All-day movie fest at Josh’s. A few false starts due to some movies not having proper captioning or not working at all, but otherwise we got some good stuff in.
Saw Storm Riders (subtitled HK epic fantasy). A pretty wild ride, dramatic while being over the top and skittering close to the edge of absurdity… but it worked, since it understood what it was, and kept within a boundary of exaggerated reality. And the action scenes kicked much booty. Still, surrealism always puts me in a strange mood.
Next was the Royal Taunenbaums, and I don’t think I need to point out how odd and awkward THAT movie is if you’ve ever seen it. …and if you haven’t, go rent it. Another film that distorts reality just enough to get its point across in a reasonable way without being realistic about it.
But, all that plus a bad case of stomach churning (chips, soda, greasy food, sitting in one place for hours, muscle cramps) and I retired early. Came home to watch… I won’t say what anime, because I don’t want to spoil it, but can I say one thing?
I’m really tired of animes where the love interest dies in a needless, self-sacrificial way or is otherwise kept apart from his/her lover through some contrived set of destiny / circumstances / bad luck / tragedy. It’s a staple of anime. Maybe a staple of japanese culture — likely a staple of japanese culture, where self-sacrifice is honorable and noble.
And I don’t buy it at all. Not just self-sacrifice, but the whole mentality that you need to destroy your characters after building them up for the sake of Tearjerking Drama.
I’m really, really sick and tired of it — I don’t care how dramatic and sad and so on it is, maybe I’m just too soft and sentimental but I say doing that sort of thing is needlessly torturous to your characters and your audience. It’s a blatant heartstring yank and I do not appreciate being yanked by anyone or anything. I do not like being manipulated.
I am never, ever going to write a romance like that. Not in Penultima, not in UE, not in past works like Sailor Nothing, not in future works, never. I’ve written horror and trauma and disaster and suffering beyond suffering… but you notice I rarely, if ever kill off my characters unless there’s a damn good reason that was foretold from the beginning? I’ve been called a wuss, a weakling, a pussy for “not having the guts to kill off my characters.” Sorry, you do not win Daily Double — this is not an issue of guts. I do not whimper; I’m strong like an iron bar on this matter. It’s a core belief integral to me.
That’s because in the end, I prefer for my stories to end on the ‘plus’ side of the scale, no matter how far they dip into the minus to get there. Not just the “Well, gosh, I’ve lost the only person I ever cared for but learned a valuable lesson about the importance of love / how to live my life / how to eat yogurt using only a straw” sort of ‘plus’ side, I mean a genuine benefit. Learning, growing, becoming whole, redeeming yourself or healing yourself. There is no freaking POINT to suffering if there isn’t a reason for it. This is why, for the longest time, I got the hell out of writing darkfics.
The growing trend in darkfics about the time I left was one of Pointless, Horrific Suffering. You ever read Zen’s “The Bitter End”? BINGO. That. Here we have this massive epic of trauma and recovery and so on, and how does it end? I don’t care that I’m about to spoil it — Akane kills Ranma, the end. Nobody learns anything, nobody benefits, nothing is gained, everything is lost. Oh, it’s so tragic! It’s so sad! It’s so PEDANTIC. It’s so routine by now, so used, so annoying. So stalking upon the audience’s attachment to the characters, to their base emotional fiber, so deliberate and predatory. To yank the invisible means of support out and revel in watching them fall on their asses.
And don’t get me started on End of Evangelion.
You know, I usually mock and spit upon anything called “The Feelgood Movie of the Year.” (Probably because it feels as blatant and manipulative as “The Feelbad Movie of the Year” does.) But in the end, I do prefer to feel good. That doesn’t mean the sun shining and birds singing and dogs barking and everybody happy — that means feeling that the whole experience had a point. That there was a reason for everything which went wrong AND everything that went right. If it’s justified, I’m satisfied. If it’s needless, or if it’s blatant, forget it.
Maybe that’s one reason why I write. I want things done my way, and if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.
I hope I can get in the mood to write after tonight. Maybe I can. Maybe a little UE will affirm myself and what I believe in. I don’t have a scene-plan but I can improvise. This is my life’s work and I’m going to work on it because there is a reason.