The purpose of this post is, simply, to explain why this picture disgusts me. I see it often. It is the photo-art from the movie, The Notebook, based off the book from the same name. The photo is Rachel McAdams and some dude that I don’t care about. They are about to kiss. They haven’t kissed yet, but they are about to. This is what we call the “Rising Action” which leads to the “Climax”. People read or watch movies for the climax but we enjoy the book or the movie for the build up, the rising action. All we want is for the rising action to make sense and lead to the moment where these two people make out. Why? Well, part of it is because we all want to make out with someone and that making out with people we really like is actually pretty hard. Most times we make out with people we sort of like until we find the person we really like and then, damn it, once you reach the climax all that’s left is the Falling Action and the Falling Action is usually where I get my popcorn and head for the exits. Here is my problem. More and more, movies depend on this romantic situation to move a narrative. Very seldom do we see movies that can tell an interesting story without the stink of a romance. I’m not saying that romance is bad. Please don’t confuse. I’m saying that romance in movies is boring. And you would have thought that, by now, we could have come up with a more original device to deliver a proper tale. We haven’t. Or, at least, not yet. Here our three moves that I’ve watched recently. Two of them deal with romance and one does not. And I will actively explain why the last movie is, of course, superior.
Avatar: Don’t worry, I won’t diss on it again. Ok, I will, but not much. One of the problems that I had with the flick is that the love story wasn’t the most important part of the movie, but it took up the most time. The guy has to learn about the Blue People’s culture by hanging out with the Blue People Princess. Her own mother makes her do it, which is sort of strange. Hey, daughter, hang out with this Alien-thingy over here and show him how to kill things. Yep, that is proper parenting in action. What was the movie’s focus? The love story wasn’t complex enough to be the focus. It was too easy and too easily implemented. Was it the metaphor of the destruction of nature because of the
power-hunger of man? Maybe, but that was easily implemented, too. In the end, Avatar used the basic love-story formula to tell a basic nature-rape story that ended in a climax that was CGIed to the knee-caps. Or maybe I’m just being too hard on it.
High Fidelity: One of my favorite films, even though it is all love-story, one hundred percent. However, it is not love-story in the Guy-gets-the-Girl way. It is love story as in the Why-does-guy-keep-losing-the-girl way. John Cusack tries to figure out why all his relationships end as horrible, disgusting messes. While he does that, he slowly comes to realize that he is a horrible, disgusting mess that has commitment issues the size of my learning curve in Geometry. There is also a large chuck of hypocrisy thrown in there for good measure. The purpose of the movie is the love-story, but it is an honest look at it. The movie doesn’t try to fulfill a fantasy, unless your fantasy is to spend all day in a record store. If that’s the case, I actually know a few people that might be able to help you with that.
Primer: It took me a while to find a movie that didn’t have a Romantic love story component in it at all. Primer’s plot, its very concept, is nothing at all simple. It involves time travel, on a scale that is completely uncomfortable. Two engineers accidentally create a time-machine. Of course, they use it for their own devices, going to back in time to rig the stock market and get that mad-cash. And, yep, there is some killing involved as well. It is sci-fi geekiness at its zenith. I don’t even understand the dialogue through most of it. Yet, whenever I watch it, I am completely transfixed. Maybe there is a different love story being told, if a love story is the only thing that can hold interest. Maybe the love of the two protagonist and their discovery is what is so compelling. It doesn’t matter, really. What I typically enjoy is far from what fills the box office treasure chests on the weekends. The common movie audience isn’t ready to watch the kind of movies that interest me. If that were the case, we would be watching some strange stuff. Robots flying space-ships inside of tiny moons with the twin-suns getting ready to explode. And the robot pilot is about to have the first robot-human baby hybrid. And in the belly of the robot, what is the human-robot hybrid holding? Yep. A laser-gun. Yeah. Now that would be a movie.