Too Soon for A Marathon Movie

By Phineas J. Stone

There he was on Monday morning at the Boston Marathon Finish Line, wearing a real Boston Police uniform and seemingly patrolling the area like so many of the real police officers who were on high alert and ready for anything.

He was a fake police officer though.

He was just acting.

It was Mark Wahlberg, the Boston guy who hasn’t lived in Boston for decades and has come back “home” to enlighten us with an opus homage to his hometown. His big project and the reason he was dressed like a Boston Police officer is the impending movie regarding the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.

Wahlberg and his crew of Hollywood types plan to do the all-encompassing, tell-all, story of the bombing that still has many of us shedding tears and paralyzed by the idea that anything can REALLY happen at any time. We feel that way because we were all there. There’s a certain baggage you carry when you were there, when you were still around after the TV cameras left, and when you watched those who were injured, and the families of those who died, try to piece together a new reality not marred by the daily anxiety of terror.

I don’t think Wahlberg was there that day, and I don’t think he should make the movie.

And I also think a Boston guy would understand it’s just too soon to put this story on the big screen. Obviously, no one can stop such a thing, and Hollywood was bound to tell the story of the Boston Bombings. The general consensus is that it’s good for a person originally from Boston to handle the story than it would be for someone who isn’t familiar with the city.

All that said, I cannot get past the feeling that it feels like a cheap dime-store novel approach.

Get it out there. Get it in the hands of the public. Provide what people want. I understand it all.

However, Hollywood being what it is, I can only imagine the glorification of the time once it hits the screen. I know there will be a scene where pastoral orchestration plays out as the hero of the tale pushes someone to safety in a wheelchair. There will be the moments when police officers converge on the boat in Watertown, and it will be like an old episode of the ‘A-Team’ as they rush in to get the bad guy.

I don’t want the dramatization; I don’t want to see it now.

It’s just too early and too soon, and no matter how tasteful Hollywood tries to portray it, it will be a portrayal through the eyes of one that wasn’t there to feel it.

The truth is it was gritty and horrible and nothing that anyone should want to recreate. It was pain that lasted a long time and continues today. It wasn’t about the inevitable over-dramatization I expect will come, nor about dressing up like a cop to get a “feel” for the moment (when in reality you’re likely just pumping up the hype for your new movie via the TV news cameras).

The Bombings were also a change to an event that we all loved, the Marathon, that will never be like it was before. I heard Police Commissioner William Evans tell the media that security was excellent this year and he is enthusiastic about the days to come when the Marathon will go back to the way it was.

I hope he’s right, but I don’t think it will ever go back to the whimsy, walk right up to the course, unsecured family event it once was. I used to think things would calm down after 9/11, and get back to normal, but that normal never returned, and in fact, things have actually gotten far more intense.

Long after the news had left the City, more than a year later, I recall observing a man who was horribly injured in the Marathon Bombing trying to cope with the reality of the change to his life. Having lost parts of his leg, he had been in physical therapy for awhile and he now wore a prosthetic.

I recall seeing him argue with his wife one morning about not wanting to use a wheelchair any longer.

He was mad; he wanted to get up and walk.

He got up from the chair and determinedly began to walk on his new leg. He was unsteady, but he was doing it.

But it was March and there was snow on the ground.

He hit a patch of snow. It was harder to walk on snow with a prosthetic than it was for his foot, and he hadn’t learned that yet.

He slipped, and went down.

A man lying on the ground, crying at his defeat, and calling for help from his wife.

I was just watching from a distance, and I cried too, gritting my teeth in anger because this horrible reality was inflicted for nothing.

That’s what this was, and it’s still here now every day.

Do we really need a movie about that right now?

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