We watched the movie The Hostage over the weekend.  Didn’t care for it much.  It was awfully violent, in a gratuitous sort of way, and the characters were all rather screwed up individuals.  It’s hard to root for the "good guys" when you really don’t like anyone on the screen (except, of course, for the innocent children – like that doesn’t pull the parental heartstrings).  But mainly it was the violence that got to me.  Usually violence in movies doesn’t bother me too much, so I had to think about why this one was turning me off.

I realized that I require a certain feature for violence in movies or else it becomes unpalatable, to say the least, (and once it hits that it’s no longer entertainment for me).  I need my violence completely over the top.  I need it so ridiculous that there is a very distinct severance from reality.  I’m OK with the Kill Bill movies and Batman Beginnings and The Scorpion King (it was on again last night!).  Anything that is violent where there’s a ton of fake blood squirting everywhere, or you have people dying left and right en masse but there’s no blood, just sound effects, and of course anything with superheroes or scifi-ish – I’m OK with those.  THEY’RE NOT REAL.  And (I would hope) no one can mistake them for being real. 

But when a movie’s violence is too realistic?  Ugh, I can’t take it.  Especially in a film with fucked up kids holding other kids hostage (and then another whole family set being held hostage someplace else).  I know it’s supposed to get the audience’s hearts pounding and all of us riveted with suspense.  We’re all supposed to be invested in the characters because of projected worries for our own families.  But really, it was just TOO MUCH!  I don’t want to see kids hurting themselves and each other.  I just don’t.  I watch movies for entertainment and escapism.  When too many internal fears are being realized on the screen (even if those fears aren’t very likely to ever happen) it just kind of fucks up the escapism part.  I already watch the news every night.  I know the world can be a bad and fucked up place.  Why do I need to pay someone else to freak me out even more?

I thought maybe this was just the mom in me… (Isn’t there a switch that turns on or something once you have a kid?  You know, the switch that makes you stop liking shoot-‘em-up video games, and makes you disapprove of certain song lyrics and questionable TV programming.  Hasn’t that turned on yet?)  I always had a problem with hurt kids (or animals) in movies even before I had my son.  But Keen Dad didn’t like it either for basically the same reasons. 

It almost seems like a cheap tactic for the movie producers… play on the fears of real parents everywhere so we can push through with a script that probably could do with some work.  It’s along the same lines of throwing in extra explosions because you don’t have enough dialogue and need filler.  (Oh yeah, and there was also this cheesy, symbolic Mary and Jesus shot that came out of left field and just did not work. I just had to mention that.)

Anyways, I’ll just have to go watch a GOOD action flick now to make up for it.  One that won’t make me clutch my child and quiver under the bed.                – the weirdgirl