Weather Forecast


Relating life to movies isn't that far fetched

Fun fact: Most colleges offer cable-enabled dorms and reduced tickets for nearby movie theatres.

Fortunately or unfortunately, that means that when Descartes' "Discourses" or morpheme maps become unbearable, many of us replace campus life with its high-definition equivalent, exhibiting an inherent weakness for its colorful, charming, witty, scandalous, heart-warming, hilarious, gripping escape from reality.

Sometimes it's frighteningly easy to lose sight of the line that keeps the real world apart from The Real World. Perhaps the line is more of a metaphorical equator; we can feel ourselves coming closer, but aren't actually aware when we're standing right on top of it.

Why might this be? Because everything that happens on the silver screen or the plasma screen has its origin in everyday life. TV shows and movies are written with a very real audience in mind, and therefore center around experiences, feelings, and people that the viewers are likely to have known, in hopes of evoking connections to their fictitious counterparts.

Case in point: On 30 Rock, less-than-elegant Liz Lemon/Tiny Fey is asked on a date by code name "The Hair," a man who frequents her elevator route and possesses the most luscious locks seen on any show this side of Grey's Anatomy's McDreamy. Liz's immediate response to the ask-out of a televised lifetime is simply: "Why?"

The episode flung me into the middle school-aged recesses of my memory, and the first time a boy asked me to a movie. Without pause, I responded: "Why?" I was truthfully baffled as to what was going on; Ms. Lemon was fictitiously perplexed as to why a Follicle God would be interested in her split ends.

Both situations progressed uncomfortably. I never gave the poor guy an answer and proceeded to nervously avoid him for the next year; Liz and her mane of a man found out they were related. Scripted or markedly absent of speech, awkward encounters are awkward regardless.

But when a book-to-movie marvel like Alice in Wonderland comes along, all such real-life comparisons are seemingly inhibited. How, after all, could we relate to mad tea parties, semantically anomalous phrasing, or growth spurts prompted by a mere nibble of cake?

When one thinks of Alice's adventures, the immediate image is that of falling down a rabbit hole, and proceeding quite topsily-turvily from that point on. I think, however, that would be missing the point.

Alice is a young woman whose head is far enough in the clouds to provide her with plenty of fluff for strange concepts, unorthodox ponderings, and peculiar stories. That's not so bizarre, right?

In her clouded view of the world, she retreats into an only slightly less feasible Wonderland of horrid tyrannical rulers, peaceful outcasts, mouse-like characters who believe themselves more than they appear, and creatures of habit with a continual fear of veering from their schedules -- which of us haven't met their earthly equivalents?

Alice in Wonderland is a coming-of-age story about a girl who is lost until she's thrust out of her supposed comfort zone into a world she doesn't understand, finds friends with ideas that fit her own, stumbles across her role in the jumble of those she tries on, and finishes with a sense of competence rivaled only by, say, a successful businessperson, an accustomed immigrant, a well-adjusted college student, or (fill in your category here.) The only difference is that she gets to hang out with Johnny Depp while she does it.

V for Vendetta, another movie you might not think you can relate to unless you've spearheaded a revolution, exposed a corrupt government, or realized you actually look pretty excellent with a shaved head, mentions using lies to tell the truth. Sometimes, a good analogy makes the most sense. That's probably why Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus Christ and the lot went around spouting parables all the time.

I guess I should've taken that guy up on his movie offer; it might've been a terribly educational experience.

Thressa Johnson graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends Hamline University in St. Paul.