Closure can mean a lot of things. In terms of sensation and perception, it can refer to the process by which one’s mind fills in the blanks, the holes in the raw data supplied by our sense organs. We see two juxtaposed, sequential images in a comic book, and our mind can read it as a single scene.
This is closure.
For my mother closure is finishing a movie. If she watches ten minutes of a movie she needs to know how things turn out, even if she hates the movie. She needs that type of closure. My father is on the other end of the spectrum. He can watch the first 90 minutes of a 100 minute film, then go straight to bed without any problems.
I have to imagine most people are somewhere in the middle. In the land beyond either end of this spectrum lies some form of dangerous neuroses.
I also think that most people consider an arbitrary, almost certainly irrational system of value when it comes to films. I certainly do. If I paid ten plus dollars to see a movie in the theater, you damn well certain that I’m watching the whole film. Even if it is the worst piece of garbage around, I won’t leave; I’ll just be more liberal in my allotment of bathroom breaks. I believe The Day After Tomorrow was allocated no less than three urinal visits.
If I paid five dollars to rent a movie, I’m probably going to watch the whole thing. Five bucks is five bucks, you know?
Currently, however, I’m on this Blockbuster-fake Netflix plan thingy. Blockbuster never hesitates to increase my rates on a whim, but now I don’t pay by the unit, but by the month. If a dvd sucks, I kick it out of my house and use it to grab a new one at that damned blue and yellow store.
While this modern convenience may has diminished my patience, it has afforded me a more rational basis upon which to make a decision. I have a better understanding of my time’s worth, and how this thing is more valuable than the latest Ridley Scott claptrap.
But there is still that problem of closure. Even if 99 percent of me couldn’t conceivably care less, there remains that nagging 1 percent.
What’s to be done about this thing?
Then my wife discovered the worst enemy of the biopic, that overblown, over-used, over-appreciated genre of the biographical picture. A powerful tool in combating that format which is so prone to fact-stretching, which creates interminable movies, which so often staples a black and white narrative over the ambiguous and ambivalent. What hero so brave could slay such a monstrous beast?
Wiki – fecking – pedia. (Pardon that “e”, it’s the Chicagoan in me.)
Wikipedia will very often have a detailed description of a movie’s plot. Plus they will very often have a detailed account of the reality behind the situation.
This is a good thing.
The wife and I gave up on American Gangster about a half an hour into the picture, realizing that we hadn’t made a dent in the dang thing. Wikipedia afforded us closure to the reel picture and the real picture. (Hack cliches ahoy!)
My wife spent all twelve hours of Alexander‘s run time on Wikipedia reading about the actual history, biding her time till the hot boy on boy action. (Widro, a couple of more phrases like that and I’ll have a far more popular column. GENIUS!)
In the time it would take me to watch Walk the Line, I could read his wiki and listen the Johnny Cash sing Johnny Cash songs instead of River Phoenix’s brother.
Yet, I’d still probably watch Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Certain things defy rationality.