Jan 28, 2021

Mixing Deathbeds and Magic Swords


I cannot understand movies about terminal illness.  Who could possibly write such a thing, or agree to perform in it?   Who on Earth could want to watch it?   Maybe people who are suicidal.  The purpose of entertaiment is to make you feel good, not bad.  Optimistic, not "life is constant pain, and then you die."  

I especially can't understand movies which try to convince you that "life is constant pain, and then you die" through heroic fantasy.  Goblins, Elves, dragons, magic swords, and heroic quests are positive, life-affirming.  Exciting.  Fun.  

Yet they keep mixing up deathbeds and magic swords.

A Monster Calls: A boy deals with the trauma of his dying mother by imagining a helpful tree monster.  Sorry, not even the hunky Toby Kebbell as the boy's dad could convince me to get within 50 miles of ths monstrosity. 

The Dangerous Book for Boys. 
Some boyovercome the trauma of their father's death by imagining a fantasy world.  In addition to the sadness, it sounds sexist, all about stereotypic boys' interests in building things, racing things, playing sports, being loud and aggressive.  Lots of boys aren't loud and aggressive, whether or not their dad is dead.

Pan's Labyrinth.
A girl escapes the trauma of her sick mother and stepfather(Sergi Lopez) into a fantasy world.

The Place of No Words.
  A father (Mark Webber) helps his son deal with his own terminal illness by imagining a fantasy wold.

The Fault in Our Stars. Two teenagers cope with dying by imagining a fantasy world. Sorry, that's too depressing to even look up the cast list on IMDB to see if there are any hot actors.  

At least these movies are upfront about the dying part, even though being upfront is bound to reduce the audience from 2,000,000 to about 20.  Sometimes they lie to trick you into the theater.

The Bridge to Terabinthia was the worst offender, with trailers that promote a rousing fantasy adventure similar to The Chronicles of Narnia.  It takes about 20 minutes before you discover that you have been conned: you're watching a boy (Josh Hutcherson) and his girlfriend spinning fantasies in order to deal with the trauma of her terminal illness.  I still remember the shock as I bolted from the theater.

Even thinking about these soul-destroying nightmares has me depressed.  I'm rushing to Amazon Prime and watching the first comedy movie they recommend.

Like a Boss: Best friends Mia and Mel are running a cosmetics company.  They must fight a villainous beauty mogul who wants to steal it.  

How do you steal a company?  Are there any cute guys?  Any guys at all? Any gay characters?

Who cares?  There are no dying loved ones or magic swords.


  1. You know, Captain, every year of my life, I grow more and more convinced that the wisest and best is to fix our attention on the good and the beautiful, if just to take the time to look at it.

    Sorry, but you really fell into that one with the intro.

    1. A quote from "The Phantom Planet," a 1961 sci-fi movie brought out of obscurity by MST3K.

  2. I just had to experience a dear friend dying from cancer so yeah I'm with you on avoiding movies about terminal illness- but I can see the use of fantasy metaphor to deal with it

  3. Yeah, all of these are quite messy, but that's the brain to ya! 😏🤷‍♂️ I've watched the last one, Like a Boss and it's really bad IMO. 🙄 Btw, never saw what others did about Brad Pitt but that 2nd daddy seems pretty fine to me. 💪🏻🔥

  4. I like to compare dramas to rollercoasters: You can experience something (G-forces, sadness) without going through the real thing (crashing airplane, loosing a loved one). You can even contemplate how well it is written, adapted, performed, etc. But I like to observe rollercoasters from a distance... Some remarks about the titles you mentioned (if I remember everything correctly):
    - Pan's Labyrinth is a mixture of fantasy and horror. You need a strong stomach to watch it. Pan is the Greek (demi-)god and king of the beasts. He is all about hunting, raping and killing. So you should have been warned.
    - The Fault in our Stars: the title refers to astrology, so not much to expect in the form of fantasy. I thought the teenagers were travelling around tot see as much of the world as possible? Or am I thinking of a different film?
    - Bridge to Terabitha (or something like that) is a drama, probably created around the acting talent of Josh Hutcherson. The boy and the new girl in the village are friends, not a couple (?). She is not ill or dying - her father moved to the countryside because it should be safer then the city. She does die, though: she falls in the fast flowing brook and drowns... Now the boy has to cope with that as well, after poverty, school bullies and whatever more the writes could come up with... Very tiring. Just one beautiful thing, at the very end of the film: The boy is nice to his young sister, so she can experience the fantasy-world as well.


No offensive, insulting, racist, or homophobic comments are permitted.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...