My wife and I wanted to watch a movie last night, and she selected Armageddon. We've always enjoyed the brainless pleasures of this film, and I was pretty psyched. We popped some corn, melted some butter, put the mattes on the TV, turned off the lights, and settled down for some entertainment. About 30 minutes into the movie, we took it out, wondering if we would ever watch this movie again. It's odd: After the attacks of September 11, I started a thread discussing how unlikely I was to ever want to watch realistic action movies such as True Lies or Terminator 2 any time soon (not to pick specifically on James Cameron and Arnold). I thought that the realistic portrayal of violence that seemed all too possible would be too disturbing to be enjoyable. But my aborted viewing of Armageddon last night was entirely different. It wasn't really the realistic destruction of New York City, or even the shot of the WTC in flames. It was the humor. It was the immediate juxtaposition between NASA and Pentagon brass discussing the imminent death of all life on earth and the shotgun scene on the oil rig. It was the way the heroes were all drawn as cartoon characters, and the way the storyline was devised for equal parts comedy and action. It's this kind of movie I can't stomach now: the kind that makes light of realistic tragedy and loss of life. I found myself craving the human interest and real emotional stakes of Deep Impact, a film which has comparable images of mass destruction, but which is written and directed as if that destruction actually has realistic consequences. No "Somebody dial 911!" played for laughs, no ridiculous Steve Buscemi riding the ridiculous gattling gun, no joking around with a loaded shotgun. Bay and Bruckheimer can't really be blamed for this; it's not their fault the world changed. But I found myself becoming angry as I watched the movie, angry at them for making the bombardment of New York something to laugh at, but mostly angry at myself for ever thinking it was funny. I'm interested to see if anyone else has had similar experiences. I'm also interested to see if anyone can talk me out of this funk, but I doubt you can.