Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Back from DC

Where I did my best to enlighten the living as to the importance of our undead brethren. Though many remained unconvinced (won't they be surprised when the dead rise and go on their mindless, unstoppable killing and eating spree?), many more were curious, and some were downright interested, a fair number of whom actually bought the book.

While there I heard a paper by a colleague, Robert K. Johnston, on Ecclesiastes and film, especially comparing the biblical book to American Beauty. It was a fascinating way to open up how art 2500 years apart gets at some perennial pessimism and hope in human existence. It made me think of As Good as It Gets as another film where the character is pretty far gone in his cynicism, but still seems to enjoy life. And while he seems redeemed, it also doesn't seem the typical "gee whiz," "everything turns out fine" kind of Hollywood ending. (And I hate the inverse of that - the "boo-hoo, something bad happened" movie, like Pay It Forward, which made my skin crawl.) Even if my own tastes run towards the more dark, I'm going to think more on that, as I do have a little bit of a guilty pleasure for watching movies with (marginally) happy endings.


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