Here’s a problem.
I saw Martian the other day and I enjoyed it tremendously. A determinative sign of my enthusiasm? I did not care if it made sense. (By which I mean “story” sense. As far as scientific accuracy is concerned, my official reaction: “Who cares?”)
Martian felt like a throwback kind of a movie, from a time when America was hyper-optimistic and believed it could do anything. Americans don’t believe that anymore. Except for campaigning politicians. And it is possible they are only be saying that for votes.
In Martian, an astronaut is left stranded on Mars, and in the end – “Spoiler Alert!” – they get him back.
In truth, that isn’t really much of a spoiler. A movie where an astronaut’s stranded on Mars and they don’t get him back?
ANNOYED STUDIO EXECUTIVE: “I cannot believe you just pitched me that. ”
Just in case you were disappointed by my substandard “Spoiler Alert”, I now offer a legitimate “Spoiler Alert” about Martian –
That was a better one, wasn’t it?
I cannot tell you how happy that made me. Not that I ruined the suspense by giving away the fact that nobody dies, but that that was actually the case in a movie.
Color me “Relieved.” I mean, people die in comedies today. And here we have a movie set in outer space, which, you know, is a risky kind of a venue, where dying is not an unlikely possibility, I mean, not to the star of the movie, of course, but an endearing featured character the audience welcomed warmly into their hearts – those guys go all the time!
Not this time.
Now you might say, “We cannot take this film seriously because nobody died.” But I ask you to consider whether the need for obligatory “movie death” says more about the movie, or about you.
Is it unfathomable to believe that they can rescue someone from Mars and nobody dies? What is the matter with you? Is what I am asking you to consider.
I loved it that nobody died. It spared me the agonizing discomfort I have come to see as the price I am required to pay to watch an otherwise enjoyable movie. This time, however – no price. To which I say to Martian’s moviemakers…
The problem is, though I am not known for snarkiness, I am known for complaininess. “Complaining ‘R I”, you might say, were you packaging my perspectival essentialness. And with a terrific movie like Martian, I have nothing to complain about.
Which, the way I write about things…
Leaves me nothing to write about.
With one exception.
The ticky-tack quality of my quibble reflecting,
“This guy’s really ‘reaching’ for a complaint.”
That’s true. But it is not going to stop me.
Here’s my quibbly complaint.
Late in the movie, Matt Damon, succeeding Tom Hanks as today’s identifiable “Mr. Everyman” – except with a more noticeably sculpted upper body – steps out of the shower, and moves away from the camera…
Revealing, not surprisingly for a person who has just stepped out of the shower…
At that point, I immediately lean over to Dr. M and I whisper,
Uttered with total confidence, although I have zero familiarity with Mr. Damon’s actual butt.
I just knew that wasn’t his.
Incidentally, the “stepping-out-of-the-shower” scene was entirely unnecessary. Maybe it was the producer’s way of making up for “Nobody died.” “Nobody died, but you got to see Matt Damon’s posterior.”
Except you didn’t.
Which made me immediately wonder,
Whose posterior was it?
Was that “Tushie Double” invited to the premier?
And did he bring along his parents?
And did he go up to Matt Damon at the “after party” and say, “I’m your hind-quarters”?
And what exactly is on his resume?
And on his eight-by-ten glossies?
And can he do uncanny posterial impressions of all the actors he’s stood in for?
And does he feel lucky to be working, or did he always know he “had it”?
And what are the auditions for those jobs like?
(DISMISSLINGLY) “That’s Tom Cruise’s ass.”
Thank you, Martian producers for including that gratuitous moment.
Otherwise, I’d be dead in the water here.
What does my inability to write interestingly about positive experiences say about me?
Do you really need to know?
I am certain I don’t.
And I wrote a post about it,