Laurel Canyon--questions regarding ending

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Hunter P, Aug 9, 2003.

  1. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    My girlfriend had a couple of questions regarding the ending of this movie so I hope that the HTF can help. I didn't see this movie myself and don't have much interest in doing so. Please save me from having to rent it. [​IMG]








    Question (in spoiler tags)
    Is Sam (Christian Bale) drowing himself and commiting suicide, or is he just giving up?

    Is there any significance to the boat, in relation to Sam?
     
  2. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    Oh, man. You guys are gonna make me watch this movie aren't you? Oh well, I hope it has a really good kung fu scene (right after an extended car chase of course!) [​IMG]
     
  3. L. Anton Dencklau

    L. Anton Dencklau Second Unit

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    ..
     
  4. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    I thought the ending was positive... he was actually loosening up, accepting the craziness in his life.
     
  5. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Derek Miner about the ending. Sort of like Dorothy, he realizes there's no place like home...
     
  6. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    Sigh, I finally relented and saw it. She told me that it had a good soundtrack so I hoped it would help me get through the movie.

    It's not a bad movie but it's definitely a movie you have to be in the mood to see. I think it would have helped the story (what little there is) if they threw in a couple of ninjas or killer robots. Is it too much to ask for a frickin serial killer who cannot be killed? [​IMG]

    At the end of the movie I had one burning question: why was this movie made? Nothing much happens. It seemed like a TV episode of Melrose Place or Dawson's Creek. Why make a movie out of it?

    As for the boat and end of the movie, I have can see the view that Sam is giving into his mom's loose lifestyle or at least not trying to fight it anymore. But you could also say that he's still trying to escape and not deal with it by submerging himself. The ending is so open ended (on purpose, I think) that I don't get the feeling that anything is truly resolved.

    Do mother and son finally see eye to eye? I'm not sure.

    Will they have a positive relationship? I'm not sure.

    Will Sam and Alex live happily ever after? I'm not sure.

    Did they end the movie when they did because they ran out of budget? I think so! [​IMG]

    p.s.--I have to agree that the soundtrack is pretty good.
     
  7. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    Funny, I just rented and watched this last night.



    The Director described it in the Commentary as...


    an open ended ending kinda like The Graduate where they have uncertain futures.




    Why was the movie made? Why are movies with explosions and Ninjas made because they entertain people.
    One thing to remember. Some people like movies with character development.

    My advice for you, go rent XXX. It sounds like more your cup of tea.
     
  8. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    [​IMG] Must bite tongue. Must resist temptation to explain a joke. Fight it, Hunter, fight it. [​IMG]
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  10. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    I couldnt agree more Michael. These characters change allot in the 105 minutes we get to see them.

    There lives, normally pretty mundane, are turned upside down by their new surroundings and the people they meet.

    I think most people these days want the sound cranked up and things to explode all over the place instead of getting to know characters on the screen.
     
  11. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    OK, I guess not everyone was able to grasp the "J6P boyfriend who doesn't want to see his girlfriend's chick flick" angle that I was portraying.[​IMG] So let me address this movie without the humor.


    Did a lot of stuff really happen and were worlds really turned upside down? Were these people really changed forever by this? I am not as sure as all of you.

    Sure people were tempted and they were pushed to their boundaries but they didn't cross them. A lot of things ALMOST happened and a lot of things SEEMED to happen but not really.

    Sam, Alex and Jane (Sam's mother) were all tempted into affairs but they all never went through with them. In the end cooler heads prevailed and they overcame their sexual attractions. I don't think that any of the affairs were emotional. As Alex explained to Sam, she (they) were caught up in the moment and it was purely physical attraction. Alex wants Sam, not Jane and Ian. Sam wants Alex, not Sara. Jane wants Ian, not Alex.

    I contend that they all slept on it, woke up in the morning and thought "whew, what a crazy night," and then had some Cocoa Puffs.

    I asked why this movie was made because it was so unsatisfying. People are tempted but don’t give in to the temptation. How this effected their future we will never know because of the way the movie ended. It ended the next day. Waaaay too early for them to digest what happened and judge if the previous events will make an imprint on their lives.

    We will never know if Sam and Alex's relationship becomes stronger or weaker from it. Or maybe there is no significant change from it. The same could be said of Sam and Jane's relationship, although I would guess that this relationship would more likely remain the same (i.e. at odds.) If nothing changes then how strong is the story? Not very if you ask me.

