Archive for March, 2010

But What About Lost?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 30, 2010 by Will Link

I was surprised that I didn’t get more blow-back from saying I want two beloved shows taken off the air ASAP in my last post. I guess more folks agreed with me than I thought? I also assume the word that 24 is cancelled coming the day after the post helped my case too. That said the one question I have been asked is: “You said Breaking Bad was your favorite drama. That’s bullshit because we all know you are obsessed with Lost! “

My sick nerd answer is, for me Lost is beyond television. I hold the show in such high regard that if I included it in that post I would have only written about Lost. Believe me there will be a Lost post before the finale about how in the history of my television watching life there has never been a more fascinating show, never a show in which I talked about as much. It is my second favorite of all time (Seinfeld will always win) and my favorite drama for sure. Plus since it’s going off the air on May 23rd I figured to praise it would be moot.

I’ve barely mentioned Lost in this blog because it would be all I would write about then. Not just because I geek out on it but because there is so much to say. So be on the lookout – a Lost post is coming.

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Jack Bauer…Meet Michael Scott

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 25, 2010 by Will Link

What do CTU agent Jack Bauer and Dunder Mifflin Paper Company manager Michael Scott have in common? Well, they are both the main characters on hit tv shows. Both shows are two of the most beloved of the past decade. These programs have won a ton of Emmy’s and garnered critical acclaim along with a rabid fan base. Personally these shows are favorites of mine – 24 ranks second on my DVR priority list and The Office five. I watch them each week and have for years. That said the final thing in common they have is both should end…now.

TV is a hard medium because you have to remain familiar enough to keep a loyal audience but change enough from year to year to keep it fresh. Many great shows push it too far and “jump the shark.” In their final seasons they go for gimmicks or just end up recycling the same old ideas. Even my favorite show of all time, Seinfeld, was not at its best in the final season. Plotlines got more and more surreal and it felt like they were looking for the next “close talker” or “Soup Nazi” rather than just organically creating them. That said Seinfeld’s final season was ten times funnier than most television and then, smartly, Jerry Seinfeld ended the show. Go out on top. Go out at their best.  Go out creatively satisfying. Because I loved the show I was fine with that. I didn’t want to see it become a sad little program holding on desperately to its relevance. I wanted it to end because I loved it. That is why I feel 24 and The Office should end this season and next respectively.  

    

Let’s start with 24. For years this was my favorite show on television. It was edge of your seat excitement every week, with more twists and cliffhangers than most viewers could take. What helped this was a fun gimmick handled very smartly of each episode being one hour of one day (the day being the entire season). Then there was Jack Bauer – maybe the most bad ass man in the history of entertainment. He would do anything he had to, to save the day –  from taking a guy’s head off with a hacksaw, chopping off his partners arm, killing his boss and of course torture, torture, and more torture.  (I believe Sarah Vowell once asked in the NY Times why it was she hated the idea of torture in real life but rooted for Jack to torture)The first two seasons were dynamite. The third started off iffy but fell into interesting territory once a bio-toxin was released in a hotel full of people and citizens started dying left and right. Then came the fourth season and this was the first hint of a problem. It was good but everything felt really familiar – moles in CTU, nuclear missiles going off, we had seen this before. That said it was a formula they perfected and was still as exciting as anything on tv. Season five of 24 rejuvenated the series. It was the best season they ever had – as good as any season of any show ever. They tried new things, made the President the villain, killed off beloved characters. Nothing seemed safe or sacred. This is the season they won the Emmy for best series, a well deserved honor. That season ended with maybe the biggest cliffhanger yet as Jack was taken away to a Chinese prison. How could season six top this?   

The answer was it couldn’t. Season six was an uneven mess that not only had been there done that situations but ended up getting way too involved with Jack’s family as villains. Then the best thing that could ever happen to the show happened – the writer’s strike.  24 was off the air for a year and by time it came back it was like an old friend returning. The familiar felt fun again but by season’s end I questioned how much left could there be in the tank. Now in season eight, in an attempt to give the show a new feel, they have moved the action to NY. This has not helped because an action scene in a dark warehouse in LA is the same as one in NY. All season I have been hoping they would announce this will be there last. Go out before Jack becomes a joke. Then the past three weeks something happened that makes me really hope it’s the final season – the show got awesome. Two weeks ago (the episode where CTU got taken out by an EMP) was an all-time great. Rumor has it Fox isn’t going to renew the show because of its high production cost and NBC might pick it up since they need hit programming. I really hope this doesn’t happen and Jack can end the series on a high note…until the movie that is.

