Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Mist Makes the Case for Wal-Mart Supercenters

WARNING: You may not want to read this if you're one of those people who gets upset when someone talks about a movie you haven't yet seen and " spoils" it for you, even though let's face it you're probably not going to see that movie anyway and if you do it will be when it's on video and you've completely forgotten whatever anyone said about it anyway.

So on to The Mist, which is the movie version of a Stephen King short story
where people in a small town stocking up after a major electrical storm are trapped inside their local grocery store when a strange mist rolls in. They can't see what's in the mist but can hear screams of those that wander in (and also can occasionally see disembodied limbs or torsos).

Overall, I'd say The Mist is worth seeing. Even though I left feeling a little depressed and like I needed to watch cartoons for a while to keep from killing myself. It had all the needed elements of a disaster movie; a religious nut, aisles of canned goods and a hinted hook up between the main "take charge" guy and the nearest blonde woman.

Here are a couple lessons I took from the film.

On principle, I am against the sprawling superstores that crush local business and dash any hopes of community individuality and character. However, if a crisis occurred, this is exactly where I would want to find myself. Inevitably in any disaster/crisis/apocalypse film, people must leave their shelter in search of food, fuel, medicine etc. In The Mist, the small town grocery store is adequate for meeting people's needs until someone gets hurt and needs medicine, so a small band of people make for the pharmacy next door with (predictably) tragic results.

While watching this scene I found myself thinking, if a mysterious mist rolled in to town toting strange creatures from another dimension, I'd high tail my ass to the nearest Super Wal-Mart.

The sturdy cinder block monster houses gas, food, drugs, an indoor/outdoor garden center, everything you need for sustainability should the apocalypse occur. Their anti-birth control policies would make repopulation all the swifter as we rebuild society into a chain of Wal-Mart city-states across the USA. I'm thinking Wal-Mart super centers should adopt this as their marketing strategy: Wal-Mart, the place you want to be when the shit hits the fan.

Another useful lesson I took from the film, if you are not able to find shelter at a super center or have abandoned the super center in favor of the "we must go for help/find other survivors" theory, always have handy a quick and painless way to kill yourself.

You know how when you hear about a friend's computer crashing you think, oh yeah I should really be better about backing my stuff up. That's kind of the feeling I had while watching the final scene of The Mist.

First of all, I'm pretty sure I'm in the group of folks that would remain camped out in the aisles of the store/compound eating pop tarts and playing Nintendo Gameboy, however, if fate brought me out of my cinder block security blanket for whatever reason, I would not want to be in the situation the folks in The Mist found themselves in, a five people with only four bullets scenario. I don't want my last minutes on earth to be spent trying to figure out a logic puzzle. I want to be the person that says, "No really, you all go ahead, I'm covered."

All in all it's a good show. It's suspenseful, there are cow sized spiders and a praying mantis taller than a telephone pole. Plus, it fits within my horror movie escape clause, i.e. there's nothing to fear unless a strange mist is pouring through town. And if it does, you know where to find me.
Happy holiday shopping!

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