Who doesn’t love a good movie cliché? Me, that’s who. Every time I see some formulaic theme copied and pasted from one Hollywood script to the other I find myself shouting at the screen “Oh, come on!” with an obligatory eye roll, all the while completely unaware of the irony of shouting a tired old movie catchphrase elicited by any character from a quasi-comedy whose wingman is a simian in a tutu and a fedora.
This particular chestnut I’m referring to is the ol’ riding off into the sunset, or the holding hands while walking toward the setting sun, or basically any person or people or mounted equestrian or muscle car heading into the direction of dusk. It’s taking closure and stenciling it into the story’s ending with jejune broad strokes; it shoves the audience’s face into the notion that the story has ended, just like the day has ended. It’s basically a one-piece jigsaw puzzle. Solve for x… and by the way, x = 6.
Meanwhile as we are getting up from our theater seats and brushing popcorn kernels off our laps, some of us are continuing the storyline beyond daylight hours and rolling credits, realizing that night has now fallen on our protagonist, where they now wander in the dark with its scary and disturbing denizens in the form of wolves and boogeymen and ghosts and drunken frat guys leaving bars at 2am.
What we need is a Hollywood script writer that took a kick to the head from a mule, so now for them up is black and white is left. I want this writer to tear the page in half (or hit Select All then Delete) and say, “No! Let’s have them walk into the sunrise at the end of the film!”
That’s the thing about our culture; we often see endings as final, like we walk through the door and it closes behind us only to be suspended in nothingness. As a result we cling too tightly to continuing a chapter of our lives that is well past pull date, finding ourselves stalling so we don’t have to drop the curtain. It’s as if we are convinced that the sweetness and joy and thrill of this phase will never be experienced again on the other side of that wall.
The best thing we can do to wrap up our storyline is to recognize it is only a chapter in our book, that every ending holds hands with a new beginning. We can close our eyes and allow us to enter the fugue of inbetweenness, letting time hoist us over the threshold through the Hora in celebration of our passing through stages. When we open our eyes, we will realize that it is not that we have lost anything in what had seemingly ended, but we are greeted with a rising sun that shines upon us and declares we are facing a brand new day, with new beginnings, and it will warm us as we begin our new venture.