Tired, pissed off, unprepared, and heroic

February 20, 2007 2:49pm CST
I watched UNITED 93 for the second time last month. I think it's my favorite movie of 2006. I've always been a big fan of THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE. What I like most about that movie is the fact that everyone -- even the hijackers -- looks ragged out, sleep-starved, poorly fed and at the end of their rope. The way you feel every day going to your shi*ty job, and suddenly there's a crisis dropped on top of your head. Walter Matthau's rumpled state of grace actually adds to the tension -- how can this distracted, thrown-together tunnel dweller possibly pull it together to stop a massacre? And I think that's the appeal of UNITED 93 -- this is the 21st century showing up late, and vengeful, and there's no superheroes or Tom Cruise or Rambo or wisecracking ex-Special Forces soldiers to stand in its way. It's men with bad paychecks and cheap ties who do crucial jobs for no glory or praise day in and day out. And it's a Tuesday morning. And no one's seeing the whole, bigger picture. Not the people on the ground, the passengers in the planes, even the hijackers -- until, of course, a crucial moment, and then it's too late. And I saw CHILDREN OF MEN. And it's about the future -- one of our possible futures, all of which seem pretty grim these days. And, once again, it's people stressed-out, and tired, and hopeful, having to decide whether to stay warm and wrapped up in their beds, or to stumble out into the freezing dawn and try to save the world. UNITED 93 and CHILDREN OF MEN. My two favorite movies of 2006.
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