Friday, February 11, 2011

Numbers to Wrap the Mind Around

The other day we saw a 1997 movie, The Fifth Element, a vast brash sci-fi extravaganza. Later, looking up some names, I realized that the movie had cost $90 million to make, about $714,00 for each of its 126 minutes. Numbers like that fly through our consciousness like particles of paper debris in a storm barely noticed—barely noticed because we are so habituated, beaten into such flat pancakes, by the endless repetition. And that’s just movies. Today I discovered that Fifth Element doesn’t even rank as a particularly expensive movie. The most expensive are reported here, and the winner is the 2007 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. It cost $300 million or $1.77 million per minute, 169 minutes all told. Ah! Just wave the hand, shake the head. Driving to an appointment together, Brigitte invented a neat product on the fly. She suggested a hard plastic bubble sort of thing bicyclers might wear in icy, windy weather. We got to talking what price it ought to fetch, and we fell into disagreement. I thought I could tolerate a price of $29.99. She insisted that it would still sell at $39.99. That’s down here where the ants live. But up there in the sky are movies that cost nearly a million a minute to make. And, to repeat, That’s. Just. Movies. Is it any wonder that the real grown-ups can casually spend billions a day on reality shows like—Afghanistan?


  1. I am conflicted about the film. I see everything that Bruce Willis does, ditto for Mila Jovovich. However, everytime it seems ready to gel into something tolerable, it lapses ( for me ) into some gross sci-fi puree.
    The ending is absurd, totally Gary-Oldman-absurd with aliens whose lips move like Muppets!
    I liked the cabby of the future motif.
    But it was so much like Roger Rabbit, I expected Bob Hoskins to come in the door any moment.

    And there were things that bothered me... I still worry about the guy stuck in the freezer compartment.

  2. Dear Arsen, I really liked this post, it brings out acutely the fantasy life of Hollywood capitalism in the truest and worst sense, thank you, faiz