The Office is a trickier situation. I truly believe it has run its course.  Once the funniest show, for me it is now the fourth funniest on NBC Thursdays. Last week’s episode where they had to get leads out of the garbage dump (“New Leads”)was probably the weakest of the series (if you don’t count last month’s clip show). The show has nowhere new to go. The heart of the show was always Jim and Pam. Season one and two, the pining and flirting. Season three the separation and ultimate reuniting of friends/future loves. Season four, the birth of a new relationship. This season, six, has had all the major milestones, weddings, baby and so on. This relationship has nowhere to go and even when they try to do something new with Jim, like give him a promotion, they take that back episodes later – as if it were a dream.  Clearly they want us to love Andy and Erin now and although I do, they will never be Jim and Pam.

Also as the series goes on I find Michael less and less likable. Don’t get me wrong, I still laugh at him…just not like I used to. He has been through and survived every type of corporate situation I can imagine. That said last season The Michael Scott Paper storyline was something truly creative and character building. Since then Michael has done nothing as interesting or appealing. I believe The Office has been renewed for only one more season. Make it your last. Go out on top. Maybe with officially making it your final season you can have a creative renaissance. Don’t hold on just because you can. Be like Seinfeld…not Roseanne.  

So what are the best comedies and dramas on tv right now? Drama wise Breaking Bad is as good as anything on television. It is dark, real, filled with complex characters and Bryan Cranston give one of the mediums truly great performances. Season three started last Sunday and the show is just as gripping as ever – with Cranston’s Walter White slipping deeper and deeper into his own personal hell.

Comedy wise? This time last year I would have said 30 Rock. Now the sitcom I laugh the most at is Parks and Recreation. It is the sister show to The Office, except back when The Office felt new and alive. Many people haven’t been watching its second season because they found its first uneven (only six episodes and let’s face it comedy sometimes need time to find its voice). The people who stopped watching have missed out the best array of characters on tv. They are simultaneously real and completely cartoonish. And I care more about what will happen to April and Andy than I currently do about Andy and Erin on The Office. Admittedly Aubrey Plaza being my new celebrity crush might have something to do with that…but I’m telling you, give this show a chance!  

Of course about 3 or 4 years from now I will probably be begging for these show to finally go off the air too. Thus is the cruel world of television entertainment.

Healthcare is Putting Me in the (Mental) Hospital

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 23, 2010 by Will Link

I always debate for a long time before I write about anything political. I never pretend to have any answers or pretend I have a vast knowledge of our political system. That said I unfortunately believe I am far more familiar with the politics of this nation then let’s say members of The Tea Party. For my news I go to MSNBC and I am well a wear they are almost as left leaning as Fox News is right (almost). That said they usually have Republican pundits on to debate (so does Real Time which I watch weekly) and this is where I get confused in the current healthcare talk. The Republican says this bill will cost us all too much money, that the citizens will be taxed too much. Then the Democrat says only the richest 2% will be affected by tax increases. Then everyone yells and I remain confused. But every argument to me is moot. This only comes down to one thing: What is morally correct.

The answer is simple – it is more moral to put people’s lives above what we pay in taxes. It is more moral to let that poor child get the surgery they need to save their life than to have an insurance company deny them the operation. It is more moral to help people, citizens of this nation. That’s it. That should be the end of any argument. I don’t have much money but if you told me my taxes are going up to make sure everyone in this country can benefit from free healthcare than that’s great! I would expect the same for myself. (By the way from what I do understand my taxes wouldn’t be going up anyway…but feel free to correct me on that)

This Sunday, in between my writing work, I kept checking in with MSNBC to see the progress of the bill. Every time I turned it on I saw Republicans yell about how unfair this is or how the government shouldn’t run healthcare. (What the fuck is Medicare then?) It became frustrating because it was clear these people care more for insurance companies rights than people’s lives. Then they started yelling about abortion, abortion and more abortions… as if Democrats wanted to make abortions mandatory.  At that point I had to turn it off and get away – I put on a Marx Brothers film to watch people who at least made sense.

I don’t want to get into a debate nor did I want to write a post filled with facts and specifics. I’m just frustrated and need to vent. I don’t understand how insuring every American is a bad thing? It seems morally just to me. And isn’t that what we as a nation or even more so as the human race should strive for?

