Wednesday, September 22, 2010
This past weekend I saw the Ben Affleck bank heist film The Town and the first words I heard from the audience when the closing credits rolled was a guy 2 rows behind me saying “how predictable”. My first thought of response was “fuck you man, that movie was amazing” and my almost immediate second thought was that I didn’t agree, and even if I did, I didn’t care.
Of course that guy 2 rows back was a pretentious douchebag who had that statement planned and ready to spout probably before the movie even started, but it still got me thinking. I really hate when someone spoils the ending of a movie or tells me everything that happens. Let me figure it out on my own, but does it really matter if a movie is “predictable”? Does the movie completely suck if it goes down the way you thought it would? And really, aren’t all (or at least most) movies pretty predictable? Did you really think that the Titanic wasn’t gonna sink?
I’m a firm believer that it’s the journey and not the destination that makes a movie entertaining. I want to see a movie that has a good story, good characters, and good visuals, and as long as the complete package is satisfying I’m happy. An ending that comes completely out of left field may not be predictable, but it’s also not necessarily satisfying. I saw the indie film Catfish this weekend and all of the marketing (or lack there of) behind it was not showing too much and just promoting how unexpected the events of the third act were. This idea got me so pumped to see it. I couldn’t wait to see it and find out what was going to happen. So I went, and the first 2/3 of the movie were pretty enjoyable and interesting, and it was going down a path of complete uncertainty. But then it got to the reveal, and although I would have never predicted it in a million years, I was beyond disappointed. For me, it just goes to show that different does not automatically mean good.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are sometimes when unpredictable can mean completely awesome for a film. An ending that comes as a complete surprise, but still makes sense, is a rare but amazing thing. The last five minutes of The Mist I would’ve never have guessed, but it went along with the social commentary of the rest of the film and how quick we are to take the “easy way out” and jump to insane conclusions in intense situations, not to mention that it ensured the movie would be talked about years after its release. David Fincher’s Se7en is another prime example of an unpredictable ending in cinema. Not only did most not really expect it to happen (even though they’ll tell you they saw it coming to impress you), it made the movie what it is, the go to guide on how to make an amazing crime drama.
At the end of the day, a good movie is a good movie, regardless if I figured out every little twist and turn before it happened or not. What are your thoughts? Does knowing what’s going to happen in a movie effect how much you enjoy the movie?