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Witch Movies

Over the years, Hollywood has made lots of movies that feature witches and witchcraft.   To name a few:

»   The Wizard of Oz (Judy Garland)   —   1939

»   Bell, Book and Candle (James Stewart, Kim Novak)   —   1958

»   The Witches of Eastwick (Jack Nicholson, Cher)   —   1987

»   Hocus Pocus (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker)   —   1993

*   The Craft (Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk)   —   1996

»   Practical Magic (Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman)   —   1998

»   The Blair Witch Project   —   1999

»   Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone (Daniel Radcliffe)   —   2001

Real, practicing witches are usually critical of the witch movies because they depict witchcraft as being something along the lines of superhero powers   -   you know, the ability to levitate, or to make an Obiwan-type gesture that causes somebody's heart to stop beating (the hand-gesture-magic is my own personal favorite.   A hand gesture that starts a fire; or knocks down a wall; or causes lightning).

But that's just Hollywood.   Those movie makers aren't trying to make documentaries, or tell the truth.   They're creating entertainment.   They just want to make money.

The way I think of it is this: all over the globe, America has intelligence operatives.   They're working hard to protect us from terrorists.   Their main modus operandi is to recruit the locals; in spy school, that what they're trained for.   Forewarned is forearmed.   If we can learn where the terrorists plan to strike next, we can stop the attack.   And that's about it.   That's what intelligence work is, in the real world.   It isn't glamorous at all.

But Hollywood has been making movies for the last 40 years that depict intelligence work as:

»   karate fights;

»   travel to exotic locales;

»   driving expensive sports cars at high speeds;

»   shootouts in the streets of foreign capitals (the hero snaps off a shot, from the hip, with a .32 caliber Walther PPK; 75 yards away, a big Russian collapses to the ground and dies without even twitching);

»   gadgets such as cigarette lighters that shoot bullets (or steel-melting laser beams);

»   lots of sex with unbelievably beautiful women.

I doubt that the real intelligence folks are offended by "Never Say Never Again" or "Die Another Day."   They do what everybody else does at the movies: they suspend disbelief.

Yes, I do groan and roll my eyes at the stuff I see in the witch movies.   But I evaluate them for what they are: entertainment.   Nothing more.

*   An interesting note about The Craft (which wasn't a great movie by any means   -   it was, in fact, forgettable)   -   the director hired a real witch (Pat Devin) to be an on-set consultant for the ritual scenes, to give them some authenticity.   And during the shooting, one of the actresses, Fairuza Balk, decided to convert to Wicca.   She purchased Panpipes, the well-known Los Angeles occult store.

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