Friday, April 28, 2006

"United 93 / Stick It" Double Feature

I was on the tail end of a bout of gastroenteritis and didn't eat the entire day. My roommate and I got sushi, since Japanese food is the absolute easiest on my stomach. I went with a bowl of steaming udon, tamago maki, and avocado maki. We had already purchased our tickets and I was starting to feel nervous about United 93. I wanted to see the movie, but I wasn't sure if I really wanted to sit through it tonight.

Jane and I had decided earlier on a United 93 / Stick It double feature, because neither of us wanted to end the night with the tragedy of 9/11 weighing so heavy on our minds. The only DVD I own is "Bring It On," and since the writer of that movie penned the script for Stick It, I was going to see that movie sooner or later. But as I chowed down on my food, I started to have serious misgivings. Was I cheapening the whole experience by watching both movies the same night?

I finished my meal and the two of us headed to the theater. I felt a little queasy, which was probably a combination of the stomach flu and my anxiety over the impending film. I don't think I ever felt so uneasy before watching a film. The only thing that was remotely close was the way I felt before watching Hostel.

United 93 was heart-breaking to watch, as expected. The fact that the movie was done with the blessings of the families of the deceased was enough to convince me to see it. But some icing on the cake is that 10% of the proceeds are going to the Flight 93 memorial. Several friends and aquaintances have had very negative opinions about the film, or rather the very making of it, since they don't plan on watching it. But I don't see this as any different from other human tragedies that have been brought to the big screen. Heaven and Earth, Schindler's List, Europa Europa, Bent, and Life is Beautiful, each of these movies wrenched my heart and made me feel real pain. They were true stories with people who truly suffered.

I sent a thank you note to Cheyenne Jackson, the actor who portrayed Mark Bingham, the rugby player who helped take on the hijackers. I was very happy that for once and openly gay man was played by an openly gay actor, though I didn't mention that in the letter. He probably gets that all the time.

After United 93, Jane and I were pretty much silent. The auditorium for Stick It happened to be right across the hall from United, so it was a quick trip. As I listened to the teen laughter and banter prior to the movie, I almost got up and left. I wasn't sure I could sit through a "teen" movie with everything that was on my mind from United 93. But I remembered my original purpose for the double feature and stayed in my seat. I'm so glad I did.

Stick It was an incredibly uplifting movie. There were tons of the usual teen movie clich├ęs, but then the film broke the mold with several surprises that I really did not see coming. Young women who are allowed to excel, to strive for their own glory, to compete with such raw physicality are a great rebuke to all who feel a woman's worth is judged by her husband and her sons.

For a teen film there were plenty of adults, including myself, in the audience cheering at the breakout moments. United 93 was still on our minds, but we left the theater with our spirits lifted. Watching the films back to back was an experience that was more synergistic than I expected, and it made for an incredible, introspective night.

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

After seeing "United 93" I have to admit I was just too drained to have seen another movie .. though it's an incredibly well-made movie, I just wasn't ready for it