I sat in my car this evening forgetting about the mixture of soon to be Silver Alert drivers and crotch rocket lane splitters sharing the Florida cracker bumper car E ticket on I-95 North coming up from Miami, I was able to put this absurd experience aside for 5 minutes while I listened to a story about ‘tinseltown’ and its representation of the so called American Dream on NPR.
I was really getting into it, and couldn’t wait to hear how it ended. Bob Mondello had me by the ears as he went back to Hollywood’s beginnings with immigrants creating an escapist fantasy. And how Chaplin’s Tramp transcended the great depression even though every one knew he was worth millions.
I was particularly keen on how he was going to tie this all together, because my trip northward of Miami has become a habit as I write a story about immigration into the U.S. from Cuba and all of it’s various incarnations over the decades since Castro’s revolution — all the way up to how it influenced 9.11. It’s based on a Miami girl’s life story and I don’t believe the topic of freedom and immigration has ever been more relevant OR even explored in film from one regular Jane’s point of view.
Although Clooney is suddenly into Cuba now. Call me George… I’ve got a doozy for ya!
So, as Bob reached the final minute or so, my attention grew to concern when he switched the focus and threw this in:
…‘And you don’t hear about the big star who lives in an ordinary house and drives an ordinary car, because that’s not part of the fantasy. By leaving out the caveats, Hollywood can make the American dream seem a persuasive American reality — even if it’s not the reality most of us experience.’
Okay… then he says all foreigners come to this country and say the same thing, ‘the cars are all new… it looks like a movie…’
I’d like a source on that please. Especially as I read the Silver Alert: 1987 white Malibu… FL tag # _________.
Anyway, even if he was just generalizing, the very last line made me walk out of the movie in my head:
…’All filmmakers are doing is making what they know. And then doing a little editing.’
Oh Bob… really? Art creating life to be imitated by life imitating art, is really all he had to say?! Come on at least throw in the best way to say it ever and quote Robert Downey Jr. from TROPIC THUNDER!
There’s an MP3 on NPR’s site if you don’t want to read it, but wordpress won’t let me embed it… the nerve.
I’d love to hear thoughts on this, where do you think this story should have gone? And more importantly how not to lose your audience in the end.