Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cutting our loses -


Why do we continue reading bad books? Or sit through awful movies?

Sunday night I saw Synecdoche New York. I sensed I was in trouble when it opened with the lead character, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, beginning his day by reading the obits.

This sorry excuse for a movie quickly devolved into an unintelligible mess and seemed to go on for 2 days instead of 2 hours. Yet few of us got up to leave. Why?

Some may have been waiting for it to improve, to make some sense. After all, it had a first rate cast and good reviews. It was even billed as a comedy. I will admit to bursting out laughing a time or two at the inanity of it all, but I was the only one. Some comedy. It was so relentingly dreary people just sat, stone faced staring at the screen. Why?

I stayed because my companion will not leave in the middle of a film, regardless, unless we have aisle seats.

Others, doggedly wanted their “money’s worth,” I wager. My own time, though, is worth more to me than that.

My main theory is that most of us are afraid, afraid we are missing something, that we are the only one not smart enough to understand the deep meaning. Afraid to declare the script has no entertainment. As my former father-in-law would say: donkey dust.

If it doesn’t make sense to you, odds are there is something missing in the work, not in you. To those of you muttering that I didn’t “get it’” that it was an existential exercise. I got it. I will concede that it might have been meant as a send-up. If that’s the case, I really am not smart enough to see the difference.

How about you? The truth now. Do you vote with your feet or your seat?

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I walked out on "The Departed" which went on to win an Academy Award. It started with gratuitous violence and a stream of F words in all their permutations. My companion and I left. We cut our loses, which in this case was a mere $5 senior rate.

A few years ago I realized that I was reading books that were boring me because I was brought up to believe that you should finish what you start. Now if a book doesn't grab me by the second chapter, back to the library is goes. I was liberated!