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What Keith's Watching: The Martian (2015)

A while back my social media was full of a lot of people that seemed upset and confused that The Martian was nominated in the Golden Globes under Comedy. It’s unclear how many of those people actually saw the movie, because that’s how social media works. I would suspect that a majority of them didn’t because The Martian is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while.

If there was a science fiction category, then sure The Martian doesn’t make sense. But there isn’t a sci-fi category and as a Drama, there are movies with a lot more dramatic scenes and tension. Yes, The Martian isn’t funny in the way a Paul Rudd movie is funny, but I burst out laughing enough times, I’d call it a sci-fi comedy.

What I appreciate most about The Martian’s inclusion of comedy is how well it captures the ton of the novel. The novel is full of science. Calculations on air and water supplies and the science behind making water. They obviously had to cut it for the movie. But they kept the comedy, because that’s what kept Mark alive. It was how he dealt with the insane obstacles he was facing. That’s important to the story.

You could argue that comedy was almost more important to Mark Whatney’s survival than any of the science. Sure the science kept him alive, but the comedy kept him sane. Comedy is the great unifier of society. Despite the variations on what people find funny, the search for comedy and laughter connects us all. We all need to laugh. All our obituaries could contain the line “He/She loved to laugh.” It’s as necessary to life as breathing.

I like many use comedy to coup with bad situations. Making jokes is a defense mechanism and despite what therapists say, it’s important. If Mark wasn’t making jokes to an unseen audience, he very easily could have given up. If he couldn’t find the humor in situations, if he couldn’t be ridiculous, he very easily could have given up home and let himself die on the surface of Mars.

I’m a sucker for a good survival story and that’s what interested me in the novel originally. It’s like the middle of Castaway but with more science, technology and on Mars. The comedy was a much welcomed and added benefit. There’s also the nice element with seeing the effects of this event on Earth and with the ship’s crew that left Mark behind assuming he had died.

I really loved this movie. The survival aspect, the faithfulness to the novel, the comedy, the acting. It’s all great. I can’t it’s on of my favorite movies of all time, yet. But I’m pretty sure it will be. It’s a movie that I genuinely enjoyed from start to finish and almost immediately wanted to watch again. That doesn’t happen too often. When it does, I strongly recommend that people watch it and I’m usually not wrong.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, you need to watch it. And if you don’t like it, let me know.

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