Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


The shooting in Colorado began asking questions about the role of movies in in our lives.


As the experts try to find out why the young man brought four guns and a ton of ammo to the theater, the rest of us wonder if his actions were the cause of violent movies and video


I am inclined to say no because I remember when the Dungeons and Dragons were blamed for a few crimes as well as some suicides and the path to mental illness. In the end, studies showed that people who played role games are less likely than non-gamers to commit suicide.


While as I write this the Aurora Movie Theater Shooter has not been publicly diagnosed with any mental illness, the truth is that anything can become a focal point, and a deranged mind can be twisted and turned into something requiring dramatic action.


The camp shooter in Norway thought he was putting an end to inclusive societal beliefs. Depression was the reason for the man who shot up an Amish school house. Revenge can be put down for any number of domestic or work-related shootings.


John Hinkley Jr. thought shooting President Reagan would win him favorable attention from actress Jodie Foster. Mark Chapman wanted to kill someone famous and decided John Lennon was the easiest person on his list.


While movies and the actors that perform in them can fill our imaginations, I do not believe only that element leads to a killing spree or increased aggression in a person. There are almost always mitigating factors  – be it the body’s internal chemist shifting the balance of neurotransmitters in a bad way or a response to a horrendous situation – at work that creates a pattern of thought that makes violence appear to be a good way to solve problems. Movie characters simply give a focus for those thoughts.


So what do we do about an event like this? If we know we have a relative who has these issues – too much anger, a willingness to use violence to solve problems, a larger-than-life fixation on one subject – we watch them. Watch them for acceleration of behavior, watch them for unusual behavior. Report them to the police even if it gives you a strange look from the officer(s).


Funnily enough, the movie we ended up watching this week was incredibly imaginative and lively. As various scenes played out I thought I was inside the head of a planner from the movie Inception. All spring and summer, I had wanted to rent The Adventures of Tin-Tin but the kids always had a reason why we should notI finally won out, maybe because we saw most of the other choices.


The story is about Tin-Tin, a newspaper reporter, who buys a model ship at a flea market. But this ship holds secrets to a treasure wanted by several other people who will let nothing stop them from attaining it. Tin-Tin and his dog connect with a captain in pursuit of the treasure and the man who stands in their way.


Steven Spielberg directed this wonderful piece of animation that changes scenes and moves quickly. He  had fallen i love with the Tin-Tin comics, buying the movie rights in the early 80s. I loved watching scenes collapse on themselves and build into something just as wonderful and grand as the scene before it.


Guess what? The kids liked it just as much as I did. It might have been a little saucy for them but what a great time.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.