This isn’t something I particularly want to talk about, but it’s the biggest entertainment story in my life right now, and it sure beats “The 7 Worst Storms In Movies” after the tornadoes in Dallas, so it seems to be the right move.
Over the weekend, I saw The Hunger Games. I thought it was a very fun film. I read the book and sort of enjoyed it for what it was. The film had a lot of ground to cover, so the film is paced a little too quickly to savor – it is the type of film that is experienced more than watched. The casting was inspired, with Lenny Kravitz, Wes Bentley, Stanley Tucci, Woddy Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks all nailing their supporting roles.
In the starring role, Jennifer Lawrence was able to carry the film effortlessly, but the actor/character I would like to discuss for the next three pages or so is Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta Mellark. I’m normally not one for male teen heartthrobs (normally), but time makes fools of us all. I think I love Peeta, and I’m wrestling with what “love” means more than I have at any other time in my life. It’s not an enviable position, but it’s where I find myself.
I can’t say that I romantically love Peeta Mellark ¬ that would be ridiculous. But I do want to dedicate the rest of my life to ensuring that he never feels any pain and is sheltered from all evil in the world. I don’t know why this is the case. I read the book and appreciated Peeta as the baker’s son who risked physical injury to give Katniss some burnt bread. He seemed like a nice guy, but he didn’t even manage to be my frontrunner in the Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle. He was just a dude in the story until Josh Hutcherson was able to dig his finely-manicured claws into the character.
I had never understood the infatuation with non-threatening, good looking male leads until now. And let me tell you, I get it. That damn boy cast a spell on me, and now there’s nothing I can do but post photos of him on Pinterest and doodle “Mr. Penn Hutcherson” on scrap paper until either he loses his looks (not likely) or I manage to get over him (also not likely).
They say if you love something, set it free. I love Peeta Mellark (or is it Josh Hutcherson?) so much that I want him to be with Katniss. My affection for Hutcherson’s selfless tribute knows no bounds. I can’t force this boy, this…man to act in anything but his best interest. While I’m confident that Peeta and I would make a great life for each other, perhaps in an artists’ colony in Santa Fe, I just don’t think I can offer him what Katniss can. Sure, Peeta and I could adopt, but I feel he deserves his own biological children.
It merits mentioning that I’m a bit of a foodie, Peeta’s background as a baker, throwing around 100-lb. bags of flour all day long, really speaks to me. Hutcherson has breathed life into a character I felt tepidly about in the original book. But one look at him in the film, and I melted. Now, all I can think about is hopping in our Subaru and heading over to a bakery on a Sunday morning. We’d sit with our coffees and read the New York Times (him on his iPad, me with the paper version) while listening to The Fray’s “How To Save A Life.”
Also, I know I’ve already mentioned that Peeta’s past as a baker totally does it for me, but the thought of he and I making bruschetta with bread that HE BAKED just puts a smile on my face. Even if we weren’t having company over, we could just whip some up real quickly then watch a couple episodes of True Blood. It’s too good to be true, really.
I don’t like Twilight, I don’t like Zac Efron, but I would put myself in harm’s way for Peeta Mellark. I found myself jealous that I didn’t get a chance to eat the berries with him, spending the rest of my moments losing myself in his Hutcherson-tastic eyes and carefully mused hair.
I don’t know where the next two books will take Peeta – in fact, I’m scared to even read them to find he suffers in any way. (SPOILER) As readers of the book no doubt noticed in the film, Peeta manages to negotiate The Hunger Games withboth legs intact, an achievement that eluded him in the book. Upon realizing that future films may also be kinder to Peeta than Suzanne Collins was, I have decided to forego the next books (which I have heard weren’t that good anyway), and pretend that Peeta Mellark only exists in the movies, where he could never, ever, get bitten in the leg by giant hellhounds.
I leave The Hunger Games a much more confused and humbled man than when I entered it. I now harbor some unfamiliar platonic feelings for a fictional boy in a fictional deathmatch in a fictional dystopia. If the purpose of a movie is to get its audience out of its comfort zone and think about some unpleasant things, then, in my opinion, The Hunger Games is the most successful film ever made. Ever.