Why is ‘The Martian’ So Popular?

Opinion

Why is ‘The Martian’ So Popular?

“The Martian” is a box office hit because it fits the tenor of the times. The film is a perfect reflection of the anti-politics-as-usual mood of the U.S. electorate and our craving for genuine heroes. Supporters of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders could join hands in rallying around this film. It’s so enjoyable that Democrats on Capitol Hill might even be willing to plus up NASA’s budget by $1 billion every year to make the agency as good as it can be — while Republicans decide to close a small tax loophole for the super-wealthy to pay for it.

Heck, why stop at NASA? Why not kill sequestration and make the United States stronger and its citizens better off by raising taxes on those who can most afford it and paring entitlements? It sounds ridiculously ambitious, I know. But after seeing this movie, our elected officials might be moved to aim higher than gridlock. If they don’t, our political dysfunction deficit will grow with sideshow barkers filling the void.

Let’s not nitpick. Spare me the astrophysics. Leave all the improbable plot twists aside. “The Martian” resonates with our hunger for true leadership and acceptance of calculated risk.

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