Flight 93 movie....
January 22, 2006 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Universal Studios is making a movie of Flight 93 (the 9/11 plane that crashed in Pennsylvania). The funny thing is, this movie is not the one by Oliver Stone (which is going to be about police officers). Also, from what I can tell, this venture is going to be a commercial one although it has "full support" of the families of that Flight. It seems like we'll have to brace for a decent amount of 9/11 related TV shows and movies only a couple years after the attacks.
posted by narebuc (75 comments total)
 
To be honest, I clicked to view the trailer, completely having forgot what Flight 93 was about, thinking it was going to be another Jodie Foster-esque Flight Plan type movie....so, yup, I guess you could say the movies are justified by an awareness thing. BUT, viewing the trailer, I saw movies like this as potentially being able to make a lot of money (or, bomb miserably) -- all building upon the notion that you "get to relive!" that tragic day. And, I even felt awkward viewing the trailer. I think most people's reactions to that event are well formed and are best remaining personal. The more Hollywood and the media try reminding us of in a more sensationalistic way, so soon, is probably a disservice.

As long as "Let's Roll" is not the tagline and the movie is put together well, I can see it as useful. It would help if they could give some of the profits to 9/11 related charities however.
posted by narebuc at 9:48 AM on January 22, 2006


I was just wondering this morning if we were going to see any sensationalistic things for the fifth anniversary of the event this year. I guess I have my answer.
posted by Servo5678 at 9:57 AM on January 22, 2006


Wasn't this just a discovery channel documentary?

Interestingly the handful of clear post-9/11 movies that I can think of (Munich, Team America, Syriana) don't mention 9/11 at all... The Hamburg Cell is an excellent film about the lead up to 9/11, but it's probably unlikely to get much of a showing in the states ever.
posted by Artw at 9:58 AM on January 22, 2006


Will there be snakes on this plane?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:08 AM on January 22, 2006




artw - don't forget Lord of War which both directly refers to Osama and obliquely refers to a war somewhere in the middle east.


I don't expect any intellectually stimulating films about 9/11 for at least 20 years.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:11 AM on January 22, 2006


i don't think i understand the purpose of this movie. what's the ending going to be? will it leave the same feeling of horror and emptiness we felt on 9/11? i don't think i like the idea of this being made into a film. it doesn't seem appropriate.
posted by Doorstop at 10:15 AM on January 22, 2006


I think it's important for future generations that we distort the facts of the events of September 11th in the public mind for short-term monetary gain.
posted by chasing at 10:17 AM on January 22, 2006


Daytime coming to a cinema near you, soon!
posted by NinjaPirate at 10:18 AM on January 22, 2006


The most stimulating response to 9/11 in popular culture is - wait for it - the remake of Batttlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi.

Honest. It's been getting terrific reviews in the New Yorker, National Review, as well as the daily press. If you haven't see it, give it a shot.
posted by A189Nut at 10:25 AM on January 22, 2006


what's the ending going to be? will it leave the same feeling of horror and emptiness we felt on 9/11?

I predict: glowing images in the sky of the brave hero passengers, possibly shaking hands with some firefighters.

I also predict: Nothing at all for teh brave hero stockbrokers of 9/11. who get screwed every time.
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on January 22, 2006


As long as "Let's Roll" is not the tagline...

I'm surprised that the trailer didn't end with "Let's roll!"
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:35 AM on January 22, 2006


Oliver Stone has become a kook. He would love the posts earlier today about bombs in WTC 7 and exploding UFOs.
posted by caddis at 10:40 AM on January 22, 2006


I'm pretty sure there weren't that many 9/11 TV shows and moives a couple of years after the attack, which was 2003 if my math is correct.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:48 AM on January 22, 2006


We needed more affirmation of the official story of Flight 93-- the flight where the selfless, strong passengers bum-rushed the cockpit, took control of the airplane and crashed it.