I don’t understand everything about this new bill that was passed. Supposedly it contains legislature that will prevent an insurance company from dropping you for pre-existing conditions and companies having to give part time employees health insurance. To me both those are good things. But why must we wait until 2014 for it? I understood the public option more. I understood the ideas about single payer systems better than I understand what we just passed (this also is because it was explained very clearly in Sicko…to me Michael Moore’s best and most important documentary).  I still feel, although this bill is a step in the right direction, it is far from enough. What have we accomplished here? Until families don’t go bankrupt because of medical bills and people aren’t dying because they can’t get the healthcare they need, the answer is simple – we have accomplished nothing.

Dead By Cubicle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 22, 2010 by Will Link

As both my readers know I hate Twitter. But they also know I love my roommate/writing partner Jarrod. That is why I suggest you check out his new Twitter page.

This is a memo from the desk* of Jarrod:

What happens when “The Office” meets a halfway house?

 DEAD BY CUBICLE is a Twitter chronicle of what it’s like to supervise ex-convicts and drug addicts in a New Jersey-based telemarketing hell. All statements, unfortunately, are 100% true. In an age of trivial Lindsay Lohan tweets, this is something a little different.

Bookmark it. Follow it. Spread the word.

http://twitter.com/DeadByCubicle

*by desk I mean the large round kitchen table he uses as a desk

For the Ladies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 22, 2010 by Will Link

This post is for the ladies and I’m serious…I need to know about this.

There is this commercial at work that I have to see almost every day. It’s for a product called Seasonique which is a type of birth control (pill?). The commercial has an announcer saying things like “Who’s says you have to have a period once a month?” then in a defiant tone an actress appears on screen and says “Who says!” My gut answer to this is usually “I don’t know… nature? God?”

I am a man and will always be one so I can’t comprehend what it’s like to get a period. I’m sure it’s highly inconvenient and no fun. That said I am confused by a product that says they promise you will only get 4 periods a year. Don’t you get periods for a reason each month? The commercial says “there is no medical need to get a period every month.” Really? I mean I’m not disputing that but it seems like there is a need because nature made women this way for a reason. So help me out here because I find it creepy sometimes that we can alter about our bodies from what was working for over two thousand years. Like I said maybe I’m just an ignorant man on this. Help me out because I don’t get how this works.

***By the way, this comes from a guy who can’t comprehend how airplanes stay in the air for so long either… no matter how much it’s explained. What I’m saying is, I’m not so sure how much an explanation will actually help.***

It’s an old argument but these drugs advertised on tv are really ridiculous. I mean the side effects are worse than the symptoms. Case in point these are the typical side effects of antidepressants that I’ve seen advertised on television:

  • Dry mouth
  • Urinary retention
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Sedation (can interfere with driving or operating machinery)
  • Sleep disruption
  • Weight gain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance/diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Inability to achieve an erection
  • Inability to achieve an orgasm (men and women)
  • Loss of libido
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety

If I had the “inability to achieve an orgasm” as a side effect of my antidepressant medication I think it would only make me more depressed. As it stands the actual moment of orgasm is one of the only times I’m blissfully happy to begin with. Again I’m probably being ignorant since I’m not clinically depressed. I understand depression is a serious problem but look at that list? Look at it?!

I’m just saying.

Defending Diablo

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 19, 2010 by Will Link

  Whenever I tell people one of my favorite writers right now is Diablo Cody I’m always questioned like I have three heads. There are a few reasons for this the first being why would I like a writer who essentially wrote one Oscar winning screenplay. Besides the fact that Juno is one of my absolute favorite films of the last decade ( https://willlink.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/the-top-25-films-of-the-decade/ ) she also wrote a blog, a fantastic honest and funny memoir Candy Girl, a second feature and a terrific tv show The United States of Tara which starts its second season on Monday. So there are many reasons to enjoy her writing.

Let me pause here and acknowledge that if I were going to write a blog post about defending Diablo Cody it should have been written two years ago when she was nominated for an Oscar and Juno was getting some ridiculous backlash by moronic people I know. Well I didn’t have a blog back then so I couldn’t. Now I do and since I seem to still find myself in a heated conversation defending this woman’s work every few months I’m going to write about it. Yes this is another time I find myself defending something insanely popular like James Cameron, Lady Gaga and this time Juno, against the hipsters and haters in my circles.

