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.