Instead of the story that makes more sense, where the military (sensibly) shot it down and then the government made up a feelgood fairytale because it essentially thinks of us as children.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:58 AM on January 22, 2006


Refresh my memory... (omgneverforget)

How do they know exactly what happened on that flight?
posted by jca at 10:59 AM on January 22, 2006


Could be good. Could be crap. But anybody who's seen the work that Paul Greengrass did on Bloody Sunday or Omagh knows that he's got the talent and intelligence to at least have a chance of making it worthwhile.
posted by flashboy at 11:00 AM on January 22, 2006


This shouldn't spoil anything for those who haven't seen it yet, but I thought there was a very obvious reference to 9/11 in Munich, personally.
posted by emelenjr at 11:16 AM on January 22, 2006


"a decent amount of"

Not sure about that part.
posted by washburn at 11:22 AM on January 22, 2006


*SPOILER*

In the end, the plane crashes and they all die.
posted by soiled cowboy at 11:24 AM on January 22, 2006


Unfortunately, I preduct most of the people going to see such a movie will be people with bumper stickers like this (large image).
posted by mrbill at 11:25 AM on January 22, 2006


I second the idea that the Hamburg Cell is already an excellent movie about 9-11, and possibly more interesting (and informative) than any re-enacting of the event itself.
posted by elgilito at 11:26 AM on January 22, 2006


It is no surprise that this is the first story to be popularized/mythicized. Anyone who was paying attention to the events on 9/11 as they happened knows that flight 93 was shot down. I'm not saying that the passengers on the plane did not revolt, or act in a heroic manner but the thing that made the plane break apart in the air in multiple pieces was not a struggle on the plane. To think that the plane was not shot down would be to think our military so inept that planes (that were scrambled) were unable to intercept the only commercial airliner still in the air, long after everyone knew what the hijacked airliners were being used for. Nobody in their right mind can blame the government/military for doing such a thing. In fact, most would agree with the statement of Vice President Dick Cheney -shown in the crawler on CNN the morning of 9/11- that he "supports the President in his difficult decision to shoot down hijacked airliners". I saw that with my own eyes, but (strangely?) it was never repeated. Instead the "Let's roll" story began to be drummed into the American consciousness. It is the willingness to grasp onto the alternate story and obfuscate the facts that should be the most troubling.
posted by spock at 11:31 AM on January 22, 2006


Post-preview: What Mayor Curley said (more succinctly).
posted by spock at 11:32 AM on January 22, 2006


I don't expect any intellectually stimulating films about 9/11 for at least 20 years.

This film had its moments, though with 11 shorts there's some crap as well.

It's sad and lame that these "gripping dramas" are being made. They're going to suck ass. And people will feel so moved by them. And the bovine American overmind will make people feel that if you don't want to watch, you're not patriotic. And people will feel gripped as they "relive" the material, but also distanced from it by the fact that they're finally far enough from the reality of the event to see it in a movie, as a movie, eat some Cheetos and suck down another glass of white wine, and then go to bed.
posted by scarabic at 11:34 AM on January 22, 2006


Instead of the story that makes more sense, where the military (sensibly) shot it down and then the government made up a feelgood fairytale because it essentially thinks of us as children.

And that would explain why, now that Bush's ratings are in the 30s, so many people involved in the cover-up have come forward to tell us so.

There's one thing that the Bush administration is competent at, and that's character assassination using the credulous media as proxy. But do you really think the gang that fucked up a simple food and water delivery for most of a week can manage to have hundreds, if not thousands, of people keep a secret on their behalf for four and a half years?

Their modus operandi is attacking the messenger. In fact, the virulence of these attacks are an excellent measure of their sensitivity to the truth. I haven't seen those jet pilots Swift-Boated.

Not that I disagree with your final seven words. But this is a dangerous diversion, not the least because it presupposes an all-powerful cabal with superhuman powers of persuasion. If they really were, there wouldn't be a need to Swift-Boat, you see.

Returning to the film, I have great confidence that the influence of the families will mean that it eschews the commonplace and mawkish. The families struck back angrily when the wingnut conspiracy theorists charged that the memorial they had approved was secretly designed to memorialize the hijackers. That design is going to be a masterpiece, probably far better than the memorials in New York and Washington.
posted by dhartung at 11:36 AM on January 22, 2006


White wine drinkers? I believe the moviemakers are hoping that the much larger audience of what-passes-for-beer-in-the-U.S.-which-is-much-closer-to-beer-flavored-koolaid-drinkers will be also enjoying their pap.
posted by spock at 11:39 AM on January 22, 2006


mrbill: holy crap.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 11:42 AM on January 22, 2006


you know... i remember on 9/11, watching CNN and seeing that there were also 8 missing planes. not just four. i have no doubt that the administratin did a lot of cover-up besides that. i know of a car bomb outside of the Capitol building which was swept under the rug(i used to live in DC, and had a friend who worked in the Capitol). the only thing which i can see being GOOD about these cover-ups is that it was a wise decision at the time due to the high terror level in our country. panicking the citizens is never a good choice. but NOW, i wish they would just fess up. admitting you made a call which kept the public from freaking isn't a bad thing. playing all innocent and shit is just stupid.

