Finding (or Avoiding) Answers to the Big Questions…at the Multiplex

Given the depth of the financial crisis, it's really no surprise that seekers are increasingly attracted to sinister plots. Unease in general is greater than before, and the unfolding of a doomsday scenario seems all too real of a possibility.

The online news magazine Salon recently launched the series "Pinched: Tales from the Economic Downturn." In one recent installment, consultant and writer Robert Lanham notes that with the prospect of his job ending in June and his wife's freelance opportunities drying up, the future continues to look bleak. "The times feel so apocalyptic," he wrote. "I even get jumpy checking the status of my bank account online. I mistook the buzzing sound my computer makes while booting up for a plague of locusts."

Yet, even after checking his bank account, Lanham decided to take a vacation. A vacation, in other words, he knew he really couldn't afford.

But not everyone facing hard times is as reckless as Lanham, and so rather than, say, head to Mexico, folks go the movies instead. After all, films that play with real-life anxieties and predicaments, like Drag Me to Hell, can often lead to an experience of catharsis by approaching reality, asking real-life questions, toying with true moral predicaments and yet, like so many other summer movie releases, delivering enough of a twist from what we face in our daily lives to provide some much-needed relief.

1/1/2000 5:00:00 AM