Sunday, May 11, 2008

Run For Your Life!

I love cheesy grade-B disaster movies. The kind with improbable disasters (a volcano erupting in downtown Los Angeles! An instant ice age in New York City!) where you know in the first five minutes who will survive and who won't. The handsome hero will make it, of course, along with his girlfriend/wife, estranged girlfriend/wife, ex-girlfriend/wife. Though usually not the girlfriend and wife together, just the Princess one who can feel the pea. Sometimes the temporary girlfriend-who-won't-make-it courageously sends the hero back to his true love. In more recent movies, the hero's kid might play the part of the girlfriend/wife, in the sense of being the one the hero rescues. And African-Americans in featured roles now stand a better chance of not being the first ones to get squished, burned, drowned, or vaporized. So, things are looking up for several new groups of people in the disaster field, which has to be encouraging.

I think I like disaster movies because life itself--or rather, being alive--is often just such a disaster, as we leap across suddenly widened cracks in the earth or navigate a tidal wave six stories high or divert magma away from the orphanage. Excuse me, I mean as we wreck the car or get a really bad hair cut or just try to not be so damned depressed all the time. But the real reason life is a disaster is not because of the things that happen, but because no one survives. Ever. It's just so much more pleasant to watch cheesy falsehoods with handsome heroes and happy endings.

In the same way, being a writer provides me with my own private disaster-insurance plan. It's my story, people--I'm writing it and nobody dies, okay?

So pop me some popcorn and turn on the flick!

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