Back to this Flight 93 stuff doesn't seem like a memorial so much as trying to sell the memory of a tragic day at top price. NO ONE knows for sure what the hell happenned on FLight 93, expect possibly the government(if they shot it down). however, dishonoring their memory with this melodramatic crap movie stuff is not cool.
posted by Doorstop at 11:53 AM on January 22, 2006


In sum: if they make a film about flight 93, it is commercially made to sell...how dare they?
If they make a film about flght 93, it is a lie...how dare they?
If they make a film about flight 93, it is an attempt to see a new and untold "turth." How dare they?
If they make a film...how dare they?
posted by Postroad at 11:59 AM on January 22, 2006


The last stage of grief isn't acceptance, but exploitation.

- Lewis Black
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:02 PM on January 22, 2006


Postroad,
I was thinking more along the lines of, this is bullshit. and if i was to be heroic and die in the process i wouldn't want someone to piss on my grave with a horrible melodramatic farce of what happened. watch the trailer again, you'll see what i mean. this stuff cannot be captured in a movie. consoling your buddy cuz his dad might be in tower 2 cannot be encapusled in 8mm film. movies are never reality. and thats why this movie is a farce.
posted by Doorstop at 12:05 PM on January 22, 2006


Nitfilter: "Only a couple of years" would be two years. That would be c. September 2003. It's January 2006. That's more than twice "only a couple of years" since 9/11/2001.

I'm sure it says something that we can conceptualize it as "only a couple of years" ago (because, hey, honestly, I do it too), but I'm not sure what. Probably something best exposed through poetry or oblique fiction, rather than analysis.
posted by lodurr at 12:15 PM on January 22, 2006


WHEN MUSLIM MAGGOTS PRAY IT LOOKS LIKE THEY ARE SENDING FARTS TO ALLA THE PIG AND FARTING IN THE FACES OF THEIR INFIDEL COMRADES TO THE REAR.

Do you think he got that one special ordered?
posted by Simon! at 12:17 PM on January 22, 2006


Postroad,

I think many of us are not going to mind films about 9/11 20 years or so from now -- so that a new generation can understand the event.....

It's just that what appears to be a cottage industry of 9/11 events (from the police officers view! from the pilots view! from the story of the flight instructor who suspected something all along! from the view of the FBI who blew that whistle until her cheeks hurt! from the stewardess who might have suspected something all along.....etc.) is upon us. That's bad.

Everything has a time and place and way of doing things right. You can never expect Hollywood to follow the latter, but, you would think common human decency would mandate following the first two.
posted by narebuc at 12:19 PM on January 22, 2006


I guess, but then I imagine there are some dead soldiers near the ancient city of Troy who might say the same about, say, the Iliad. The Flight 93 movies may not be of the same caliber as an epic poem regarded today as one of the classics of literature, but it is part of the same tradition of myth-making.
posted by chrominance at 12:19 PM on January 22, 2006


Can we please put to bed the idea that Flight 93 was shot down? As dhartung points out, that would require a SHITLOAD of people knowing about it, from the pilots themselves to their ground controllers to their maintenance crews and multiplying out from there. It's just not plausible that the secret would survive for MORE THAN FOUR YEARS with that level of knowledge. (What's that old saying about malice and incompetence?)

I also don't understand why people find the "rebel passengers" story so implausible. I'm as cynical as the next guy -- more cynical most of the time -- but you know what? Sometimes people do brave things. They're seldom the things that get singled out by the media as "brave", but occasionally, the two do overlap, and AFAICS, Flight 93 is likely to be one of those cases.
posted by lodurr at 12:21 PM on January 22, 2006


mrbill: He believes in evolution?!
posted by Saucy Intruder at 12:27 PM on January 22, 2006


Troy BLEW. Apollo weaps because of that movie.
posted by Doorstop at 12:38 PM on January 22, 2006


Flight 93 was NOT shot down. Get over your wish fulfillment fantasies people
posted by A189Nut at 12:52 PM on January 22, 2006


Well, they waited 12 years to produce From Here to Eternity after Pearl Harbor. Two if you count John Ford's work, which was part documentary and part propaganda film. I guess what with the "speed" of modern society, five is pretty lengthy.
posted by Atreides at 12:55 PM on January 22, 2006


lodurr: As dhartung points out, that would require a SHITLOAD of people knowing about it, from the pilots themselves to their ground controllers to their maintenance crews and multiplying out from there. It's just not plausible that the secret would survive for MORE THAN FOUR YEARS with that level of knowledge.