But back to her body of work. Yes in the grand scheme of the world Diablo hasn’t been on the scene that long. That said there is enough here to constitute admiration and fandom. Candy Girl is great and really opened my eyes to not just the world of stripping but a part of the female psyche. Before she won her Oscar I went to go see her speak at Book Soup where she was doing a signing of the Juno screenplay. I brought my just finished copy of Candy Girl with me. At the time I happened to have an old friend with me, Cassie. She had not seen Juno nor had she read Candy Girl but being a pretty good writer herself and a fellow tattooed female I thought she might like her. She did and we both waited to get copies of our books signed after. You know when you meet someone you admire and you feel like a tool because all you can say is “I love your work!” well there is a reason for that. It is all you have in common with them. But after giving the same shpeal to John Waters, Werner Herzog and Oliver Stone I said “No…I won’t say that to Diablo! I will be cool.” Unfortunately when you walk up to a woman you don’t know (famous or not) and just say “how’s it going?” you always will sound like you’re hitting on her. Cassie however saved the day by talking tattoos and Diablo was awesome and kind for our 90 seconds of conversation. As she looked at Cassie’s tattoos she declared “I’m so glad you exist!”

Then there is Tara. I will admit I had my doubts despite the always fantastic Toni Collette being the star. What would the tone be? For those who don’t know Collette plays Tara a wife and mother of two who suffers from multiple personalities. The first episode was fun and interesting but clearly was trying to get out a lot of exposition. That said each episode after grew and grew. I didn’t find the multiple personalities to be a gimmick. The tone was properly light when it needed to be and a bit heavier when there were real problems to deal with. The thing that got me was how much I started to care about the teenagers on the show – often more than Tara. They were funny, real and unapologetic – just like Juno. I know what you’re thinking, hyper stylized dialogue spewing Juno is real? Yes…but that’s the next paragraph. To briefly finish up my first reasons for being such a fan, body of work, she wrote the horror film Jennifer’s Body. Um…okaaay. You got me. This film has issues. The things I like about it you could argue is just me bringing my love of the writer into it (it’s admittedly the reason I like every John Waters film). That said I legitimately loved what she was going for and think the film is flawed but fun. It is not unwatchable and how can it be with demonic possession and lesbian kisses.

Now this brings me to the Juno argument. For a film that grossed 143 million domestic box office and had four Oscar nominations you would think the film could speak for itself. The problem is whenever I run into someone who doesn’t like Diablo they claim they don’t like Juno. Then my defending Diablo turns into a defending Juno. The problem people seem to have is the dialogue. They say no one talks like Juno and in high school no one they knew was like Juno thus it’s completely unreal. Bullshit! Everyone talks (or talked) like Juno. You didn’t have a slang or short hand with your friends? There weren’t things you thought were interesting or hysterical that other peers or adults didn’t get. Much like Juno mentions Morgan Freeman or Soupy Sales I had a high school friend who thought the funniest name to bandy about was Dudley Moore and it became kind of a verb for us. Much like they talk about throwing donut holes at a movie screen we used to go Yodeling in which we would throw the Drakes Cakes Yodels at things from my car. I knew girls like Juno (and tried to date most of them) and I feel bad for you if you didn’t. Trust me, in your high school there was a Juno. And yes the dialogue is hyper stylized because it’s a fucking movie! What film doesn’t have hyper stylized dialogue? Tarantino does it. So does Kevin Smith. I remember when I was in high school watching Clerks for the first time we all said to ourselves “Finally a movie where people talk like us.” We were both right and full of it. No one really talked like they did in Clerks but we thought we did. We were not as witty and the cadence was all off. But what they talked about – Star Wars, blowjobs and dead-end jobs, was totally us. That’s the point; it’s a more interesting way of saying the same shit we always say. Like Kevin Smith, Diablo has a unique style. Maybe it’s not your cup of tea but it is a version of how real people speak.

