Friday, August 12, 2011
Fatalities and Romantic Comedies
The other day I was driving home from a Book Fair and I was just letting myself get lost in thought. And because of the subject matter I realized, I must have just watched one of “those” movies...
You know the kind. The ones where the guy falls for the girl at the end, no matter what the set “conflict” between them is. Yeah, those movies, also known as“Romantic Comedies.”
Now, I have no qualm with saying that I do love a good Romantic Comedy. But I do think there is some clarity that needs to be made when I say “Romantic Comedy.” Normally my mind automatically shoots to films like, “Love Actually” and “Notting Hill” when I think Romantic Comedy. But with the addition of one of the biggest growing genres in film right now, the adult comedies, there is some confusion. Technically both “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Notting Hill” are about romance, and are both comedies, but are they both romantic comedies? I would say yes, for this argument. But I will put them in two separate categories: Romantic Comedy(Chick Flick aka “Notting Hill, aka How to lost a guy in 10 days) and Romantic Comedy(Adult comedy aka “Knocked up” aka “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”).
As I sat there thinking about these types of movies, I realized how unrealistic those movies tend to be. I couldn't help but think over and over again that they just set the bar too high, they create a set precedent for our relationships outside of the movie world that are unrealistic and we're always trying to add up to that. But I couldn't place all my thoughts into words about the subject, I couldn't place all the words correctly.
And then I started reading, “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs.”
Chuck Klosterman, opens his hilarious book with,
“No woman will ever satisfy me. I know that now and I would never try to deny that. But this is ok, because I will never satisfy a woman, either.”
He continues on later to say,
“Instead of blaming no one for this (which is kind of cowardly) or blaming everyone (which is kind of meaningless) I'm going to blame John Cusack...
I once loved a girl, who almost loved me, but not as much as John Cusack.”
He argues that a “countless” number of women born between 1965 and 1978 are in love with John Cusack. But he argues that they aren't in love with John Cusack, They are in love with Lloyd Dobler(Cusack's character from “Say Anything”). And because of that...
“I will never be completely satisfied by a woman, and this is why the kind of woman I tend to find attractive will never be satisfied by me. We will both measure our relationship against the prospect of fake love.”
He then thanks the media for giving him more chances at relationships he probably would have not had a shot at, if it weren't for Woody Allen films.(He made it OK for gorgeous women to chase us weird, dorky looking dudes. Thanks Woody.)
For all of you who haven't read “Sex, drugs, and Cocoa Puff's” I highly recommend it. Its one of the best and funniest books I've read in a long time. But all humor aside, the man has a very valid point.
How can us “normal” people compare to “Hollywood” characters?
I think this is the root of why I absolutely love movies, that my brother-from-another-mother, Josh Graves, would call “raw” and “real.” My favorite movies of all time all consist of weird, quirky, and damaged characters that come straight off the page, and straight off the screen as “real.” My favorite movie of all time is a tie between “High Fidelity” and “Garden State.” Both “Rob Gordon,” and “Andrew Largeman,” strike me as two of the most genuine characters ever depicted(what a completely biased statement haha.) . That probably is because they are also the two characters I personally related to the most in film(see told ya it was biased). But even though they both get the girl at the end of the their movie, its a struggle. Its like life, its hard.
Take Garden State for example. In Garden State, Andrew Largeman(played by Zach Braff), finds a girl who is completely damaged. A girl with her own quirks, strengths and weaknesses. Both Sam and Andrew, are not the most gorgeous people on the planet, they just are normal like the rest of us out in the world. And through a week full of pain and tears, they realize they are both damaged people in life trying to make the best of it, and they feel they have strength enough together to conquer anything.
In Rob Gordon's case, the whole movie is about finding out why he always fails in relationships. He isn't the guy who gets the hot girl of his dreams. Nor is he guy who loves to just sleep with any girl he can, he is a guy who wants to find love, and an escape from the mundane. But he knows that he screws it up every time so he tries so hard to find the real reason to that. In the end he finds that he has been shallow and superficial at times. He finds that Laura is the best woman for him. She isn't the hottest girl he has ever encountered. She just makes him happy, and he pursues her.
I feel if all our romantic comedies were something like those two films, that there wouldn't be a huge epidemic and or setting of unrealistic goals in our real relationships.
Not that I am someone who can speak with any authority on relationships, I can only speak from my experiences. But I can see where these expectations hurt my view on the girl, and hurt her view on what I was “suppose” to do.
There are a few times that I look back, and realize my expectations were off.
There were times that I spent all day thinking I was going to tell the girl something, and then when I said it... The music didn't kick in. The happy tears didn't begin to roll. And it didn't always end with an embrace that made everything better.
People don't work like that in real life.
People get hurt, and are slow to return to normalcy and or to the place you were before the moment that caused the hurt... But most of the time those people don't return to where you were before(A great example of this is in the film, “The Last Kiss”).
But life isn't like the movies, as we've all been told a million times before.
I thought this was a “duh” fact, but then I realize there are some things that I look for in my life that just aren't realistic. I'm looking for a cinematic moment, but what I'm getting is a human experience instead.
So is Klosterman on to something?
I would say yes.
Do I blame Cusack?
No, not solely. Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, and Patrick Dempsey are just as guilty.
Is there anything wrong with Romantic Comedies?
Hell no. I love Romantic Comedies, especially the before mentioned Adult Comedies. The only thing that I can find wrong with them is what we take away from them subconsciously.
Most of us probably don't even notice that we think we are “suppose” to date hundreds of women like Albus Snow(Russel Brand) from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. We don't notice that we think the person of interest has to be the most stunning person they have ever laid eyes on. I don't think we all realize that there aren't that many Zoey Dachanelle's and Matthew McCanaughey's out there. Haha. We set these unrealistic and really superficial expectations and really are just shooting ourselves in the feet, and keeping ourselves from fully enjoying everything that we have been blessed with in our relationships.
So if you're like me and you find yourselves getting lost in great romantic comedies from time to time, make sure to keep yourselves in check. Watch and enjoy, but don't walk away carrying uneeded expectations. Enjoy the lives and people we are surrounded with today.
Don't settle, but don't turn your eyes without really looking at all the amazing aspects of someone before you get caught up on the fact that she doesn't laugh as cute as Emma Stone, or because he doesn't say, “As you wish” to everything you say like Wesley from A Princess Bride.
Let's prove Chuck wrong and step away from looking at “Fake Love” and start trying to look for the best in people without comparing them to the unrealistic ways of Hollywood.
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: This Is All Now
Artist: Taking Back Sunday
Album: Taking Back Sunday
All Images stolen from Google.
Quotes from Chuck Klosterman's "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs." Go buy it... NOW