Sarah Callen

A mediocre film with a thought-provoking premise.

Brave New Jersey movie poster

The other night, I was in the mood to watch a comedy and unwind from a stressful day at work. I perused through my Netflix queue and landed on Brave New Jersey when I read the IMDb synopsis, which says, “A comedy about a small New Jersey town on the night of Orson Welles’ legendary 1938 “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast, which led millions of listeners to believe the U.S. was being invaded by Martians.”

This was such an interesting idea and an unusual premise, so I had to dive into it. And the movie was only okay. There was nothing spectacular or ground-breaking about the film. Some performances were good while others were a little painful. The budget for this film was probably pretty small and they did the best with what they had to work with.

But the concept of the film was so interesting: what would you do if it was your last day on earth?

I’ve seen other films do this, usually involving some death sentence or something to lower someone’s inhibitions. Sometimes these films are thoughtful and meditative and other times they show just how dark some of our deepest desires are. But this one was something else entirely. Some characters showed nobility while others showed the anger and violence lurking beneath their perfect facade. Some of them relived their glory days while others summoned the courage to take action after years of fear or insecurity.

I finished this film wondering what I would do if it was my last day on earth. Would I be like the character who was finally able to express how he really felt because he had nothing left to lose? Would I venture into the world or retreat deeper within myself? Who would I want to spend these last moments with?

It’s not often that I leave a movie contemplating my life, my choices, and my tendencies, but that’s exactly what this film did. While I would, in no way, label it as “good”, it reminded me of the power of film to impact our lives. Stories have the ability to captivate our minds in a way that other mediums just can’t, and I’m glad that stories that call for introspection continue to be made in a world that’s filled with noise.

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