Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Full Monty Moment

**

This past weekend my daughter and I watched Calendar Girls, a 2003 British film about a group of middle-aged Yorkshire village women who decide to raise money for charity by producing an “artistic” nude calendar. I found it pleasantly entertaining and funny until about the two-thirds mark, when the movie lost its way. It began as a heartwarming story about a group of likable women who come to grips with aging and death by learning to embrace life, only to turn into some sort of Faustian tale about the temptations and repercussions of fame. It was no longer funny, or pleasant, but squirmishly uncomfortable, and I found myself wandering out to do laundry, get some tea, whatever, until the final, low key but gently-pleasing denouement.

But when you’re a writer, even a less-than-perfect book or movie can have something to teach you. In hitting Le Google to see if the move was, indeed, based on a true story (it was), I found this gem by critic Derek Elley. Elley praises the film for its gentle and likeable (“if sometimes dramatically wobbly”) spirit, and notes almost in passing the film’s lack of a “big Full Monty-like finale to send audiences buzzing into the streets.”

And I thought, Wow. The Full Monty Moment. Is there any better phrase to describe a pitch-perfect ending that provides both a satisfying finale and an uplifting rush?

The Full Monty is a great story about a group of unemployed steelworkers who rediscover their self-confidence and self-respect by putting on a male strip show. Its masterful screenplay almost never wobbles, and certainly never forgets its theme. And when those guys finally go out on stage, when we watch them successfully pull off (no pun intended) what once looked like a joke and see them smiling and full of confidence, the moment is magic. One can easily imagine theatre audiences spilling into the streets, as Elley notes, all abuzz with the experience (buzz is good; it sells movie tickets and books).

Of course, not every tale contains such a pleasantly uplifting moment within it. Some stories are dark and depressing and require a different sort of moment entirely. And some tales are simply inherently wobbly and gentle, and leave you with a warm glow rather than a rush. In thinking back on Calendar Girls, I’m not sure one could really fault the screenwriter for either the movie's unevenness or its lack of a “Full Monty Moment.” If there was another way to tell that story, I don’t see it. The truth is, some story ideas are basically flawed; even in the hands of a master, they will never produce a truly grand product. Does that mean those stories should never be told? Not necessarily. Despite its shortcomings, Calendar Girls was enjoyable and heartwarming (and profitable—that’s important). If the filmmakers had canned their project when they realized it didn’t a have a “Full Monty Moment,” they would have been making a mistake.

But I do love that phrase and the concept it encapsulates. It’s something for a writer to keep in mind when considering a story idea: “Does this story contain within it the potential for a grand Full Monty Moment?”

36 comments:

Sisker said...

How interesting! I'd just finished watching the movie this morning while on the treadmill. Turn on the closed captioning and walk on. Takes about three days to watch.

I remember the Full Monty moment from the first time I saw it, the full smile on my face--and I had it again.

Now I'm trying to think of another example. Perhaps (don't laugh) Never Been Kissed. There's poor Drew Barrymore waiting and waiting on the pitcher's mound. Will our hero come and kiss her? Of course. But every time I see it, I wait and wait and then I smile.

paz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
paz said...

Loved Full Monty! "You Sexy Thing" will forever be at the top of my workout playlist.

Calendar Girls? (teeth on edge)

To me, the difference has more to do with that funny phrase "The personal is political." (full teeth grinding). The men (and women) of Full Monty were truly underdogs. They may be down but not out for the count -- their pride remains. The women of Calendar Girls, well, not; these women are clinging on to privilege -- in the form of conventional/normative notions of beauty.

Favorite other "Full Monty" ending? "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown"

cs harris said...

Sisker, I haven't seen Never Been Kissed, but I'll put it on my Netflix list. I'm wondering if it's easier to have a great Full Monty Moment with a warmhearted comedy?

Paz, good observation on Calendar Girls. They didn't have the driving force of the guys in the Full Monty; nothing was really at stake if they didn't get the calendar off the ground (except a sofa). Of course, once they'd posed, they had something at stake, but by then the movie had flipped into a different tale entirely. I haven't seen "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," either. Obviously I have some movie-watching to do.

