I don’t take things at face value. Never have. One could say that makes me a cynic. But I’d say a realist. So let’s split the difference and settle on a little bit of both.
Hell of a time to be living in for us cynical realists.
There is nothing wrong with watching what’s going on in Washington, D.C. these days and feeling like a skeptic who is positive some dry ice machine hidden just beyond our collective eye-lines is creating that incessant shroud of dense black fog we all continually find ourselves trapped in.
The FBI is investigating the president, OUR U.S PRESIDENT for being a Russian spy, a willing Russian stooge, or a blackmailed stooge being made to spy on HIS OWN COUNTRY by…..RUSSIA???
Why, it’s like some bad John LeCarre novel that you always felt you should read but decided not to when you saw how thick it was and considered that much time might be better spent at least attempting to read Proust. Or your latest bank statement.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with escape. Us cynical realists do it all the time. I, for one, am a sucker for cheap thrills in mindless entertainment. But cheap doesn’t mean vague and unexplained and even mindless needs to feel reasonable. Or, well, follow-able within the unreality that is being created.
So will someone tell me: WHAT THE HELL WAS EVERYONE LOOKING AWAY FROM IN Bird Box???? And why?? Why?? Why????? Why did it make so many of them suicidal and yet others of them spiritually reborn or evil or just clever? Why Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich??? Why do you need a new kitchen or house or small plane that badly?????
And while we’re on this subject, or genre: If John Krasinski’s character cared so much about his family you’d think he’d have removed that foot long nail sticking out of the floor in A Quiet Place the first 500 times he saw it. Or at least after it almost pulverized his beloved wife the first time. Why??? Why???? Why doesn’t this bother anybody else?????
But that all begs the question of how an earnest film like Boy Erased, a movie all about a gay teenager’s coming of age, can show us an early scene of him being raped and then NEVER address it again in a story that deals primarily with sexual identity and psychological well-being? Why??? Why??? Why is it okay to just IGNORE the ELEPHANT YOU PLACED IN THE GOSH DARNED NARRATIVE ROOM?????? WHY??????????????
No wonder I often spend my days feeling like Rosemary Woodhouse AFTER she’s pieced together the truth on her living room floor with Scrabble tiles while everyone else tells her that the truth really doesn’t matter at all and to simply stay in her room, turn up the air conditioning and be quiet.
Yes, there are a few spoilers here but does it seriously even matter anymore if we’ve forgiven everything else? Or at least you have?
As a writer, I don’t believe you can write (nee create) an important character and not understand their childhood, their family or their love life. And, if they’re really important, I even need to know their favorite food, color and sexual proclivities.
Call me crazy, but you can’t really get a person unless you understand whether or not they were raised by wolves (Note: Literally and/or figuratively), what they like to eat and who they choose to… well, you know… or if they simply choose NOT to with anyone.
No judgments here. Ask my writing students. In fact, I get a perverse pleasure out of watching morally questionable behavior unfold as long as it’s earned. But that’s just a start. If you’ve made this stuff up by the numbers, or use it lazily to create ridiculous choices and/or inactions, it’s no better. Either a lack of data and/or vigor means at the end of the day we (Note: Okay, I) won’t be able to feel it. All you will be giving me is incomplete or hackneyed information neatly arranged into a bunch of consecutive index cards or visual PowerPoint presentations.
This, more than anything else, is my problem with most Robert Zemeckis films. Not that anyone asked. #ForrestGump goes #BacktotheFuture3X. And #WelcometoMarwen.
This could all account for why I’ve been grossly riveted to cable news and the horrific events of our current Electoral College POTUS these last few days.
Childhood: Raised in my hometown of Queens. Beat the crap out of other kids his age and younger in his youth. Expelled from high school and sent to military school. Used Dad’s $$$ to get him out of the REAL military and into IVY league higher education, during which time he was known to have never picked up a book.
Family: Raised in my hometown of Queens (Note: Still) by extremely rich parents who marketed in racism, corruption and various other dirty deeds in order to build and keep their massive empire afloat.
Love Life: Married three times, during which there were countless affairs, various incidents of rage, violence and at least one case of alleged rape with his first wife. More incidences of sexual harassment and inappropriate manhandling of women in airplanes, parties, movie premieres and television sets than anyone can count. Or would want to.
Favorite Food: Well-done steak, french fries, ice cream, anything McDonalds and an estimated one DOZEN cans of Diet Cokes per day.
Favorite Color: Gold. (Duh).
Sexual Proclivities: I can’t even…. Stormy Daniels knows all. Though let’s give equal credence to the mysterious #PeeTape once it surfaces. Which it inevitably will.
The consistent, salient details of DJT has, if nothing else, made me BELIEVE his most unlikely of stories. That is because if you simply pay attention nothing is shrouded in fog. The data continues to unfold in a consistent pattern and with the rigor of the best Shakespearean tragedies. That is where, in the final act, the main character meets his inevitable demise because of every action he took in each scene of his play.
It doesn’t take much to see it’s all very Aristotle’s Poetics.
Both storytellers and audiences should take note for future reference.