- Paul Davidson
We Are Gullible (Or, Movie Endings We Already Know)
Yes, I will go out on a ledge and say that ALL OF US are gullible.
I just recently watched the movie Miracle in which Kurt Russell stars as the coach of the 1980 Olympic US Hockey Team and struggles to put together a team of young hockey players who can, god we all hope, beat the Soviets in the Lake Placid Winter Games.
But you have to know that in 1980 the Russians had not been beat by the Americans since 1960. Twenty years since they’d been beat. The Russians were a powerhouse team. Hell, they even beat the NHL All Stars months before the Lake Placid games. But, as history tells the story, this rag tag group of wannabe professional hockey players worked their butts off and (again) as history tells us, in the end, they beat the pants off of the Russian team. Major upset. Huge story. Everyone knew about it around the world.
And yet here I sit, in front of my TV, watching the recreation of these moments on the silver screen and I am clutching my pillow and clenching my teeth for I am so afraid that the US team is not going to win after all the trouble and injury and nay-sayers involved in this whole process.
I am (and you may be, too)…gullible when it comes to the endings of movies based on mainstream, well-known historical moments or stories.
Watching Pearl Harbor I was stunned and surprised that the Japs would be so horrific as to attack our men and women as they sat parked off the coast of Hawaii. And I was even more stunned to see the reaction of the US Government. Would we come back fighting? Would we avenge such horror?
Watching Rudy I hoped to God that little Rudy Ruettiger would someday get his chance at playing with the big boys at Notre Dame. I mean, he’s putting in all that hard work. All that sweat. He came from a family who didn’t encourage his dreams. Help little Rudy! He’s going to end up failing, I know it.
Watching Dude, Where’s My Car I sat on the edge of my seat, hoping that these two genial fools would find their car. Where was their car? Would they eventually see it’s safe return?
Don’t we all realize and know deep down that every movie is going to end with happy, tied-up goodness?
It’s what continues to amaze me about the one medium I have a love affair with. Movies have the ability to get us to suspend our disbelief to such an extent that even when the movie is based on true events and we know the outcome of such events we sit like a gullible fool and wonder to ourselves if the Argentinean soccer players from Alive are really going to survive on that mountain… If that kid pretending to be an airline pilot and surgeon from Catch Me If You Can will actually get caught… And if that big old lazy lasagna-eating cat from Garfield will actually get his comeuppance…
Deep down, we all know the answers. Deep down, we all know the outcomes. Deep down, we desperately want to forget that we know any of it.
Because when you know the ending, who wants to watch what comes before it?