About two weeks ago, I started noticing ads for a movie that opens Thanksgiving Day. It is the soft-focus, romantic holiday comedy, “Ninja Assassin.” Too bad the ad is filled with deadly throwing stars and knife-wielding, wall-walking martial artists who kick people in the face and gut enemies in super slow-mo. What could say “Thanksgiving” more than “Ninja Assassin”?
Maybe “The Road,” a movie about a dying man and his son as they trek through the barren waste of what used to be America, escaping from roving gangs of starving survivors who are trying to eat them. Wow, talk about the feel-good movie of the year. And just the kind of thing you want to see after eating a big, heavy meal. Bring the kids, they’ll love it!
“Hurry up and pass the turkey, we’ve got to get to the theater before all the good seats are taken.”
Another movie that will be ready for the holidays is “2012.” In case you’ve missed it, according to the Mayan calendar, the world as we know it is supposed to end on Dec. 21, 2012. Oh, those Mayans. They were right about so many things – human sacrifice, bragging about how much gold they had to those nice conquistadores, not buying land in Cancun when it was going at price – they’ve got to be right about this one. But isn’t believing that the world will end just because the Mayan calendar stops kind of like believing the world will end in January, because this year’s wall calendar only goes up to December?
If you believe the Mayan calendar is right and the world will end in December 2012, what would you do with your remaining time on Earth? Quit your job? Run for the hills? Max out your credit cards? Build a bomb shelter? Make peace with your maker? Or spend several years making a $100 million movie spectacular about it?
I like a good action film with lots of death and destruction as much as the next guy, but to call these movies “holiday releases” makes you think that “Ninja Assassin” might somehow, someway, be a holiday movie in the tradition of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Miracle on 34th Street” or “Holiday Inn”; that “The Road” might be another “ The Bells of St. Mary’s” or “The Bishop’s Wife,” or “White Christmas.” With holiday films like “Ninja” and “The Road,” you have to wonder just how long it will be before movie producers start saying things like: “Every time you see a spectacular car crash, an angel gets his wings.”
I’m not against violence in movies. Trust me, I would be the first in line to buy a ticket for “A Very Brady Reunion Massacre” or “Macaulay Culkin’s Die Alone,” but maybe there’s a more appropriate day to release them than Thanksgiving. Like Mother’s Day.
Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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