    There seems to be a lot of "optimistic" impressions that Sam going underwater is a sign of him giving in and being more accepting of his mother and her lifestyle. But I disagree. Sam isn't lightening up. He is just doing what he always does: escape from it all rather than dealing with it. He is on the phone with this woman that he almost had an affair with and she is telling him that she is falling for him. He sees Ian being pulled along by the boat while his mother laughs at her young boyfriend's antics. Going underwater was escaping. He didn't want to deal with it all, he just wanted to get away and deal with it later when he's forced to do so.

    There was nothing I saw that showed these people were or were not going to change. The ending is why I compared this to a TV episode. In a TV series nothing concrete is resolved because they want you to tune in every week to find out. Unlike Melrose Place, this movie is not going to do that for you. I don't think Laurel Canyon 2: Full Throttle is going to be made anytime soon. What we saw was one episode of a season's worth of story.
     
  12. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    I think it failed in that regard. In The G, you see in their eyes while riding in the bus exactly what they are thinking as it dawns on them exactly what they just did. Very well done.

    But in LC, you don't get any of the characters having epiphanies. I again contend Sam is behaving as he always has. His mother seemed back to normal. We never see Alex. And as for Ian, well, nothing is going to bother conscience. We already knew that from earlier in the movie when he was the only one of the four having a good night's sleep.[​IMG]

    Let me repeat that this is not a bad movie. Well acted, good soundtrack, nice dialogue. Just unsatisfying.
     
  13. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Supporting Actor

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    Sounds a lot like life. Everyone plays their part adequately, some great music along the way and the ending is usually a disappointment. As Wesley says in The Princess Bride (which did have a satisfying ending, BTW) "Get used to disappointment".
     
  14. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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  15. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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    I also appreciate movies that are open ended but at least I get a feeling that something significant happened. Because this movie is open ended does it get a free pass for its plot?

    I've had plenty of situations in my life where I've almost had sex with someone but I was over it the next day. Something like this probably happens to almost everybody at one point in their lives. The ones that effect our lives are worth the retelling. We saw no evidence that these people were effected because the movie ended too soon.

    We all have choices in our lives but many of them don't change who we are. They also won't be more than a fleeting memory in a year, a month, or even a day. Even the tough choices in life can be this way.

    But does this warrant a movie?

    A guy walks up to a woman at a bar and asks for her number. She declines. He approaches another woman. The End. Is that a movie?

    An baseball pitcher is looking for an edge so he hides some sandpaper in his glove. Just before the game starts, he has second thoughts and throws out the sandpaper. He heads to the showers after the game. The End. Is that a movie?

    Yes, you can argue that those "movies" can be compelling if executed well. But you're not seeing the story of the movie then are you? You're watching an exercise in cinematography, in acting, in direction, in editing, etc. If you're studying the technical aspects of how to make a good film then fine. But if you're watching for plot then the emperor has no clothes.
     
  16. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    The same could be said for action movies. We know the hero will escape and live to see another day but we watch it anyway.

    I felt much more entertained by Laurel Canyon and the lives of these people than say Daredevil or Tomb Raider 2.
     
  17. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Supporting Actor

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    It seems like a lot of the "smaller" idependent movies have these open-ended closings where you ask "So did anything really happen"? We recently watched "Lovely & Amazing" which was similar in that regard. I'm sure I've seen plenty of others that I can't recall right now. I enjoy that as a change of pace from the creaky plotting and seldom-surprising "surprise" endings that are expected in more mainstream movies.

    But I wouldn't want a steady diet of movies like Laurel Canyon. That sort of "interesting people well portrayed but nothing really happens" is nice a few times a year but only as a sort of antidote for the usual run-of-the-mill plots.

    That said, a movie with outstanding acting, dialog, set design, direction and music can certainly be a perfectly valid movie in the absence of a normal plot arc. The "story" is no more important than these other elements, IMO. In fact, watching attractive people who are convincing actors and listening to them speak excellent dialog is enjoyable no matter the plot (or lack thereof).
     
  18. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  19. Hunter P

    Hunter P Screenwriter

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  20. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    I feel movies like these are grounded in reality a bit more than your typical crowd pleasing plots in Hollywood Blockbusters. You tend to get something that is more relective of Real Life where not everything is tied up in a neat little bow at the end....kinda like Life.

    You could argue that we watch movies to escape reality and I am all for that but I like movies occasionaly where the characters and situations are a bit more Real; movies like Sex Lies and Videotape which was one of the first of these type movies.

    I dont feel it reflects what Hunter called Melrose or Dawsons Creek. Maybe a thirtysomething or a St.Elsewhere...
     

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