9

9.jpg

Just to be clear, I’m talking about 9, the movie about little burlap people making their way in a post-apocalyptic world of scary machines, not Nine, the movie about big-busted women making their way through Fellini’s anti-apocalyptic world of surreal parties. I can feel a burlap bachanal mash-up coming on when the latter gets released later this fall, but for now, we’re just going to chat about the former. A plot device of the latter to be specific. A plot device that drives me completely insane to be even more specific.

What plot device is that? The one where the “hero” does something unbelievably stupid that serves to set in motion a terrible string of consequences from which he (usually he) then “saves” the rest of the characters/the world for which he is then, in a mindbending perversion of cause and effect, rewarded. We, the gullible audience, are supposed to not only forgive him but embrace him because he has recognized his error and because he “makes up” for his stupid, stupid mistake.

There’s a category for that kind of incompetence in the business world: it’s called “grounds for dismissal” and, to my mind, it should be more liberally applied in the world of fiction.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for personal growth, even in tiny people made of hessian, but it strains my sense of justice that the guy who, however accidentally, caused the death of more than half of the remaining population of the planet not only keeps his job but gets promoted and lives out his days as the sole male in a tiny harem of little cloth ladies. What the hell is up with that?

Mistakes happen, sure. People are flawed, absolutely. Regrettable but true. But I’d rather watch a plot driven by a more complicated confluence of events and, yes, mistakes, than a plot driven by someone tripping on their shoelaces and setting off an atomic bomb. Although, actually, that might be entertaining. Let me try again: someone playing with the fuse on an atomic bomb and then acting like it wasn’t his fault when it goes off ’cause he “didn’t know”, and then “saving” the remaining world and getting the girl.

What happened to the step where you pay your debt to society for killing a bunch of people and screwing everything up for everyone else because you couldn’t be bothered to stop and think in the first place? It’s like a little tiny Bush Administration and it makes me nuts.

It’s the age of Obama, little burlap dude: time to man up and accept responsibility for your actions. In the meantime, the smart ladies can be in charge. They’re the ones who were running the joint before you came along anyway. Plus they’re made out of cotton and have better hats, so case closed.

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