Movie “Abduction” based on discovery in a high school sociology class

Sociology courses aren’t featured much in movies or television shows. However, the recent movie Abduction begins with a discovery a high school student makes in his sociology class:

Taylor Lautner shines as an action hero in Abducted.  Surrounded by top veteran actors Sigourney Weaver, Jason Isaacs, Alfred Molina and Maria Bello, Taylor Lautner delivers a fast paced and physical performance as a young man whose entire existence has been turned upside-down.

Engaging and entertaining, Lautner fans should be pleased with this film and the Blu-ray extras.

While working on a high school sociology assignment Nathan (Lautner) makes the discovery that he may be an abducted child, that his parents are not really his parents.  He loves the people he knows as his father and mother (Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello) and is shocked and scared when immediately after his online acknowledgement of the missing child picture someone breaks in and both “parents” are killed…

Follow the link to read the rest of the plot though critics were not fans of this thriller: it is only 4% fresh (4 fresh out of 95 total reviews) on Let’s hope the low rating was not due to a poor or boring portrayal of what a sociology class can be.

This premise could be used in a lot of plots: a sociology professor asks their students to do something unusual and the student finds out/stumbles upon/discovers something really strange that ends up leading to the student being threatened by people desperate to cover something up. Do you want your thriller to hinge on some weird sociological phenomenon? Just stick your protagonist in a sociology class where they are supposed to be studying weird things!

Two quick conjectures:

1. Most sociologists would not want their discipline tied to Taylor Lautner and Twilight.

2. Yet sociologists might like being portrayed in films as long as they aren’t portrayed as neurotic academic types.

The miners are rescued – now the true stories can come out

It appears the Chilean miners agreed to a pact that they would not tell the worst things that happened between them while trapped underground. But a few members of the group have suggested that they may break the pact in order to cash in.

Much of the media coverage up to this point has been positive: this is a remarkable story of how these men were able to stay alive, stay sane, and wait to be rescued. And yet, it couldn’t have been easy and there must have been some difficult moments. Which narrative will win out in the end: the composed miners who maintained a sense of civility and dignity while trapped in a terrible situation or the miners who barely were able to keep it together as they lost hope? Apparently there is a lot of money to be had if some of the miners tell of the darker side of their ordeal. How long until we get the first TV movie on the subject?

Overall, we should expect that there are both good and bad sides to this story. We are not served well by an overall story that only focuses on the heroic. This is human nature: being cooped up with anyone for that long, let alone at the bottom of a mine shaft, is bound to lead to some antagonism and strife. What might make the story even more remarkable is knowing that they were able to overcome difficulties and issues and still be rescued. How exactly did they band together? What kept their hope alive?

(This reminds me of Lost and the agreement made by the Oceanic Six to tell a certain story after they had been rescued. Who will be the first to crack and provide the “true” story?)

Like Cubs fans wanted the reminder: seventh anniversay of Bartman incident

Seven years ago today, the lives of Steve Bartman and the Chicago Cubs became inextricably linked. It was a sad night, one I remember vividly – in a span of mere minutes, the Cubs went from World Series hopefuls to unlovable losers.

But beyond the emotions (which apparently are still running high), it is interesting to see how this has entered the collective memory of Cubs fans and other sports fans. The media is playing a role:

But fair or not, Bartman’s legacy remains intact, perpetuated by the national media. Fox Sports aired a promo for the 2010 NLCS that featured a freeze-frame shot of Bartman going for the ball. ESPN had scheduled Academy Award winning filmmaker Alex Gibney’s documentary on Bartman for their “30-30” series to coincide with the start of the World Series.

But the film, entitled “Catching Hell,” was recently pushed back from Oct. 26 to some time in 2011 at the request of Gibney. No air date has been scheduled, an ESPN spokesman said.

In the narrative of Cubs fandom, Bartman has become an interesting figure, an innocent fan who became a scapegoat for the futility of a popular franchise. Why exactly do Cubs fans need or want a scapegoat? Why is Cubs management (the Ricketts) still even talking about the curse and wanting a manager who understand all of this backstory?

The narrative of sports is almost more important than the events or outcomes themselves.One important event can lead to a long-standing narrative of triumph or defeat. Particularly during the long baseball season, fans are consistently engaged with historical moments and what-ifs. To be a true fan means one truly has the ability to know the narrative and to fully buy into it as a story worth telling and retelling. And narratives between teams can be similar (though never exactly the same – the pain of Cleveland vs. the pain of Chicago Cubs fan is interesting to think about): Gibney is a Red Sox fan who became interested in the Bartman story because he saw similarities with what happened to Bill Buckner.

Even this Chicago Tribune article becomes part of the ritual: we must reconsider what Bartman means.