You know what
Not buying it?
Then I won't tell you about how
Besides, those aren't my theories. Those have circulated for decades, the stuff that freshman cinema studies are made of — intensely myopic, often insane, occasional insightful readings of movies that, on the surface, appear innocuous and pretty obviously about what they appear to be about. Of course, all art is open to interpretation, and some deep readings of movies eventually seem either self-evident or work their way into the official record of film history: One need only have eyes to start wondering if
The following were edited slightly for clarity and length:
Adam Kempenaar, co-host of public radio's Filmspotting:
"Poltergeist" was really about... the end of the '60s
"I've always read 'Poltergeist' as not just a horror movie but a morality tale about baby boomer greed and the counterculture selling out. The husband and wife get high at night in their bedroom. They were the kids who probably watched
Ron Falzone, associate film professor,
"Thank Your Lucky Stars" was really about... sex.
"It's this innocuous musical from 1943, made as part of the war effort, and every musical number is clearly about who the characters should immediately have sex with. There is basically no plot, just these songs written by (among others) Frank Loesser, who did 'Guys and Dolls,' and the basic point I get from it is: Men are sacrificing themselves for their country, so women, your job is sacrifice your virginity for the men sacrificing themselves for their country. Sleep with the wrong person, you're a slut, but if you're single, get out there and sleep with a soldier!... 'They're Either Too Young or Too Old' tells you not to sleep with just anybody, then there's a song where a dapper-dressed guy goes to the 'South American Hotel for Women,' no joke, real name, the point being, 'America, it's time we got in bed with South America!'... .There are numbers about rationing and how, basically, 'If we can't use the rubber on our tires, just stay home and do it.' But, you know, wink wink."
"The most interesting films to talk about in this way are those films that clearly had no intention of relaying a deeper meaning — the romantic comedy that had a million fingers in the pie. Kubrick was very deliberate, so he's easy to play this game with. But Michael Bay is perfect. He is definitely working out some seriously unintentional father issues and constantly returning, despite all the explosions and robots and whatever, to his father narratives.
Debra Tolchinsky, associate film professor, Northwestern University:
"The Ring" was really about... parenting and reproduction.
"I teach a class on horror films, and one of the things we talk about is how 'The Ring' is this film poised at the end of a certain technology, the video tape. There is this video, you have to reproduce it to live, but there are ramifications. And remember, the main characters are afraid to be parents:
Kevin Cooper, assistant film professor, Columbia College:
Ben Sachs, film writer,
"Showgirls" and "Starship Troopers" were really about... Hitler.
Zoran Samardzija, cinema studies professor, Columbia College:
"The Dark Knight" and
"I am actually teaching a class on Stanley Kubrick in the fall and one my favorite readings, floating around the Internet, and very conspiratorial, is that Kubrick died around the time of 'Eyes Wide Shut' because the Illuminati were punishing him for revealing several of their secrets in 'Eyes Wide Shut,' which is what 'Eyes Wide Shut' was actually about!... But here's the one I really like: