I like movies. I really do. In fact, given my ‘druthers, I’d be out there writing, watching, or doing SOMETHING movie-related as often as possible.
Of course, given my ‘druthers, I’d also be covered in solid gold iguanas (see earlier post if you don't get this... it actually means something). So see what that gets me.
But anywho, to return to movies: I like them, but I think they’re killing us. We go to movies as the last great social event available to us: in the old days, people went to the theater; in the old-old days, they went to the Greek Chorus; in the old-old-old days they went to the funeral of the oldest man in the tribe (16 years old) and wept for his 12 year old wife and their six kids. So in that sense, they still serve an important function, binding us together as communities. After all, who out there went and saw Harry Potter?
Who wore a cloak, a weird hat, or drew a lightning bolt somewhere on their body?
But here’s where they’re killing us. Most movies have a set structure with specific parts. Movie experts like to call these things a “beginning,” “middle,” and “end.”
Don’t worry, all those crazy-sounding lingo words are in the dictionary, so you can look them up for pronunciation.
At any rate, the thing about a beginning, middle, and end, is that when you see them happen enough in a two hour period, you start to think just about anything should be resolvable in a similar time frame.
I remember when my son was born. It was EXHAUSTING. I mean, I’m sure my wife was a little tired, too, but I was so pooped I could barely stand it. And then, at last, after all my work and toil, the little kid came out.
“Woohoo!” I thought. “I did it!”
Then the nurses immediately handed the baby (still covered in some kind of substance that I can only assume was a sort of internally prepared tapioca) to my wife. Having seen many a nature show, I naturally assumed that this was so my wife could lick the baby clean.
But no, instead they said, “Feed the baby.”
“What?” my brain shrieked. “We just HAD the silly thing. Isn’t there, like, a grace period, or a hiatus, or… an INTERMISSION or something?”
Because, see, in the movies, after the baby is born, you cut to either a) older baby, b) family in the hall, or c) credits.
NEVER do you move on to “Now feed it.”
Of course my wife did feed the baby, even though it was very tough on me to be working hard like that right after the birth.
I fear that, as a culture, we have become ever more focused on and desirous of quick fixes. We don’t “patch things up” any more, we just throw them out and get a new one. Patches are not cool, after all (unless on jeans with pre-ripped and –patched seems added ahead of time, only $99 on clearance, buy yours today!). Patches are not cool, and taking time is just right out of the question.
I mean, come on, what won the Presidential election? Was it lengthy dissertations of issues? Or was it five-second sound-bites?
Why is divorce on the rise? Is it because people give it their all and it doesn’t work out? Or is it more often because it’s just easier to jump ship?
Why are Bratz dolls becoming more popular than Barbie? (Okay, this last has nothing to do with the topic; I just think it’s a sign of the Apocalypse and we should all be aware of it.)
The movies: beginning, middle, end. Want, work for, get. All in two hours. TV is even worse, because after cutting out commercial time, you have the whole process happen in 22 minutes or 40 minutes.
I’ve been married for seven years now. No beginning, middle, and end. I mean, I know there was a beginning, but I’m not sure if I’m at the middle, or still at the beginning, or what.
I think that’s what’s tough about so many things in life: you don’t see when it will be over. The challenges and tribulations that we face don’t come with expiration dates. There is no point at which we can be assured the credits will roll and we will finally be able to go to the bathroom (I always drink too much soda pop during movies and life).
But we’re not in a movie. We’re in life. It has no end credits (at least, not any we get to stick around and read, being as we’re in some kind of dark box at that point). It has an awful lot of scenes that shouldn’t make the “final cut” – too boring, too mundane, too… lifelike.
But on the upside, there are no four corners that prevent you from jumping right into the action. You can be a part of it. We can all write it as we go along. And if Act Two seems like it’s lagging, that doesn’t mean it’s time to fire the cast and try to find a new leading man or lady, it just means that more time needs to be spent polishing our own lines so that we can become the hero (or heroine) we’ve always dreamt of being.
And, besides, life doesn’t have that sticky floor feeling, either. So bonus.
PS I don't hate Harry Potter. But I bet that title got you curious!