Can’t We Tell Stories Anymore?

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The stories we heard around the campfire at Y Camp in the 60s were better than today’s movie scripts.

The art of storytelling is as old as humanity itself. So what gives with all these current movies in which the story just totally falls apart in the last 30 minutes of the film? Like the writers have no idea how to end it?

How do you learn to tell a story? You listen to stories, you read as many as you can, and you imitate the ones you like. But if hardly anyone is reading anymore, who’s left who knows how to tell a story?

I’m tired of movies that promise much and wind up delivering nothing. We watched a film called A Cure for Wellness (2016), supposedly a psychological thriller about goings-on at a pricey, innovative wellness center somewhere in the Swiss Alps. Exquisitely filmed, well-acted… and we aborted the final 15 or 20 minutes of it because the writers had thoroughly lost the thread of the story and tried to make up for it with graphic sex scenes. And it was a long movie, too: we’ll never get those hours back.

The same thing happens with a lot of new movies: they just can’t wrap up the story. It’s like it only ends because they couldn’t buy more film. I have already deleted most of the titles from my mind. Not worth remembering!

I put it down to a shortage of reading. Nobody’s reading cogent stories anymore, so no one knows how to write one. And I suspect it’s going to get worse before it gets better–if it ever does get better. Can we only watch old movies anymore? Is there any way we can force today’s screenwriters to watch them?

We used to know how to tell a story. Now it seems we don’t. What a loss that is! And dumbing down the public is no way to keep a country running.

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