Don't know about this particular case, but Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers) doesn't think so:
It is a commonplace that "you can't keep secrets in Washington" or "in a democracy," that "no matter how sensitive the secret, you're likely to read it the next day in the New York Times." These truisms are flatly false. They are in fact cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading journalists and their readers, part of the process of keeping secrets well. Of course eventually many secrets do get out that wouldn't in a fully totalitarian society. Bureaucratic rivalries, especially over budget shares, lead to leaks. Moreover, to a certain extent the ability to keep a secret for a given amount of time diminishes with the number of people who know it. As secret keepers like to say, "Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead." But the fact is that the overwhelming majority of secrets do not leak to the American public. This is true even when the information withheld is well known to an enemy and when it is clearly essential to the functioning of the congressional war power and to any democratic control of foreign policy. The reality unknown to the public and to most members of Congress and the press is that secrets that would be of the greatest import to many of them can be kept from them reliably for decades by the executive branch, even though they are known to thousands of insiders.
posted by Gyan at 1:45 PM on January 22, 2006


I don't expect any intellectually stimulating films about 9/11 for at least 20 years.

Amen. I saw the trailer for this and got sick to my stomach. I think making a action flick/heroic drama/whatever about this, only four years later, is crass, tacky, and cheap.
posted by menace303 at 1:49 PM on January 22, 2006


Flight 93 was NOT shot down.

This is the only 9/11 conspiracy theory that seems credible, but I don't think any sane person could fault the action if it was taken.

I mean, three planes have just been flown into buildings... blowing the fourth one up over clear ground seems like a pretty good idea in that context.

Lying about it to prevent idiot over-reaction seems fairly natural as well, in a country that eschews intelligent political discourse.
posted by I Love Tacos at 2:10 PM on January 22, 2006


I also don't understand why people find the "rebel passengers" story so implausible. I'm as cynical as the next guy -- more cynical most of the time -- but you know what? Sometimes people do brave things.

Like wrest control of the cockpit from the hijackers, and then just say "fuck it! Let's just crash it so only we die. Sure, we can't fly a plane, but I'm sure that we won't kill anyone on the ground,"?

They were also very brave because they obviously blew the plane up long before impact, given the debris patterns.

If things went down just as the governement said they did (which they pieced together/fabricated within hours and never changed), the governement would release the flight recorder tapes, right? Because they haven't.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:37 PM on January 22, 2006


It is interesting that these films always seem to be a combination of fabricated tear-jerker storytelling and proposed factuality and authority.
"It tells the story of the day through a meticulous re-enactment of events"
"Made with the full support of the families of those on board, FLIGHT 93 will track in real time the dramatic story"

The more details the truer a story is, right?
posted by thehippe at 2:50 PM on January 22, 2006


Mayor Curley - it's easy to refute other people when you create straw men like "fuck it! Let's just crash it so only we die. Sure, we can't fly a plane, but I'm sure that we won't kill anyone on the ground"

Perhaps it was the hijackers who said "we're being overpowered, I'm taking us down" or even nobody at all was minding the flight, when they were wrestling for control? That's what the flight recorder suggests.

True, the whole thing hasn't been released to the public, although it's sort of ghoulish to want to hear it. Media and the 9/11 commission have had access to it.

From Wikipedia: "The 9/11 Commission found from the recordings that, contrary to what many have believed, the passengers did not succeed in entering the cockpit before the plane crashed. The 9/11 Commission ruled that the actions of the passengers prevented the destruction of the White House or the Capitol by causing the hijackers to abort the attack on their intended target."
posted by swerdloff at 2:53 PM on January 22, 2006


Oh sorry, those are excerpts from the commercial link.
posted by thehippe at 2:53 PM on January 22, 2006


Mayor, you have to make a lot of assumptions for the shoot-down theory to become plausible; I dont' have to make any for it to be implausible.