The next Juno argument I always get is that it’s an unrealistic pregnancy or it glorifies teen pregnancy. First of all it’s a film, why does it have to be realistic? I’m not saying it’s not I’m just saying where did this rule come from? Tell the story however you can and if the story of a pregnant teen who basically learns to grow up and have life lessons is better told in a breezy comic yet poignant way, all the better. The glorifies teen pregnancy argument always gets under my skin. Ellen Page plays Juno as a smart tough minded girl who hides her emotions behind a quick wit. As the film goes on and the realities of her situation continue she drops her guard and shows her pain. She lashes out at Paulie Bleeker, someone who is actually standing by her. She doesn’t know how to deal with this situation as detailed in this wonderful bit of dialogue:

 Juno MacGuff: Yea, you just take Soupy-Sales to prom I can think of so many cooler things to do that night. Like, you know what Bleek? I might pumice my feet, uh, I might go to Bren’s Unitarian Church, maybe get hit by a truck full of hot garbage juice, you know? Cause all those things, would be exponentially cooler than going to prom with you.

Paulie Bleeker: You’re being really immature… You have no reason to be mad at me, I mean, you know, you broke MY heart. I should be royally ticked off at you. I should be really cheesed off, I shouldn’t want to talk to you anymore.

Juno MacGuff: What? Cause I got bored and had sex with you and I didn’t want to like marry you?

Paulie Bleeker: Like I’d marry you! You’d be the meanest wife ever, okay? And I know that you weren’t bored that day because there was a lot of stuff on TV, and then ‘The Blair Witch Project’ was coming on Starz and you were like ‘I haven’t seen this since it came out and if so we should watch it’ and then ‘but oh, no, we should just make out instead la la la’

Juno MacGuff: You just take Katrina the douche packer to prom. I’m sure you two will have like a real bitchin’ time.

 Paulie Bleeker: Well, I still have your under wear!

Juno MacGuff: I still have your virginity

Let’s not  forget she also has a teary eyed breakdown when she realizes the Loring’s (the soon to be adoptive parents) are breaking up. This forces her to look at life and love in a way she never has. Yes it is handled in a lighter tone than another story might but that doesn’t glorify it or make the subject matter less dire. Teen pregnancy can ruin a young woman’s plans, dreams and possibly life. That said with a support system like Juno has it doesn’t have to. My cousin had a baby when she was 15. Sure it was scary and difficult but because she had a loving family and people to support her she got through it. Now she’s married with two other kids and that child she had at 15 is going to college. Juno is not just a great film with a deservedly Oscar winning script – it is also more true than people give it credit for.    

Now the final reason people hate on Diablo and it’s a reason I hesitate to bring up. It’s because she’s a woman and not just a woman but a strong minded, beautiful, ex-stripper. Whenever anyone, man or woman, hits it big or is on top people want to knock them down. That coupled with the fact there is a lot of sexism in this business…I think there is some jealousy of her. I’m not saying this is the biggest reason just a subconscious one some people might have. I also think some people have a moral superiority complex about her because she was a stripper, something that once again produced fodder for a great book. Get off your moral high ground. If she was a male journalist going undercover as a patron in a strip club would there be a problem? Just because she briefly had a sexualized job doesn’t diminish her talents. Since we are talking about the sexualization of her I guess in full disclosure, I’d be lying if I said her looks didn’t factor into my liking her …to a point. She’s my kind of woman as described in past posts and yes I am attracted to her. That might have gotten me to take notice and read a magazine article about her or Google her but it’s not why I like her work. Candy Girl is not a picture book. She is not in Juno. Scarlett Johansson is in my opinion, as beautiful an actress we have working today. That said I didn’t run out and see The Nanny Diaries, The Spirit or The Other Boleyn Girl. She’s good looking but not that good looking. Although creatively Diablo has hooked me I might drop out for her Sweet Valley High film for similar reasons (I don’t think I’m the demographic anyway).   

Once again this was a very long post but something I felt to the need to get out of my system with United States of Tara starting up again. Now when I mention to someone how much I like the show and they say “ugh…Diablo Cody” rather than yell at them I can calmly direct them to this post.

Who am I kidding…I’m still going to yell.

Ambiguous or Unambiguous

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 17, 2010 by Will Link

am·big·u·ous:

  1. open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations
  2. of doubtful or uncertain nature; difficult to comprehend, distinguish, or classify
  3. lacking clearness or definiteness; obscure; indistinct

***Note: this post is filled with some spoilers on films that, let’s face it, you should have already seen***

I love a film that has an “ambiguous ending.” Now I put that in quotes because what exactly does that mean? My favorite film of all time is A Clockwork Orange. Is the end of the film ambiguous? In the final scene Alex has been successfully “cured alright” and begins to have fantasies of sex and violence again. Some could argue since the film ends there and we have no idea what Alex will do next it is ambiguous. Of course it’s not. This story and chapter in Alex’s life has come to a clear conclusion. By thinking that is ambiguous it’s like wondering if Rick and Captain Renault will really have a “beautiful friendship” or wanting to see what Norma Desmond’s trial would be like. What happens to a character afterwards is I suppose always “ambiguous” but let’s face it – a film sets up what we are supposed to think afterwards. Rick will be just fine, Norma will be locked away and young Alex will most likely always be a bastard (although if you read the book he’ll grow out of it).

