half the people i know read cormac mccarthy’s the road (and i include myself in both the group of people i know and the group of people i know who read the road). and most of those people liked it. i liked it too but found it a let down compared to other mccarthy novels i’ve read. my uncle dave, who claimed to sort of know cormac mccarthy (they both lived in el paso and frequented the same restaurant), felt this way too.
i watched much of the oscars this year. as fight said, what else are you going to watch on tv on a sunday night. the only other possible option was men in black which was being shown on tcm (in wide screen and without commercial interruptions; i still maintain that tcm is the best tv channel ever but i don’t know why they would ever show men in black). back to the oscars. guess who was the oscars this year? cormac mccarthy. obviously he was there since no country for old men was nominated for (and won) every award imaginable, but i was still disappointed. i’m disappointed in everyone who attends the oscars. i mean, it’s total bullshit. but this post isn’t about the oscars; it’s about a movie that was everything i hoped the road was going to be but wasn’t.
remember that part in back to the future where doc is showing marty the time machine and he’s entering all these important historical dates one could visit using the time machine and he enters in dec. 25 0000 for the birth of jesus? stupid, right? he’d end up in california rather than bethlehem, there’s quite a bit of dispute as to what year jesus was actually born (not to mention that the historical jesus may never have existed [no offense, lord]) and I don’t even think the year 0000 ever existed. wasn’t one year 1 b.c.e. and the next year 1 a.c.e.? that movie is stupid.
luckily, panic in year zero has nothing to do with that. the year zero referred to in the title of the movie begins with nuclear bombs being dropped on all your favorite cities –new york, la, paris, london. then there’s the western retaliation wiping out major metropolitan centers in the soviet union and china (the movie never mentions communist cities by name). and all this happened while the baldwin family was out of town camping. on their return trip home, they realize everything is in chaos: everyone taking the law into their own hands, gun confrontations with everybody, fuel and food becoming commodities you kill someone over and the limiting of access to county roads due to the threat of radiation exposure. it’s some scary shit. but mr baldwin been to war and he knows how to handle himself. they all head back out to the wilderness to hide out until the chaos subsides.
it’s a week later (in my life, meaning i wrote the preceding paragraphs a week ago and now i’m a pretty different person — different cells, different dispositions, new obsessions, ect). i want to point out that it’s not just mr. baldwin but also his wife and two teenage children just like hot rods to hell. it’s kind of like a sit-com with the typical, middle-class family figuring out their gender and generational difference with love and understanding except set in a lawless, post-apocalyptic setting.
i was going to write about why i liked panic in year zero so much more than the road (similar themes but panic in year zero was funny and the road wasn’t) but i’m over that.