Charles Gramlich said...

hum, great way of thinking about it. I hope the end to "under the ember star" has some of those qualities

liz fenwick said...

great post and has set me thinking.
lx

cs harris said...

Charles, I'm looking forward to reading this new piece. And I'm thinking Full Monty Moments would be a good topic for a Monday night meeting (only not this coming Monday because I'm not going to be there).

Liz, I'm thinking it would be worth trying to identify other movies or books with this kind of moment.

Judith Starkston said...

Interesting post. I'm at the very beginning of a new plot and I like this way of thinking about endings. Hmmm, now I'll have to see if I can come up with a Full Monty. No chance of naked steel workers in 13th century BC Anatolia! Thanks for the good writing thoughts.

Steve Malley said...

Seems of me there's heaps of thrillers and actioners that go out on a BIG MOMENT. Bad guys explode/shred in a hail of bullets/fall into vat of acid/whatever, guy kisses girl and roll credits.

Same with those 80s teen movies: Soon as you've kissed Molly Ringwald it's done.

Like they say, the beginning's where you sell the book in your hand now. The end is where you sell everything else you've written. If you've got a story with One Big Question (will they defuse the bomb, will he kiss her, will they actually take it ALL off), and you've done the rest of your work well, the answer to that question pretty much ends your story.

Yeah, denouments happen. I certainly use them. But my personal theory is, the more central the Big Question is to your story, the less denoument you need.

I care less about St Cyr catching the killer than I do about how his life changes in the book, so I want a little time at the end to see how he's different. Molly Ringwald's characters, not so much. It's enough that she finds out the guy likes her- we can roll credits on their kiss.

I think what makes the end of The Full Monty so brilliant is that every one of the guys has his own subplot, his own victory conditions for the story. And for each and every one of them, getting their kit off on stage is victory. The minute they throw their hats, we're done!

And good thing too-- imagine if the camera stuck around after, too enamored of the characters to let go. I suspect their lives after that one brilliant night would rather disappoint...

Judith Starkston said...

Steve--good point about wanting to see what's happened in St. Cyr's life, how he's changed. Isn't it interesting that with a book that's all plot the Big Bang at the end is sufficient but with complicated characters maybe there's a quiet follow up that we care just as much about.

cs harris said...

Judith, I'm holding this in mind myself. It's a very useful reminder.

Steve, you're so right. I recently read a "book club book" that was a gentle, English-countryside, old-folks-fall-in-love story, and the author totally spoiled it by thinking she had to tack on a dangerous, action ending when what she needed was showing us the protagonist making a choice vis a vis the dilemma he'd been facing all through the book. I will never read another one of her books.

Marcellusnxgm said...

When choosing a dirt bike insurance provider make sure they cover these two things: This is if luck is on your side. Free Online Motorbike Flash Games; Dirt Bike, Stunt Bike and more. Skateboard Games (7) Ski Games (5) Snowboard Games (6) Soccer Games (22) Wakeboard Games (3). Ride your dirt bike over various challenging courses and try to complete them as fast as. Dirt Bike Games, Free Online Stunt Bike, Motor Bike, Motorcycle. Play free games at 1000 web games com an online arcade site, featuring more than 1000 fun full screen online flash games to play for free. DiRT by Codemastersfor Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, 3DS, PS2. GameStop: Buy DiRT, Codemasters, Xbox 360, Find release dates, customer reviews, previews. Investor Relations; Careers; Affiliates; Sweepstakes; Upcoming Video Games; Site Map

Anonymous said...

Hi there, everу time i usеԁ tο chеck wеb ѕite poѕtѕ heгe in thе еarly hοuгs in the morning, beсause i loνe to learn
mοгe and more.

Hеre іѕ mу blοg
post ... no hands seo Discount

Anonymous said...

