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United 93 – Are We Ready?

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Are we ready for a movie about September 11th? According to The Bourne Supremacy director Paul Greengrass, we are. If you’re not living under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard of this movie. Emotional, critically acclaimed, “fact-based.” A lot of people don’t think we’re ready for a movie demonstrating exactly what happened on the fateful day America changed. I’m one of those people.

It seems much too expeditious to even think about a movie about 9/11 that goes right towards people’s emotions, in my humble opinion. It has only been five years. Five years. I might seem too judgmental when it comes to this, but the timing just seems too close for me. In my mind, I can see Paul Greengrass going to Universal with his wonderful little script and absolutely fantastic credentials, and good old Jeff Immelt (CEO of General Electric, which owns Universal) almost wetting himself thinking about the profits. “Hollywood? Using shock value?” you ask me. Yes. Hollywood uses shock value for profits, don’t ‘cha know. Lots of it. And turning America’s biggest nightmare in twenty years into an action movie? Even better!

This whole thing wouldn’t piss me off so much if they weren’t using a director like Paul Greengrass, whose specialty is action movies. It also wouldn’t piss me off so much if they weren’t relying on made-up “facts.” They don’t know what went on in that plane. They have no idea. Unless, when the victims were calling their families, the person on the other line actually dropped down and took notes, I don’t buy that this is a fact-based story.

The one up side of this movie is it’s on a limited budget. It only cost fifteen million dollars to make it, although, keep in mind there isn’t a single well-known actor in the movie. That way they can keep it more real. You know, because we never would have believed it otherwise.

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  • Lori Chambers

    This is a very good review. I agree with the opinions and think it was very well written.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    I totally disagree with Lori. This in an opinion piece based soley on emotions and conjecture rather than any facts.

    While I have no doubt the film may be too soon for you, although you fail to explain why other than timing, it might be good that people don’t forget what happened that day.

    You failed to mention that the producers spoke with all the victim’s families. Their opinion and approval holds more weight than yours. Sorry.

    From the trailer, the film doesn’t look like an action film. What do you base that on? Also, what’s the shock value? We all know how the film ends. You have a number of opinions formed about the film without seeing it.

    Where do you get that Greengrass specializes in action? “Bloody Sunday” wasn’t an action film, neither was “The Theory of Flight” or his TV work. Other than “The Bourne Supremacy” your statement is false and shows you know nothing of Greengrass’ work.

    Your complaint about them “relying on made-up ‘facts'” is odd because I never saw that this film claimed to be a documentary. It is obviously a dramatization.

    I’m surprised that you think that audiences wouldn’t be distracted or taken out of the moment by familar faces like Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts. Plus, the film isn’t a star vehicle.

  • http://theallinoneblog.blogspot.com Casey

    “This in an opinion piece based soley on emotions and conjecture rather than any facts.”

    Do you see that big bold word on top of the page that states “Opinion”?

    “While I have no doubt the film may be too soon for you, although you fail to explain why other than timing, it might be good that people don’t forget what happened that day.”

    Why would it be good for people who don’t forget? People need emotions they felt five years ago shoved right back in their face?

    “You failed to mention that the producers spoke with all the victim’s families. Their opinion and approval holds more weight than yours. Sorry.”

    Anybody can be bought. Thanks for redisplaying that consensus.

    “From the trailer, the film doesn’t look like an action film. What do you base that on?”

    Did you see the Arabic guy get out of his seat and start screaming? The Mission Impossible-style music starting up when they showed the air traffic controllers?

    “Also, what’s the shock value? We all know how the film ends.”

    What’s the shock value? Are you kidding me? Almost every single reviewer has said the film was shocking. That’s not evidence enough?

    “You have a number of opinions formed about the film without seeing it.””

    Uh-huh. That’s why the article is called an opinion piece. You have quite a number of opinions about the film without seeing it as well. What’s your point?

    “Where do you get that Greengrass specializes in action? “Bloody Sunday” wasn’t an action film, neither was “The Theory of Flight” or his TV work. Other than “The Bourne Supremacy” your statement is false and shows you know nothing of Greengrass’ work.”

    “Bloody Sunday” may not have been an action film, but it certainly was gritty..and, guess what? Shocking! You also fail to mention that Paul Greengrass also directed “The Murder of Stephen Lawrence” which was..guess what? Shocking!

