Tower of Babble: An Eye on Spidey from the Middle of Nowhere
By Joe Tower
Even though Communism in what is now the Czech Republic has only been lifted from this great land for fifteen years, it's culture has embraced a sort of soft version of capitalism and grosse marketing that could be considered, on some level, equal to America.
I know this, because I'm currently residing in the republic's capital, Prague, and, currently, the most heavily advertised American import is cinema; and, currently, the most heavily advertised American movie in Prague is Spider-Man 2.
I waited for Spider-Man, the movie, to be released for nearly a decade. A die hard comic book fan, I followed the pitfalls and minor successes of that movie's progress since elementary school. Seeing the franchise become so utterly successful was like bliss for me, and when I watched, in mind-inverting ecstasy, as Spider-Man became one of the highest grossing movies of all time, it was as though the old adage You can't make a good comic book movie was blown to smithereens. Skeptics were silenced.
So, needless to say, the anticipation of Spider-Man 2 was white hot in my mind as I packed my bags in the beginning of June to move to Prague. Even though my stay here isn't permanent (a temporary month-and-a-half), there has been a certain homesickness that I wake with in the morning and fall to sleep with at night.
One of those tiny fractals: movies.
But I was surprised to see that American movies play a large part of Czech culture. Movie posters paper lampposts and walls, there's advertisements on every train car, even giant, cloth sheets advertising American movies are latched to building sides. When I saw the first poster for Spider-Man 2 taped to the side of a streetcar, I became excited and for a moment thought that it's release date was while I was in Prague, and that I, like the rest of the die-hard fans, would be there opening day to get first billing. I was distressed to find out that the movie won't be released here until July 22nd, a time at which I will not only not be in Prague, but will also not be in America. I will be aboard a train, probably somewhere in the middle of Germany. I return to America in the middle of August, and so, Spider-Man 2 will have to wait.
But I can't!
Following its release in the states, I have been trailing its progress over the Internet. I want to offer the movie a congratulations, as it has broken the one-day Wednesday box office record and continues to climb. For that much, I am happy.
But I am still a helpless comic fan, trapped in a country as foreign to me as space, but only if space's economy were heavily tied with American cinema. So to all you who saw it the day of, or at midnight the night before, relish your liberties! Because there are those of us who are as desperate, maybe even more so, who, like an accidental tourist, unknowingly stepped into a nether-region where Spider-Man 2 does not hit theatres in June.
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