Meet Joe Black – Analytical Movie Blog by Biblical Superstar
I got around to seeing Meet Joe Black on a Wednesday or Thursday 45 minutes of the movie all the way through the end credits set to Israel. Is it Whisper of a Thrill from Meet Joe Black? was Skyfall, and the penultimate track "Mother" has some similarities to it, but Meet Joe Black sounds closer. Not exact, but it does remind me of the ending of Mission to Mars. Death (Joe Black) wants to take Susan with him, but Bill challenges him to disclose his true According to the "Internet Movie Database", "Meet Joe Black" had its U.S. In the end, Bill triumphs, as he is able to teach Joe about the meaning of love, Certain scenes in particular are actually the culmination of a main theme.
He has a job to perform and even though people may be afraid to die, those in the movie who meet him are remarkably unafraid, which includes a woman in a hospital who is terminally ill. Only at the very end does he question Death whether he should have anything to fear. The original success of the stage version, both in Florence and New York, and the successive movie, had both to do with the strong performances of the leading actors.
But, as Hollywood knows, as long as strong mythological themes are used, the audience will fall in love with the movie. And, as mentioned, the story has used and worked with two strong mythological themes, taken from Greek mythology. Hades, otherwise known as the Underworld, was the abode of the dead or, more accurately, of departed souls.
Hades in ancient traditions was not just a place where sinful souls were tortured.
The Greeks also saw it as a gateway to a heaven-like existence. One road in Hades led to Tartaros, where imaginative punishments were administered, the other, the right hand road, led to the Elysian Fields. As such, Hades was a midway station, and not equal to the Christian concept of Hell.
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Meet Joe Black also did away with the traditional presentation of Death. This either comes in the form of an angel, or of a hooded and cloak man, sometimes wielding a scythe. Still, it does conform to the general norm that Death is personified as a man.
Today, we consider death to be an event, but in ancient civilisations, death was also considered to be an entity — a god; the Grim Reaper.
The angel of Death, in a biblical setting, is known as Azrael. The Greeks labelled him Thanatos.
Thanatos and Hades have a will of their own, as has Joe Black, who exercises that possibility by taking a holiday — and a human wife if he so desires. Still, in his biblical setting, he is also known for his almost random acts of mass suicide: The biblical setting Eccl. There are numerous references to this in the movie. What is missing in his existence that he craves to learn what it feels like to be human? These two scenes are flooded with natural light and sunshine.
As we go through the movie, the scene seem to get later and later in the day, until eventually the last scene ends the movie with a party at night and the death of Anthony Hopkins character.
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If anything, this gives a nostalgic feeling of the beginning and end of life. Being a well-off man with a famous business, his penthouse home in the city is extravagant and ornate. Scenes in his office also include massive paintings and can be easily distinguished as the top of a skyscraper.
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But when Susan steps into frame, often dressed in a simple shift or t-shirt and jeans, we get a stark difference to the richness we often see in the shot. The camera suddenly zooms in to Bill clutching his chest, and jump-cuts rapidly to him and his deteriorating state. But something, maybe the voice, is stopping him from dying. I think I've told the story before. I got around to seeing Meet Joe Black on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon in a few weeks after it was already in theaters.
I was nearly alone in the theater; it was just me and two middle-aged women who talked loudly to one another through most of the running time. From its opening moments -- a looong sequence in which Anthony Hopkins is visited several times by Death and comes to the realization that his days are numbered -- I was completely invested.
Emmanuel Lubezki's photography is impossibly beautiful. Same for Thomas Newman's score, which some critics accused of being cloying and treacly and which can still make me start crying to this day.
I think I cried for the last 45 minutes of the movie all the way through the end credits set to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow. This is crazy because watching it with any sort of emotional distance reveals that it's super repetitive as Anthony Hopkins says goodbye to one person after another. That shit worked for me. Some movies just hit us in the right way at the right time. I knew that about myself in and I know it still today.
I won't defend Meet Joe Black as a great film. I won't even defend it as an underrated one, as I recognize that everyone's reasons for disliking the movie are completely valid. But the movie offered me something I needed on that weekday afternoon and continues to offer me something I need today. It is a movie that is not sad about death or loss. It's a movie that says living a good life is its own reward, and when the time finally comes to leave that has to be enough.
Of course, it helps that Anthony Hopkins' character, a media tycoon named Bill Parrish, is a billionaire.
F This Movie!: Nobody Cares But Me: Meet Joe Black
Living a "good life" comes more easily to those with all the fuck you money in the world. This is an aspect of the movie I struggled with for a long time, because for all its universal messages about dying I felt like it completely removed itself from the real world by focusing on an incredibly wealthy and powerful family planning an incredibly huge and extravagant party.
But it comes in part, I think, from the fact that Martin Brest's screenplay is an adaptation of the film Death Takes a Holiday, in which Frederic March plays Death taking over the body of a nobleman. It's a movie about a royal family, and clearly Brest chose to suggest that the Ted Turner-like media tycoon of his version is the American equivalent of royalty.
Or maybe it's a choice driven by plot; would Death now Brad Pitt want to hang out on Earth for a week if he came across a family crammed into a two-bedroom apartment? Maybe he just wanted to live the good life for a few days. But what it really comes down to, I think -- and the reading that makes me most comfortable with what the film is about -- is the idea that death comes for us all. It is the great equalizer, and while Bill Parrish is able to pass away in greater comfort than someone wasting away in a hospital bed or a homeless person freezing to death on the streets of a Chicago winter, the end result is the same.
It's inevitable, and Meet Joe Black is about that inevitability. All the money in the world doesn't change it.