Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Sweetest Thing

Year 9, Day 33 - 2/2/17 - Movie #2,533

BEFORE: Day 4 of the romance chain (no, I'm not counting "Dirty Grandpa", I refuse...) and once I hit a Cameron Diaz film, I just know the linking's going to work out for a while.  I'm solid with linking now right up to February 13.  There might be a bump or two in the road between then and the end of February, but I'll work it out.  I should also check to see if the 4 Debbie Reynolds films I just got could possibly be worked in, because they were all romance-based, I think, and they'd be a fair bit more appropriate than some of the Fred Astaire films that are just about dancing.  But I'm betting that all of those old Astaire films have some romance in them, because just about all of those old black and white films do.  I guess we'll see.  Cameron Diaz carries over from "The Other Woman".

And here's your TCM schedule for tomorrow, February 3.
7:45 AM Ben-Hur (1959)
11:30 AM The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
2:30 PM The Big Country (1958)
5:30 PM The Big Sky (1952)
8:00 PM The Birds (1963)
10:30 PM Blazing Saddles (1974)
12:15 AM Blow-Up (1966)
2:15 AM Blues in the Night (1941)
4:15 AM Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

A couple classics I've already seen - "Ben-Hur", "Blazing Saddles" and "Bonnie and Clyde", you just can't go wrong with any of those - plus last year I watched "The Best Years of Our Lives", along with "The Birds", I've seen 5 out of this 9 - bringing me up to 16 seen out of 32 - I'm right at 50%.

THE PLOT: A woman is forced to educate herself on the etiquette of wooing the opposite sex when she finally meets Mr. Right.

AFTER: There's got to be a romance film out there that can really help people understand the ins and outs of relationships - but this for sure isn't it.

Because once again, it's all about selfish, self-indulgent people searching for love - the fact that so many screenwriters and directors focus on this only goes to prove to me that most of them don't even understand it.  Relationships are supposed to be about giving and sacrifice, and yet they're usually portrayed in movies as searches and quests, which just doesn't make sense.  The basic premise seems to be "Love is beautiful and kind and generous - so I WANT THAT!"  See the problem?  The enterprise is doomed from the start if it begins with people who are only in it for what they can get out of it.

Hollywood fallacy that once you find the right partner, everything's beautiful and wonderful and you'll be happy forever - life's gonna be great and easy.  But no, in reality, this is when the real work begins.  Think about it like a job hunt - you scan the classifieds, go on interviews, plead your case, and eventually you get hired, but that's not the end of the road, you still have to show up 5 days a week from now until whenever and you have to work hard, or else you'll lose your job.  So the movie fantasy of what happens after you find your soul mate or partner just doesn't work, because it usually only shows the start of the process, which is, in the long run, the easy part.

There's a book on "The Rules" - the Ten Commandments of Love - which the characters refer to here.  This is probably a reference to that instructional guide that was making the rounds a few years back, because some people apparently need practical advice on how many days to wait after a first date before calling someone, and stuff like that.  But the movie's not really clear on whether a book like this constitutes good advice or bad advice.  Some of the same characters who downplay the book's importance later come to fall back on it when they need its help - so apparently it's good advice when you need it, but it's OK to ignore it when you don't.

Other things that the screenwriter and director clearly don't understand - the mechanics of oral sex, how glory holes work, and the vagaries of bathroom plumbing.  But why should that stop anyone from including those things in a film?  Why bother taking the time to do five minutes of research when you can just go ahead and just make things work the way you need them do, for the sake of a gag?  We need a character to get poked in the eye with a dick, or we need these characters to get soaking wet, so let's just take a shortcut and make those things happen.  Worst of all, we need to make a situation where a woman gets a dick stuck in her mouth - which I don't think could happen, regardless of whatever piercing that man happens to have.  This is just plain old junk science based on urban legends.

(You can also see this in the early "interview" scenes in the film - a man on an exercise bike is being interviewed, and when he gets distracted, he gets propelled forward and flies off the bike.  The physics just aren't there to make that happen, because sitting on a stationery bike creates NO forward momentum.  But I guess you just can't let reality get in the way of somebody falling down, because that's just SUCH an important gag...)

The main story involves meeting a guy at a bar and having a not-terrible conversation, and making the mental leap from "Hey, I can talk to this guy" to "He's 100% the perfect man, so let's get in the car and crash a wedding where we know he's going to be, because destiny."  This is a terrible plan, because the two women set out on a 3-hour car trip without knowing exactly where they're going, how they're going to get into this wedding ceremony, or even what they're going to wear.  So even though it should come as no surprise that the trip doesn't go exceedingly well, the main character has the nerve to be disappointed when it doesn't.  Can I just re-state that I hate the personality of every character in this film?  Nobody plans to fail, but often people fail to plan.

NITPICK POINT: So apparently you can go on a 3-hour road trip, have difficulties along the way, not know exactly where you're going AND have a 2-hour stopover to try on many different outfits that you're not going to buy, and still make it to the wedding on time.  By rights, they should have arrived at the wedding to find that they were three hours late, and the whole ceremony was over.

Also starring Christina Applegate (last seen in "Vacation"), Selma Blair (last seen in "Can't Hardly Wait"), Thomas Jane (last seen in "Vice"), Jason Bateman (last seen in "Bad Words"), Parker Posey (last seen in "The Anniversary Party"), Frank Grillo (last seen in "Captain America: Civil War"), Eddie McClintock, Georgia Engel (last seen in "Grown Ups 2"), Lillian Adams, James Mangold, Johnny Messner, with cameos from Jonathan Schaech (last seen in "The Prince"), Charlie Dell.

RATING: 3 out of 10 dress-shop mannequins

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