Obviously, I will never know to which apparently scandalous event Ok! magazine is referring, because the cover has precisely the opposite effect on me that it is meant to have. I am sure the editors of Ok! were betting on grocery store or book store or eReader customers being tempted enough to discover these young stars' "juicy secrets" that they would purchase the magazine. I sincerely hope they were disappointed in the number of sales they actually made.
When you consider a story like "The Hunger Games," trashy, sensational magazine cover-speak such as that featured on Ok! positively reverberates with irony.
I loved "The Hunger Games" film adaptation. It was one of the best and most respectful adaptations I have seen, and the creators cut out much less than I actually thought they would. The acting was, for the most part, moving and effective, and I loved the costumes. But above all, it was a very serious movie. The movie, like the book, was meant to teach us and, more specifically, young people something. Beware the god Entertainment - you will end up leaving your humanity at the altar.
The name of the futuristic country in the story that is all that's left of America is Panem. Panem as in "panem et circenses" - bread and games. Apparently, at one point, the people of Panem gave up their important freedoms and their political voice in favor of full tummies and entertainment. It might have happened slowly - over the course of decades - we don't know because the book doesn't provide that much historical detail. But we do know that eventually, Panem traded liberty for sweets and delicacies, freedom for television.
If you walk away from a movie like "The Hunger Games" and all you want to know is who its stars were having over to visit in their hotel rooms, I think it's safe to say you've missed the point.
"Rollerball" tells the story of Jonathan E., renowned and remarkable rollerball champion. Only, there aren't supposed to be champions in rollerball - a brutal, fiery game in which the participants have to get a metal ball into a ring, all the while skating around a rink in teams equipped with motorcycles and spiked gloves. In the futuristic world of "Rollerball," the game of that name was created "to demonstrate the futility of individual effort." The omnipotent corporation in "Rollerball" doesn't like Jonathan because he rises above the system. He asserts his will over the collective will of the corporation. In other words, Jonathan is the Mockingjay.
"It's like people had a choice a long time ago between having all them nice things or freedom," Jonathan says. "Of course, they chose comfort."
"But comfort is freedom," says Jonathan's ex-wife. "The whole history of civilization is a struggle against poverty and need."
"No! No...that's not it," answers Jonathan. "That's never been it! Them privileges just buy us off."
Decidedly the least serious of the three dystopian films I've watched recently is "The Running Man," but you can't argue with the fact that it, along with "The Hunger Games" and "Rollerball" are triplets in satirical terms. I didn't know this, but my mom informed me that Richard Dawson, who plays the host of "The Running Man" in the movie, was actually the host of Family Fued up until a couple years before the movie was filmed. For me, that added an element of serious creepiness. Imagine if Ryan Seacrest played the host of the Hunger Games of Panem! It would bring the message of the film a lot closer to home.
|"The Running Man"|
Your most valuable tool - and what makes you you - is housed inside that heavy bone structure sitting on top of your neck. That organ's capacity to think, to reason, to create, and to assert itself as an entity existing separately from everything else is quite unique in the universe. The media would have you feed it garbage twenty-four hours a day, and it's up to you - like Katniss - to turn on your B.S. detector. The media would have us think that women are things, that pain and strife in a family is just "drama" and makes good TV, that you can find true love if you date thirty people at once, that violence can be beautiful and exciting. They don't need you to agree, at first, they just need you to forget to think for yourself. And it remains to be seen whether these films and the other stories in their genre remain fictional or become prophetic. After all, Panem wasn't built in a day.