    “Your complaint about them “relying on made-up ‘facts'” is odd because I never saw that this film claimed to be a documentary. It is obviously a dramatization.”

    They’ve been calling it a fact-based story ever since it came out. Open your eyes.

    “I’m surprised that you think that audiences wouldn’t be distracted or taken out of the moment by familar faces like Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts. Plus, the film isn’t a star vehicle.”

    It’s not about being distracted. It’s about showing how real it is, so you can really get every penny’s worth out of your customers.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Do you see that big bold word on top of the page that states ‘Opinion’?”

    Did you see where Lori said it was a very good “review” in comment #1, which is what I was refering to? Why didn’t you corret her?

    “Why would it be good for people who don’t forget?”

    I said it “it might be good THAT people don’t forget what happened that day.” not “who”.

    Sorry to say, but in five years, people have gotten less vigilant if not complacent. The news is about Natalee Holloway and Barry Bonds and Brtiney Spears as opposed to global events.

    “[the victim’s families] can be bought.”

    So your too sensitive to see the film, but the families who suffered from that tragic event are all completely callous and sold out their love ones for a few bucks? Wow! How amazingly thoughtless and despicable of you. I hope one of them finds your comments.

    An Arab screaming does not an action film make. Did you think “Munich” was an action film? Also, trailers don’t always accurately convey what a film is about.

    I don’t read reviews before seeing a film, and have only seen a few talk about it, but “shocking” wasn’t a word I used often.

    I don’t have any opinions about the film. I was commenting on your opinions.

    Your complaint was that Greengrass was an action director. Now you say he’s a shocking director. I’ll wait before commenting on that in case you change adjectives again.

    Some of the scenes are based in fact. What went on in the control tower is all based in fact. Please show one instance where anyone associated with the film said that what happened in the plane was fact-based.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I have only one question for you folks. Can a person make a cell phone call from an airplane flying in the air? I emphasize, flying in the air, not sitting on the ground.

    If you think you can make a cell phone cqall from your cell while in the air, think again. And think about what “facts” this movie presents you with.

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Casey%20Lunkley Casey Lunkley

    El Bicho, I don’t think the families of the victims of United 93 “let” Paul Greengrass make the movie because they wanted to be bought out. They wanted their family members to be looked at as heroes, and I don’t blame them. When you make a movie with the title of a real event, you need to make sure you get as close as possible to real life events. If you can show me one movie that isn’t fact-based with a title of real events, I’ll drop that from my opinions. But right now, you haven’t convinced me.

  • http://nonobjective.typepad.com Benjamin Glasgow

    I don’t necessarily think it’s too soon to be making movies about the events of 9/11; it may just be too soon for me personally to actually see one.

    The issue of who owns and shapes the public perception and accepted history of what actually happened on flight 93 is more importantly at stake. If anything this film should be a prompt for us to engage in more open and thoughtful conversations on what happened and what it means for our society and the balance of humanity.

    If the only people breaking the taboo are those whom gain from it (politicians invoking 9/11 for votes, movie studios) we are going to have a serious blind spot or distortion in our history looking back 50 years from now. History is written not only by the victors, but also by those that can turn a profit by doing so.

  • http://nonobjective.typepad.com Benjamin Glasgow

    And Ruvy, I’ve made a couple in-flight cell phone calls (much to the annoyance of the guy next to me) at about 10,000 feet or so.

    I don’t know all the flight’s details, but I don’t imagine the terrorists were flying at 32,000 feet when the took control. Especially if they were trained in small engine aircraft and in flight simulators. New pilots are usually more ‘comfortable’ at lower altitudes.

  • Lumpy

    From what I hear this film is pretty tastefully done and not so sensationalistic. And they do have source material to work from like the flight data recorder and all those cell phone calls.

  • Adam

    In reading all of the negative reviews on blogs, I see a couple of common themes:

    First, critics say “nobody knows what really happened on those flights”… but were there not many phone calls made? Are the critics saying that the family members are lying about what their loved ones told them on the phone? Is Lisa Beamer a liar? Also, I have read the transcripts of the cockpit voice recorder. The hijackers clearly talk about “putting it down” because the passengers are getting into the cockpit. I dont see that there is much room to argue with what happened on that flight.

