Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why Don't They Ever Listen?

I remember taking a handicapped friend to see Titanic for the 14th time. Colleen takes it hard that Jack dies, I was warned, but last time left her distraught over the fate of the poor iceberg.

Coming out of the theater after the movie I was completely unprepared for Colleen's assertions that Rose died. Nothing I said could convince her that Rose had lived in the movie. She was full of a story about how Rose had sacrificed herself to save Jack --she changed the movie. Jack was going to live, if the film makers wouldn't save him Colleen would.

I understand how Colleen felt. I often find myself imagining different endings, or middles, or whole movies after seeing something on-screen that did not live up to its trailers. And I'm vocal about it.

My family refuse to go out to the movies with me -- especially if I've read the book they made the film from -- because I will make comments. During the movie.
I try not to but I always end up talking to the screen. I offer advice to the characters, to the writers, to the director... I tell them how they should have done it. They never listen.

For me, nothing ever changes. Films go on deliberately altering the fictional realities of my favorite books in a manner that amounts to character assassination, violating the facts of history in a manner that makes the word anachronistic an understatement, and demonstrating truly original bad taste and poor decision making at a frighteningly increasing rate. (Really good movies are getting scarce, IMO.)

Last night as my sister and I watched a comedy on the television, I was once again speaking to the screen, bemoaning the lack of morality in our culture and pointing out that the obvious consequences could have been avoided if they would simply have listened to me four or five scenes ago....
And I had an idea: What if television and movies did listen? What if it the endings did change?

Remember "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? I love this concept. You read a page or two and then there is a choice to be made, you choose what you would do and turn to the corresponding page to see how your choice plays out... why couldn't this be done with film? An interactive webisode for all of us out here who shout advice to the television while patient family members quietly insist "They can't hear you."

Now if only someone was listening....

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