Don’t worry Mom, you can skip The Hunger Games. I’ve known your movie tastes for years now, and beginning with A Fish Called Wanda — which I recommended and you hated — I’ve had to ask myself the simple question, what would Mom like?
You probably won’t like this.
On the other hand, I really did enjoy it. So did your daughter-in-law; she’s seen it twice in a little over 12 hours. So did your granddaughters. You didn’t read the books, Ma, so I think something may be lost on you. But that can be overcome. What can’t be looked over is the violent premise. Why subject yourself to two hours and 22 minutes of a film portraying a dystopic future where children have to kill each other in order to survive?
It’s grim. And even though the actual killings in The Game are largely symbolic, there’s still a horrifying plot line you’d have to endure. That’s not your speed. You loved The Artist and The Descendants. Imagine if only one or two of the characters from each of those films survived by the closing credits. Okay, you’d still get Clooney, but stay with me.
Maybe that was a bad example. But I just don’t think you’ll be hip to a future where A Clockwork Orange meets Spartacus. Hey, I think I just coined a phrase. If you use that term with your friends, mother dearest, make sure you add my copyright at the end.
I know you don’t enjoy the thought of young folks fighting each other off in order to survive in a frightening, brutal show all for the delight of spectators. Just like Jersey Shore, you can skip this one too, Mom.
Having read the books, like seemingly billions of others, I was pleased with the movie and completely engaged all throughout. Even knowing what came next, I still refused to go out and pee, though my bladder felt like District 11 if you know what I mean.
You probably don’t know what I mean.
Arriving home all bleary-eyed at 3:00 a.m. this morning, all three of my ladies agreed it wouldn’t be on your must-see list.
So for the rest of you who didn’t give birth to me:
About the only thing that didn’t ring true for me (apart from an impossible camouflage scene) was the lack of actual hunger in The Hunger Games. The books explained the character’s starvation far better than the movie, which barely hinted at it. They filmed buff, well-fed actors — one even saying on the train ride, “I’m not that hungry.” Continuity, people!
Elizabeth Banks was unrecognizable as the deliciously self-obsessed Effie Trinket. Stanley Tucci gives a Best Supporting Actor-worthy performance as a maniacal Caesar Flickerman. And look for young newcomer Amandla Stenberg (Rue) to take Hollywood by quiet tsunami.
In a very strange case of life and art imitating each other, Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Katniss, is so distracted on stage that she doesn’t hear the interviewer’s question. Earlier this week, on David Letterman, she uttered the same line, “wait … what” while being similarly distracted. My wife and I nudged each other in the theater and smiled.
I agree with my colleague Jane Wells’ assessment of one of the cooler parts of the movie, the games control room. I also like Ed McNulty’s discussion on moral and spiritual questions that arise out of the movie.
We’ll all get back to non-Hunger Games topics here at ReadTheSpirit. But it was a fun diversion for a little while.