Thursday, September 15, 2011

Crazy stupid love

So I saw Crazy Stupid Love the other night. Aaaannnnd... I sorta liked it? Romantic comedies usually suck because they're generally not funny and because they aren't romantic. Like, usually the woman girl is knocked off her high horse (which I'm supposed to savor because I'm supposed to hate and pity successful women?) and humiliated by one thing after another. The guy and girl hate each other. That's not very romantic. The guy is usually cocky enough for this scene to be included: [Her:]"Oh yeah? Well you don't know anything about me!," [Him:]"Ok, [describes details of her life and outlines her insecurities in the most insulting patronizing way possible]," [Her face becomes shocked, then she makes a pitiful attempt at covering it:] "You think you're pretty smart, huh? [humiliation followed immediately by sex]."

Then there's always some horrible secret that any reasonable person would simply explain to the S.O., who (if he didn't hate women and have a massive chip on his shoulder) would simply say, "Oh gee, sorry you are penniless/ unwillingly married to a mentally unstable Russian czar/ being harangued by your ex/ a maid/ way in over your head at this job or class b/c you faked your application/ stuck in the wrong era due to having traveled through time. That must be tough for you, wanna talk about it?" And then move on. But in romantic comedies one person says, "Hey I have this really important thing to say to you," and the other person is always like, "Who cares? I'm going to interrupt you continuously so you cannot express that which you are yearning to tell me." And then I'm supposed to believe that these two people who have been cruel and petty to each other are in love because music plays. The music is always, always something that is written to appeal to thirteen-year-olds because I guess romance is supposed to make women feel like children? Nevermind that at thirteen I spent most of my time hating myself and the world around me. Yeesh. And then the girl says at some point, "I'm an incurable romantic!" Which is code for, "even though I seem successful and I'm gorgeous and my friends are great all I really want is an old-fashioned [read, 'patriarchal fantasy exemplified by puke-aliciously sexist 1940s Hollywood films expressly to perpetuate inequality and domination'] romance [read, 'heterosexual marriage']!"

Ok, well I'm an incurable romantic. But apparently the phrase, "incurable romantic," is owned by the Wedding Industrial Complex now, the way Republicans own "values" and "God." The only problem is, romance to me means whirlwind gushy feelings--good, bad, exhilarating, depressing, angry, etc. As in, exploring a new city at 3 am. Creating something cool. Fighting for a cause. Being in love itself can involve romance but not really all the time. Love could be feeling safe, calm, considerate, and tolerant too. Romance, to me, is the Cubists and Fauvists and Whatever-ists in a cafe in the '20s talking about what their -isms, the Wright Brothers developing the first plane together, the Summer of Love, the Union strikes in the Depression, and Nelson Mandela working against Apartheid. I guess if I had to apply it specifically to love it would be Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, George Sand & Marie Dorval & Freidric Chopan, Kurt Cobain & Courtney Love. According to some scholars Jesus and Mary Magdalene were an item, so I'd add them to the list.

Anyhow Crazy Stupid Love was pretty refreshing. It was actually funny, for one. I also appreciated the eye candy for the ladies (and for whomever else might be hypnotized by Ryan Gosling's abs and under-chin, whatever that area is called). And even better, two main characters fell in love by actually being kind to each other. Imagine that. And it was totally believable! I rooted for them even though both characters are very different from me. The actors were great-- so appealing they were able to sell a movie that is nothing but an excuse to peddle a male fantasy about harassment, stalking, the Babysitter Fantasy, naked 17-year-old girls, and how awesome male pick-up-artists are (they're totally nice! just give them a chance!). At one point my husband leaned over an whispered, "wait, do hot seventeen-year-olds really go for dorky dads all the time? Is that a thing?" I could really do without sweet scenes of loving phone calls and moments of vulnerability between two people when one of those people is secretly watching that other person through their window at night. Or scenes where the girl has repeatedly told the boy, "no," so the boy enlists the entire freaking town/stadium/school to help him harass her so she literally has nowhere to turn. In rom-coms she always caves in happily ever after and the town/stadium/school coming together is always depicted as something crazy, inspired, so surprising, something that could only happen in dreams or movies. But entire towns/schools (don't know about stadiums) really DO come together to support an abuser/rapist/harasser/stalker and blockade the victim, ALL THE TIME. That's how people get victimized and murdered. You know, like oh, say, vulnerable 17-year-old babysitters who are involved with way older men or whose harassers are charming. To me, that is just not romance or comedy. Call me crazy...

[Ryan Gosling's abs]

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