Warning: obviously, this blog will have spoilers in it. So, if you see a title of something you haven’t read/seen yet and would one day like to read/see, I suggest you skip it. Unless you’re ok with me telling you who dies and how it happens, in which case, feel free to proceed.
Phantom of the Opera- so, the sad thing about this story (specifically the 2004 movie version) is that the Phantom is in love with Christine, and in the end she chooses Raoul and leaves him all alone and sad. This, in my opinion, is mostly incomprehensible, because a) I don’t like movie Raoul, and b) Gerard Butler. I mean, come on. GERARD BUTLER!!!! Looking from a slightly more logical perspective, however, it does mostly make sense. The Phantom is, after all, a murderer, and also really creepy when you think about it, what with all the stalking and kidnapping and whatnot. And, plus, Christine loves Raoul, or whatever… But logic is not why I love this story so much. I think my main justification is really just Gerard Butler. As creepy and terrible as his character is supposed to be, he just portrays the Phantom in such a way that I root for him even though he’s supposed to be the bad guy. And the end part, when he’s left alone and sad and Christine gives back the ring, is really my favorite part of the movie. It’s just so touching and sad and sweet and just awww!!!! And then at the very end when he’s left the rose at her grave… I just don’t even have words…
Les Miserables- considering that we have retitled this movie, “All My Friends Are Dead,” I think it’s pretty safe to say that some sad stuff happens. But, despite all the sad and the death, I still really like the movie. Most of the deaths are done in such a way that I can take it. The primary example of this is Eponine. Her death scene is just so well done, with the pretty song, and she can at least pretend that Marius did return her feelings, and everything’s going to be ok. Also Enjolras. I mean, when it comes time for him to die, I really feel like that’s the best end for him. His revolution has failed, and that’s the one thing that he’s put all his energy and effort into. He doesn’t have a Cosette like Marius does (not according to canon, at least :P). From what we see of him in the course of the musical, I think he was happier dying than escaping. Plus, his death scene is just really epic. With all the deaths, though, it was pretty unlikely that I’d be ok with all of them. So you’ll see Les Mis coming back up in the “bad” category.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street- Ok, so this is a super dark musical. I mean, Sweeney Todd cuts people’s throats so Mrs. Lovett can cook them into meat pies and feed them to the unsuspecting public. But… I still really enjoy it, both the musical and the Johnny Depp movie (so you can’t say it’s just because I like so many of the actors). For one thing, it has really great music. And also, most of the deaths are complete strangers, so I don’t really feel so bad about it. This one’s similar to Les Mis, in that basically everyone except the happy couple (and, in this case, the little boy) dies in the end. But… ok, I guess from the way I see it, that’s really the only acceptable ending. Judge Turpin pretty much single-handedly ruined Todd’s life and caused him to go on his killing spree, and is also just a terrible person, so he had to go. Mrs. Lovett kept it from Todd that his wife was, in fact, still alive, for her own selfish reasons. And she also made pies out of people. And Todd killed who knows how many people. Lucy is really the only one who didn’t really deserve it, but, in my opinion, at least, it was an unavoidable plot point. Basically, by the time we get to the events that take place in the musical, it’s already too late for most of the characters.
Possibly another reason why I can be ok with all the death and sadness in this musical is just the ridiculousness of the whole thing. I mean, as far as I can tell, the whole premise is just completely implausible. And it’s also approached really humorously. Dark humor, yes, but humor nonetheless.
Stardust- this movie also has a lot of death and stuff in it, but it’s just approached so hilariously and ridiculously that it’s really hard to view it that way. There are a couple of deaths and events that I don’t like (poor goat :( ), but they’re to such minor characters that I can get over it pretty easily.
I’ll stop there- this blog is going to be ridiculously long- but some other sad things that fall into this category include V for Vendetta, The Book Thief, Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and Bones (with one major exception).
So, to summarize this first category:
- Musicals can basically do whatever they want
- ALL THE FEELS!!!!!
