude among New Yorkers from before 9/11 even happened that nothing outside of their city matters. So who really cares about that Iowan because he's in Iowa, so it's not as though he's a real person.

Of course, you're still missing the point, which is that post-traumatic stress isn't necessarily about being personally endangered. It's about exposure. And thanks to every channel putting the footage of the 9/11 attacks on a continuous loop for several days, practically every person in America received more exposure than they probably should have.
posted by magodesky at 9:24 AM on April 3, 2006


magodesky: Why do we have to compare them at all? Why do we have to take a national tragedy and turn it into a pissing contest? Does the fact that someone in New York may be hurting more in any way diminish the pain that a person in Iowa may be experiencing?

And even more to the point, why does the fact that some people are still hurting/morning/grieving whatever mandate that everyone must share the grief a half-decade after it happened?


Of course, you're still missing the point, which is that post-traumatic stress isn't necessarily about being personally endangered. It's about exposure. And thanks to every channel putting the footage of the 9/11 attacks on a continuous loop for several days, practically every person in America received more exposure than they probably should have.

And months after, and on the anniversary.

uni verse: The more sensitive of us who are psychologically invested in this country treat this with respect as we would an unexpected death in the family. No amount of carefree attitude will make us laugh about personal loss. Its not about propaganda or sympathy (with most) but genuine grief, I'm surprised at the comments here. Having said that...

Sensitivity or respect has little to do with it. People deal with genuine grief in different ways, and personally I can respectfully laugh at dead family members, and then turn around and start sobbing at their absence.

But on the other side, most of the grief I see expressed strikes me as less than genuine. I was certainly shocked, angry and pissed off but I wouldn't call it grief without a personal connection involved. Much of what I see around is manufactured grief, and I think the media had trial runs with the deaths of Cobain and Kennedy Jr. pushing the point that if you are American you must see those events as personal tragedies. Hagiography indeed!

dame: Though, those bastards did make it so I only got CBS for months. And that's trauma.

Too soon! Too soon! Too soon!
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:57 AM on April 3, 2006


Last year, one of the big networks did a fictional series based in war-torn Iraq. If they can make a tv show - entertainment - out of a war that still fucking going on, then the concept of 'too soon' has lost all meaning... just like 'taste', 'decency', and 'respect'.
posted by davelog at 10:02 AM on April 3, 2006


Or more to the basic point, you can't please everyone. Some people will interpret signs of extended emotional angst without connection to the actual event as a disrespectful form of faking it. And some people will interpret a willingness to grab some distance as a lack of "psychological investment in our country."

Since you can't please everyone, you might as well just focus on being true to youself.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:08 AM on April 3, 2006


Of course, you're still missing the point, which is that post-traumatic stress isn't necessarily about being personally endangered. It's about exposure. And thanks to every channel putting the footage of the 9/11 attacks on a continuous loop for several days, practically every person in America received more exposure than they probably should have.

No, I'm going for traumatized by TV = person with problems beforehand or over-self-regarding person with no facility for risk assessment. And while the former may be pitiable, the latter is, to me, kind of insulting.

I have the deepest respect for what the people at the scene went through on that day, but this kind of reaction, to me, just seems like more of New Yorkers not being able to stand anyone else being the center of attention.

It's not about attention to me. It's more that I have a problem with people pretending something happened to them that didn't. I would think someone who lived in New York claiming they were traumatized by the events in Darfur was incredibly pretentious or a poor thinker as well.
posted by dame at 10:09 AM on April 3, 2006


Umm...I know that New York wants to be the terrorist capital of the United States, but for most people the most traumatic part of 9/11 was realizing that they, personally, were in mortal danger.

All those years of hearing about car bombs, and truck bombs, and people with dynamite strapped to their chests blowing themselves up in markets suddenly came home to roost.


