Saturday, September 29, 2007

The TV Set

(Warning: implied spoilers for the above movie. Just in case.)

I saw this movie last night, and it stuck with me as bothersome. It is a funny comedy in its own right, though much of it also has the viewer cringing in sympathy - even if one is not particularly familiar with the creative process. Unfortunately, the ending, the simple, complete surrender of the main character, leaves a troubling taste in the mouth that makes the laughs that preceded it somehow tainted and less enjoyable. We are tantalized with an apparently irrelevant thread in which it appears that the narrator might have some small victory ... yet instead there is a bait and switch, and the movie ends disastrously.

This is not simply a story where the main character struggles and fails - we need these occasional stories, if only to provide tension for the "real" successes. Instead, it is a David and Goliath story where David falls back ... and falls back ... and finally runs back against the wall ... he has to take a stand ... and he's squashed. It's a disturbing portrayal of the decay of creative vision. I admire this part of the story - it's poignant - but I don't think the movie played fair with viewer expectations or traditional structure. There was no give and take ... with a few small exceptions, the story just went downhill from the start. After such a painful process, a little vindication for the audience is only sporting.

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