Hеllo thеre, You've done an excellent job. I'll certainly digg it аnd perѕonally ѕuggeѕt
to my friеnds. I аm cοnfident they'll be benefited from this site.

My web blog ... seo in lancaster pa

Anonymous said...

If уou woulԁ liκe to obtain muсh from thiѕ pагagгaph then yοu hаve to
applу such strategieѕ to yоur wоn blog.


my site - saving a relationship
My web site > relationship trust

Anonymous said...

Aω, this ωas a гeally good pοst. Taκing а few minutes аnd actual effort
to produce a really good article… but what can I say… I put thingѕ off a lοt anԁ
don't seem to get nearly anything done.

My web site free wso

Anonymous said...

This iѕ my fіrѕt tіme go to see at here аnd i
am actuallу happy to геad all at single
ρlace.

Feel free to vіsit mу blog post :: long distance relationships

Anonymous said...

Hi! This is mу fігst comment
here so I ϳuѕt ωantеd to giνe a quick shout out and say I
really enjoy readіng yοur blog posts.
Can you suggest аnу other blοgs/webѕіtes/fоrums that
go ονer the sаmе tοpісs?
Thank you so muсh!

Αlso νisit my web page paleo cookbooks
my webpage: human body

Anonymous said...

I usually do not crеаte mаny remarks, but i did some seагсhing and wound uр hеre "The Full Monty Moment".

And I actually dо havе a couple
of questions for yοu if уou usually
do not mind. Could it be just me or dоes it appear
like some of thе rеmarks аppear like lеft by brаin ԁеad peoрlе?
:-P And, if уou are writing on other plаcеs, I'd like to follow everything fresh you have to post. Could you list of the complete urls of all your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

Feel free to surf to my weblog :: seo company lancaster
my webpage :: lancaster pa seo company

Anonymous said...

Lіnκ exсhange iѕ nothing
else hοweveг it is only placіng thе οther person's blog link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do similar in support of you.

Look into my website article kevo vs amr
My web page: article kevo

Anonymous said...

May І simply say ωhаt a comfort
to uncover somеbody that truly knοws what theу are
tаlking about οn thе nеt. You actuallу know hoω to bring аn issue to light anԁ mаκe it іmρortant.
А lot morе people must chеck this out аnd understand thіs side of the ѕtorу.

I was surprised you are not more ρoρulaг because уou definitеly poѕseѕѕ the gift.


My webpage :: jvzoo wso

Anonymous said...

This info is woгth everyonе's attention. Where can I find out more?

My blog :: download wso

Anonymous said...

Somеbodу eѕsеntiallу hеlp to make сгitically aгticlеs Ι might state.

That іs the veгy firѕt time I frequented your
ωeb pagе аnd thus fаг? I surρriѕed with thе геseaгch yοu made to сrеate thiѕ аctuаl put up extraoгԁinаry.
Magnifiсent actiѵity!

Hеrе iѕ my wеb blog - wso of the day

Anonymous said...

It's appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read more things about it!

Here is my blog free disabled dating

Anonymous said...

Hi! Ι knοw this iѕ kindа off toρіc howevеr I'd figured I'ԁ asκ.
Wоuld you be intereѕtеԁ in eхсhanging lіnks ог maybe guest authoring a blog pοst oг vіce-vеrsа?
Му blοg сoѵers a lot of the
same topісs aѕ уourѕ anԁ I beliеνe
we could grеаtlу benefit fгom еаch οther.
If you happen tο be inteгеsted feel freе to
ѕenԁ me an e-mail. I loοκ foгwaгd tο heаring from уou!
Aωesome blog bу thе ωay!

my web pаge forex mentor

Anonymous said...

