Monday, May 2, 2011

I Watched a Romantic Comedy.

That's right. 
The other night I watched He's Just Not That Into You.

Anyone who knows me personally will also know exactly how unlike me that is. I hate romantic comedies. Which isn't to say I hate comedies that contain romance, or any film that combines the elements of both laughter and a romantic interest. I just hate the Hollywood big name rom-coms. Especially the ones that intertwine about seventy different characters and plots in order to squeeze more star power into the poster. Valentines Day? More like, Get Effed Day. Amirite or amirite? Hell, I even dislike Love, Actually (apart from Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson).

What is it that I hate about them rom-coms? Easy. I don't like being told by a shitty film that I have to find myself a Mr Right, that hope is lost if I'm alone. And besides that, I guess I hate the fact that the vast majority of Hollywood romcoms are completely vapid, formulaic and dull. For all their bright colours and fabulous stars, they're dull. For the life of me, I cannot give a shit about what happens to the people onscreen. Sure, they're supposed to be easily digestible and fun to watch. I know that. Thing is, more often than not the stars involved have next to no chemistry, just very shiny hair and teeth. That's not a recipe for success.

That being said though, I'm not completely against the idea of Rom-Coms. Not at all. I like laughing, of course I do. I like watching a film about charming and interesting people falling in and out of love, even if I know they're going to get together at the end. I just ask that the journey be worth going on.

I love When Harry Met Sally.
As much as I hate Andie McDowell, I totally dig Four Weddings and a Funeral.
I adore What's Up Doc?.
I always cry when I watch Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Annie Hall is one of my favourite films of all time.

Problem is, for every Knocked Up or About a Boy, there's a 27 Dresses or When in Rome or Good Luck Chuck or Failure to Launch or pretty much anything starring Jennifer Aniston. And honestly, I don't mind if there's lots of celebrities on the poster. So maybe what I'm saying is that I'm not against Rom-Coms, just the shit ones. But dude, there are just so many shit ones.


Anyway. I watched He's Just Not That Into You.

In my defense, I was very tired, and I had already parked myself on the couch, next to Elvis the dog. The TV was on! It was on the TV! And I guess the cast held some promise. I quite like Ginnifer Goodwin. Jennifer Connelly is good, right? I hate Jennifer Aniston, but Bradley Cooper is very easy on the eye. I figured, this can't be that bad.

For the next couple of hours I sat there with my cup of tea, kind of bewildered.

I wondered to myself over and over again,

"Are women really like this??"

I'm serious. Do they really sit around and talk about men while getting their nails done? Do they spend all of their time wondering why their boyfriend isn't marrying them? Do they really sit and stare at their phones, waiting for that guy to call? I mean, shit! Last time I checked, I was a fairly heterosexual female with lady-bits and a propensity to have crushes on boys. I'm a hot-blooded twenty-two year old, this is to be expected. I get romantically entangled, and when someone makes me feel seasick, I do wonder when they're going to call. Sometimes I call them and I feel like vomiting while the phone rings. That shit's fun. But fuck me gently with a chainsaw, did the women in this film annoy the hell out of me. 

To her credit, Ginnifer Goodwin performs admirably, remaining likable (if a little needy and highly strung) while carrying the film with her ridiculous cuteness. Jennifer Connelly too, comes out on top of a role that could have been quite thankless. And if I think about it, I suppose the message of the film (Love yourself! or something like that) is a good one. Over and over and over again however, I was puzzled, bewildered, annoyed. I wondered if the women that come to sip lattes at my place of employment regularly have conversations as insipid as the ones I witnessed in this film. Christ, I hope not. I wonder how many minutes were spent over-analysing everything their males do or don't do. Being obsessed with tying the knot. Being so needy and desperate.

At times I felt like slapping the women in the film over the head. 

I'm aware that He's Just Not That Into You is a film about one or more women realising one or more men aren't into them, so of course there was going to be myriad scenes depicting women misreading signals and making hilarious lovable fools of themselves. That's the point of the film, and its source material. Did you know it was based on a book? It's true. There was an Oprah episode about it. The mind boggles at how many pages it takes to explain, "If he's not calling, he's not interested". I'm all for taking initiative (I for one, don't believe that a lady must wait for a man to make the first move, as some guys are just shit at it), but this film pissed me off. And I suppose I do know that some girls can't help but be like that. All too often I know I've face-palmed at a lady friend's description of her latest romantic escapade. There's being into someone though, and there's being completely oblivious to every signal, ever.

Look, is it weird that I'd rather discuss Oz over a beer than why boys are shit at everything while choking on nail salon fumes? That's why I started hanging out with the guys at the end of high school more readily than the girls (whom I did and do love dearly). It's just that a night of yelling about crap and watching a loud band appeals to me more than drinking champagne and watching a chick flick. Which, according to my Facebook feed, is what many girls my age do.

That's a big of a generalisation. I do apologise for that. Sorry. Sorry. This is what happens when I rant. I do have plenty of female friends. We do discuss boys. Sometimes we drink champagne. But He's Just Not That Into You (mostly the first half of it) blew my mind, probably because it'd been ages since I'd watched a romcom. I can safely say that I wouldn't want to have a conversation with any of the characters in the film. Are all romcoms made nowadays like this?? I have next to no inclination to find out.

I had a bit of a ponder about the romantic comedies I do like. What's Up, Doc?, MGM musicals, things starring Audrey Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story, things like that. It occurred to me that they're all to varying degrees, exactly what modern romcoms are. Escapist happy stories with happy endings and attractive stars for millions of people to enjoy. And the older ones are pretty sexist too. But they contain such snappy dialogue! I would love to have a conversation with Jimmy Stewart or Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story. Oh, GOD, I'm going around in circles.

Does that mean that if I were a cinema-going lady of the 40s and 50s and 60s, there'd be a film snob there in the wings, ready to tell me that I have terrible taste? I don't know. I am aware that I'm being somewhat hypocritical though.

Maybe this has been a redundant post. It's essentially a diatribe against shit films. I like romcoms occasionally, I just ask that they're not shit. I don't mind celebrities being in them, I just ask that they're not shit, and the dialogue's not shit.

Please excuse my need to rant. Perhaps I'm just asking the studios of today to give the ladies of today films in which female protagonists talk about things other than men and stupid men and how much they want a man. Is that why I love somewhat romantic comedies that center on men? Probably. Things starring Seth Rogen tend to have a real nerdy streak, something that appeals to my geeky and tomboyish sensibilities. Perhaps it's a matter of my having just watched a shitty film that only further confirmed why I enjoy spending my time surrounded by loud, crude, nerdy men.

Not only are they hilarious, they never want to get their nails done and usually don't give a shit about my love life.

tl;dr - I don't like shitty films.

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