Spoiler warning! Do not read this if you don’t want any information on Season One of the FX series “Baskets”, the Netflix Movie, “Special Correspondents,” or the movie “The Color Purple”.
There is a very simple fact that Hollywood figured out a long time ago. People want to feel good after watching a movie or TV show. So the formula was created. One “average” guy with average-to-below-average looks but also has some hidden inner beauty. He is blindly in love with a woman who has outer beauty but some inner flaw. In the back ground there is the women in glasses that everyone, except him, can see is a perfect match for him. In the end we know that he will see the light and will be united with his one true love that has been right in front of him (but he could not see her because she was wearing those glasses.)
If you have not seen the movie “Special Correspondents”, take that formula, add Ricky Gervais as the average guy, Vera Farmiga as the wife of the average guy and Kelly Macdonald as the girl in the glasses. (I don’t think she wears glasses in this movie but they dress her and give her lines that make her fit the formula.) I must not leave out Eric Bana as the cool hunk of a man that in the end needs the average guy to save his ass. You can tell that I did not like this movie. If you can’t tell by what I’ve written I must be as bad a writer as I think I am.
The other side of this is the pleasure you get when watching and there is no formula. I include in this category Season One of the TV show “Baskets.” I will not give a lot of the plot away because I hope that anyone who has not seen the show will want to watch, but I can say that the depth of the characters go beyond any formula. You may say that this can be done on TV because of the amount of time that is available to evolve characters. I say that it is worth the time and it is a waste of my time to watch a movie when that last scene plays I roll my eyes because I’ve seen it coming from the beginning. You know you have watched a great movie when you are in tears at that last scene even though you knew it was coming. The movie “The Color Purple” is an example of that. Celie, played by Whoopi Goldberg, went through hell for those tears at the end of that movie. I know that you can’t really compare these movies. But my point is life it too short spend time watching something that gives nothing in the end.