Tag Archives: movies

91. Fake crowds

Guest Thought from Sean Fryer

:::

Alright. That’s it.

I have held my tongue long enough. As a fan of cinema there is something that has been niggling at me for a few years now, simmering just below the surface of my subconscious. I didn’t know what it was specifically.

Then as I sat bored and channel surfing one evening, I happened upon a Revenge of the Nerds movie (which one doesn’t matter here). And I hung on that channel, marveling at what people thought was funny in the 80’s, and the movie was near the end where the two factions (nerds vs. jocks) are battling it out for something, a trophy or respect or both or something. There was a crowd of cheering extras, rooting and jumping and hollerin’ and clapping and shaking their fists in the air… and it dawned on me.

It looked totally fake.

It was as if the director had told them to be enthusiastic but LOOK like you don’t know why. Trust me on this. There are quite a few ‘fake crowds’ in dozens of movies, and only a few of them seem authentic (The Natural with Robert Redford comes to mind), but a great majority of films just don’t quite cut it as realistic.

Like any movie with a ski competition. Or Adam Sandler movies.

My point being this… Now I can’t stop scrutinizing movies with crowds and judging how real they look. And now that I put it into your thoughts, you will now do the same. Fake crowds in movies. Don’t know why they irk me but I’m sure I am not alone.

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34. Horror and spice

I equate a good horror movie to a really spicy meal. When a movie is really scary, it gets your heart racing, it makes you sweat, and it makes you uncomfortable in your seat. A spicy meal will do the same thing. Both the movie and the meal are a form of self-abuse, if you think about it. We knowingly bring terror into our lives or we knowingly set our tongues and mouths on fire. But why?

I’d argue first and foremost that it’s because of the rush.

Can I handle this? Can I handle watching The Ring in the dark? Can I handle a full bite of jalapeño chili? I’ll never know unless I try, and even if it brings me to tears, I can’t give up once I’ve started. There’s more at stake here than simply watching a movie or eating a meal. This is about taking your heart and stomach on a rollercoaster with no brakes. This is about pushing your psychiatric well-being to its snapping point and giving your sweat glands a work-out. That’s the rush.

We watch horror movies as a way of release, and we eat spicy foods as a way of cleansing.

After a good horror movie, I feel elated. I feel like a survivor. I’ve just witnessed sheer terror and probably jumped out of my skin a half dozen times, and I’m sure I spent half the time cowering behind my knees with a hand held over my mouth. All that stress, all that tension, it fills me up like a balloon and, eventually, something will burst out of the shadows and pop that stress balloon–perhaps resulting in an embarrassing shriek. It feels good. When I’m watching a horror movie, I’m not thinking about my job, my school work, my taxes, or my petty concerns. There are people in much greater danger than I am on the screen, and I can take comfort in knowing that no matter how crappy my day was, at least I’m not being chased down by a man in flesh mask wielding a chainsaw.

Spicy food does the same thing. Most of the food we eat, delicious as it is, doesn’t really affect you the way spicy food does. A plate of spaghetti does not have the same physical impact as a bad-ass salsa. We seek the cleanse, which comes not specifically from the food, but the results that come from eating it. Truly spicy food will make your face turn red. It’ll wreck havoc on your digestive system. It’ll make you wish you’d never been born. Yet the abuse is somehow tolerated because, in the end, we feel better and we feel stronger. If we can survive that cayenne red pepper sauce, we can survive anything. The sweat, the charred roof of your mouth, and the feeling that you’ve just swallowed a bucket of hot coals is completely validated once the burning goes away. You’ve just sweated out a bunch of toxins and forced your body into immediate survival mode. It’s a wake up call, a test. This is cleansing, even if it hurts, and this is why we do it.

We need a good release. We deserve a good cleanse now and then. We’re a species with a tendency to worry too much, to fear too much, and to repress too much. This leads to toxic build up.

Let that stuff out. Stretch yourself. Go see a scary movie, release that tension. Go eat some spicy food, cleanse your taste-buds.

And if you want, find an alternative. Find another way to feel the rush and push your limits. You’ll feel remarkably better afterward.