I sіmply couldn't depart your site before suggesting that I really loved the standard information a person supply for your guests? Is gonna be back incessantly to check out new posts

Here is my blog ... pure leverage rob fore

Coach Factory said...

polo ralph lauren outlet, gucci handbags, polo ralph lauren, prada handbags, kate spade handbags, christian louboutin shoes, prada outlet, coach purses, oakley sunglasses, ray ban outlet, michael kors outlet store, longchamp handbags, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton handbags, oakley vault, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet online, red bottom shoes, true religion, coach outlet, christian louboutin outlet, coach outlet store online, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, longchamp outlet online, chanel handbags, tiffany and co jewelry, kate spade outlet online, cheap oakley sunglasses, nike air max, burberry outlet online, jordan shoes, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton, nike shoes, louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet online, nike free, tory burch outlet, coach outlet, burberry outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet

Coach Factory said...

hollister, longchamp, mulberry, longchamp pas cher, nike free, scarpe hogan, guess pas cher, hollister, oakley pas cher, burberry pas cher, timberland, air max pas cher, hermes pas cher, air jordan, nike air max, michael kors uk, abercrombie and fitch, sac vanessa bruno, nike roshe run, nike free pas cher, north face, sac michael kors, nike trainers, chaussure louboutin, true religion outlet, ray ban uk, louis vuitton, converse pas cher, louis vuitton uk, ralph lauren, nike air max, new balance pas cher, michael kors canada, lacoste pas cher, sac louis vuitton, true religion outlet, air max, nike blazer pas cher, nike air force, louis vuitton pas cher, tn pas cher, longchamp, nike huarache, barbour, ralph lauren pas cher, lululemon, ray ban pas cher, vans pas cher, north face pas cher, nike roshe

Coach Factory said...

ugg soldes, canada goose outlet, mcm handbags, moncler outlet, valentino shoes, ugg boots, marc jacobs outlet, soccer jerseys, nfl jerseys, herve leger, ugg outlet, chi flat iron, moncler, mont blanc pens, birkin bag, canada goose pas cher, canada goose outlet, north face outlet, moncler, insanity workout, bottega veneta, ferragamo shoes, vans outlet, mac cosmetics, north face jackets, soccer shoes, lululemon outlet, ghd, babyliss pro, beats headphones, jimmy choo shoes, canada goose uk, uggs outlet, canada goose outlet, hollister, moncler, p90x workout, giuseppe zanotti, canada goose, uggs on sale, abercrombie and fitch, wedding dresses, celine handbags, ugg, new balance outlet, asics shoes, roshe run, rolex watches, reebok outlet, instyler ionic styler

Dongdong Weng said...

20150527wengdongdong
ray ban glasses
louis vuitton handbags
ray bans
jordan 11 concord
soccer jerseys
concords 11
michael kors
oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet
oakley sunglasses wholesale
louis vuitton outlet
oakley sunglass
coach factory outlet
ray ban outlet
fitflops clearance
beats by dr dre
replica watches
prada outlet
celine
louis vuitton handbags
gucci
hollister co
kobe shoes
michael kors
louis vuitton handbags
ghd hair strighteners
coach factory outlet
oakley sunglasses sale
timberland boots
abercrombie
louis vuitton handbags
air max 90
air jordan 11

Unknown said...

michael kors
timberland canada
louis vuitton
fake watches
coach outlet store online
louis vuitton
prada bags
louis vuitton
michael kors outlet
prada bags
michael kors outlet
running warehouse
louis vuitton
abercrombie outlet
jordan 9
cheap jerseys
true religion outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
jeremy scott adidas
michael kors outlet
coach outlet
coach factory outlet online
coach outlet stores online
coach outlet online
michael kors outlet
air jordan 8
true religion kids
ray ban eyeglasses
ray ban glasses
white timberland boots
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors
mont blanc mountain
ray ban sunglass
hollister outlet
true religion outlet online
20150706xiong

chenlina said...

chenlina20150727
hermes bags
michael kors
oakley outlet
michael kors outlet
fitflops
oakley store
ralph lauren outlet
fake oakleys
p90x
ray ban uk
jordan retro 11
michael kors outlet online sale
hollister kids
cheap nfl jerseys
hollister
louis vuitton outlet
jordan concords
ray ban sunglasses
burberry sale
gucci outlet online
louis vuitton
oakley
timberland boots
chanel handbags
chanel outlet online
kate spade handbags
sac longchamp
retro 11
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors outlet online
cheap jerseys wholesale
michael kors outlet online
chanel outlet
chanel uk
coach factory outlet
fitflops sale
hollister clothing store
oakley sunglasses
longchamp soldes
celine outlet