    The second theme is “are WE ready for this”. This kind of talk sounds so collectivist to me and is so blatently transparent in liberals today. They want everything to be “we” and “us”. Liberals like collectives, except when they do not control it. For example, see how they became unhinged about the rise of Fox News. They love freedom of expression when it denigrates the US and capitalism… something like “Piss Christ” is defended tooth and nail by liberals, but no… can’t make a movie about United 93, because “we” cannot handle it.

    To paraphrase what Ayn Rand once wrote, people who talk about sacrifices and collectives, are talking about masters and slaves… and intend to be the masters.

    If you dont like the movie, dont see it. Personally, I like my reality straight up… or as GWB would say, “bring it on”. The purpose it serves (since many liberals ask what the purpose of this movie is) is to very clearly understand what kind of people did this, and to fully accept that these people DO EXIST, and DO WANT TO KILL US.

    Does anyone for one second think that these same hijackers would not set off a nuke in NYC or DC if they could? I am afraid that this will eventually happen, and is going to be what it takes to finally silence all the critics.

    Now a question: I have not seen the movie, as I live overseas and will not have access to it for a while. Does the movie show the hijackers in the cockpit saying “Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!” as the plane went down, as the flight data recorder clearly catches? When I read the flight data recorder transcripts, that really, really hit home. These guys are just absolutely unhinged. You cannot negotiate with these kinds of people, and I think everyone needs to understand that.

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Casey%20Lunkley Casey Lunkley

    “First, critics say “nobody knows what really happened on those flights”… but were there not many phone calls made? Are the critics saying that the family members are lying about what their loved ones told them on the phone? Is Lisa Beamer a liar?”

    Nobody knows exactly what happened on the flights. Phone calls made on United 93 were phone calls saying “I love you, we’re going to overtake the terrorists”. That was it. They gave no detail as to what they were doing. I’m not calling anyone a liar. The fact is that there is absolutely no one alive on this earth who knows what happened on the plane exactly. What we know is passengers overtook the plane. We don’t have 2 hours worth of information to go by to make a film of this kind of magnitude.

    As for your second part of ranting…Why are you attacking liberals? I never said I was a liberal, and I’m not sure what gives you the idea I am. This movie pisses me off because I am a New York citizen who lost a friend on 9/11. It has nothing to do with being liberal or hating George W. Bush or disliking Bill O’Reily.

  • Bliffle

    Adam: “Does anyone for one second think that these same hijackers would not set off a nuke in NYC or DC if they could? I am afraid that this will eventually happen, and is going to be what it takes to finally silence all the critics.”

    And motivate the admin to actually go after OBL, etc., instead of impoverishing the country with hobby wars.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Out of the shadows I come in support of the producers’ intent and to recommend this documentary style piece of history. It’s not too soon, folks. While the wounds may be fresh for many, Americans have the propensity to forget things quite quickly. We are an A.D.D. society, living in sound bytes and the moment. We’ve forgotten just how precious life really is and the responsibilities freedom imposes upon all those in our society. Had I the power, I would require every high school student across this land to view this film and then write a report on it.

    What frightens me is that the passengers of United Flight 93 will be delegated to the history books in a way that will take away from their humanity. These people were heroes. They sacrificed themselves for their families, their fellow citizens, for the world. As much as I would like them to become the people that legends and lore are made of, I don’t want to forget a very important fact: they were individuals with lives of their own. They were as frail as the rest of us. They had their faults, their strengths and their idiosyncrasies. We all share that common bond with these passengers. And, it is in that common bond, that we must look inside ourselves and ask if we would have the same courage were we in the same situation? How precious is freedom for each of us? How seriously do we treasure that which has been afforded us?

    This film was made with painstaking care to preserve the integrity of the story and those who perished that day. Many families of those passengers have hailed the movie as a triumph and a true depiction of what happened that day. This isn’t a time for liberals vs. conservatives. It’s beyond Democrats vs. Republicans. If all you can do is extract political garbage from the saga of United Flight 93, then go watch Bambi or The Passion of the Christ. You will never truly understand or appreciate that sacrifice which was made.

    Those who know the Tikkun will understand what it is that I am trying to say. On September 11th, 2001, thousands of sparks rose up from the world in their journey to repair that which is wrong with the world. Shall those sparks just extinguish themselves as sacrifices for naught? Or shall those sparks become the illuminating beacons calling mankind to a better understanding of each other and the universe in which we live?

