30 September, 2010

The Little Things

I've been a fan of Bruce Willis ever since Moonlighting, but not being a particular fan of action movies, I hadn't see Die Hard until tonight.

Of course, any movie about terrorists is seen through the prism of 9-11, but I think I've gotten pretty good at setting that aside in order to see an older movie for the individual bit of fluff that it's supposed to be.

Can't do it with Die Hard, though.

Cop gets to carry his gun on the plane? Jarring, but kinda amusing in a "ain't it funny how different things used to be?" way. Set it aside, keep watching, and you'll lose yourself in the movie.

Terrorists blow up an office building (even if it is just the roof), complete with stuff raining from the sky onto the people below?

Not so amusing. And not really all that entertaining, even if the good guys win in the end.

Kinda makes me wish I'd seen Die Hard... before. I bet it was a ton of fun--must've been, because it made Willis a superstar. But I can't tell, 'cause I can't see it with a pre-9/11 mind.

I suppose one gets used to the big changes and the big losses of innocence.. we develop emotional armor against the ways we all think and live differently since then, the images of the battlefield, the names, the endlessly-reverberating consequences. It all still hurts, each story tears at the heart and brings tears... but they don't shock us anymore. Maybe we have learned to expect them?

But the little things... they sneak up on you... Like a movie that sets you up so perfectly to root for the all-too-human hero, to scoff at the idiot FBI agents, too cheer as the good guys swagger off into the figurative sunset in a limousine with everything wrapped up in a pretty bow... but it all clangs so terribly off key, now.

You don't feel like cheering... because a perfect-pitch film from 1988 doesn't hit the same notes in your psyche anymore, doesn't make the same connections.

Because the good guys don't always win. And terrorists who blow up office buildings are a little too real. It's not escapist entertainment anymore.

The little things... the little ways that prove the changes... It's harder to have armor for them.