20 June 2008

Maddie Defends Hollywood

Bernard, Maddie and I were sitting together quietly, waiting for our breakfast to come, reading sections of the paper. I, for one, was not quite awake and was glad for the opportunity to stare at newsprint while waiting for the cobwebs to clear. Once I got a few bites of food I’d likely feel more up to conversation.

Suddenly, Bernard punched his paper with a loud snap, making me jump, and said, “Ha! These movies are so predictable. So formulaic. Look at this list – Ironman, Indiana Jones …. These movies are pap. They offer resolution to even the most impossible of situations in just an hour or two.

Maddie did not even look up from her society page, “100 minutes.”

“What?” asked Bernard, blinking at her.

“In 100 minutes," she repeated. "Hollywood resolves issues in 100 minutes.”

“Whatever, Maddie,” Bernard said contemptuously. “The point is, they make solutions look too easy. It’s utter nonsense.”

“Well, it is the least that Hollywood can do for people,” Maddie said, looking up at him reprovingly. “Someone needs to offer resolution.”

“What do you mean?”

“People can go their whole life, Bernard, and never once get things resolved. Look at you and your love life, Bernard. You’re in your 70s and you still haven’t gotten that figured out.” She sipped her coffee and then continued as Bernard looked on in disbelief. “Life just sits there in a swirl of uncertainty, as if there is a perpetual ‘to be determined’ sign hanging over everything. The least that those folks in Hollywood can do is to distort life into some kind of plot line for us.”

“Distort?” Bernard asked.

“Yes. Distort. Life goes on for much too long for any real plot to emerge. You say that Hollywood resolves open issues in the space of 100 minutes like it is a bad thing. But what else are they going to do? If we wanted things like real life, we’d just stay in real life,” she finished her little speech and neatly folded her section of the paper.

Bernard sat there quietly for a bit. I took another sip of iced tea, intrigued with this drama between the siblings. “Maddie …” Bernard began hesitantly.

“Don’t you Maddie me,” Maddie cut him off. “I need my occasional dose of easy resolution, Bernard. Now if you’re done with the entertainment section, I’d like to see the movie times for Sex and the City." As she reached for the paper, a little grin played across her face. "I think that I’m a lot like Samantha.”

I had never seen Bernard looked quite so stunned. As the waitress brought our breakfast, I could only hope to hear her elaborate. It sounded like it might be a good morning for stories – the kind of stories that Hollywood overlooked for the simple reason that it as a visual medium, one that didn’t encourage the notion that septuagenarians might still be romantically inclined. A sucker for stories, I could only hope that Bernard’s apparent incredulity would cause him to prompt her for more.


LSD said...

For some reason I picture your two companions as Kurt Vonnegut and aunt Leola. -I'm not sure which one is more formidable. Your assignment to these two seems to be some sort of cosmic rule that would only be a waste of time to question. The setting might be a Santa Cruz (?) coffee house...

"That policy is such a farce!"

"Oh Kurt, don't say that, children are present!"

Gypsy at Heart said...

Romantic drivel, impossible to believe endings, thrilling if over the top action sequences - I'm with Maddie on this one. I want pre-packaged, formulaic resolution of the speedy kind. There's a reason we call movies escapist fare.

Dave said...

Maddie has it. Our lives are all about lack of control over the outcome, try as we will. Movies wrap in so many minutes. Baseball ends, mostly in nine innings. Golf no matter how painful it may be for me, has a few moments of joy per round.

All of our pastimes are geared to giving resolution within a set amount of time, with a hope of the desired outcome, something that real life doesn't give us.

Ron Davison said...

I laughed off and on all weekend with this visual for Bernard and Maddie.

I think that you'd enjoy hanging out with Maddie.

Excellent point. Sports, too, are about crafted resolution and clear outcomes. So unlike real life - for most people most of the time.