The End of Happy Endings?

There are those who love watching movies or TV shows that intricately mimic real life and all the joys, aches and pains that come along with it.

When I was an emo kid in my twenties, I loved watching these kinds of shows. The ones that gripped my heart and emotions and made me silently weep or bite my fingernails in nervous tension. The ones where the the good guy does not get the girl. Where the terminally ill guy does not get a second chance at life. Where the kind-hearted girl-next-door gets raped, hacked and slashed by the serial stalker/ rapist/ killer, who just happens to get away scot-free.

Back then it was easy to regard stories like these with perfect equanimity.

In my thirties, I seem to now gravitate towards watching or reading stories that end on a high note, for a change. Not that they really  happen in real life, but who cares, right? That’s why they’re movies, or TV shows, or books…. unless we’re talking about Reality Shows.

One of my favoritest romantic movies of all time is Notting Hill.

I’ve always found Hugh Grant’s clumsy, shy, and provincial naivete exquisitely charming and adorable. Contrast that with the worldly, sophisticated and privileged diva that is Julia Robert’s famous-actress character. It’s the perfect fairy tale, only this time, it’s the guy who gets the girl he never thought he’d get.

It’s funny how nowadays, most of our shows don’t seem to have a happy ending anymore. It’s a happy ending with strings attached, never just a simple happy ending.

The last movie I saw was “Up in the Air”. It won several awards in the Oscars, it had George Clooney, and the trailers seemed really cool — so what’s not to watch?

Well, I ended up getting depressed after watching the movie. Geez.

Why can’t we just go back to the classic movies and shows that leave you feeling good?

The ones that reassure you that despite all the struggles, hardship and pain, there’s always something to look forward to at the end? The ones that leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling that temporarily restore your faith in the timeless values of love, friendship and family? The ones where the good guys succeed, the bad guys fall?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for instance. Peter Jackson’s and J.R.R. Tolkien’s brilliance aside, it’s just such an excellently written and directed movie with such an evocative screenplay. I can’t help but be completely swept into a make-believe reality whenever I watch the darned thing. Who’d think LOTR is a happy ending, right?

But c’mon… at the end of the 10-hour marathon, I always feel a swell in my heart when Aragorn finally gets crowned King of Gondor. And who could forget the delightful moment when he kisses his one true love in front of the entire humankind, no less? And the Battle for Helm’s Deep… when Gandalf comes riding from the East at the break of dawn on the 3rd day with the Riders of Rohan to bring renewed hope to humankind just when everyone thought it was the end… who couldn’t feel a chill? And the electrifying, gripping scene of the One Ring finally dissolving in the fires of Mordor….

Call me strange, but when I feel that the world about me is getting too painfully chaotic, watching the Lord of the Rings always reminds me that in the end, there’s something good and better that’s hiding just around the corner. And if you could just have faith and believe and have patience… it will come.

So yes, call me a geek and a sucker for happy endings.

Real life is tough. I may not believe in happy endings (with no strings attached) in real life, but it certainly makes the ride a little easier to believe it is possible…

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