Those films end in a way that makes it pretty clear. That said there are other films that are slightly more ambiguous and yet I argue they are not ambiguous at all. At the end of Sideways, Miles gets a message from Maya. He decides to take a chance and drive back up north to see her. The last shot is a beautiful moment in which he knocks on the door. The film cuts to black. Some people sit in the audience and wonder “well what’s going to happen?” I feel bad for those people because they don’t have any imagination at all. To me you don’t even need imagination for this one. She called him so I think she’ll be open to talking at least. I think they give it a go but even if you say it’s ambiguous, it doesn’t matter. This was Miles story and it ended because he made the decision to grow as a person and take this risk. That’s what it’s about. Even if she never answers the door, Miles is better off than he was. After The Wrestler many people asked me “Did The Ram die?”Well I guess an optimist could take his teary eyed leap into the ring as a positive – but I’m sorry he’s clearly dead. Oddly enough for him dying in the ring is a triumph because he dies on top. If he doesn’t die that would be really strange. I mean his heart is clearly giving out, the soundtrack tells us that, and the speech he gave to Cassidy shows he’s at peace with this. For people to think it is ambiguous is actually a triumph to Mickey Rourke. We love The Ram so much we don’t want to believe he died. To actually show him die would just be morbid and exploitive.

I truly believe the examples above are not ambiguous because it is not important what they do after the credits roll or we have so much info it’s safe to assume what happens. But sometimes it is important to know what happens after the credits roll and those are truly the most ambiguous endings of all. This brings me to the reason for this post. The other night I re-watched Up in the Air, a wonderful film I enjoyed even more upon a second viewing. At the end of the film Ryan Bingham has tried to change his life by having a relationship with Alex. The short of it…it doesn’t work out. But now he is questioning his whole lifestyle. Just when he comes to this conclusion Ryan is told by his boss that he is about to return to the road for as long as he wants. In the second to last shot of the film Ryan is looking at a huge board with flight departures. Earlier in the film Natalie told him if she had all the frequent flyer miles he had, she would pick a place at random and just go. Because of this we might infer he is going to take her advice. That said his voice over is:

The stars will wheel forth from their daytime hiding places; and one of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.”

And the look on his face in this final moment is this:

So is he going to take Natalie’s advice or is he just about to fall into the same cycle he was in before, this time with the sad knowledge that it’s not the life he really wants. A few friends of mine have debated this, which is always the fun of an ambiguous ending. Some say he is going to change his life for the better and go on a new journey. I say bullshit. He lets go of his suitcase because he’s overwhelmed. The voice over is sad. He will always be flying and we will always be seeing his wingtip. And look at his face! Does that look like the face of a man who is about to have an adventure. It is not a hopefully ending…it is a bitter bitter ending.

But to be fair by definition it is ambiguous. I understand why someone might feel it is hopeful but I think they are wrong.  Unlike the other examples this time it matters what we think happens next because it affects the whole tone of the film and character. Sure we know, just like Miles in Sideways, Ryan has grown but is he forever trapped with knowledge of that growth or will he grow balls and change his life. The director’s commentary didn’t help since he said he liked that people debated it. (with that said deep down he must be leaning one way or another…right?)    

Really I don’t think any ending is truly ambiguous because deep down I always feel I know what happens to these characters. You do too. And when I don’t know for sure it still usually doesn’t matter because I don’t care. I don’t mean I don’t care because the film stinks, I mean because art is supposed to move you and as long as it does that, who cares how ambiguous or unambiguous it is. Example: Lost in Translation Bob whispers something into Charlotte’s ear at the end. We don’t hear what he says. It is a moment between just the two of them. Some may want to desperately know and because they don’t hear it will argue it’s ambiguous.  Maybe by definition it is. I don’t really care what he said. I’ve never once wondered what he said. I just know it’s perfect, just what she needed to hear and that’s good enough for me.