Jewish World Review March 18, 2003 / 14 Adar II, 5763

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

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 REVENGE.

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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02/21/03: Aussie invasion!
02/11/03: This museum of my dreams would be no accident
02/03/03: Hasn't 'reality TV' always been with us?
01/30/03: Get tougher?
01/21/03: Spinning through the 'newscycle'
01/16/03: "G" for verbal violence?
01/03/03: Farewell to novelty
12/23/02: Neo-frontiers
12/18/02: A nation of hypochondriacs?
12/11/02: Cursed
11/08/02: Good news for skateboarders looking to keep up with world events
11/01/02: "Extreme" annoyance
10/24/02: Snipers are people, too!
10/16/02: Hockey Therapy
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09/30/02: If you are employed, you're part of the problem
09/25/02: "Up and comers," go away!
09/18/02: Collectibilitized
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08/20/02: Will we soon need a passport to get caviar, duc a la orange, or Polish sausage?
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06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
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04/10/02: New realities
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01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
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08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
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08/06/01: That Big Clock
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07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales