Reaching for Immortality

[This first appeared at The Jagged Word on December 1.]


Movies and shows made for children always seem to include sub-themes that resonate with adults. Maybe it’s just marketing so that parents will take their children to the theater (only $7,800 for a family of six!), but I can remember it in television shows, as well. Animaniacs was my generation’s Phineas and Ferb. Both have adult jokes running throughout that barely registered with the children who primarily watched those shows. More recently, Disney and Pixar, have made sophisticated, animated films that appeal to both children and adults. Of course, “children’s” authors have probably always included subtexts that only become clear as one ages (see the Grimms, Roald Dahl, or The Chronicles of Narnia). That’s part of the joy of having certain books read to you as a child, and then re-reading them for yourself at older ages.

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War Machine

[This first appeared at The Jagged Word on November 17.]

The war machine will take what you have to give and when you’re used up, it will discard you. At least if you’re General Glen McMahon, or any of the other fictional generals who head up the combined allied troops in Afghanistan. War Machine (streaming on Netflix) is comedic, but its underlying themes are deadly serious and maybe even tragic. A veteran (or someone else who knows more than I do about inner workings of the military) could probably point out the moments at which this film touches reality, in the political machinations or the stupidity of how some military operations are decided and carried out.

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Force Majeure

[This first appeared at The Jagged Word on November 10.]

Want to start a war between husbands and wives or friends of opposite sexes? Watch Force Majeure together. My wife went to sleep, so we didn’t get to have the discussion. But this is a film that raises questions of the differences between men and women, fathers and mothers. I suspect that, like the characters in the film, the reactions of men and women will match the reactions of Ebba and Tomas, Swedes on vacation at a French skiing resort.

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