Two very different movies and the suspension of disbelief

We saw Win Win last a couple of nights ago at an old fashioned movie house. The Guild, built in 1926. It only has one screen and, as the lights dimmed, the manager came down to the front to welcome us. She told us that if we had any problems, like the sound volume or the temperature, to come to the back and tell her. When the curtain opened – when was the last time you were at a movie theater that had a curtain? – they started running previews, not ads.

Befitting the theater, the movie was shot in old fashioned Technicolor film that made it look slightly homemade.  Paul Giamatti was the lead – I am hesitant to say star – and an excellent supporting cast most of whom I have seen before but I am not sure where. I thought it was a very enjoyable movie.

We saw Source Code at our local multiplex in downtown Redwood City. Both the movie and the theater could not have been more different. I am a big fan of this multiplex; I think that it has been a big factor in revitalizing downtown Redwood City. Revitalizing downtown Redwood City may be overstating it, but the downtown is much more lively than it used to be with lots of restaurants.

Anyway, Source Code has Jake Gyllenhaal who almost anybody would say is a star and Michelle Monaghan as a sort of random woman on a train. Vera Farmiga – show below in a gratuitous cheesecake shot to emphasis her non-militaryness – plays an Air Force captain at Nellis Air Force Base. The movie is shot in a hyper-sharp, probably digital, medium; much like the dream sequences in  Inception. I thought it was a very enjoyable movie.

The plot of Win Win revolved around a regular guy with a regular job and a regular family making the sleazy kind of bad decision regular people sometimes make. Source Code revolves  around the totally preposterous premise of putting somebody’s mind into a dead person’s body to relive – with modifications – the last eight minutes of their life which is still around in a sort of after image.

The thing is, when we walked out of Win Win, Michele said, That didn’t seem very realistic, it was just too much of a coincidence that Kyle was a wrestler. I felt the same way. But neither of us felt that way walking out of Source Code.  Because Win Win was so close to real reality, we hold it to a higher standard.  We hold Source Code to a Star Wars standard. All movies are unrealistic; they all include an arc of change and a transformation that most of us haven’t experienced in a lifetime. That’s why we go to the movies.


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