Laughter and Tears Make the Story
The writer in his early seventies
"How hum...another monster..."
Welcome to Laughter and Tears Make...and that which we remember...
Just came back home from watching a movie. Now this was no ordinary movie. According to the hype, it has grossed more money than any in history. It was the so-called last of a popular series of films which has made this writer a billionaire, and a certain factious young man into a household word. Did I like the film? Well…it was okay. Just okay. Nothing to leave a lasting impression by way of message or, for that matter, a story. It didn’t seem to have one.
It really wasnt much of a tale
I’m not going to mention the name of this particular show. You probably guessed it right, but there are a lot of people who enjoy this sort of entertainment. That’s what enabled this picture to gross millions of dollars at the box office. But it wasn’t really much of a story. It just seemed to lurch from one continuing drama circumstance to the next. Moreover, with continuous highs, where does one go from there? Unless you’re on a continuous Viagra drip you can only stay up for so long. Seriously though, one cannot help wondering when this sort of entertainment will eventually peter out and we’ll get back to really moving, gripping, entertaining films again. Yes, I'm talking about real Laughter and Tears films.
Pathos and Humor: not continuous explosions of drama.
To me, for a story to have that extra something that makes it great, it needs to contain a number of essential things, the first and foremost being a decent plot or story. Secondly, it needs both pathos and humor. We all like to laugh. There was not one laugh in the whole of the picture I mention above – not one. On the other hand, it did not bring a tear to my eye at all – though it did to one of the actors acting player the part of being tearful. Two tears. And they were caught in a container! (So now you know of what I write)
Oh, for a story! - or a least some emotion other than pseudo fear.
Oh, for a decent tale of daring do, interspersed with laughter, tears, a gradual build-up to dramatic happenings; lows, highs, and at least something in between. A plot that opens and takes one gradually forward. A plot that continues to move the watcher along to the first hurdle or conflict. A series of conflicts to be overcome but which at times the hero loses out. And, God help us! leading actors who don’t take the sort of punishment which would kill a Brahma Bull, and still manage to walk away with only a bloody nose and a cut lip. Syd Field’s marvelous book, Screen Play, says it all. Why won’t our modern day directors read him?
Oh for a story! Yep, that’s what I’m all for. Let’s hope we one day start to see them appearing out of Hollywood once again. Laughter and Tears make the story - but only if there is a story in which to put those laughs and those tears.