Friday, October 21, 2005

My roomie was watching 13 Going On 30, and I was sucked in. Like the great vortex of Hollywood's romantic comedies, I could not escape its pull. With all due respect to Lu, who wrote a paper on things gone wrong with society and this movie, I will use it to illustrate another angle. Yes, it's time for Jason's rant on the romantic comedy.

For starters, the ending is a lose-lose no matter what. First, the two could not be reunited/fall in love (some have argued that this would not be a romantic comedy in the first place, which makes sense). You are pissed off, because so far you have put a lot of stock into this movie and its characters, and you don't want the people to NOT find happiness. Movies that end without anything being resolved normally illicits various food items to be thrown at the screen.

If, on the other hand, the two get together, then the love story has its ending. You wanted it to happen, the characters wanted it to happen, your cousin's sister wanted it to happen. Yet it is a reminder that you do NOT possess a love like that, and so you feel equally as crappy. Depression normally sinks in, accompanied by its loving partner, loneliness. It also gives you a false hope - an idea that if you could be as daring or as risky, you could obtain that long-lost love for yourself. This is crap. And I will admit that I, more than many, absorb myself in movies to the point that I cannot distinguish sometimes between the movie and reality. This still does not excuse Hollywood for giving us a template for achieving love that is not only far-fetched: It is sometimes immature. Oh, if I could only love someone enough, and throw everything out of the window, and unload EVERYTHING on them, they must come to their senses and let true love prevail.

I don't want you to think that I don't believe that love exists. It definitely does, and it is all around us. My parents come to mind. It is evident in every part of this world, of this creation. It exists and gives us hope in the most hopeless of situations. It is the basis of many of the world's religions, and it really is all you need sometimes. But to look at it and define it the way Hollywood does is nothing short of inane. Well, yes, let's crash their wedding, break into their house, leapfrog their family members, climb the tallest tree to the tallest tower, and express our undying love for them, reassuring them that we have loved them all our lives, and they will give in. In fact, they've been waiting for us to do it. Give me a break.

Is this entry horribly depressing? I believe in the power of love, but c'mon. When we are infused with the 'carpe diem' syndrome when it comes to people we love or other instances of unrequited love, we think we can do something, anything, bare our soul, and all will be well. