Snarky Behavior

Thoughts on Cloverfield

February 7, 2008 · Leave a Comment

1.) It was eerie watching this movie at Lincoln Center. I got the distinct impression that the New York audience was uneasy watching its city get dismantled. The cause of the destruction may have been sufficiently far-fetched to distance the plot from 9/11, but the visceral reminders of concrete clouds billowing through the streets made my stomach churn. The Blair-Witch style cinematography and embarrassingly written dialog didn’t help.

2.)  I “experienced” 9/11 remotely in Los Angeles… as did Director Matt Reeves. For us, it wasn’t a lived experience. It was an imagined experience. That is, we could only imagine the terror and panic that accompanied the collapse of those enormous towers.

Now that I’m a New Yorker, I didn’t like seeing what an emergency evacuation of Manhattan might look like. I didn’t like watching the Empire State Building collapse, or the Brooklyn Bridge snap in two. I can understand the entertainment value to someone in the mid-west, or even the appeal abroad. But as a New Yorker, the whole Godzilla genre seems like it cashes in on a deeply perverted, recessed desire to see retribution enacted on what is portrayed or otherwise understood to be American “hedonism,” as embodied by the financial capital of the world.

This seems like the same destructive fascination that motivated Nero to allow Rome to burn, or me to introduce Earthquakes in SimCity.

3.)  I’ve written before about how shallow the Hollywood imagination has become when it comes to conceptualizing potential enemies to the American superpower. Most 4th of July movies involve “War of the Worlds” type scenarios where our destruction comes at the hand of extraterrestrial forces.  This tendency is boring, unimaginative, and dumb.  And, as my Italian friend points out, “it’s amazing what you Americans will think of to justify your military spending.”

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