  • Adam

    Casey says:
    “I never said I was a liberal, and I’m not sure what gives you the idea I am.”

    Response:
    Because you say “we” are not ready instead of saying “I”. And because you make a slam at GEs CEO about profits.

    Are you saying that you are not a liberal? I would be amazed if you were not, judging by your comments.

  • http://theallinoneblog.blogspot.com Casey

    “Because you say “we” are not ready instead of saying “I”.”

    Use of the English language now informs people what political ideology they lean on? Are you insane?

    “And because you make a slam at GEs CEO about profits.”

    That’s funny. I seem to remember conservatives all over the country slamming Michael Moore about making profits over 9/11.

    Hypocritical much?

  • Adam

    First, I infer things from what you write, yes. Are you saying you can just randomly substitute “We” for “I” wherever you want and not change the meaning of what you are saying?

    I personally dont have a problem with Michael Moore making a profit. I find him amusing, though often misleading.

    And of course, you did not answer the question I asked… so I am guessing you are a liberal and either don’t know that you are, or are uncomfortable admitting it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/mt/mt-comments.php?mode=url&cid=361302 Casey

    I’m a moderate. I really don’t see how I classify myself makes a difference here. If I’m a liberal, you’ll disregard my opinions, while if I’m a conservative you’ll give them a chance? How does that work?

  • Adam

    Casey,

    I’m really not trying to be a butthole here… I am just goading you and trying to draw you out a bit. I really do think, however, that you are taking a liberal position on this movie, although it does not matter how you classify yourself, as you say. I really do disagree with your position, and would do so even if you classified yourself as a conservative.

    I think moderates are people who are not sure of what they think, and do not want to appear “extreme” and try to stay at the median of what everyone thinks. Therefore moderates never really lead, as they are controlled by those with a principled viewpoint.

    To get back to the core of my position, without the added liberal-baiting… I do not believe that we should try to “engineer” thought and reaction on a mass basis by making decisions such as the timing of when movies are made. I would like to see as much content available as possible, and believe that INDIVIDUALS should make their choices from a diverse market of ideas.

    For this reason, I think the availability of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, et. al. are all positive things. Liberals try to control access to information so that ideas that they deem dangerous are not made available. Your position that “we are not ready for this movie” smacks of this kind of thinking.

    As an example of the kind of central-control, collectivist thinking that I am talking about, look up Hillary’s comments in San Franscisco, where she said something like: “We are going to take away some things from you for the common good.” This kind of talk scares me to death. As with most bad ideas that gain momentum, they sound good on the surface, otherwise they would never gain any traction. If you honestly don’t see a problem with this remark, I would suggest learning more about communism, collectivism and its track record. I also suggest reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. (Interstingly, I see that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are big Rand fans and are interested in making a movie of this classic. My opinion of these two has just gone way up.)

    Thanks for hanging in there with me on these arguments and not completely shutting me out.

  • RogerMDillon

    “Liberals try to control access to information so that ideas that they deem dangerous are not made available”

    Right, completely unlike the conservatives because they don’t try control anything that they deem dangerous. It’s obvious you live overseas and don’t have an accurate picture of what goes on in this country.

  • http://gratefuldread.net NR Davis

    Spot on. The libs are the ones trying to scour the airwaves and keep adults from viewing what they will. That’s why “The Book of Daniel” is thriving in prime-time TV today, why the “Reagans” miniseries was such a big hit on CBS, why the classic short-lived lib Catholic-themed series “Nothing Sacred” is in its 10th season and its back catalog is making huge bucks in the DVD market.

    Oh wait: The fundies started a furor that got NS canned less than one season into its award-winning, critically acclaimed run. The Ronnie-Loves-Mommy miniseries was switched to cable when the fundies and right-wingers kicked up a ruckus. And TBOD was closed before its limited run was even complete.

    Who wants to prevent people from having access to programming? I won’t say there are no lefties traveling that heinous ground, but I will say that those on that particular dark side tend to be right-wing and/or fundamentalist – the same people who willfully withhold information they don’t want released (condoms can help protect people from STDs, needle exchange can save lives, etc.), even when said information can protect public health.

    And I don’t see similar efforts to keep fundies from seeing things they like. Baltimore, there is tons of religious programming on TV and radio (broadcast, not cable). There is much GodTV throughout the week and regular programming is preempted by Billy Graham-like revival shows almost as much as they are by Baltimore Orioles games. The fundies have no problem with access to their programming being restricted by people trying to keep them from seeing what they want – but they sure want to control what we see. And the evidence is on my side, so you might want to rethink that a bit.

