Over at FlickFilosopher.com, we’re having quite a spirited discussion about the ending of the new Stephen King/Frank Darabont movie The Mist, and whether it’s too random and too cynical. In the comments section, I wondered whether the ultimate message of the movie might be:
Life is a series of random events over which we have little control, so the best plan is do the best you can based on the information you have, and to take what action you can, as long as you don’t expect lollipops and ponies at the end of a rainbow as the result of 100 percent of your actions...
And then yesterday, when I was putting together my post about Gen Xer author Heather McElhatton and her new Choose Your Own Adventure-style book for adults, I came across this quote from her in the Associated Press story I linked to, in which she says that her book is:
...just like life -- it’s just all sort of a crapshoot... It’s not your fault if things don’t work out...
Which is almost enough to explain the attitude of The Mist, too. And which may be an excellent distillation of the so-what, do-what-you-gotta-and-expect-the-worst attitude of Gen X on the whole. (McElhatton says she loved the CYOA books as a kid, like we all did.)
So my question is: Did the randomness of the Choose Your Own Adventure books train us to feel this way?
(Frank Darabont, by the way, is a Boomer, but he was born in 1959, which is almost on the Xer cusp, so he’s young enough to have been influenced, if at a slightly later age, by the same things that influenced us Xers at slightly more tender ages. Stephen King, born in 1947, is unquestionably a Boomer, and, interestingly, that ending of The Mist that seems to speak so powerfully to me if an invention of Darabont, who adapted King’s novella for the screen. King’s ending is, I’m told, infinitely less pessimistic.)