End Times/Good Times

December 14, 2007
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Today, “I am Legend” opens in theaters and “The Mist” is still lingering. I’m hoping to see both this weekend.
Next month, “End Days” opens at the Phoenix Theatre, and Spotlight Theatre will stage the apocalyptic “Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar and Grill” in February.
Meanwhile Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” was one of the most talked about books of the year (helped, of course, by an Oprah boost).
It seems like I’m not the only person with a fascination for end-of-the-world fiction.
From higher-minded fare like “On the Beach” to the blistering satire of “Dr. Strangelove” to the cheesy angst of “The Omega Man.” such stories have intrigued me since I was a kid. Images such as Burgess Meredith breaking his glasses at the end of that classic “Twilight Zone” episode and Harry Belafonte, Mel Ferrer and the last woman on earth walking off together at the end of “The World, The Flesh and the Devil” are iconic for me. In college, I wrote a paper on the subject and organized a massive viewing gathering for the controversial TV epic “The Day After.” The only novel I’ve been able to lose myself in recently was “The Road.”
I haven’t sampled the “Left Behind” books, but the popularity of that rapture series is just one more indication that contemplating our last chapter can be big business.

So what is it all about?
Can any psychologists, sociologists, or person-with-an-opinion enlighten me as to why these sorts of stories grab me—and maybe you?

And do you have any favorite end-of-the-world movies, books, etc. that you’d care to tout?

(If you are thinking about posting, do it now. Who knows if we’ll survive the weekend or not.)
  • I have a psychology minor so there are certainly more educated people than myself who can answer your question, but I think we live in a world marked by chaos, uncertainty, and doubt. Art reflects these characteristics and also our fascination with nihilism is well documented.

    Add to that the wide interest in science fiction literature, and now with cutting edge cgi the film industry is able to readily create images previously only available in movies like Brazil or Blade Runner.

    I've been listening to Nirvana's last studio album In Utero, it's almost a portrait of destruction. Fans of aggressive music could also check out Voi Vod's album Dimension Hatross. Not a commercial success but an example of how your observed trend is really not new.

    So movies are just catching up to the long established trend seen in literature and music (and visual arts). In today's mechanised world, we feel alone and disenfranchised from our own destiny. It is difficult to articulate these feelings, but for the price of a movie ticket we can suspend our disbelief and face our fears in a controlled environment. With popcorn and a soda.
  • Actually, Spotlight Players auditioned for ...Rainbow Bar & Grill earlier this month. You can get a thoroughly funny though thought-provoking dollop of the apocalypse starting February 8th at our theatre.

    In your list, you missed Stephen King's The Stand. Is it an apocalyptic tale or a road story? It's two in one!
  • One of the beauties of blogging is that I can go in and change errors. Poof. I've made the above correction. Thanks, Debby.
  • ^^^ i can only add to that by suggesting that in a wartime america we are living in a prolonged anxst of sorts that, as stated above, can be suspended in a darkened theatre with popcorn and a soda. well said, pj christie!
  • Lou: Another great
  • Lou: Another great end-of-the-world production is Cormac McCarthy's The Road, an Oprah selection. It's about the relationsip between a father and his young son as they try to survive what appears to have been a nuclear catastrophe that wipes out most of mankind.
  • Yep, Mike--I mentioned The Road in the post above.
    Don't worry: I skim, too.

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  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.