Do I think it's credible that people would try to take over the cockpit first and ask questions later? Sure, especially if they've ever heard of "autopilots" (which of course a trained pilot would know won't work at that speed and altitude), if they don't know the pilots are both dead (yes, I know there's anecdotal evidence to suggest that at least some of them knew both pilots were dead), or if they didn't know there was about a prayer's chance in hell of getting the hijacker to fly the plane (i.e., you have to assume a clear and rational thought process, and not the immediate personality-driven reactions of a bunch of scared and angry guys lead by a guy who liked to fight in competition).

But there are some interesting implicit questions in your precis. For example:

Do I think that there's a possibility that an airliner, subjected to violent manouvers at speed and atmostpheric pressure combinations it's not designed for, might break up? Yes, I do.

Do I think that it's curious that the article that spock links to says that six people saw a plane, but doesn't really correlate any features of the plane's description except "white"? Yes, I do.

Do I think it's interesting that one of the witnesses is very careful and specific about describing a plane design that doesn't exist? Yes, I do.

Do I find it curious, again, that the "shoot-down" conspiracists assign great significance to a sonic boom being recorded at 9:22, a full eight minutes before the flight was declared a hijack? Yes, I think that's kind of odd.

Now, as for gyan's point about secrets: This is not your ordinary secret. Let's just list the people who would have had to know that the plane was shot down:

The ground crew who armed this/these hitherto unaccounted-for aircraft with live weapons.
The pilot(s).
Their ground controllers.
The guy who issued the fire order.
The guy who actually authorized the fire order. This was at least their CO, but more likely the order went all the way up the food chain.
The officer in charge of the control center from which the fire order was issued.
Everybody in the control center from which the fire order was issued.
The ground crew who serviced the jet after it fired the live missile.

Incidentcally (and this strikes me at this moment as really interesting), it should be a matter of more or less public record what planes were standing to, armed and ready, on that morning. Arming a plane for battle is non-trivial; it takes time.

(Of course, it could have been some super-secret military prototype plane that shoots lasers or something -- after all, the one witness who swears up and down she knows exactly what it looks like gives a description of an aircraft design that, I find myself repeating, does not to anyone's knowledge actually exist.)

Good grief, I can't believe that people waste their energy pursuing such implausible maguffins when there are actually important questions to consider....
posted by lodurr at 3:00 PM on January 22, 2006


At mefi you get just the details without the sappy love story. Can't believe I am actually missing it.
posted by thehippe at 3:13 PM on January 22, 2006


The most stimulating response to 9/11 in popular culture is - wait for it - the remake of Batttlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi.

Amen to that. Fascinating show. Very complex.

Also, am I the only person who thinks that the recent resurgence of zombie films is at least indirectly related to 9/11?
posted by brundlefly at 3:18 PM on January 22, 2006


Mayor, you have to make a lot of assumptions for the shoot-down theory to become plausible; I dont' have to make any for it to be implausible.

That's not true-- you have to make a ton of assumptions:

You have to assume that the passengers reacted very differently than their three fellow groups.

You have to assume that the pane JUST HAPPENED to break up when none of the others did (because the debris scatter is really damning).

You have to assume that the plane JUST HAPPENED to break apart over an abandoned strip-mining area, the only completely uninhabited area for hundreds of miles.

You have to assume that the story was extraordinarily easy to assemble. Remember, no one who was present survived, but I heard most of the details THAT day, and the really fancy stuff on the next.

All I have to assume is that the government would want to shoot the plane down over an unpopulated area in order to prevent further loss of life. And then lie about it.

And then I think about this war we've got over alleged hidden weapons that's really about oil. And I don't have any problem imagining that the administration lied.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:30 PM on January 22, 2006


"The ground crew who armed this/these hitherto unaccounted-for aircraft with live weapons.
"The pilot(s).
"Their ground controllers.
"The guy who issued the fire order.
"The guy who actually authorized the fire order. This was at least their CO, but more likely the order went all the way up the food chain.
"The officer in charge of the control center from which the fire order was issued.
"Everybody in the control center from which the fire order was issued. "


I assume you meant control room rather than 'center'. That's how many? 60 tops. Seems plausible.
posted by Gyan at 3:53 PM on January 22, 2006


