Sunday, September 27, 2015

Happy Endings are Depressing

People sometimes complain about movies with sad or depressed endings. They want upbeat, feel good, inspiring. They want the fairy tales. But do happy endings actually make you happy? Do down endings make you sad? I don't think so.

When you've seen a a movie with a happy ending and then have to face reality, you inevitably come to the realization that you don't have a happy ending. You don't have any kind of ending. Even when you die, you won't experience the ending of your life, because it will be over before you can experience it.

When you've seen a movie with a sad ending, you may think about how the characters went wrong. You may think about how lucky you are not to have experienced something so depressing. Even if you had experienced it, you can feel consolation with characters that share your experience.  The outcome of a sad ending is to make you feel better.

When I got out of college times were tough, as they probably are for most kids just out of college. I could barely find enough work to survive. It was depressing as hell. So what did I do to feel better? No. I didn't go watch movies with happy endings. I couldn't afford movies with any kind of ending. I simply went out for walks in the city. And what did I see? Homeless people of course. People living depressing lives, too poor to have a car, taking buses. Waiting at bus stops like zombies. I would walk down the street and see all the lonely people, just like the Beatles song. Then I'd feel better. I'd feel sorry for them. But I'd feel better about myself, because even though I didn't have much, I had enough to feel like I had more than a lot of other people had.

You might have expected me to say that I least I had friends. But I didn't really. They'd all left college. They weren't around. My parents were staunch conservatives. They didn't want me around the house. So I can't say I had family either. I had nothing but myself. But I was comfortable with that. I had my films that I was working on. I had ideas. There was always the future. If there's a future there's hope. You have the opportunity to continue to live and make something happen.

Happy endings will depress you. But sad endings give you hope in what you have. Now try explaining that to the genius Hollywood MBA studio heads.

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