This morning, I went for a walk with some friends and the subject of movies came up. Tonight, I reflect on our conversation…
I’ll try to explain a little more what we talk about when we talk about the satisfaction induced by a good movie.
TV series, Movies, Plays… That’s entertainment and we love that. Why? Why do we love going into a dark room filled with strangers to watch people we are not even acquainted to, make their show for us? And why are we pleased afterwards? (I talk here only of good quality time, ok?)
We are especially pleased when our expectations -most of which we are not fully aware as they generally lie in our unconscious- are met.
We are satisfied and content when the characters are consistent, clearly established for what they are (Hero, Romance, Nemesis -stands between the hero and his goal achievement-, reflection -supportive to the outer motivation) and the plot carefully built and conducted.
We are satisfied and happy when we can anticipate what’s next, but not too much. We love surprises (well, good ones only).
We are satisfied when action is moving at a pace we can follow (not too fast and not sloppy).
We are satisfied when the dialogues are intelligent, funny, or memorable. (We, silverscreen and telly nerds, LOVE to quote our favourite heroes)
We are satisfied when we can adhere to the inner or outer motivations or the hero and when the stakes seem plausible and rise until becoming unbearable. (and better, when the situation we once experimented, or someone we know has, obviously not the case when the world needs to be saved by Superman)
We are satisfied when we can adhere to the means the protagonists choose to resolve their conflict(s) -driven by outer/inner motivation- and finally achieve their goals (even if it’s a little dirty secrets, look at the success of Dirty Harry or Dexter, he is a SK & mental, for Christ’s sake!).
We are satisfied to allow ourselves to grieve upon the difficulties they encounter and being upset to see them almost (almost) ready to let go of the fight/quest/willing-to-change. We are satisfied when we see them being THAT close to drift from their love/ goal/personal growth/saving of the world and finally kick bottom to be up again & to regain the stamina to continue STRONGER.
We are satisfied when they WIN. Or justice is done, conflict is resolved, truth revealed, and happiness or healing on the way. Unless it is the thing to understand that is – AT LAST- understood.
We are supersatisfied when the twist ending (when there is one) is strong, astonishing and brilliant, (exactly the opposite of what we expect).
Because that’s how we, humans, are built. And that’s what we need.
All we need is hope. And all we hope for is that our needs are fulfilled. Magically, we have a powerful tool to obtain the results: we can pick a movie and be fulfilled with whatever we need to keep us going on with our life and our responsibilities ad duties : joy, happiness, motivation, beauty, motive for thinking, determination, hope, courage, passion, understanding, knowledge, a break in our daily routine, a brain-spa, a good laugh, a good thrill, a good fright…in 3 words : a good moment.
As we go to the theaters to make that magic possible, for most of us, what we crave above all is a damn good screenplay.
What is a screenplay? It’s the body of the movie (or of the TV series episode), the structure, the rules organising the whole thing and keeping from falling apart, or ending with that awkward feeling of discontent, frustration or anger, because your need or your expectation has not been fulfilled…
Yes, a story follows rules, it’s not just -so-stories (;-p Rudy K.)
Long story short:
The HERO has a CONFLICT to resolve (INNER or OUTER).
(Example : in Walk the Line, Johnny Cash has INNER CONFLICTS (lack of self-confidence and struggle to become himself/ his growing love for June/destructive behavior) and OUTER CONFLICTS (an abusive father who prefers his eldest son and despises his son JR (Johnny Cash) & big bro loves his lil’ bro JR/ Mother says nothing/ his wife and children vs. his touring the country and his affairs/ his dealer tracking him down) to overcome.)
He has a MOTIVATION : INNER and OUTER (tangible) to change the situation
(Example : Walk the Line. INNER MOTIVATION : getting married/ then to win June’s love/ deal with his past/become himself, OUTER MOTIVATION : to break free from addictions/ come to terms with his father’s rejection/record songs.)
The HERO has GOALS to achieve and they sustain his MOTIVATION :
(Example : Walk the Line. Johnny Cash’s GOALS are : to overcome his addictions/become a singer/tour with June, Elvis and Jerry Lee.)
The HERO must deal with an OPPONENT (NEMESIS character) or ADVERSITY, preventing him potentially to achieve his GOALS. ADVERSITY must be visible and identified (The CIA, the terrorists, the police, a disease : does not work , even if a collective danger/obstacle, they must have a face, a name and they must confront the HERO individually in the end, disease can be personified by a disillusioned nurse or physician, or patient).
(Example : Walk the Line. MULTIPLE NEMESIS : Johnny Cash has to divorce his wife in order to be with June, his father must learn to respect him, the dealer must be well… dealt with, authorities must be convinced to let him play in prison)
The HERO can find help or support along his journey (REFLECTION character), even love (ROMANCE character).
(Example : Walk the Line. REFLECTION : Jerry lee, Perkins & Elvis. ROMANCE : his wife and then June)
In the end, the CONFLICT is pacified, the MOTIVATION is resolved (the hero has failed or succeeded at achieving his goal(s) , in every case, the HERO has gained personal growth, his journey is complete.
The end. That’s all folks!
What movie is your favourite and why?