While I don't have an opinion myself, I think you could cut that list down to the pilot and a couple of people who authorized the order. How hard could it be to send a scrambled order directly to the pilot?
posted by ?! at 4:17 PM on January 22, 2006


Remembering the events as they unfolded, I was convinced we had shot it down. I distinctly heard the news that "the nose was one mile from the tail" on the ground, and thought, whew, we shot one down. I never heard that again. I also remember a fighter pilot immediately being asked if he would follow an order to shoot down a friendly, and got the impression we were being prepped for the truth to be told. I never heard anything like that again..
This is the one conspiracy theory that is most easily believed, because the truth is heartbreaking, and nobody wants to be that jerk. It'd be like going into a pre-school and announcing that there is in fact no Santa Claus. Who would do such a thing? Meanwhile, spot on with the Iraq thing, Mayor Curley. It's not like we haven't swallowed more BS than this.
posted by hypersloth at 4:45 PM on January 22, 2006


I just saw Munich in the theater today and they showed this preview. I got teared up, as I always do about things relating to 9/11, but it left a horrible taste in my mouth.

Whether Flight 93 was shot down or deliberately crashed by the passengers, having the events of 9/11 be the making for the next summer blockbuster makes me ill. While I'm not sure I can articulate well why I feel this way, it just seems horribly inappropriate to me.
posted by Meredith at 4:51 PM on January 22, 2006


I think you need to remember that the passengers on 93 knew that their plane was going to be crashed and could speculate on the site because of the phone calls. The timings here matter. They did not expect to survive, but they did hope to save others, and protect their nation and its leaders.
posted by A189Nut at 4:54 PM on January 22, 2006


Oh also.. Spinning this heroic tale ensures that if it happens again, people will revolt. So it seemed like a good idea at the time, I suppose - Reassure the people, strengthen the people, let would-be terrorists know that we won't be terrorized, etc..
Regardless, the idea of this film nauseates me on so many levels - I won't let my money anywhere near it..
posted by hypersloth at 4:57 PM on January 22, 2006


I'm sure many would find this movie more palatable if the stars were on the order of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
posted by mischief at 5:02 PM on January 22, 2006


Curley, your're right -- I do have to make some assumptions. I was wrong.

But I find my assumptions plausible, and yours -- not so much.

I also don't have to assume that the plane broke up. I only have some conspiracist information in disreputable publications like the Daily Mirror that lead me to believe that the plane "must" have broken up.

I also have my own experience to reference if I want to take a devil's advocate position that the people who "saw" the other plane didn't really see it -- I don't have to assume that the people who say they saw the plane break up or reported flames actually saw them. Without reference to film, eywitness accounts typically vary widely, especially when the event is particularly stressful. Yes, that's right: The circumstances under which we are most likely to unquestioningly trust our recollections, are the cases where our memory is typically least reliable and most likely to be edited after the fact.

And we know damn well that most of those accounts are mistaken on some critical details. I can know that from the Mirror article. How do I know? Well, start with reports of flight 93 being "20 feet" or "40 feet" off the ground when widnessed.

If the plan were that low, these people would have been shocked pretty dramatically by the imact.

I also haven't seen anyone fronting these theories talking about how crash wreckage is normally distributed after a crash of thise type. Have any of the crash investigators said that the pattern was unusual? I haven't seen that. (BTW, that ups the number of people who'd have to be in on the cover-up.)

?!: How hard would it be? Well, there are probably a few megites who could answer that question authoritatively. My hunch is that any such "scrambled order" would be logged and would be witnessed by at least four or five people.

The biggest problem I can see with this theory, even beyond the plausibility of that large a cover-up is that there's just no reason. You want to believe it because you want to believe that the Bushites are evil because they exploited the memory of Todd Beamer and his fellow passengers, or that the Bushites are evil because they ordered a plane to be shot down, or that the government is evil because they do a big coverup, or the cogernment is tough and dangerous ennough to scramble and kill the threat when the evidence suggests that instead there was a huge clusterfuck, or....

When really, the theory makes no sense. You have to look for problems. It's like the crew that says that the Pentagon was hit by a missle and not a plane. That's at least as plausible as the "flight 93 shoot-down" theory.

But, ey, if you guys want to believe in this -- well, I guess you've got to believe in something....
posted by lodurr at 5:07 PM on January 22, 2006


"after all, the one witness who swears up and down she knows exactly what it looks like gives a description of an aircraft design that, I find myself repeating, does not to anyone's knowledge actually exist."