Okay, this is totally the inane and sloppy thinking that drives me mad. Americans killed Americans merely for being there before the WTC attack and no one was all wrapped up and freaky about it. But you buy into this weird hysteria and all of a sudden THEY'RE OUT TO GET ME!!!!! Nothing good comes of that, and frankly a whole lot of bad has. And this "it happened to me too" thing is the start of it.
posted by dame at 10:14 AM on April 3, 2006


trauma queens++

saysthis++

The Nazi blitz on London was like 9/11 every day for 18 months with 10 times more death and a million homes destroyed. But Londoners didn't whimper and throw their arms in the air whenever somebody tried to talk about it. They shook their fists across the Channel, shouted "Is that the best you got?", and went out to kill the haters.

Get up off your knees, America, and start doing what you're good at: making movies and killing bad guys.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:18 AM on April 3, 2006


dame wrote...
Okay, this is totally the inane and sloppy thinking that drives me mad.

Sorry to traumatize you :-)

More seriously, I am sorry that you are driven mad by humans being humans. I imagine your life must be very tough with people around you acting like idiots all day.
posted by tkolar at 10:26 AM on April 3, 2006


No, I'm going for traumatized by TV = person with problems beforehand or over-self-regarding person with no facility for risk assessment. And while the former may be pitiable, the latter is, to me, kind of insulting.

Right, because when you have a random, representative sample of people exhibiting symptoms of post-traumatic stress from viewing the attack on television, they're probably ALL just suffering from a pre-existing mental condition. That makes sense.

Join us next week when we reveal how Satan buried dinosaur bones in the ground to trick people into believing in the theory of evolution.

I would think someone who lived in New York claiming they were traumatized by the events in Darfur was incredibly pretentious or a poor thinker as well.

If CNN showed even a fraction of what was happening in Darfur the way they showed the footage of the 9/11 attacks, I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of Americans traumatized by it. But the media doesn't cover Africa that much, and Americans don't really care about Africa that much. So it doesn't have the same emotional impact as something like 9/11.
posted by magodesky at 10:31 AM on April 3, 2006


imagine your life must be very tough with people around you acting like idiots all day.

You have no idea. And the bumblebee walkers are the worst.

Right, because when you have a random, representative sample of people exhibiting symptoms of post-traumatic stress from viewing the attack on television, they're probably ALL just suffering from a pre-existing mental condition. That makes sense.

No, they're probably over-self-regarding idiots without an accurate sense of risk.
posted by dame at 10:40 AM on April 3, 2006


my pain hurts more than yours, neener neener.
posted by dydecker at 10:45 AM on April 3, 2006


dame: No, they're probably over-self-regarding idiots without an accurate sense of risk.

Along with "humans eat food," and "humans get horny," "humans are over-self-regarding idiots without an accurate sense of risk" should be considered to be a good generalization about the human condition.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:47 AM on April 3, 2006


Then we agree. I mean, I am allowed to dislike things that most humans do, no?

And dydeker, part if my point is I have no pain.
posted by dame at 10:52 AM on April 3, 2006


dame writes...
No, they're probably over-self-regarding idiots without an accurate sense of risk.

Fair enough, let's accept that a large portion of the American populace are over-self-regarding idiots without accurate senses of risk.

Does it then follow that their (mis-guided) suffering isn't real? Should the rest of us feel free to poke them with sticks? Sure, letting them drive the country is a bad idea, but should we go out of way to hurt these people more than they already are?

All of this smacks of locking your little brother in the closet with the monster. Sure, you know there's no monster. Sure, you tell yourself that at some level you're helping him confront his fear and grow up a little. But what you're really doing is torturing a five year old.

If anything, people who we consider to be idiots deserve more compassion, not less.
posted by tkolar at 10:52 AM on April 3, 2006


there is something rather insulting about people who live nowhere near New York acting like they're in mortal danger, while the vast majority of those of us here looked at the fear and just kept going. - dame

Guess what? A lot of non-NewYorkers were killed that day, too. The flights were from Boston - LA, Boston - LA, Fairfax - LA, and Newark - San Francisco. Very few of those passengers were New Yorkers (wikipedia links to flight manifests showing where they were each from, if you don't want to take my word for it). I can understand why New Yorkers are afraid after that, but I can also see how some people not from New York could also think "that could have been me" because the reality is that it could have been anyone.

