Anything, Everything

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Anything is not possible; everything is not possible. We can begin there. If you disagree with those premises, I think you would be part of another conversation, Childhood Myths 101. Just down the hall.

I’ve always enjoyed fantasy though. It doesn’t seem incompatible to me, to disbelieve in the supernatural and also to entertain the possibility of impossible things. Maybe once, a long time ago, more things seemed possible to me. I think that must be true.

Fiction has to be more “believable” now to me in some ways however for me to escape into it. Forex, I’ll go along with time travel, but I won’t accept a character with a posh apartment overlooking Central Park on a waiter’s salary and no other means of support. Nope. I’m hyper-aware of economics in movies now. It really irritates me when writers give their characters homes and cars way out of their apparent budget sans explanation. But it’s fine if they stick a ghost in that same house. No problem.

It’s very trendy now, ever since Gone Girl perhaps, to give us unreliable narrator/s. One of the first times I can recall digging into such a story was as a teenager with Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing. It didn’t hold up as well on a much later re-read, but regardless it set the concept for me that an unreliably told story was something I enjoyed. The reader has to do more work and I don’t mind that at all. A friend mentioned that Hereditary could be viewed in this light, as a story told completely through the eyes of the schizophrenic son with no supernatural elements involved at all. Interesting idea!

One of the criticisms of romance novels is that they’re “formulaic,” but to the romance reader that’s not a bug but a feature. We want to know going in that no matter how bad the odds look for the future of this couple, no matter how much they appear to “hate” each other when they first meet, and no matter how many miles separate them, they will end up together at the end. The pleasure is in watching them navigate all the obstacles set in their path, knowing they will overcome them because they love each other, simple as that (as opposed to real life where people break up over the dumbest things). I don’t enjoy romances when the protags aren’t struggling to be with each other and it’s only a twist of fate which throws them together at the last mo. Unsatisfying!

I think the Jennifer Crusie romance novel Faking It about art forgery/fraud would make a good movie. Someone should get on that.

I sometimes enjoy an action/adventure movie where the protag (or anti-hero) takes crazy risks when I know he’ll prevail. It’s funny how these films aren’t usually dismissed as “formulaic” while romcoms are, maybe because they’re marketed more to men. It’s fine to be formulaic if we’re talking car chases and gunfights! I never hear 007 flicks disparaged like that. Anyway, I like these on occasion, even though we never get to see the ones where a hero takes a risk, fails, and ends up on disability for the rest of his life. There’s a lot of various suspension of disbeliefs necessary in many of the action movies too, such as why the hero never misses with one shot while managing to dodge a hail of bullets from professional assassins, etc.

I’m ready for some good dramas ~ I was telling peeps this last night. The Seagull was good and I want to see a few more on that level or better. Complex, character-driven stories that stick with me for a while. But I don’t know if any of those are coming up in my area. On my list now: Distorted, The Cakemaker, Mamma Mia, Puzzle, The Spy Who Dumped Me. Assuming any of these end up playing conveniently near me, that is. So tired of seeing my local theaters all overloaded with blockbusters on every screen. BORING. Do not want to see dinos, migraine triggery cartoons, or Star Wars #857. Changed my mind on The King, since it’s not actually about him but the 2016 election. Gahhhhhhhh! Talk about a horror movie.

I go to the movies to ESCAPE from that.

8 responses to “Anything, Everything

  1. I find myself not disagreeing with you. I reserve suspending disbelief for sci-fi etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “There’s a lot of various suspension of disbeliefs necessary in many of the action movies too, such as why the hero never misses with one shot while managing to dodge a hail of bullets from professional assassins, etc.”

    Old joke: Q: Why do Imperial Cops never get domestic violence calls to Storm Troopers’ homes? A: ‘Cause they never hit ANYBODY.

    I’m 100% on board with you. I’ll bet I’m one of the most hard-core rationalists you know — ghosts, magic, astrology, alien visitors, chiropractic, accupuncture, chi-force, Dr Oz and other smirking bunco criminals, anti-GMO organic “clean food” True Believers — all this leaves me not only cold, but literally dispairing of the capacity for your average human’s capability to get even a marginal grasp on how the real world works.

    And yet, fantastic fiction (I’m going through a Neil Gamon fanboy phase at the moment) unbelievable movies (why is space so freakin’ NOISY in Star Wars movies?) and utterly ridiculous anything (I’m a huge fan of crappy old 30s –> 50s B&W B movies with everything from vampires to cardboard spaceship sets) absolutely keeps my ass in the chair sucking down popcorn, totally immersed in the impossible universe on the screen or in the pages.

    But, I never mistake any of it for “real life” beyond the confines of experiencing it in my own mind. Humans are story-tellers. Story-listeners. The fact that they make no sense hasn’t a lick to do with whether pleasure can be derived from checking real-life at the door and sinking into them for awhile. I pity anyone who’s incapable of doing that even more than I pity a Ramtha-consulting Scientologist on a Dr Oz diet. (To be fair, I usually laugh at those instead of pitying them in any event, but you know what I mean.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “…but literally dispairing of the capacity for your average human’s capability to get even a marginal grasp on how the real world works…..”

    Now THERE’S a stupid sentence. Change it to something beautiful or at least entertaining in your mind and pretend it works, since we’re doing suspension of belief gymnastics anyhow…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just letting you know that I bought your book of poetry and loved it. I like that combination of simplicity and passion.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am looking forward to romcom coming out in August. Destination Wedding. Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves- 2 curmudgeons thrown together at wedding.
    My pet peeve in movies and films are the “fully packed” suitcases and purses that are slung around in a way that makes it obvious they are empty. Also, fake drinking out of obviously empty cups. You can tell there is no weight to them by the way they are being carried. It bothered me in the movie, Still Alice, that in the cosy NYC kitchen that should be filled with stuff accumulated over 30 plus years, she drinks from a cute artsy looking mug that still has a price tag on the bottom of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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