Hyabe Ibbe said...

kd basketball shoes
cheap michael kors bags
michael kors handbags
coach factory outlet
fitflops sale clearance
polo shirt
ferragamo shoes
salvatore ferragamo shoes
nike store
nike outlet
nike outlet
ferragamo shoes sale
kobes shoes
ugg boots on sale
gucci outlet online
cheap jordan 11
kobe bryant shoes
coach factory outlet
cheap nike shoes
cheap jordans
coach sale
fitflop shoes
ray ban wayfarer sunglasses
chanel bags online
nike clearance
fitflop shoes clearance
christian louboutin shoes
air max 2015
coach store
air jordan shoes for sale
celine bags
christian louboutin
polo ralph lauren factory store
coach factory
columbia outlet store
christian louboutin sale
jordan 6
coach bags
nike outlet
gucci sunglasses outlet
coach purses outlet
coach sunglasses
fitflops online
nike store
michael kors outlet online sale
ralph lauren extra 25 off
jordan 6
fitflop
20150916hxt

dong dong said...

2015924dongdong
ugg boots sale
ugg boots sale
Authentic Louis Vuitton Bags Discount
toms outlet
Jordan 3 Retro 2015
louis vuitton
ray-ban sunglasses,ray ban sunglasses,ray bans,rayban,ray ban wayfarer,raybans,ray ban glasses,ray ban aviators,ray ban clubmaster,ray ban eyeglasses,cheap ray bans,ray bans sunglasses,ray ban aviator,ray bands,fake ray bans,ray ban prescription glasses,ray ban outlet,ray ban canada,ray ban sunglasses sale,ray ban sale
Louis Vuitton Outlet Mall Store
michael kors handbags
football jerseys cheap
michael kors outlet online
Coach Factory Outlet Clearance
canada goose
Coach Outlet Online Discount Sale
mihchael kors bag
Montblanc Pen Refills Outlet
hollister uk sale
Louis Vuitton Official Site Outlet Stores
Designer Louis Vuitton Bags Discount
timberland outlet
Air Jordan 6 Champagne Bottle

chenlina said...

chenlina20160329
cheap nfl jerseys
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton outlet
supra shoes
air jordan shoes
nike store
canada goose
nike blazers uk
cheap air max
nike huarache shoes
adidas wings
louis vuitton handbags
coach outlet
nike uk
oakley sunglasses outlet
louis vuitton
louboutin
cheap basketball shoes
ugg boots outlet
louis vuitton
coach outlet
polo ralph lauren
oakley sunglasses
louis vuitton
gucci outlet
louis vuitton outlet online
moncler jacket
ugg on sale
adidas superstars
louis vuitton outlet
marc jacobs handbags
louis vuitton outlet
ray-ban sunglasses
louis vuitton handbags
ralph lauren outlet
longchamp le pliage
coach outlet store online
oakley canada
abercrombie clothing
gucci outlet
as

chenlili said...

chenlili20160617
ed hardy outlet
christian louboutin sale
nike sb dunks
adidas uk
coach outlet
louboutin shoes
gucci outlet
ralph lauren outlet
toms outlet
hollister kids
nike uk
toms wedges
replica rolex watches
coach outlet store online
adidas superstar trainers
michael kors purses
louis vuitton
hollister clothing
supra shoes
tory burch outlet online
nike uk
oakley sunglasses
asics outlet
michael kors outlet
oakley outlet
michael kors handbags
louis vuitton purses
hollister uk
jordan retro 4
louis vuitton handbags
longchamp le pliage
kate spade outlet
louis vuitton outlet stores
lebron shoes for kids
gucci belts
louis vuitton purses
coach canada
ralph lauren outlet