Ask Max Archives

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

April 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

September 2009

August 2009

October 2006

September 2006

August 2006

July 2006

June 2006

May 2006

April 2006

March 2006

February 2006

January 2006

December 2005

November 2005

October 2005

September 2005

August 2005

July 2005

June 2005

May 2005


February 16, 2006 Edition

Dear Max:

Kudos on the spork resolve, I too was astounded by your discovery. This leads me to believe you could get to the bottom of my question. Why is it that in movies when everyone is trying to save one person, why is it that it is okay for everyone else to die to save that one person? This question plaques me to this day. Why, damn it, why!


Dear Caesar,

I like your name. It evokes salad, and while I don’t like salad, I would still eat it. Your question reflects a heightened appreciation of human life, which may be what distinguishes you from most Hollywood scriptwriters. But these story decisions are at least partly practical: if we had to witness the grief and teary funerals that naturally would follow every character’s death, every film would be longer than an Oliver Stone flick, and we’d be living on Snocaps and JuJuBes. The Bible, which has been adapted for the screen many times, turns your question around, to good effect: one guy dies and saves everybody. Perhaps the seminal cinematic exploration of this topic is “Saving Private Ryan,” in which we’re left to wonder whether it was worth it to lose Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Giovanni Ribissi, Vin Diesel, and Barry Pepper to save Matt Damon. Very tough call.

Dear Max:

Umm….How would I go about taking over the world?

The Master of Disaster

Dear M.O.D.

This is a difficult question. I’d suggest starting small – then working your way up to world domination. Quaker Oats decided they wanted to take over Snapple, so they used the weapon that works in most any situation: money. They bought it for $1.7 billion dollars. Four years later, they sold it for $300 million dollars. Three years after that, the buyers sold Snapple to Cadbury Schweppes for $1 billion dollars. So, not all takeovers are everything they’re cracked up to be. Look at what happened to Castro: Fifty years into his plot and he still can’t sell a cigar in the U.S.

Join my mailing list