Tag Archives: movies

Why don’t we close the book?

My husband and I have this habit of going to thrift stores or pawn shops and picking up movies. They’re often ones we’ve never seen and never heard anything about. We’re of the mindset that you can go rent a movie for two bucks, watch it once, and if you like or dislike it you’re out two bucks and you never get to (or have to) see it again. But if you buy the thing for two bucks, and you like it, then you own it. If you dislike it, there are a lot of options for getting rid of it. The trash can is one of those many options.

We’ve found a few movies that have needed that option.

The other night we sat down to watch one of these movies we picked up in such a manner, and before the thing even started I said, “So how long do we give it before we quit watching?” He said, “Twenty minutes.”

Agreed. So we’d watch for twenty minutes and if it seemed like it was going to be awful, then we would just turn the thing off.

Well. Twenty minutes later and I looked at him and said, “What do you think?”

He said, “I don’t know. What do you think?”

I said, “It’s kind of weird. But I’m curious what’s going on. Give it another few minutes?”

“Sure.”

So another few minutes passed and the movie just got weirder. And yet…we were curious what was going on. It got weirder. And weirder. AND WEIRDER. By the time we were twenty minutes from the end we were both so freaked out and weirded out and almost disgusted that we wanted nothing more than to turn the darn movie off. But we didn’t.

Oh, why didn’t we?

The story ended with a strange and pointless twist that basically nullified everything that had happened in the movie. It was almost as bad as the ending that says, “And then I woke up and realized this was all just a dream.” (But not in that “Inception” kind of way.)

And I looked at my husband and said, “Why didn’t we turn that off at twenty minutes?”

This movie wasn’t the only one this has happened to us with. Obviously, since we asked how long we wanted to give it. Usually when we keep asking each other if we should turn it off and we keep thinking we should and never do, it’s more often than not a dissatisfying ending. So why do we not turn it off at twenty minutes?

I think the reason is because we’re such story addicts. We start watching something and we see the hook, and we see the problems, and we want it explained. We want to understand why it is that these things are happening to these people. I often have a similar problem with novels, but I’m more likely to set it down and leave it down with a novel. A movie keeps things moving right in front of you with no down time, which makes it a much harder decision to actually stop.

So how many times have you kept watching, even when you hate the movie? How many times have you gotten to the end of a novel and wanted to throw the thing across the room? Was it worth it? Do you somehow feel a little more completed because, even if it was an awful movie or book, at least now you understand what happened at the end? Is there a reason why you finished? Let me know in the comments section below.

Have fun and enjoy the writing.

Bitter-sweet

I took a few days off from my blog because I was…gasp…being an author. Or, becoming one, at least.

This last weekend I finished my revisions for my debut novel that will be coming out soon. Then I sent it to my editor and got started on my next book. Before I get completely lost in a new and exciting world, I thought I should stop by my blog and talk about endings.

As I finished up my revisions for my debut novel, and used my baby’s favorite blanket as my personal tear-catcher, I realized that I have a–well, I’m not sure what to call it. A problem? A habit? A preference? Anyway. I like a little bit of bitter in my semi-sweet endings. Just like a lovely dark chocolate.

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Yum.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Don’t even get me started on all those novels I had to read in my Spanish Literature classes where no one ever got the girl and half the people ended up dead or destitute. No. I am not a sad ending kind of girl.

However, something all that Spanish Literature taught me was that sadness can be truly poignant. That tugging, aching feeling you get in your chest when you REALLY don’t want that character to die, but you KNOW he must! That breathless, tear-jerking moment when everything is (finally) all better, but it’s just not the same. It’s never the same. Because we Lost something so very important in the midst of those heart-wrenching pages of the novel.

I love it.

If an ending can make me close the book or sit at the credits at the end of a movie and make me sit there and think for several minutes about whether or not I’m happy about what happened, then I usually get a smile on my face.

Unless it’s one of those movies that just makes me want to say…

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So, I’ll ask for your comments later on, but right now I want to talk about my favorite and least favorite endings.

For my favorite ending, I have to go with Push I love the twist, the tragedy, the somewhat open-endedness of the plot, and every time I watch it I wonder, “Why didn’t they ever make a sequel?” And then I realize, “Oh yeah. Because Chris Evans became filthy rich doing all sorts of other super hero movies, and Dakota Fanning got too old to be the cute 12-year-old who likes to drink.”

As far as an ending that might go too bitter in that bitter-sweet concoction is the movie The Time Traveler’s Wife. I haven’t read the book yet, and that’s probably because of the reaction I always have to the movie. Basically, every time I get to the end of that movie I sit there while the credits roll and ask myself over and over, “Am I depressed? I think I’m depressed. Was that happy, or…kind of sad? I think that was sad. Like. Really sad. I don’t know if I can watch that again.” Which of course means I have watched it two or three times, and still get to the end asking myself those very same questions. The last time I watched it I decided I pretty much know it makes me sad, and too sad for me to want to suffer through it again. So I’m sorry, Time Traveler’s Wife, but we can’t have any sort of ongoing relationship.

Funny, though, I just realized that my favorite and least favorite movie both came out in 2009.

So what about you? Do you love those bittersweet endings, or are you ready for the author to just pour on some sugar at the end so you can go to bed knowing that everyone ate dessert? Or do you go the other way? Are you a Spanish Literature-type fan, who thinks dessert should be spelled with one S, and everyone should be dying of thirst and have nothing to eat but sand when we read the words The End? Let me know in the comments below, and…hey, why not. Let’s do a spoiler alert. What’s your favorite ending? What’s your least favorite ending? We can go with movies or books.

Have fun, and enjoy the writing.