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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

July 1, 2009 at 10:04 AM

Life, movies, and what we don’t see

In “Public Enemies,” which opens today, we see a movie rarity: people in a movie actually going to a movie. It was inevitable: John Dillinger was famously gunned down outside a movie theater after attending a screening of “Manhattan Melodrama” (which I recommend, though not the gunning-down part; it’s a fun 1934 movie that stars the great “Thin Man” couple, William Powell and Myrna Loy). But in general, with the exception of the occasional dating montage, we don’t see people in movies actually going to movies; presumably it’s not sufficiently visual or dynamic. We also rarely see people reading, typing at their desks (unless they are investigators tracking down a murderer, which is apparently done through Google), commuting, paying bills (unless they are broke and unable to pay them, in which case we see a sad shoebox of bills and a woebegone expression), doing laundry, going to the bank (unless said bank is being robbed), deciding what to have for lunch, and wandering the hallways at work in search of Diet Coke. It dawned on me this morning that most of my life is not the stuff of movies. Ah well. Perhaps today, the Coke machine will turn into a Transformer, and I will turn into Michelle Pfeiffer. Or perhaps not. I’ll keep you posted.

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