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The Chris Column: The Superhero in All of Us

Superhero movies have found their way into the cinemas and hearts of moviegoers over a span of decades.

Batman and Robin fought crime onscreen as far back as the 40s with “Batman and Robin” (not to be confused with the George Clooney incarnation.) Christopher Reeve donned the cape to portray the Man of Steel in the late 70s, through the 80s, in the Superman series.

The genre saw a peak after Tim Burton’s initial take on Batman, which was followed by a slew of lower-budget hero tales.  Their popularity, along with profitability, trickled off some until Bryan Singer’s X-MEN hit in 2000. That blockbuster was followed up the Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN, and the spicket hasn’t stopped gushing since.  Stories of heroes continue to hit the big screen – and the genre shows no signs of slowing down.

But the question is … why?

I believe the answer lies in all of us.

Everyone has good and bad in them. We see the forces of evil in headlines every day. The villains in our society don’t often wear ridiculous costumes and go by crazy monikers … but they murder, rape, destroy, and steal every day.  They do it to strangers you’ve never met before … and they could do it to your closest loved ones.

We also see heroes just as often – although they don’t always receive the same amount of attention as the villains. These do-gooders respond to crises with aid, they guide our youth to make the right choices, they donate to help their neighbors, and lift us up when we’re down.  You can find them anywhere – from your local police department, to your local American Red Cross, to the neighbor next door.

When we attend superhero movies, we all recognize why the hero is good. We understand the choices ultimately made the protagonist are the right ones. They pursue justice, loyalty … and above all, compassion.

Marlon Brando spoke the following words as Jor-El from SUPERMAN: “They can be a great people …. they wish to be.”

That statement isn’t just a line of dialogue from a movie. It’s truth.

Superheroes inspire us as an example by illustrating morality and kindness. We look up to these fictional characters, because they’re a part of us. It’s not just a movie. Something inside us stirs.

We don’t need to be taught what the right thing do is most of the time. We already know.  You don’t need tights or a mask to be a hero.  Everyone is surrounded by those in need. Sometimes, it’s just life and circumstances that cause of friends to stumble and hurt.

Other times, the blame falls on the shoulders of the forces of evil.  Real evil.

And it takes real heroes to step up and turn the tide toward good. Helping others is powerful. It makes our community and our own selves stronger. Opportunities surround each and every one of us at all times. A great place to start would be donating money, time, even blood to help those affected by disasters.

Or get involved in a local charity. The choice of which of these non-profit organizations runs the gamut in nearly every community. A simple Google search is all you need to get started.

It all comes down to personal choice. But we know the path of good … and just how important it is.

We are a great people.


PREVIEW: 57th Season Arrives Early

Q: What do dead people (as in zombies), pornography, mortgage foreclosures, genetically modified food, and strawberry jam have in common?

A: The longest running film festival in the US, the 57th Columbus International Film + Video Festival. Beginning with three “Early Bird” screenings in October the festival kicks off an amazingly diverse spread of films “you can’t see anywhere else”.

On October 15th at 6.30 pm at Studio 35 the Festival starts off with a bang with a screening co sponsored by Population Connection and the Ohio Sierra Club. Not Yet Rain is a powerful film about women’s access to family planning services and the recent legalization (but not necessarily available) of abortion procedures. Director Lisa Russell will be there to chat with at a reception after the film. On October 20th at 7 pm, also at Studio 35 the Festival presents Strong Coffee: The Story of Café Feminino. Shot mostly in Peru, Strong Coffee tells the amazing story of the women farmers who grow this high quality, certified organic, fair trade coffee. Closer to home is the October 27th 7.30 pm screening of We All Fall Down shot Ohio covers the American mortgage crises and its effect on the poor to middle-class sectors of the United States.

In November, from the 10th to the 15th the festival is showing Scientists Under Attack a German film about genetically modified food and corporate sponsored research (at Germania 11/10 at 8 pm), My Son, The Pornographer a film about a father’s visit to Prague, where his son directs porn movies (Arena Grand 11/11 at 7 pm), and on Thursday November 12 an evening of Award Winning Student Works (CCAD Canzani Center at 8pm). Friday the 13th means zombies of course, with Zombies: When the Dead Walk (CCAD Canzani Center at 8pm). Dress as a zombie and get in free! Saturday morning is for kids of all ages with Saturday Morning Cartoons From Around The World (CCAD Canzani Center at 10am). Children get in free.

Saturday evening is for grown ups with An Evening of Movies + Mead with Animation 4 Adults 2, cartoons for adults that includes hometown’s Jennifer Deafenbaugh’s Strawberry Jam. Stay for the award ceremony after the films and get a chance to meet the filmmakers. The festival wraps on Sunday with two very different screenings, The Magistical, a feature length animated film for kids (Drexel 1 pm) and closes with the Best of Festival winner One Water, (CCAD Canzani Center at 7pm), a stunning documentary that highlights a world where water is exquisitely abundant in some places and dangerously lacking in others, where taps flowing with fresh, clean water are contrasted with toxic, polluted waterways that have turned the blue arteries of our planet murky.

Most screenings are $5, some are free, CCAD screenings are free for CCAD students.