- Funny is good
Serenity- and by Serenity, I mean Wash. Why? JUST WHY JOSS WHEDON?!?!?! There was just no point! One second, everything was fine, and then there was a giant spike where Wash’s heart was supposed to be. And Zoe? What about Zoe? She’s never gonna be ok now! They never get to grow old together, or have a baby, or just be happy and together ever again. And why was all this necessary? Just so Joss Whedon could keep us on our toes, and prove that he has the power. THAT IS NOT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO RIP MY HEART OUT AND STOMP IT ON THE FLOOR!!!!! Ahem. Sorry about that. Thinking about Wash just does not give me the good kind of feels…
Les Miserables- As I said before, I mostly like the movie and thought the sad stuff was well done and I could be ok with it. There are a couple of sad things I just couldn’t, though. The first to come up was Fantine. From the time she got fired and had to try to make money on the street to her death, it was all just so sad, and I couldn’t find anything to make it better. It just seemed like it was all so avoidable. If they hadn’t read the letter, if Jean Valjean had stepped in and helped her sooner, it would have just been so easy for her story not to end that way. And even though Valjean was able to save her daughter, so she was ultimately happy, it just seems awful that she didn’t get to be around for it :/
Javert was also really sad to see. He was just so broken and stubborn. And the cracking sound. *shudder*
And also the little boy. It’s never ok to kill a little kid :’(
Catch-22- So, I know Jill really likes this one, and I’m sorry, but it was just not the good kind of sad for me. A lot of the book was really funny, which is good, but then all of a sudden a plane would decapitate someone, or Nately’s story would be over right when everything finally seemed to be going well for him, and just no! All the bad things just seemed to happen out of the blue, no warning, no reason, just because. And I guess that was the point of the whole thing, but I just don’t like it. I just don’t appreciate that the author kept making me care about these people, and making me happy that things were going well for them, and then just completely ruining everything beyond the point where it could be fixed. Just… no…
STEINBECK- just… everything. He’s just so depressing. The Grapes of Wrath characters are basically hopeless. They’re travelling out west hoping that things will look up for them, but it’s already too late, and Rose of Sharon’s baby, and it’s just not ok! And The Pearl (Anna Beth, I’d advise you to skip to the next paragraph). Just don’t even get me started. The whole thing could have been avoided from the very beginning. He didn’t even have to throw the pearl back into the ocean! He could have just sold it, and everything would have been just fine. But no, he had to be stupid and greedy and put his whole family at risk, and the baby! WHAT DOES STEINBECK HAVE AGAINST BABIES?!?!?!
Blech. I think I’ll stop now, but here are some other stories that fall into the bad category: The Kite Runner, Warriors Power of Three- Book 6: Sunrise, Bones (Nigel-Murray), Once upon a Time, The Last Summer (of You and Me).
And so here’s a simplification of things that land stories into the bad category:
- Children :(
- Pointlessness/completely avoidable-ness
- Messing with my favorite characters
I should mention that I don't categorize everything as either good or bad. There are some things that I have a hard time deciding whether I like or not, so I’ll give you a couple of examples of those.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog- so obviously what I’m talking about here is Penny. On the one hand, I understand what Joss Whedon was doing, and I get why it was necessary, and the end is just so heart-wrenching and feel-inducing. I know that her death made the whole thing so much better, and it was really well done. It’s just… poor Dr. Horrible! On the surface, it looks like he has everything he ever wanted, and it’s all smooth sailing. But on the inside, he’s just miserable, and he feels responsible, and it’s just so sad, and I feel so bad for him!!!
Harry Potter- when I say Harry Potter, I’m not talking about most of it. Most of the people who get killed off in the series, I understand JKR’s reasoning, and I feel like it contributes purposefully to the plot progression, and I really just feel like it’s really well done. Even Fred is super sad, and I feel so bad for George, and I kind of wish it hadn’t had to happen, but I do get it. One thing I’m conflicted about, though, is Snape. Probably most of this stems from the fact that, until I read the last book, I was, like, 100% certain that he was a bad guy, and killing Dumbledore had proven that. But then Deathly Hallows, and Lily, and Voldemort’s snake, and I just feel so bad! Snape’s whole life is all just so sad- he has a terrible home life, he’s picked on at school, and then he loses the only girl he ever loved over and over again- when he calls her a mudblood, when she gets married to James, and ultimately when she dies saving Harry’s life. Like with the other HP deaths, I think his was really well done, and also really important to the ultimate outcome of the story, but part of me just feels really terrible and wishes things could have turned out better for him :/
Aaaaand that’s about it! As I said before, feel free to let me know if I make a little more sense to you now, or if you still think my reasons are stupid and unacceptable. Or, if you have other things you want me to try to explain to you, let me know that too, and I’ll talk to you next week!