Thursday, August 11, 2011

Plastic Surgery and Comedy Gone Wrong

So a couple of things have gone through my mind over the last couple of days. Well, at least a couple. One of these things made me look upon something with dismay that I think many other people might potentially look upon in a favorable light, and another made me look upon something that I had previously viewed with skepticism in a much more positive way.

The positive-viewed-negative line of thought for this week came from watching a trailer for the new movie, 30 Minutes or Less, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, and Aziz Ansari. The movie is a sort of dark comedy about the madcap hijinks that ensue when a pizza delivery guy (Eisenberg) has a bomb strapped to his body against his will and is forced to commit a robbery. I really like some of the actors in this movie, and some of the jokes will probably turn out to be sort of funny, but I'm having a hard time getting past the fact that the plot is loosely placed upon a real life event in which a pizza delivery driver named Brian Douglas Wells had a bomb involuntarily strapped to his body in Erie, Pennsylvania in 2003. He was forced to rob a bank before the incident ended in a police standoff (the police were unsure about whether Wells was a voluntary participant). Wells ended up pleading for the police to try to disarm the bomb in front of news cameras before being killed by the bomb's detonation (the question of whether Wells was a willing participant in a robbery conspiracy still remains, I believe, although no one seems to believe that Wells planned to end his own life).
So, anyway, I just have a hard time imagining sitting through this movie and enjoying a whole lot of belly laughs. I remember seeing video of the original standoff with police as Wells begged for help before his death, and I was pretty horrified by the whole thing.
Maybe I'm just getting old and stodgy, but I'm just kind of bothered by the fact that we're so cynical these days that an extremely disturbing and very real murder is apparently considered viable subject matter for a wacky comedy. Call me softehearted, but I feel like regardless of whether Wells was involved in a robbery plot or ended up dying in an awful accident after things went wrong, there's still a profound lack of human empathy occurring when we're using a gruesome death as the source material for a comedy. I guess I'm not even so much bothered by the fact that the movie got made (people have a right to make whatever kind of art that they want) as by the fact that the studio was convinced that there would be a large audience out there for this movie (and that's exactly the sort of calculation that the studios have to make before greenlighting an expensive motion picture).
The whole thing makes me feel vaguely depressed.

On a more positive note, I'm fairly amazed by the progress that Charla Nash has made following her face transplant. She was attacked by a chimpanzee in 2009 (a friend's pet) and had her face and her hands pretty much destroyed. Now, however, doctors have given Nash a new face, provided by an unknown donor, and Nash seems to be recovering fairly well.
The whole operation has given me a reminder about/new appreciation for doctors who do reconstructive and plastic surgery. It's probably mostly ignorance on my part, but my knee jerk reaction when I picture plastic surgeons involves thoughts of breast implants, facelifts, and other forms of cosmetic surgery that I tend to think of as mostly nonessential.
This whole Charla Nash story has been a good reminder that these sorts of doctors also do amazing things in terms in terms of restoring quality of life for people who have suffered devastating injuries. It's amazing that we live in a day and age when people can get a new face!

Anyway, short post, but I felt like writing something! Hope you guys are enjoying youselves!

1 comment:

poetrymatters said...

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