I read the descrition and it sounded exactly like a business jet, like a challenger or citation. There wasn't anything in the description that said military, other than the observers expectation that it was a military plane.
posted by Mcable at 5:10 PM on January 22, 2006


And I think I recall somewhere that there was supposed to be another aircft in the area at the same time, and that ATC asked it to visually confirm the crash, but I'm just pulling that from my admittedly fuzzy memory.
posted by Mcable at 5:17 PM on January 22, 2006


Lord, what's going on? Is this Tinfoil hat weekend at Mefi or something? First there was the "academics opine on the Twin Tower topple" thread, and now this. Sheesh.

Popular Mechanics did a debunking of 9/11 conspiracy theories. Their debunking of the plane stuff is here and here. Their report on the Pentagon crash is here.

As far as the 'plane' goes, Mcable, that's covered also.
There was such a jet in the vicinity--a Dassault Falcon 20 business jet owned by the VF Corp. of Greensboro, N.C., an apparel company that markets Wrangler jeans and other brands. The VF plane was flying into Johnstown-Cambria airport, 20 miles north of Shanksville. According to David Newell, VF's director of aviation and travel, the FAA's Cleveland Center contacted copilot Yates Gladwell when the Falcon was at an altitude "in the neighborhood of 3000 to 4000 ft."--not 34,000 ft. "They were in a descent already going into Johnstown," Newell adds. "The FAA asked them to investigate and they did. They got down within 1500 ft. of the ground when they circled. They saw a hole in the ground with smoke coming out of it. They pinpointed the location and then continued on." Reached by PM, Gladwell confirmed this account but, concerned about ongoing harassment by conspiracy theorists, asked not to be quoted directly.
Does that help any, or should I just go out and buy a couple more rolls of aluminum foil? I know that 'teh eevile govment' conspiracy theories are a lot of fun, but there does come a point where extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof - which is conspicuiously lacking in all of these conspiracy theories. The folks spouting these things are sounding a lot more like five-toothed militia members ranting about black helicopters and labels on the wrong sides of interstate signs being signs of imminent UN invasion of the US and a lot less like people who are actually trying to figure out what happened.

I always thought theories were supposed to be deduced from all available facts at the time, and then as additional information came available it would be used to either prove or invalidate the theory. So far, I haven't seen much in the way of proof (or even of anything other than baseline blue-sky supposition) for any of the 9/11 theories that keep circulating.
posted by JB71 at 6:09 PM on January 22, 2006


To sort of get back to the original, "My Christ! They're making movies about 9/11!" tenor of this FPP, I have six words: "To Be Or Not To Be." Ernst Lubistch, in 1942, made a comedy - a COMEDY - about Nazi-occupied Poland. And he talked about the Holocaust. Compared to that, making some jingoistic 9/11 movies seems like...you know, not a big deal.

For that matter, think of all the war pictures made by the U.S. during World War II. Or the movies made during Vietnam that took the subject of the war head-on. "Hair" was a goddamn musical about a kid getting shipped off to 'Nam, for Christ's sake.

If anything, I think we need MORE movies about the attacks. Where's the "To Be Or Not To Be" about 9/11? I was an NYU student during the attack, and I saw some of the most horrendous -- and hilarious -- things I've ever seen in the aftermath.
posted by ford and the prefects at 6:23 PM on January 22, 2006


As Halliburton found out, Hollywood will learn there's money to make off of 9/11's corpses.
posted by Rothko at 7:09 PM on January 22, 2006


I doubt that anyone would object to movies raising issues that the attack has brought up (like Munich or even the arguably half as irresponsible Farheneit 9/11) -- but to "recreate" the attack, and, as this thread would tell you, off incomplete information sources seems very silly -- especially when the point is making money.

Does it help anyone to know that a woman on the plane actually declared "I think they going to crash the plane into Washington!"

A movie that makes the actual facts of the event an aftermath -- like something about how the hijackers were trained and why they chose to blow up for Allah, I can understand. Or, as Spielberg did for Munich, the aftermath of the assassinations.

