Monday, 2 February 2009

What's wrong with movies

I am returning to my blog. i have many many things to say to the world and prefer not to leave my house. these conditions are perfect for blogging.

First up, let us examine what is WRONG AND BAD at the movies just now, and in particular what is wrong with relatively good films.

1. Corny endings are alive and well.

[Wrestler/ Slumdog SPOILER ALERT]

Tonight i saw The Wrestler. It had some cliches but that didn't stop me loving it because Mickey Rourke as Randy was believable and sympathetic and the whole film was so watchable.

Then we get to the end and the lapdancer wants the ageing wrestler to stop fighting, she wants to take him to her heart, but he just can't do it because the rules of the ring and the adoration of the fans are the only thing he can do well. AND IT'S ALL SPELT OUT.

I wouldn't mind if she came running through the door just as he was going onstage, called out his name and he went on anyway, i could live with that. But they stand there having the fricking conversation, making sure that even the most stupid person in the audience has definitely got the point.

Then, and perhaps less pertinently, Slumdog Millionaire. I will set aside the fact that this film is being sold as 'feelgood' and it made me feel so bad that i had to drink brandy when i got home, which last happened to me after Pulp Fiction. No, what concerns me here is that the girl and boy meet at the station at the end and have to say 'It is our destiny to be together' as if we couldn't work that crappy message out for ourselves. Then they all do a dance.

I do realise this is a Bollywood thing but it's not a Bollywood movie, it already had a lot wrong with it, and then it just got worse. Next time i want to see someone getting his eyes poked out, i'll go to King Lear. At least i know i'm allowed to feel bad at the end.

2. Women characters are excised from the story.

Well this is hardly news either, but it just keeps happening and so i'm going to keep mentioning it.

Milk is one of the best films i've ever seen in my life. But i'm sure the San Francisco gay rights movement wasn't started, run and supported by hundreds of gay men plus THREE dykes of three hues, one of whom got to work with the guys and the other two of whom stood behind them at demonstrations.

As for Slumdog, it's a while since i read the novel ('Q&A' by an Indian diplomat called Vikas Swarup who is rarely mentioned in discussion of the film - you'd think Simon Beaufoy had made it all up as soon as he finished thinking up Full Monty). But what i do remember is that there were at least two more female characters of significance: a lawyer to whom the boy told his true story when she gained his trust, and an ageing actress.

In the film, we have only the girl, victim of terrible circumstances, who has to be rescued by her prince again and again.

Are audiences really so dim that they can't follow or enjoy a film if there are any strong women to distract them from the most important point, ie that the hero has to rescue a disempowered woman (or get off with a lapdancer) by the end?

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