Alphabetical Movie – Hollywoodland
Hollywoodland is about the questionable circumstances surrounding the death of George Reeves. By “questionable,” I mean that there are some conspiracy theorists who believe he was murdered but the odds are pretty good that he killed himself.
I think the movie explores that fundamental disconnect most of us feel when we hear that someone who appeared to have everything to live for choose to end their life. It seems unimaginable that they would do such a thing.
Except for Kurt Cobain. That didn’t surprise anyone.
While many of us have contemplated suicide at some point, very few actually go so far as to attempt it. So while most of us can understand thinking about suicide, very few of us can actually understand doing it.
I was seeing a therapist a while back – because I’m as messed up as anyone else – and she asked me if I’d ever considered suicide. Sure, I said, I’d thought about it once or twice. But, I said, I’m an atheist. I don’t think that there is anything to look forward to after this life. Why would I ever consider giving up even a second of the one life that I have? It isn’t that life can’t suck. What’s the alternative, though? I may not believe in god but I still believe life is one hell of a gift and I’m not about to give up on it just because I had a shitty week.
So I look at George Reeves - who was freakin’ Superman - and I don’t get it. Even as the film shows me how low his life had sunk, it still doesn’t look too bad to me. Not so bad that death seemed like the best alternative.
I would imagine that is where the conspiracy theories come from. We all figure that if we had a job as awesome as being Superman, there is no way we’d kill ourselves. If we wouldn’t do it, there is no way he would do it. Someone else must have killed him! It’s the only thing that makes any sort of logical sense.
Except that people do things that don’t make any logical sense all the time. If we lived our lives purely based on logic, we’d never make rash decisions. Gambling Casinos would close up because we’d all do the basic math. Most of us would never have kids because we’d come to the logical conclusion that we didn’t have the slightest idea how to raise a child. Logic doesn’t rule our lives.
Yet we want George Reeve’s death to be logical because if Superman can end his life in such an illogical way, we could probably do it too.
And we could. The lesson in George Reeve’s suicide is that any one of us can reach that dark place – no matter how certain we are that we’d never find ourselves there. Reeves himself probably never imagined he’d kill himself.
But one night, against all logic, he did. So long, Superman.