Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Seeing Munich

I sometimes joke that I feel like I have absolutely nothing in common with my sister's family. And while that may be true, I have to appreciate that my entire family is at least well-educated. After the ritual over-eating engaged in my most families on Christmas Day (along with the ritual present opening), we decided to go to a movie. Even though we have a wide age and socio-economic range, there was no discussion of The Ringer or Cheaper by the Dozen 2. Ultimately, we narrowed it down to Munich and Walk the Line (with a random vote or two for The Chronicles of Narnia). In the end, we decided to see Munich.

I'm going to digress here and note how much I love, sociologically, the process in which 7 people with decidedly different tastes decide which movie to see. To start, there has to be an unwritten law of respect among each others' choices. And also an unwritten rule that each person gets one true veto -- "I just don't want to see xxx." But no one person can veto each film, and of course, each person has to have a range of films that they'd be willing to see.

My sister lived in Hollywood for a number of years and has experience in the film industry. She's actively involved in the Oklahoma Indie film scene, so she's a shoo-in for anything that might be an Oscar or award film. Everyone also recognized that our 86-year-old father isn't going to be in for something really off-the-wall, like the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (which happens to be one of my niece's favorite films.) My nephews (26 and 22 respectively) are smart enough to know that no one is going to be up for The Ringer (a comedy about rigging the Special Olympics), and certainly I'm not silly enough to suggest that two grown, male, college graduates are going to enjoy, say, Sarah Jessica Parker in The Family Stone. (I'm not even sure *I'm* going to enjoy SJP in that movie.) We all agreed that King Kong was just three-hours of our lives we weren't going to get back.

Memoirs of a Geisha was in the running, but vetoed by at least one of the boys. My sister wanted to see The Chronicles of Narnia, but I used my veto on that one. We all said "no" to Syriana. No one wanted to think that hard on Christmas Day -- although most of us plan to see it (especially my recently graduated -- and commissioned -- nephew). The Producers was briefly mentioned but I think my father may have nixed that one. So, Walk the Line or Munich it was. We let my father decide and while we all figured he'd go for Johnny Cash, he opted for fighting terrorists and the 1972 Olympic hostage situation instead.

Afterward, we all agreed that it's a film you have to process before discussing, but at the very least, I've concluded that Munich should be required viewing for American citizens. The secret battle fought by Israel in the 1970s against the PLO and PLO-sponsored splinter groups (like Black September) parallels so many of the issues we face with terrorism and national security today. And no matter how you look at it, the moral and real implications are the same. What will it take to achieve true peace? I'm not sure anyone has an answer to that. They didn't in 1972 and we certainly don't know in 2005, but Munich reminds us that we each control what we are personally willing to do to achieve it. While I'm not sure it's an Oscar winner (personally, I still liked Capote better), I think Spielberg raises some interesting issues -- and not just from a one-sided perspective. The meaning for today's world is important. Plus, Geoffrey Rush is a lock for Best Supporting Actor based on his role as an Israeli case-officer.


At Wed Dec 28, 10:38:00 PM, Blogger Matisse Enzer said...

The film Munich is a real Rorschach ink-blot fo a movie - people really project their beliefs and values into the story. (See: http://www.rorschach.org/)


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