Jewish World Review March 18, 2003 / 14 Adar II, 5763
Hour of the Narc
I had a few bucks left over after paying the bills, so I went down to the
Starbucks, bought myself a Venti, fished a newspaper off a table, and
sat down to see what movies were being displayed for my potential
enjoyment. Two caught my eye. One was called THE HOURS, a story of three
depressed white women. The other was called NARC, a story about two
depressed white men.
The women, I've heard, are suicidal throughout most of THE HOURS, and
the men are violent throughout most of NARCH. Well, if you know me at
all, if comes to a choice between watching lovely women gazing sadly out
windows and contemplating suicide, and watching morose men beat each
other up in a gritty urban environment, you know the choice I will make.
As it turns out, I opted for neither, and chose instead to rent BATTLE
ROYALE again, the heartwarming tale of Japanese prep school students
forced to murder each other horribly on a remote island. Great movie. I
recommend it highly.
But I did get to thinking about the difference between guy movies, girl
movies, and teen movies. Guy movies are always outer directed. Girl
movies are inner directed. And teen movies are about inner-directed
people acting out. CARRIE is the prototype.
But not all women express their inner directedness the same way, do
they? Look at the difference, say, between Lizsie Borden and Emily
Dickinson. Both were reclusive Massachusetts gals, yet one is remembered
rightly or wrongly for murdering her elders with an ax, and the other
for beautiful elliptical poetry. Certainly a famous poem was written
about Lizzie Borden, but equally as certainly it's not a poem Emily
Dickinson would have written.
And some men express their outer directedness indirectly, through
sitting on couches and grunting at football games, for example. Such a
man, however, would never be a hero in an action picture, just as Lizzie
Borden would probably not fit in with the Bloomsbury Crowd.
It would be nice, just once though, to see Julianne Moore respond to the
confusion and anguish of suburban life by picking up a Magnum and
snarling, "This time it's for keeps." Maybe in THE HOURS II: MADWOMAN'S
And I wouldn't mind seeing a movie in which tough cops throw aside their
guns and take up knitting. Maybe call it NARCOLEPSY.
In the meantime, there's always BATTLE ROYALE. You get to see teen
issues, anguish, love, bizarre methods of lethal dispatch, and at the
end, pretty much everybody's dead.
Man. That's my kind of picture.
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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2001, Ian Shoales