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 10 Movies That Would Have Been Better Without ‘Happily Ever After’

An interesting and, dare I say, pretty accurate, assessment.

It’s pretty important to point out that in Pygmalion, the original play, Eliza and Professor Higgins don’t end up together, and in fact (I just learned something new, though I already knew about the changes) George Bernard Shaw had an essay on why they could never end up together included in the published play.

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14 Responses to “524”

  1. creativedv8tion Says:

    See, I can’t agree on My Fair Lady. Their contention is that in the real world… well, MFL wasn’t a tale of “The real world”. It was a romantic farce/fantasy, so having them together in the end is just as good an ending as any other, IMO.

    As for the rest, well, most of them I didn’t see or like, so who’s to say on those?

  2. kurosau Says:

    Given that Shaw talks about how the events in Pygmalion are quite possible given a scientific approach, I somehow think that isn’t quite what he thought about it…

  3. kurosau Says:

    Word of note. My apologies on some of the swearing. I dislike what I see as bad criticism. However, I’m not saying this as any indictment of your opinion, I’m just angry at the critic.

    I can agree with some of these, but not really because a break-up would’ve made them better movies. Instead of boring you with some half made up tripe, I’ll just explain my points one at a time.

    1) I can’t say I disagree. Although I wouldn’t have them break up, I’d end the story on some sort of unsettled note myself.

    2) This particular piece of criticism is utter tripe. The reviewer is someone who doesn’t like Richard Gere, businessmen, or both. One of the points behind this film is that he changes to become the sort of person she could love. In fact, looked at through one eye, I’d say that this is a classic Beauty and the Beast story, and by the end, he’s nowhere near the ruthless businessman he started out as. He’s fired his asshole lawyer and inked a deal that’ll keep people from losing their jobs. Reviewer: 0, Me: Priceless

    3) The only reason I don’t like this one is because it indicates that the reviewer is totally out of touch with what her parents were like.

    4) Bzz! Wrong! Opposites don’t attract or repel, they just give us elements conducive to interest. Real relationships go much deeper than this. Let Bogey and Hepburn have their romance.

    5) I’m guessing by now the reviewer has a thing against the concept of building a relationship, instead of just winning one in the lotto, like everyone else that falls in true love. Although granted, the lack of any strong love in this movie is a weakness, cinematically.

    6) So, I’m guessing by now that no one’s ever heard of the family breakup? Please, give me criticism that isn’t based on witty comebacks.

    7) Finally, a home run. Sorta. I personally wish there had been more transformation on the part of Higgins, as she’s totally right about this one.

    8) I decline to comment, having no real understanding of the source material. Of Hugh Grant movies, I only really liked Love Actually.

    9) Again with the bad comedy!

    10) Ah, finally, the cherry on the top of the pie. I think she’s missed the fact that a) it is a teenage relationship, b) people like that do exist, and c) the film went to the trouble of creating him as a character like that, so arguing that he isn’t on the basis of his looks is basically telling the film to go fuck itself while we reinvent the story.

  4. creativedv8tion Says:

    1) Pygmalion and MFL are two entirely different creatures, no matter the one being inspired/based on the other.

    2) George Lucas can talk about it with all the seriousness in the world, but it doesn’t change the fact that THE PHANTOM MENACE was a complete crapfest.

  5. uhlrik Says:

    1) I’m inclined to agree with you, though the point is that the ending shouldn’t be cut-and-dried happy ending material.

    2) Gere’s character does indeed grow and develop, but I’m still inclined to say that I think the film might have been more interesting if they hadn’t finally hooked up.

    3) I haven’t got much comment there. Herry is pretty much repellent though, and I don’t think Sally’s worth the time of day either.

    4) Opposites can indeed work together, though for dramatic purposes I kinda prefer the getting hanged thing over the lucky torpedo in this particular scenario. Even though I adore both Bogey and Kate Hepburn, and love this movie.

    5) Well the movie’s kinda built on people settling, rather than on necessarily building a strong relationship.

    6) Actually never saw The Graduate, so I’m not really qualified to answer this one other than just saying that I do think getting with your lover’s daughter is just icky.

    7) Pretty much. I prefer the Pygmalion ending, myself. If there’d been more personal growth on Higgins’ part, I could see them hooking up.

    8) This movie’s cute and most of hte characters in it are amusing and entertaining. Except the leading lady and the leading man. Well, he’s entertaining, but he’s a complete putz and she could do much better.

    9) The comedy’s bad, the review’s got a point, even though it is of course explicitly a fairy tale (a disneyfied one at that) that’s being critiqued so we should give Ariel a bit more leeway. I do think that I’ve seen at least one or two other animated versions of this story that were a) better and b) truer to the source material.

    10) Guys like that do exist, and within the logic and explanation of the film, this guy is one of them. The reviewer does come off as bitter here, I’ll grant. The relationship in the film doesn’t come off to me as one that can believably last, whether or not the reviewer tries to dispatch the protagonist and the virginal main character alike off to the land of impossibility.

  6. kurosau Says:

    I agree on both counts. I just wanted to say that I don’t think Shaw would’ve seen it that way.

  7. kurosau Says:

    Yeah, I like posting my thoughts immediately, before they have time to cool down and become reasonable, and what not. Pfft! As if reasonable would be interesting.

  8. uhlrik Says:

    We’ll have no rationality in my discussions, young man!

  9. bosantibe Says:

    Having read Pygmalion first, lengthy essayist denouement and all, I think I somehow refused to acknowledge that Higgins and Eliza got together at the end rather than maintaining close tied. In the play it’s not only explicitly stated that Eliza marries Freddy, but it also takes everyone’s story all the way to the comfortable status quo that all fictional romance characters aspire to… eventually. Actually telling us all about it and letting us know how they get there seems incredibly gauche and exceedingly boring, but the man wrote the way he wanted and there’s little one can do about it.

    Some of these stories are a matter of packaging: Little Mermaid would be depressing to the hoards of pre-teen girls if Ariel didn’t get her wish… I mean she’s a freakin’ princess and she can’t get what she wants? What can a little girl aspire to in life with odds like that?

    Jerry Maguire ended as I think it should have, with the title character continuing to delude himself about his love for his wife when really his heart belongs to the kid and he refuses to give up that relationship. Fantastically uncouthe, but not pretending on any real level to truly be a love story.

    I never really watched Pretty Woman or Four Weddings and a funeral because none of the primary characters interest me as romance interests for anyone; but I’m reminded through various comments here of As Good As It Gets, another non-love story. Jack Nicholson as Melvin, the neurotic fuck-up who almost had it when he tells the woman fighting her disgusted disinterest in him the greatest set-up line in the movie: “you make me want to be a better man.” Yet he really still is a fuck-up in all relationships. The ending worked because he showed a willingness to step his OCD-scrubbed shoes into the gutter to be with the woman he adored, but that never made me believe things would last.

    It makes me think on how these romance movies end on a high note when you know things don’t pan out to happily ever after, and that’s a good way of doing it because the experience is pleasant and held as a good memory independently of individual delusion or cynicism in review. That’s why to me any of those movies can maintain integrity despite their quirky endings.

  10. uhlrik Says:

    Your last paragraph there is quite insightful.

  11. bosantibe Says:

    Everyone involved in a doomed romance wants to believe that it will work out for them when they get back together after a relationship-defining break-up.

  12. creativedv8tion Says:

    Everyone involved in a doomed romance…

    And those of us in romances that (hopefully, at least) aren’t doomed, too.

  13. anonymous Says:

    but, of course!

  14. bosantibe Says:

    But, of course. Though, hopefully a relationship that’s not doomed won’t be defined by the break-ups.

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