Friday, September 02, 2005

Sorta Fairytale

I don't really post here about major news events. Those of you who know me in real life probably find that a bit odd, since I am a news and politics junkie and have incredibly strong opinions. There are reasons for this, though. First, I don't feel that I am a competent or fluent enough thinker/writer to do justice to how I feel about certain things, so instead I find myself leaving comments on other people's blogs who I feel are more qualified and informed than I to share information with others. Secondly, concerning the enormity of the horrible things that have been happening of late, I'm afraid that my usual optimism would come off as being inconsiderate and airhead-ish, particularly in this medium. Finally, I don't like putting anything into writing until I'm confident that I've examined as many points of view as possible and analyzed them to my satisfaction. In light of these facts and in keeping with the nature of my blog, I'm going to go off on a completely random tangent- my dissatisfaction with storybook endings.

Scott has waited for weeks to finally see the movie Sahara. Movie theaters are too loud and bright for me, so he kindly waited until it was available on DVD to give it a watch. We popped it in the player this evening , but about halfway through we both started to get fidgety- hubby left the room on an errand without hitting pause, I played with the cat... When it was over we both agreed that it wasn't a cinematic masterpiece, then I picked up the Virginia Woolf I'd been reading and Scott started a computer game. A grouchy thought lingered in the back of my head, though, and kept me from enjoying To The Lighthouse. What was it about this movie that I didn't like? Normally I'm a big fan of treasure hunt-type stories, particularly if there is a lot of history and scientific technique involved. A hunt for a Civil War battleship that disappeared 150 years ago should have been terrific plot fodder for me. Of course there was the typical Hollywood dramatization with bad stage fighting and unlikely saves, but I firmly believe in the whole "willing suspension of disbelief" school, so that shouldn't have been a problem, either. What I finally decided was the ultimate thumbs down was the ending- the hero and heroine frolicking on a beach in skimpy clothes, assumedly at the beginning of some sort of relationship.

When I was younger, this would have been perfectly acceptable. Of course they're making out! They're the main characters! They have to get together in the end, even if they've only known each other a grand total of one day! My "story sense" would have been incredibly offended if they'd done anything BUT that, s'matter of fact. Now, though, that sort of ending just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. My overly analytical brain goes to town- "Why on Earth would these two even CONSIDER hooking up? They've spent very little time together, had no conversation worth mentioning, and they obviously have very different values systems. And since WHEN does a doctor who does volunteer work with the unfortunates in Africa have enough money to afford a beachfront home in Monterey?" And so on and so forth.

This sort of ending is just too pat and too sugary for me to suspend my disbelief on. It also burns me up that Hollywood is implying that a perfectly capable woman has to "fall in love" with a man who "saves" her, even if he's an egotistical jerk and not particularly wonderful. Did I miss this lecture in my "Training to grow up living under the Patriarchy" class? I mean, I've known some pretty awesome guys, and some of them have done me worlds of good. Nowhere do I recall there being a requirement to sleep with them in thanks for their kindness. I've also known some pretty rotten guys who have done me favors, mostly as an opening to see if they could "get something in return". To these guys, all I can say is- I pity you in your ignorance and selfishness, and I hope someday that you learn the error of your ways.

Anyway, back to my point. This could have been an okay story. Not great, not a masterpiece, but okay. Instead, due to some schlocky ending that some branch of society dictates as absolutely necessary, it completely flopped for me.

On the flip side, the other night I watched Woody Allen's Anything Else. I had a difficult time watching this one as well, but for different reasons- primarily because it was four am and I was trying to follow the rapid fire wordplay while digesting my feelings for Christina Ricci's character (whom I don't care for at all, but who scared me because I saw in her some of my own less than desirable characteristics). There isn't a feel-good, neatly arranged ending to this one, and I was glad. In fact, I think that was part of the point. It was a movie, and made fun of itself as such, but at the same time I had to think long and hard about what was going on. I was engaged, rather than just sitting and letting it wash over me. Sometimes I feel like movies (and many parts of life) are like used workbooks- all the thinking has been done for you, the answers are written, and the person who gave it to you pats you and says "just let us take care of it and don't worry your little head". Grrrrrrr..........

I don't know if this attitude is a sign that I'm getting cynical with advancing age, or if this is just part of growing up. That might not necessarily be bad, though.


Al said...

Nah, it just means your taste in movies is improving. Which is always a good thing. #grins#

I know what you mean about trying to dodge political discussions- I usually refer people to Stenny's blog ( since he's a lot better at putting concepts to paper (screen?) than I. But you can always stop short of commenting, and just put up some links to disaster relief organizations instead...I know we're not the most widely read blogs in existance, but I stil figure that every little bit can help.

Running2Ks said...

It sounds to me like you need to be the next Ebert.

Yankee T said...

somehow I wandered away from you for a while...don't know why, because you are on my blogroll. Happy to be back. If you check out my post called "self expectations" you will see how similarly we approach our blog writing. Interesting. And I love the movie review.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between a male dominated society and a patriarchy, but both are currently being offered daily as coursework... WITH LABS!!!! LOL!

:-) (M)

Anonymous said...

While i agree thathappy endings are to constenly being attached to movie sahara does a decent job of building this flirting love affair between a dreamer/ treasure hunter and divoted to the better good doctor much better than say most comedies do now a days. And while that is the weaker part of the movie the part that really makes sahara i feel is the great comic timing between the two main characters, a kind of two man vaudvile routine without droping down to the almost unavoidable fight over the girl, check out brothers grim if you don't beleive me. And most importantly when your trying to rip off james bond he needs to 1> be larger than life 2> always save the day 100% 3> always get the girl

Anonymous said...

please forgive the flagrant spelling errors in the last post