In addition to this blog, I am also the Chicago Examiner's horror movie critic ( http://exm.nr/QbxTMb) so I'm used to evaluating movies with a bend towards the macabre and fantastical. And when a real life horror, such as the one that occurred in Aurora, Colorado at the premiere of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES occurs, it make any fictional monster I critique seem almost quaint by comparison. With what happened yesterday, a critique of this horror show is needed. And I feel the greater tragedy would be for our nation to stand idly by, wringing our collective hands once again, and never act upon fighting the insanity. Here are six things we can start doing that will help fight against such madness:
DON'T BLAME BATMAN
The premiere of one of the year’s most anticipated movies should have been only a time for celebration in the world of cinema. Instead, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES will now carry with it the taint of this tragedy forever. And even though the shooter called himself “The Joker” the franchise should not be blamed. Nor should any movie with violence or guns. Of course there is too much of such things permeating our entertainments, but a disturbed individual could have been set off by anything.
I’d even argue that Chris Nolan’s Batman movies deplore violence more than most other products coming out of Hollywood these days. The Batman franchise shows the limitations of violence. And there is a very strong morality coursing through all of Nolan’s work, particularly what he’s done with the Dark Knight. Movies did not make James Holmes do what he did. They may have made him think killing is exciting and cool, but it was his disturbed mental condition that caused his actions. And easy accessibility to weaponry that armed his psychosis.
CONFRONT THE NRA
The NRA defends the right to bear arms with a rabidness that is neither normal nor realistic and it’s time to challenge them. Their strident defense of automatic and semi-automatic weaponry for an armed citizenry is outrageous. The NRA needs to be confronted on their continual defense of the all-too easy accessibility to such weaponry and ammunition, and their “From my cold dead hands” reply to any and all suggestions to help curb it. There is a real problem with these weapons in this country and the NRA needs to address it. James Holmes got his hands on an AR-15, an overtly deadly weapon that was once illegal in this country, and the NRA can start by working with the government to ban such weapons that no one needs.
CHALLENGE OBAMA & ROMNEY TOO
Yesterday, the NRA stated that they would wait to say more about the Aurora tragedy until more facts are known. And the President and the GOP presumed nominee weren’t much better in their words. Neither candidate uttered the word “gun” in their comments. Rather, they read carefully constructed statements to avoid offending the NRA or gun-owning voters. It’s time for both parties to stand up to the NRA, challenge the NRA, and do something about this overtly violent nation we’re living in. No one needs automatic or semi-automatic weapons in the USA. Period. Not. One. Of. Us. Every police force in the nation is against a citizenry having such deadly force. Isn’t it time for the President, our political leaders, and the NRA to back the positions of those who serve and protect us?
POLICE THE INTERNET
And speaking of changing laws, why is the web allowed to traffic in so much illegality? One can easily find illegal drugs, child porn, illegal weaponry, and all kinds of ills – if you know where to look. Holmes knew where to look. And when he wanted to get his weaponry, he bought online. The web made it too easy for him. I’m not against freedom, but I don’t think that kind of access is freedom. Arguably, it’s actually holding our nation hostage. Time for some real laws to be put into effect to control some of the things going on in the Wild West that is the Web.
HIRE MORE STAFF FOR THEATERS
The economy has forced businesses to cut employees everywhere. Movie theaters too. It’s amazing how scant staffing is at your local Cineplex. Perhaps movie ticket prices have to rise to accommodate better care of patrons but I’d say having more employees there monitoring exits and patrons would be worth the extra cost to ensure a safer experience.
CURB MIDNIGHT PREMIERES
The only reason midnight premieres exist is so movie studios can get another big showing tacked onto their first weekend take. It’s greed, nothing more. But with those late, late shows come a whole host of problems. There is usually only a skeleton crew left to handle crowds that are often unwieldy. I used to love midnight screenings because they were exclusive. But now, I’d do with a little less exclusivity in favor of a more secure movie-going experience.
I hope that those idiotic fans out there that were threatening critics who deigned to pan THE DARK KNIGHT RISES are feeling 10 inches tall this morning. The movie didn’t deserve that notoriety. And how tragic that it now has the Aurora, Colorado albatross around its neck too. I hope these events don’t detour people from going to the Cineplexes. But what I do hope even more is that we start to find solutions to this incredibly angry and violent country we’re living in. We can start by trying any of these six solutions.