Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mouth in Motion, Brain Stalled ; Talk Your Talk, Moviegoers -- but Please, Wait `Til the Credits Roll

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mouth in Motion, Brain Stalled ; Talk Your Talk, Moviegoers -- but Please, Wait `Til the Credits Roll

Article excerpt

In his work "The Prophet," Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran wrote, "In much of your talking, thinking is half-murdered."

After reading those words, I wondered if Gibran hadn't furiously written them after the exit lights came up in one of many local movie th eaters. What better motivation would he have needed?

I soon concluded that Gibran had never come to St. Louis -- at least, he never saw a movie here. If so, he'd have selected a stronger word than "half." More than likely, it would have been "completely" or "wholly." I mean, have you tried enjoying a movie at a theater lately?

Now before you call my girlfriend and find out that I, too, voice an occasional remark in the movie theater, let me explain. I am witty. My comments are valuable intellectual contributions aiding my girlfriend's comprehension while placing the film in its proper American cultural context. Ask her. OK, so she'll say she tells me to shut up. But at least I whisper.

Unfortunately, others in the theater aren't nearly as stingy with their comments or wary of their volume. Brilliant witticisms like mine maybe I'd understand, but what I usually hear are old- fashioned ideas about sex and gender, proof that "half-murdered" is often an understatement.

How else do you describe the reactions of the audience that applauded at "Dead Presidents"? When do you think such jubilance occurred? The action-packed bank-heist scene? Main character Anthony's revenge on the bully who had embarrassed him before Anthony left for Vietnam? Good guesses, but no. The applause erupted when Anthony, after a caustic verbal exchange with his lover, placed his hands around her neck, lifted her from the floor, and pinned her against a wall. This brutality received verbal support and thunderous applause from about half the audience.

I won't make excuses for Anthony--lest I condone the inappropriate applause--but maybe directors meant the scene to show the difficulty our boys had exorcising themselves of the violence they'd carried out in Nam. Maybe we were supposed to feel sad, cry even, for what war had done to this once smiling, goofy kid. …

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