December 13, 2011

Most insufferable movie of the year?


The moment we’ve all been waiting for… The 9/11 novel The New York Times called “irritating” and New York Press hailed as “incredibly false” has been made into a major feature film starring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bollock, and some precocious kid. That’s right, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer is coming soon to theaters near you: the story of a child “with a gift” who learns to “face his fear” after the death of his dad in The Twin Towers. The film, with a rousing score by U2, seeks to turn profound human tragedy into epic sentimental pity porn of unprecedented proportions. (If you haven’t already seen the trailer, I hate doing this to you, but you can watch it below.) Choire Sicha at The Awl makes the understandable claim that after several “rage-crying fits…I’m not sure I can keep going to the movie theaters until this thing is released and no longer being teased.”

When I had the misfortune of seeing the trailer for the first time this weekend, I felt like… slapped? Spit on? Force fed a bathtub of butter at gunpoint? There’s something about “art” this bad that actually ruins your ability to have real emotions. If grief looks anything like this—full of anthem rock, soft-focus fake tears, and winsome children learning life lessons—then grief must not be something worth feeling. As one of The Awl commentators put it:

Don’t the filmakers realize 9/11 actually happened to some people?