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DEPARTMENT OF DENOUEMENTS

Movies offer final thoughts

December 30, 2007|Pamela Chelin

Federico Fellini once said, "There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life." We like that thought. But checking out the offerings at the multiplex, we notice that as new movies go, there's an infinite passion for -- endings.

Will Smith is the last man on Earth in "I Am Legend," wandering the desolate streets of a post-apocalyptic New York, his faithful German shepherd by his side.

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman are terminal cancer patients who throw themselves into all sorts of adventures before they succumb to the disease in "The Bucket List." And the list goes on.

In fact, if you think back to films like "The Last of the Mohicans," "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," it's clear that there's something about the notion of finality that seems to command the attention of moviegoers, or at least movie makers, in a profound way.

Howard Suber, who's observed more than a few trends during his 40-plus years as a professor at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television, offers one theory. "I think the appeal [lies] in the connotation that what's last is lost -- the last something when men were men and women were women, when people were braver and bolder," says Suber, who recently wrote a book, "The Power of Film."

Spoken like a man who'd appreciate having the last word.

-- Pamela Chelin

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