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Casey%20Lunkley Casey Lunkley

    Adam, you’re not really helping yourself here. This discussion has nothing to do with liberals, moderates or conservatives. By the way, moderates are very much “leaders”. We’re just conservative on some things, and liberal on others.

    Liberals try to block things out of the media? Are you insane? I don’t think anyone ever tried to stop United 93 from being shown in theatres, while conservatives had a boycott on Brokeback Mountain before it even had a release date! I advise you to stop being a hypocrite. It’s just making you look bad.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    And what side of the spectrum is trying to get people not to see “The Da Vinci Code”? Liberal Hollywood is releasing it and while The Vatican and groups like The Catholic League feel it’s filled with “ideas that they deem dangerous”.

  • Adam

    Roger, NR, Casey, El Bicho,

    OK, good points… I don’t care for the christian right either, and all the examples of them censoring stuff are scary. But this does not justify liberals censoring stuff too, and Casey’s particular brand of censorship is of the liberal variety, which is why I criticised liberals only.

    Stripping my position back down to the core… we are all in violent agreement that noone should be telling anyone what others should and should not see, right? This is my original critcism of Casey’s theme that “WE” are not ready.

    Again, the only reason I bring liberal, moderate, conservative into it is that I see Casey’s criticism as the liberal variety of censorship.

    By the way, I categorize myself as libertarian. And Casey, I dont really care how I look. I’m not here to put on an image or make people like me, I’m here to test out ideas.

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Casey%20Lunkley Casey Lunkley

    This was an opinion piece. It says right up top, big and bold, that it is an OPINION. You don’t like my opinions? That’s fine. Debate away. But don’t tell me about my word usage when I don’t think that we’re ready as Americans.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    United 93 came in #2 at the box office this weekend–so I guess someone was ready for it!

  • Adam

    Casey,

    I am ready, as are many other Americans, to watch this film. So don’t speak for us.

    You are expressing that you don’t think “we” are ready, and what’s more, you do it on a blog, and then expect no one to give their opinion of your opinion. What do you expect? Perhaps you should post a comment with your opinions that you only want to hear from those who agree with you.

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Casey%20Lunkley Casey Lunkley

    I believe I just told you to feel free to debate away at my blogs. But it’s a two-letter word you’re arguing about. Move on and attack the rest of my opinion.

    Christ.

  • Adam

    Words mean something, Casey, even two lettered ones. I have made my point; I’ll leave you alone now, goodbye.

  • John McClure

    We are ready! We are more than ready.

    We know three things about flight 93.

    1. It was hijacked.
    2. It was a part of the 9/11 attack.
    3. It didn’t reach it’s target.

    Sure some of the movie must rely on third hand information, i.e. people on the ground who talked to those on the plane. But we know that flight 93 didn’t reach it’s target because of the actions of the passengers. Maybe they never got into the cockpit, but then, maybe they were close and rather than face the passengers, the cowards crashed the planes into a field.

    Whatever the case….quit feeling guilty about American exceptionalism. Quit feeling like you need to walk on eggshells around the feelings of the peoples of the world. Stand up for something for once in your life.

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Casey%20Lunkley Casey Lunkley

    “Whatever the case….quit feeling guilty about American exceptionalism. Quit feeling like you need to walk on eggshells around the feelings of the peoples of the world. Stand up for something for once in your life.”

    Uh, excuse me? Who am I “walking on eggshells” for?

    Are you on crack?

  • WJG

    I’d stop blogging. If you need to keep responding to comments, it means you feel your own blogs can not address the subject you want to write about.

    Instead of half-opinions – make FULL opinions that are well written.

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Casey%20Lunkley Casey Lunkley

    That’s an absurd statement.

    First off, you know how I feel? That’s amazing. And you don’t even know who I am! Truly spectatuclar.

    Second, I respond to questions and comments because I have an opinion on them. It sounds to me that you’re encouraging me to stop blogging because you have nothing even close to a good argument or opinion to contribute, and you don’t like my opinions.

    Kinda cute, actually.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “If you can show me one movie that isn’t fact-based with a title of real events, I’ll drop that from my opinions.”

    Mutiny on the Bounty