Chairman Wow!

October 21, 2009

Where the Entertaining Things Are

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carly J Hallman @ 11:06 am

where_the_wild_things_are_poster2In this era of perpetually rising unemployment figures and plummeting economic confidence, Americans are turning their backs on the darker movies of yesteryear in favor of more optimistic and fantastical film fare. Goodbye, Revolutionary Road. Hello, cuddly monsters…

Last weekend, “Where the Wild Things Are,” Spike Jonze’s spin on the modern children’s classic, opened to overall favorable reviews and earned the number one box office spot, grossing well over $30 million. Although children’s-book-to-screen adaptations are nothing new, many predict that if current economic conditions persist, movies depicting family-friendly fantasy lands will garner increasingly warmer welcomes among general audiences. Understandably, movie studios are well on top of this trend– “Entertainment Weekly” ran a recent feature about three well-respected directors, Jonze, Tim Burton, and Wes Anderson (all known for their edgy, adult-oriented work) tackling kids’ books in upcoming releases.

Audiences have long gravitated toward escapist entertainment in tough economic and political times. Shirley Temple is oft credited with helping America’s spirit survive the Great Depression. During World War II, with the help of the USO, entertainers Bob Hope and Bing Crosby delivered enthusiastic performances to tired troops. Some of the greatest and most memorable rock music ever created emerged from, and helped Americans through, the recession-ridden 1970s: Led Zeppelin, The Who, Elton John, The Clash, and the Sex Pistols. And this isn’t solely an American phenomenon– Teresa Teng warbled her way into the hearts of many Chinese during the tough transition from communism to capitalism…The fall of the Berlin Wall was set to the sounds of Leonard Bernstein, David Hasselhoff, and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters…Oppressed Soviet teenagers bartered for Michael Jackson bootlegs…the list goes on and on.

Times are tough. It’s been a couple generations since America has faced a future this uncertain. Yet, Hollywood, and Jonze, remind us that hope is never lost. No matter how high the rates of unemployment or inflation, no matter how dire the current situation may seem, for the price of a movie ticket, Americans can always find their happy endings in theaters.


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