Autonomic Anxiety at Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station

I hate sad movies. And Fruitvale Station is a ton of bricks. His family is beautiful, he’s trying to turn his life around, but there are nothing but closed doors. The dog dies, and then things get worse.

I get that Ryan Coogler made a powerful film that puts a human story behind what is often a statistic. But movies like these put me on pins and needles. I kept yelling at him to “don’t get on the train, dummy, you’re going to die.”

For some reason, my anxiety seems to think that if I worry about the inevitable, pre-written end of this movie I can change it (maybe with my blood pressure). So I white-knuckle my way through movies like these, waiting for them to end. 

At one point, the train went through a tunnel really poignantly and I thought “maybe they’ll spare us and end it here.” Nope. He got shot and died for most of the rest of the movie, with his loved ones in the waiting room and his mama asking “he’s going to make it?”

But it was all part of what makes Ryan Cooler a masterful debut director.  And Michael B. Jordan made me feel like Oscar’s death happened to me. Then I started thinking about all of the deaths that will happen to me. Then somebody started cutting onions. Now i’ve got that heavy, sour, empty feeling in my soul that I got after Synechdoch and Dogtown. I’m going to go crack a beer, watch a sitcom and try and deal.


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