Saturday, March 15, 2008

Loose ends? Tie them up!

I've had lots of loose ends in my life lately, and I'd planned to tidy them up this weekend. But first I decided to watch a movie with my son.

So we curled up, the cat snoring softly between us, and watched the movie we'd checked out from the friendly neighborhood video store. I'll skip the name of the movie since it's a new release and obviously somebody somewhere liked it--it had a couple of Big Names to star in it plus megachunks of publicity.

We'd missed it in the theater, though we'd wanted to see it. It looked charming and funny. I like movies that make me laugh. When it came out on DVD--and even better, on BlueRay so we could see every glorious moment in HiDef--we rushed out and rented it.

Good thing we didn't buy it.

It wasn't funny. It was so sad in places that we were both trying really hard not to cry. And then at the end, one of the major plot threads--I mean, a REALLY MAJOR PLOT THREAD--hadn't been resolved. Hadn't even been mentioned for the last quarter of the movie. And, to make this even worse, it was the plot issue of the child in the movie.

Loose ends flap around long after the story is done. I'm still bothered by this poor child's dilemma hanging unresolved--and he's not a "real" kid.

Any time we ask a viewer/reader/listener to plunk down even a bit of their hard-earned money, we sure don't want to, wow, ANNOY them.

When I write a synopsis, I also do a graphic representation with plot issues AND both primary and secondary characters at the top, with squiggles and arrows and all kinds of cool artistic things to ensure that they're all addressed throughout the work.

I hope that in my books, I never leave a little boy with his issue unaddressed and unresolved!


Lisa said...

I'm intrigued. Also, I would like to know what movie this was just so I don't waste my time renting it:)

I know what you mean. I can't stand it when there are whole chunks left out of a story. It makes me wonder whose fault that is. Did the writer just leave the little boy hanging? If so, why didn't the director find it? And if it was editted out, then why didn't someone watch the movie and notice it? With all the c**p out there right now I really wonder how people can get away with such neglect...and it is neglect.

When we watch a movie or read a book, as readers we become invested. We have invested our time and money to "purchase" (I hate using that term with art)the product. It seems that too often now, there is no appreciation for the audience and making the experience one that they will remember. (Though I suppose in this case you will.) Where are the people shouting for the quality of work? Where is the pride for producing a piece of art that makes you proud?

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised though. I know how hard it is for me to get my students to revise, I suppose I can't expect any different who people get paid if they can get my butt in the seat. I don't even have to stay there.

I rarely rent/watch movies anymore because I feel like my time has become too valuable to waste on a product that may or may not live up to my expectations. I have been disappointed more often than not. I arrange a whole evening in which I get the kids to bed or give them a different activity so that I can watch a "mommy show." I make sure that my work is done and make a conscious choice to devote myself to the production. I want it to be good and often it isn't.

I want to be wowed.

Kacie said...

I see the same thing in novels all of the time--although ironically enough, it's rarely true in genre novels (like romance), and seems to happen more often in mainstream novels. Perhaps the established structure of a genre novel encourages writers to pull together all of the loose ends?

I don't know. I know that I can't imagine leaving a glaring omission like the resolution of a major subplot out of a story; who's running the show, anyway?

Janet Spaeth said...

SPOILERS AHEAD...MAYBE. HAH. THIS MOVIE IS ALREADY SPOILED!!! I seriously don't know if anything here is a spoiler. It might spoil your supper, though!

The movie was "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium." The little boy doesn't have any friends, which is his character's issue--and his mother is rightly concerned about that. By the end, it sure didn't seem resolved.

As a writer, that concerned me.

As a parent, though, there was another WHAT?!?!?!? moment. The little boy has a grown male friend (see, he IS making friends--haha) come to his house to see his hat collection. The mom finds them in the boy's bedroom, with both of them wearing silly hats and romping around playing, and after a very mild, "Who is this?" apparently lets it go.

HELLO! If this happened to my child, I'd have had the police there quicker than you could say, "Creepish." And what kind of man would go into a child's bedroom without talking to his mom first?

For that reason alone, I'd give this movie thumbs most definitely down.

There are other loose ends, too. You don't have to scrape too far to see them.

Ick. What a movie!

Danica/Dream said...

Oh I HATE that! I think that's why I don't usually watch movies without a recommendation.

Kacie said...

Okay, I'm totally with you on the whole "grown-up" friend thing. Maybe my cynical side is showing ;), but I would feel incredibly suspicious regarding the motives of the adult involved in this scenario.

It's movies (and books) like these, though, that inspire the rest of us. I find myself thinking that if THEY can publish that, I'm a shoo-in!

When are you going to start working on your screen-play? :)

Lisa said...

I'm so with you on the ADULT friend in the room. You would think that in the days after the fall of Michael, producers and directors might be more aware. What is wrong with people?

And you are right Kacie, you are a shoo-in?

Hey Janet, aren't you just loving our ?spring? weather today. I am so glad to be back in ND! I love it! (as I shake my head vehemently)