And the vast majority of everyone everywhere "looked at the fear and just kept going", as you put it. It doesn't mean they aren't afraid. I think it's totally unfair for one person to tell another what they're allowed to feel. If someone not from New York was afraid after that day, it doesn't devalue or degrade the fear of New Yorkers.
posted by raedyn at 10:59 AM on April 3, 2006


On 9/11, CNN reported three or 4 times this plane was shot down by an F-16-- and then it was never mentioned again. - wfc123

While I don't claim I have the definitive answer of what made that plane crash, I do wish to point out that on Spetember 11th, 2001, there was a lot of reporting based on speculation, rumours, and plain BAD information. It's entirely possible that those reports were compeletely unfounded, but the closest thing to information that CNN could find at the moment. I remember watching that coverage and they qualified most of what they said with "unconfirmed reports" "details are sketchy" "little information is available at this time" and similar phrases that mean "we don't know what the fuck we're talking about yet".
posted by raedyn at 11:03 AM on April 3, 2006


I can respectfully laugh at dead family members, and then turn around and start sobbing at their absence.
If thats true (and I don't disbelieve it) I can see your point faithfully. And returning to the thread, the movie is not respectful, and its a difficult thing to accomplish (without a uncompromising director).
posted by uni verse at 11:11 AM on April 3, 2006


Along raedyn's lines, they also reported several times on 9/11 that a bomb had been detonated at the State Department.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:14 AM on April 3, 2006


No, they're probably over-self-regarding idiots without an accurate sense of risk.

Wow. With that level of scientific rigor, it's almost hard to believe you haven't received a Nobel Prize yet.
posted by magodesky at 11:18 AM on April 3, 2006


No one can tell me my grief and pain wasn't real even though I did not lose anyone in 9/11, nor did I live near New York.

It doesn't mean I'm mentally ill that I was upset about that day and afterwards - it means I'm human.
posted by agregoli at 11:22 AM on April 3, 2006


tkolar: All of this smacks of locking your little brother in the closet with the monster. Sure, you know there's no monster. Sure, you tell yourself that at some level you're helping him confront his fear and grow up a little. But what you're really doing is torturing a five year old.

I don't think it's that simple. People who still have horrible feelings about this want to frame the discussion one way. People who don't want to frame the discussion another way. I found the events extremely upsetting but I'm frustrated by the high level of twitchiness and the expectation that we avoid saying anything lest it should set people off.

More and more this conversation is giving me respect for Gottfried who seems to have been the first to drop a 9-11 joke as the set-up to his famous performance of the Aristocrats.I'm
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:25 AM on April 3, 2006


On 9/11, CNN reported three or 4 times this plane was shot down by an F-16-- and then it was never mentioned again. - wfc123

While I don't claim I have the definitive answer of what made that plane crash, I do wish to point out that on Spetember 11th, 2001, there was a lot of reporting based on speculation, rumours, and plain BAD information.


I remember it being reported on 9/11 that 8 planes had been hijacked. What happened to the other four planes? Conspiracy! Conspiracy!

On another note, there's a serious risk that "9/11" will become the new "Holocaust" as the go-to traumatic event for adding historical gravitas to crappy movies.
posted by blueloggy at 11:27 AM on April 3, 2006


Anyone who was "traumatized" by 9/11 and didn't lose a family member or who wasn't in downtown Manhattan or in the Pentagon is full of it.
I wasn't in downtown Manhattan but I live not that far away. That huge cloud of dust came over our house two days later; the local TV stations were showing on other channels because their antenna was lost; the neighborhoods all had, suddenly, lost neighbors, ribbons for lost relatives, and eventually, streets named for them. I drive past six streets on my short commute to work that are named for victims. I think you can be traumatized based on proximity and relentless exposure to an event. What worries me is how much more of this culture of death we're going to be exposed to for the fifth anniversary. Anyone got something positive scheduled for Sept.11?
posted by etaoin at 11:31 AM on April 3, 2006


Schindler's Yellow Ribbon Magnet
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:31 AM on April 3, 2006


Magodesky, I was unaware opinions needed to be scientific.

The opinion you're expressing is about a scientific phenomenon. When you do that, it should at least have some basis in scientific fact.