But, this movie seems to cheapen a heroic event that remains more powerful since we know what happened upon that plane and we know the passengers helped prevent a greater tragedy out of their selflessness. Let's let it remain at that.
posted by narebuc at 7:14 PM on January 22, 2006


Don't know about this particular case, but Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers) doesn't think so

That's funny, since a lot of people helped him get secrets out -- people who had access and were troubled by the implications, people who weren't even doing it for the greater political sphere but for strictly organizational reasons.

Similarly, Risen found numerous people at the NSA willing to assist him in exposing the warrantless wiretaps.

Regardless, Ben Franklin (or Poor Richard?) said "three people may keep a secret, if two of them are dead". And I'm quite confident that betting on the incompetence of the Bush administration is not something that will lose me my shirt.

Oh, and the "coded message directly to the pilot" claims -- those were wildly amusing. I suppose that Cheney carries around a digital radio scrambler and a notebook of fighter call signs precisely for such occasions.
posted by dhartung at 7:54 PM on January 22, 2006


Why would the ground crew and controllers necessarily know the nature of the mission? They'd know the planes were scambled and armed. But I'm sure there was a hell of a lot of that going on that day. You've got a few people responsible for making the decision, approving and giving the order, and carrying it out. And they're military personnel. It's not at all implausible that troops will keep secrets (especially with knowledge that probably makes them feel like shit).
posted by scarabic at 8:10 PM on January 22, 2006


LT. TOEJAM
I just got another blast on the CRM-114, and
the damned thing decodes: Wing Attack, Plan-R.

13c CU - PILOT - MAJOR "KING" KONG

He looks up pensively.

MAJOR KONG
Wing attack, Plan-R?

13d MASTER SHOT

LT. TOEJAM
Wing attack, Plan-R. That's exactly
what it says.

MAJOR KONG
(lets magazine fall in lap)
Check your code again. No one at base
would pull a stunt like that, Terry.

LT. TOEJAM
That's what I'm doing, and it comes out
the same.

There is a pause as they think of the unthinkable.

LT. "BINKY" BALLMUFF
(standing)
You must have made a mistake.

LT. TOEJAM
That's what it decodes. Come and see for
yourself, Binky. Wing attack, Plan-R.
posted by Drastic at 9:25 PM on January 22, 2006


I saw this preview and got a sick feeling in my stomach. There's so much about that day that I remember - what I saw and how I felt and how everyone reacted - it literally feels like yesterday.

I'm not saying they have no right to make the movie, but to me it just seems a little soon to do a theatrical reenactment. I did see the show on the Discovery channel a few months ago and it seemed more appropriate - a documentary, on the Discovery channel.
posted by b_thinky at 11:25 PM on January 22, 2006


I wonder how much United Airlines paid for the product placement in this movie? Advertising like this is a bargain at any price!
posted by spock at 11:50 AM on January 23, 2006


dhartung: "Cheney carries around a digital radio scrambler and a notebook of fighter call signs precisely for such occasions"

Now, that's just silly. Imagine the President or the Vice-President actually carrying anything. I mean, my god, what crazy kind of country would give a single person the power to approve any kind of military act? Of course, every military act should be discussed on C-Span and approval must wait for a 24-hour cooling off period.

A President or Vice-President authorizing a military strike? Or god-forbid actually talking to a pilot with one of those new-fangled far-speaking devices? I am in awe of the sheer power of your imagination!

lodurr: again, just for the sake of understanding. If the "log" of the order existed and only five or six knew do you mean the knowledge would have become public by now? If all military and government secrets were so transparent why do we wait 25 years to open certain files and publish some papers? As an example, how many people saw the "Pentagon Papers" before Neil Sheehan published in the Times?
posted by ?! at 12:57 PM on January 23, 2006


Cheney Authorized Shooting Down Planes, according to the 9/11 Commission Report, allegedly after getting instructions in a phone call from President Bush, but "there is no documentary evidence for this call."

The 9/11 Commission's Improvising a Homeland Defense [PDF] staff statement has a detailed account of the shootdown order.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:14 PM on January 23, 2006


The first 9/11 reference in a movie I remember was Spike Lee's 25th Hour, which has a scene at "Ground Zero". I remember being slightly surprised (especially due to the effective setup of the scene), but overall thought it was in good taste.
posted by Sloben at 2:27 PM on January 23, 2006


This will be the third movie (counting TV movies) about Flight 93, after 2002's Let's Roll: The Story of Flight 93 and 2006's Flight 93.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:58 AM on February 2, 2006


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