Mr. Cope’s Cave: Only Half There

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Last weekend, our friends we watch movies with rented that movie with Sandra Bullock and what’s-her-name... uh, what is her name? Don’t tell me, it’ll come... oh, you know who I mean... the heavy woman who was in that other movie. You know, the one about where that heavy woman stole that guy’s identity? The guy who was in... oh, shoot! What was the name of that show he was in? Something about developing arrests, or arresting developments. Something like that.

Anyway, that’s what we watched last weekend, the movie with Sandra Bullock and that heavy woman—who, by the way, is very funny. I’ve seen her in two movies now and she cracked me up in both of them. And when it comes to me, I’ll tell you what that other movie was, along with her name... when that comes to me, too.

Lucky for me, I do remember the name of the movie we watched last weekend. Which is good because it was only, like, three days ago we watched it and if I can’t remember the name of some damn movie I watched three days ago, maybe it’s time to start putting my pills in one of those plastic dosage trays and my car keys in a safe deposit box, know what I mean?

But I specifically remember the name, which was The Heat , which was sort of easy for me to remember because there was a fantastic movie about two years out ago with De Niro and Pacino call Heat, and when my friend rented it last weekend, I remember wondering why they were remaking Heat so soon after the original, until I remembered the De Niro/Pacino version did not have a The in it.

Still, it wasn’t until we started watching it that I was absolutely sure it wasn’t the same movie, only with Sandra Bullock and what’s-her-name playing the De Niro and Pacino parts. At least, I think it was about two years ago that Heat (without the The) came out, but it might have been longer. But that’s not what I’m getting at, anyway.

What I’m getting at is that The Heat (with the The) was a very funny movie. OK, that’s not entirely true. Not all of it was very funny. In fact, all of the funny parts were in the first 30... 40 minutes, and then it quit being funny after that. Or at least, not as funny. It’s like there was only one joke going on, and for the first half or so of the movie, that joke was funny, but by the second half, we’d heard it all we needed to.

And I think I figured out why. It’s like, I could tell you the best, funniest joke ever invented, but if I kept telling it, and then told it some more and wouldn’t quit telling it, you’d eventually get your fill of that joke, right?

Well, I think that’s what happened with The Heat. Somewhere around mid-way through, I started thinking, “Yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah.” And by the end of the damn thing, I wanted to scream at the screen “I get it, for God’s sake! Do something else now!”

Only, of course, that’s not the way a movie works. Especially when the whole movie is built around a single idea. Which in this movie was that Sandra Bullock and what’s-her-name... starts with an “n,” I think... were such totally opposite characters that sparks were bound to fly.

Or I should say, the sparks were bound to fly up until that point when you get tired of the same old sparks flying in the same old way, at which point they stop flying. Get it?

So by the time the movie was over, the dullness of the last half had damned near obliterated the pizzazz of the first half. My friend (the one who rented the movie) joked that we would have enjoyed it more had we only watched the first half, and I got to thinking how true that was of so many comedies. Remember how ridiculous the end of The Blues Brothers was? It started out great, didn’t it?... then got sillier and sillier until you had to wonder if you wouldn’t have been better off if somebody had yelled fire in the crowded theater about halfway through.

Same with Animal House, if you ask me. Or Ghostbusters. Or most romantic comedies, ever. Or anything with Vince Vaughn in it.

In fact, after putting the rented The Heat back in its... oh you know, that plastic thing rented movies come in... I dug out my little note pad that I use to not forget things on, and wrote “good idea for blog: suggest that people would enjoy comedy movies more if they only watched the first half, since comedy movie makers can’t seem to figure out funny endings to go with funny beginnings.”

But the next morning when I read what I’d written the night before, I got to thinking Wait a minute here! It’s not just comedy movies, is it?

Nope. It’s all kinds of movies, when you think about it. I’m just guessing here, but I’d guess that at least half of every movie I watch is better at the beginning than at the end. Horror movies. Action movies. Mystery movies. Anything that advertises itself as a “buddy” movie.

Really, how many horror movies have you sat through where you started out cringing and ended up yawning? Or action movies where you were on the edge of your seat for the first 40 minutes, and through the last 40 you were muttering to yourself. “Yeah, right. That could happen.” Those Die Hard movies, for example. It’s like somebody was experimenting to see just how gullible an audience could be.

Since all of this came up, I’ve been thinking back, wondering if movies have always been like that. Of course we all remember great movies with perfect endings. Jaws. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Marty. Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon. But how many movies have we totally forgotten we ever watched because the crappy endings canceled out whatever happened in the beginnings?

Wait a minute here! A thought just hit me. It’s something like... what if it’s not just movies that start out good and end up sucking? What if... if... uuuuh... oh, shit! I thought I had it. Seemed like a good idea, but it’s gone now.

Gone. Gone. Gone.

Oh, I know what it was! It isn’t an “n.” It’s “m.” Marisa McCarthy. Maria McCarthy? Madeline, maybe? Something like that.