Of course, you don't need to do that. For instance, you're certainly entitled to express the opinion that the Earth is flat. But by the same token, I'm entitled to express the opinion that you have no idea what you're talking about.
posted by magodesky at 11:48 AM on April 3, 2006


they can make a tv show - entertainment - out of a war that still fucking going on

Too bad the show got cancelled and the war's still on, instead of the other way around.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:50 PM on April 3, 2006


You know, given the extreme levels of regional nastiness expressed on a daily basis here on mefi, I'm quite surprised that there wasn't more cheering and celebrating of the Gulf Coast hurricanes.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:56 PM on April 3, 2006


Empathy. Warning: your mileage may vary.
posted by lilboo at 12:58 PM on April 3, 2006


KirkJobSluder wrote...
More and more this conversation is giving me respect for Gottfried who seems to have been the first to drop a 9-11 joke as the set-up to his famous performance of the Aristocrats.I'm

Was that a typo, or were you going somewhere with that? Having not seen The Aristocrats yet I don't get the reference, but it sounds like you were starting to say something interesting.
posted by tkolar at 1:00 PM on April 3, 2006


I can't find the original article, but wikipedia has a brief summary of the story. Gilbert Gottfried dropped a 9-11 joke at a roast for Hugh to an audience that went dead. One audience member shouted "Too Soon!" Gottfried then mimed rewinding the machine backwards, and started into The Aristocrats. I did find an interview.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:19 PM on April 3, 2006


[a few comments removed, please discuss the topic without insulting the discussion participants or vent in metatalk]
posted by jessamyn at 2:06 PM on April 3, 2006


I can't believe it but I am actually intrigued by the film after seeing the trailer. Perhaps it is because I was out of the country in September 2001 and I am still trying to understand what my family and friends were feeling on that day. (I did watch the second airplane strike the WTC on French televsion, not realizing what I was watching at that very moment was live and not a replay. The internet was a mess at the moment so news was scarce. All we knew was to turn on the television. Now, film.
posted by Dick Paris at 2:15 PM on April 3, 2006


I hope they make movies about 9/11.

But they should fictionalize them just a tweak. Like instead of Arab Terrorists they should be Aliens. And instead of planes there should be big giant spaceships that shoot rays that blow up entire city blocks. And George Bush should be played by... um... Bill Paxton. And THEN we need a wise-crack'n black dude who shoots down one of the terro... er... Aliens. That would be AWESOME!

Just some little tweaks.
posted by tkchrist at 4:06 PM on April 3, 2006


You know, they actually made World War II movies during the actual World War II - and millions were dying at that time. WTC is, statistically, a drop in the bucket in comparison. Too soon to be reminded that life is nasty, brutish and short? Have a can of harden-up, America!
posted by Sparx at 5:33 PM on April 3, 2006


Guaranteed not to become an in-flight movie.

Might be worth bringing with you on a future flight though, just so you can see the reaction of everyone around you.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:40 PM on April 3, 2006


Cunning puts a one link news article for a topic I already covered and gets 184 responses (at this point).

I tried to do some more research and follow metafilter's guidelines and put together a nice post.

It's not like I mind, but why have rules if no one cares in the first place?
posted by narebuc at 6:36 PM on April 3, 2006


It's not like I mind, but why have rules if no one cares in the first place?

Perhaps that would be better asked in MetaTalk?
posted by tkolar at 6:56 PM on April 3, 2006


narebuc, your thread got a ton of talk as well. I don't know how many, but it's a sizeable thread. This isn't really a pissing contest, anyhoo.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:01 PM on April 3, 2006


Sorry to wound your feelings narebuc, but I missed your thread when I searched on the movie title. I can't believe no one called this out as a double.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:49 PM on April 3, 2006


You know, they actually made World War II movies during the actual World War II.

Casablanca was made in 1942.
posted by Cyrano at 9:37 PM on April 3, 2006


Yeah, but there were no snakes in Casablanca.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:50 AM on April 4, 2006


Sure there were.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:34 AM on April 4, 2006


Oh, you meant the movie?
posted by kirkaracha at 11:34 AM on April 4, 2006


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