Matt Damon has spent a lot of time in space recently. In 2013, it was the sci-fi action movie Elysium. Last year we saw him in Christopher Nolan's epic Interstellar, and now he's completed a trifecta with Ridley Scott's new film, The Martian. Why the emphasis on space flicks? I haven't a clue, but I certainly don't mind.
Damon's third extraterrestrial film falls thematically between the other two. Elysium was entertaining but forgettable. Interstellar was existential and philosophical (but may have gone over the heads of some viewers). The Martian, with it's light, witty humor, is entertaining but also profound. It reminded me of Gravity (2013, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock).
The Martian is everything you'd expect in a realistic space thriller. The acting is flawless, the cinematography is spectacular and I was white-knuckle gripping my seat on more than one suspenseful occasion
As I write this on my porch in Southern California, a notification popped up on my phone asking me if I wanted to watch a live stream of the pyramids in Egypt on Periscope. I have Twitter followers from India, Facebook friends in Europe and the Middle East. One of my neighbors just moved here from Russia, and another is from Ukraine. In my MBA classes, I sit next to students from Syria and Armenia. One of my coworkers was born in Africa. As a nation, we can't pretend like we can do it on our own anymore. We are players on a global stage, and the world is getting smaller every day.
We can still have pride in our national accomplishments. We can value the incredible scientific and philanthropic progress made by Americans. Acknowledging the global community means working for the good of humankind together, developing our economy to create a world that is better for all, not just for ourselves.