No one likes to be called a fool or to be made out to be a fool. It’s one of the surest ways to bring out the rawest of human emotions. However, it seems to me that we all enjoy being fooled to an extent. This week’s movie is one about magicians, entertainers who put on a performance that is nothing but fooling people. And it’s great! Really, is there anything more fun than when a magician does a trick and you get that, “Whoa! How did he do that??” feeling. If the tricks are easy to figure out, they become lame. Even Penn & Teller, who reveal all magic secrets to all audiences, start out by fooling everyone. It’s only after that when they reveal the secret of the trick.
In a similar way…wait. Let me take a moment to prepare you. If anyone knows me for any amount of time—perhaps a minimum of 15 minutes—they find out that I love to watch professional wrestling. My son and I watch it together, attend matches together, and I even ring announce for a local promotion each month. So, I’m about to talk about it, but don’t worry: though I’ll never understand this odd mental disorder of not liking wrestling, I will write neither exclusively nor excessively about it. Believe me, I want to. There’s so much to say. But I will behave.
So like I was saying, in a similar way professional wrestling attracts viewers who want to be fooled. All my life I’d heard the same thing: “you know that’s fake don’t you?” It was a bit of an insult so I would try to make light of it by claiming it was real with exaggerated earnestness. What’s funny is that those who would say things like that to me would also claim that wrestlers used ketchup or tiny capsules to create blood in a match or that they use springboards under the ring to give them extra height in jumping. Neither were true. But whether we like it or not, the matches that are truly great are the ones that get a reaction. I’ve seen skeptics with arms folded at the XWA crowd in Saint John who get inadvertently won over. Someone takes a hard fall and you see that “ooh, that’s gotta hurt” look on their face (sometimes even a “I think something went wrong here” look). Or their mouths drop open when something shocking happens. As a fan, the matches I love most are the ones that make it easy for me to suspend my belief and get caught up in the action. The same goes for movies. I mean, you didn’t think the Karate Kid actually won at a real tournament did you?
If you haven’t seen The Prestige, consider putting on your must watch list. It’s one of those stories that has great twists. It also has three of the greatest actors in it: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Scarlett Johansson. I’d also recommend both of the other noms for this week. Donnie Darko is weird, but definitely a mind bender and also features some great acting talent. And really, who doesn’t like Pirates of the Caribbean? Or any pirate movie for that matter?
Congratulations The Prestige. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes too…
Best Actress: Maggie Gyllenhaal. It’s not like her performance in Donnie Darko was one for the ages or anything, but she’s a great actress who doesn’t always get recognition. And besides, she really was great in this movie. It’s also cool that she acts as the sister of the main character, who is played by her real life brother.
Best Actor: Johnny Depp. His portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow, complete with the fantastic story of basing it on Keith Richards’ real life personality and behavoiur, is already a legendary character in popular culture.
Best Quote: “If you were waiting for the opportune moment, that was it.” – Jack Sparrow.
By the way, I hate April Fool’s Day. Wanna know why? Because I fall for it every time.