What happened to the love you and I once shared, cinema? I would give you the one thing you loved (my money) and you would reward me with splendid tales of good overcoming evil, right smiting wrong, and Michael Bay blowing things up. Now a days it seems as though you’re all the willing to take my money, but content in telling me stories with no morals, no point, and no happy ending. When did you turn so cynical?
I’m a sucker for a happy ending, I’ll admit it. Sometimes I even pay extra for it. But let’s be clear on just what a happy ending is. I don’t want rainbows and unicorns fucking dolphins and birthing cupcakes. If a psycho killer (Quest que cest, fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa) [+1 for getting the joke] murders an entire orphanage and half a dozen care takers, but in the end one strong girl bares her breasts and slashes down the slasher, that is a happy ending. No matter how bad evil got, evil got a bad end. These days, we get to the end, ready for some heroics or a moment of triumph where all our hero’s hard work pays off and what do we get? Jack. And Shit. And Jack just left town.
These examples will contain spoilers, so check yo’ self before I wreck your movie going experience. First, one from way back – Man on Fire. Talk about a downer. Denzel goes through hell and back and at the end, what is his reward – a happy life having saved the girl? No, he decides not to bust out all his mad-ass killer skills and just hands his life over. Lame. This summer’s absolutely atrocious Observe and Report didn’t have a happy ending. It didn’t even have an ending. It just ended. Our hero learned nothing. Scratch hero. That fat, slovenly bastard learned nothing – and was rewarded for it. This weekend’s sweet baby-child Drag Me To Hell – our innocent heroine fights for her life and puts it all on the line, then gets sucked into hell for an eternity of suffering because some thieving gypsy whore says so. Take that to the bank and fuck it, no thanks. Where’s my happy ending? The Breakup – we spend the whole time waiting for these people to get back together and what? Nothing. Thanks for wasting my time. Lost in Translation? I’ll tell you what was lost in translation – that whole damn movie.
There in is the real problem of the non-happy ending. Many times it means things aren’t resolved. It means all you just watched doesn’t matter. Like we need a reminder every day that most of what we do is pointless? We all tread water every day, we don’t go to theaters to watch characters spin their wheels and end up breaking down. Sure, a movie can definitely have a sad ending that proves a point. American History X did not have a happy ending, it had a smart ending that added to the story and slammed the point home. A real point. Most movies that have bad endings are slamming home the point that “no matter what you do life is sucky and all your hard work means jack shit.” Thanks a lot, Hollywood, suck a boat load of [Editor’s note: Too much cursing already, but if you’re curious it was about donkeys and their genitalia.]
When I go to a movie, I want to see something get accomplished. I want to be reminded that hard work and determination can save your soul. I want to know that if fight the good fight, I win the girl. Because that’s not how the real world is. So we escape. Movies have always been referred to as the greatest form of escapism on earth. Who are these filmmakers to take that away from us? It’s rather cruel, when it serves no point other than to shake a finger at the audience at remind us life blows. Christine Brown may have been dragged to hell, but I’ve been pushed to my boiling point.
What say you?