The medium of motion of pictures is a wonderful vehicle for stories. You hear and see the elements of the story. I’m waiting for the day when I can smell them too. The power of this medium has been decried decade after decade.
I have felt the influence of this medium in my own life. I have five (I know, a list) examples that come to mind right off the top of my head. Here are the five things that movies have convinced me NOT to do…
1) Back pack or even visit Eastern Europe
Where did this extreme notion come from? Have you seen “Hostel II?” There was a first, but I haven’t seen it. I got to the sequel first, so that’s my frame of reference. If you haven’t partaken of this piece of gory cinema from famed horror director Eli Roth, then visit Eastern Europe first. Watch the movie after you’ve landed safety back in the States. This so called “torture porn” will drive the desire right from you.
Why? Well, first the creepy gang of kids that seems to be conveniently placed at every turn. These Slovakian rug-rats don’t even flinch at violent death. Watch them as the kick around a decapitated head like some kind of soccer ball.
Add to the list of reasons, as demonstrated by this movie, not to visit this region of the world: creepy stalkers, human trafficking, lawless businessmen. I could go on with misplaced assumptions. The point: I would rather be victim to LA gang violence than to fall prey to torturous millionaires who get off on bathing in fresh human blood or slowly feasting seared human muscle. No thank you!
2) Use a Tanning Bed
This is one that I’m thankful to have listed. I don’t know what’s worse, getting stuck in a tanning bed and burning to death or doctor’s bills? I have to confess that when I think of medical bills I shake with fear. The prospect of paying thousands of dollars to have melanoma removed from my skin frightens me, maybe even less than going up in flames. Having medical bills hang over my head is like a death sentence that is exacted once a month. But thanks to “Final Destination 3, t”hat scenario is a just a distant day dream. After seeing two oblivious girls get trapped in their tanning beds (a strand of innocuous circumstances binds them in their beds, then sets the beds aflame), I’m perfectly fine avoiding these purveyors of faux sunshine.
3) Live in North Dakota
Officer Marge Gunderson sits in her patrol car with the culprit detained in the back as she utters these poignant words: “There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’tcha know that? And here ya are, and it’s beautiful day.”
If that beautiful day was an average day in January, in North Dakota, then it would have been about 4 degrees below zero at the time. Where I come from (California) a beautiful day is about 75-80 degrees with a nice, dry atmosphere. Leave the humidity back east.
And after that scene from the (genius) Cohen Brothers’ “Fargo,” I will never move to North Dakota. I may be jumping to an irrational conclusion. I mean, look at California’s economy: a $25 billion shortfall in 2010, and a peak unemployment rate of 12.5%. The weather is really the only reason keeping me from fleeing to North Dakota (where the state enjoys a $1billion dollar surplus and an unemployment rate that hasn’t peaked above 5% in a couple of decades). I would be hard pressed to leave my homeland though. Thanks Fargo for giving me a glimpse into the flat land (and living) that is North Dakota.
4) Leave the Group
You’ve been on a tour, right? You’ve been guided through foreign territory? There’s a reason you stay with the group. Parameters are one of those concepts that should not be shunned. They should be embraced. Boundaries are there for a reason. That poor couple in 2003’s “Open Water” was a great object lesson in the importance of staying with the group. I had that care-free, adventurous (and obnoxious) attitude that “the group” did not apply to me. Well, after seeing a couple become fish food over the course of several grueling hours, I have a new respect for the directive to “Please, stay with the group.”
5) Take a Short Cut
This is an understandable…error. You’re on a road trip hauling a silver-dome camper with your entire family including that new baby. Of course a short-cut is going to be a tempting offer. After seeing “The Hills Have Eyes,” I have completely dismissed the phrase “short-cut” from my vocabulary. I don’t even use short-keys for fear of getting lost and happening into the territory of nuclear test monsters with rusty blades and chains. I’d rather die in a tanning bed than at the hands of a hungry cannibal. I’m taking a lesson from the Carters and sticking to what’s on the map. I’ll face the long hours behind the wheel just to avoid the adventure of trying to escape one psychotic Papa Jupiter or even worse…Big Brain (shudder).