Monday, May 02, 2005

# 25 MOVIES AND MOVIE REVIEWS

Today’s thoughts are about movies and movie reviewers. Movie reviewers that appear on my TV screen as brightly polished and professional individuals with an impressive vocabulary peppered with intelligent reason. Critics that proudly relish their task of summarizing movie plots and handing out marks of merit. But nevertheless, I feel sorry for them.

What an occupation? To spend lazy summer days cooped up in some room watching two or three movies back to back every damn day of your life. It’s a situation to be pitied. That’s how I feel but I have never been much for watching movies. Two hours is too long for me to remain relatively immobile and focused on the small screen. Movie-watching, in my youth, probably averaged one movie a week. Now, even with satellite TV, my movie-watching has only plummeted more. Now I watch one movie every two months (if I manage to stay awake that long).

But yet I know so many people who are absolutely addicted to movies. A fellow told me the other day that on his days off work he is happiest if he gets a chance to watch 4 movies back to back. And GD (granddaughter) is addicted to movies despite the incredible and laughable stuff on channels like Animal Planet and the phenomenal stuff on National Geographic and the History channel. I don’t understand it.

And in thinking about my own movie watching, I also don’t understand why I find a 2-hour movie overly long, but yet I can sit down and read a book for four hours or watch a 2-hour documentary without misgivings, or sit here blogging for a couple hours without even noting the passage of time. That doesn’t make any more sense than other peoples’ movie addictions. But back to my discussion.

Now last night, unable to find any new news (which sometimes happens on Sundays) or documentaries that appealed to me, I decided to watch a movie. I picked one with a 4-star rating. But to my dismay, the first hour and a half dragged by at a tedious pace. The action dragged, the storyline dragged. Dragging, dragging, dragging. But then, things picked up. The movie is now more than halfway through and there are a host of interesting complexities developing. I am no longer reclining in my chair; I am sitting up straight and paying acute attention. Breathless with anticipation.

And then, low and behold, here come the credits. I blinked in astonishment. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My God, even with those credits rolling, I could not fathom that was the end of the movie. I even checked the remote to see if I had accidentally changed the channel. No, hadn’t done that. Then I wondered if the movie might have been truncated to fit an overly-tight television timeslot. Hub assured me that would not be the case. I sat there in total disbelief. Unable to accept that such a non-climactic ending could occur with all those unresolved situations.

So now today, I want to tell those movie critics, those poor souls engaged in that occupation, that regardless if a movie has blazing action, tear-jerking emotion, real-life drama, or uncanny believability, none of that matters if:

"when it ends, you can’t believe that is the end!"

Think about it. If anything in life – and I emphasize ‘anything’ – unexpectedly ends without the participant being able to fathom that is the end (i.e. sex, dinner, a dance, a relationship, etc.), that is bloody disturbing. As disturbing as watching a world class hockey match conclude in a tie. And movies are no different. And how should critics rate these kinds of cut-offs? If the rating system is 5 possible stars, that kind of performance deserves 5 stripes. (i.e. -----). And if the rating is 5 possible popped popcorns, that movie deserves no less than 5 ‘old maids’.

In conclusion, it’s been quite a few years since that day of enlightenment, when a few of Hollywood’s script writers realized that movies don’t have to be chained to plots that reinforce how good triumphs over evil. And the realization that movies don’t have to end with a hero and heroine living happily ever after. But when did someone decide a movie can be worthy of the time and money it takes to write it, produce it, and market it, or even watch it, when it is as inconclusive and unending as space and time?

Believe it or not, this is the end of this discussion. The credits are rolling. What do you mean, you can’t believe this is the end of my rant?

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