Hollywood Endings

I went to Skimble’s last night carrying, as instructed, a copy of Cold Mountain borrowed from the local Video place (coz she doesn’t have such luxuries in Nambu!). I probably would not have watched Cold Mountain were it not for Kats desire to see it. I did enjoy it though. And Nicole Kidman is a damn good actress. Anyone who can get that much sexual tension into total not sequitors as she and Jude Law did is totally up in my estimation! (If you want to watch Cold Mountain then don’t read on!)

Also I totally flipped over Renee Zellweger, is it wrong to really really fancy a character with that accent?

I also managed to call Eileen Atkins, Maggie Smith, bad Mish!

But in anycase. Jude Law and Ms Kidman get back together, have sex and theres a delicious tension in the air between them and Renee Zellweger. And then there is a shoot out. And of course JL kills the bad guy and you feel ho hum good for him, nice shot yada-da-dada. And then he just sits there and you see crows. And in the back of my head I think ‘the bad guy shot him as well? oh boy that would be fine…hey is he going to die? Oh that would make it.’
And at that moment Skimble says ‘I don’t like the way he’s just sitting there.’

Nicole Kidman does her mad dash back at the sound of the gunfire and JL falls into the snow. And my brain is cheering because it makes the story. Yes it’s sad and you feel miserable for the characters but the story was RIGHT.

But Skimble is going ‘no, he can’t die. No but he came back for her. I don’t like it if he dies.’ etc. etc.

And obviously, at the end of the movie I accuse her of being brought up on too many Hollywood Endings. Which is quite silly really because yes, she is indeed American and has indeed seen many films from Hollywood. But you really have to ask yourself, and how many films have I seen that weren’t Hollywood movies? Just exactly how many movies have I seen sans Hollywood endings? Ignore my trips to the Dukes etc. and random enjoyment of occaisional foreign movies because frankly we were brought up in near enough the same movie based culture as far as I can see it.

And yet give me a completely happy ending and I don’t generally like it. I don’t trust them, they don’t smell right to me. I distrust the happy smiley plastic ending. Give me death, give me a sad ending and then I trust it. And to me Cold Mountain had a happy ending, NK got a baby out of it and she got love with the passion and romance and none of the tension of making it all work out. There was death and pain and then happiness, I trusted the ending… Yeah I’m just heartless sometimes aren’t I? And I can’t really blame Hollywood for that :).

5 thoughts on “Hollywood Endings

  1. It’s not whether it’s a happy ending or not that makes something a fake, Hollywood ending.

    It’s whether it’s the *right* ending for the story.

    Cold Mountain (I haven’t seen it) sounds as if it did an interesting thing with having the good guy getting shot. Gunfights are the kind of near-random events that aren’t (or rather, shouldn’t be) dictated by plot, character and so on.

    You can have traditional happy endings to films and have them feel realistic and satisfactory. It’s how they get to the happy ending that matters. If the world’s all shit upon shit upon shit until the final scene, whereupon everything spontaneously becomes good, it’s a bad ending. If there’s threads of a potential happy resolution in the complicating factors of the story, a happy ending can be plausible and not feel forced.

    The plasticy side of a Hollywood ending is the 2 seconds that remain on the nuclear bomb’s LCD display. No bomb, according to Hollywood law, has ever been defused with half an hour left on the timer.

    (Note to self: I’ve got to write a tense, nail-biting bomb defusal scene where a) the defuser isn’t the main character, because the main character’s not qualified to handle explosive devices, b) there is no LCD display, and c) the countdown is halted long before it was due to explode. Something for Kidd, I feel, if I ever get back to writing it.)

    That and the male and female leads in any film not intrinsically about a relationship suddenly getting together as a result of their difficult experiences.

    (Hmm, both of the above examples happened in The Peacemaker, an otherwise intelligent Hollywood action movie. I’ve a feeling the same can be said of Death Train, starring the pre-Bond Pearce Brosnan, although I can’t remember the love interest.)

    Of course, the thing to remember about Hollywood Endings is that they’re popular. Films aren’t about reality, or even about being fiction, they’re about entertaining the audience. If the audience didn’t enjoy the film, even the most important message, statement or lesson will be forgotten as, "Oh, that film was shit."

    I think maybe treating it as a happy ending because the boyfriend’s dead and so she doesn’t have to deal with the hassle of a relationship is… er… I don’t know what it is. Symbolic of a desire for love, yet with a fear of commitment, perhaps? :-p

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