Tuesday, May 12

Un-Wonderful Life

Most people who own a TV have at one time seen the classic, "It's a Wonderful Life" staring Jimmy Stewart. The story follows the life of a man and the twist to it (the thing that makes it more than a simple story about a man) is that at one point things go badly for the hero and he thinks about committing suicide. God sends down an angel to interfere with his life and then show him what his world would be like if he hadn't been born. The rest of the movie is the hero discovering that life would be better if he lived and ends in an outpouring of friendship and community.

Movies about time travel have always interested me, can you or can't you change history, etc. The other day I watched for the first time a movie entitled "The Butterfly Effect". Aston Kutcher stars. The movie itself reminded a lot of the movie "Donnie Darko". Both movies deal with the main character having some kind of strange what seems to be metal problem and they are kind of outcasts. So naturally they want things to change. The point of the movie in both Butterfly and Darko is effectively that life would be better for everyone if the main character was dead. It takes both characters the length of the movie to figure this out and then ultimately, do it. Effectively kill themselves to make up for the problems they caused in the people's lives they loved.

The contrast of these "modern" movies with that of the Classic "It's a Wonderful Life" struck me almost as soon as The Butterfly Effect was over. The viewpoints of these movies were standing on the opposite side of a viewpoint when in fact they were telling a very similar story. On one side you have Butterfly and Darko. There is no God, fate is up to us, and if we try to play God (even though there is no God) we mess things up and need to go back to when the problem started and kill ourselves to correct the problem.

Wonderful Life on the other hand plays the opposite cards: There is a God, He cares, and He sends someone to help the main character out. Then at the end the conclusion isn't "You should die" but, "You should live!"

I think some people would say, "That's all fine and good for whenever 'Life' was was made this is the modern time. We watch dark gritty movies and happy endings are for Rated G movies and Chick flics." I don't think we need to give up hope in our "realistic" movies. People in real life have hope still.

I just thought the contrast between those movies was interesting and probably worth chatting with someone a little more in depth about in the future.



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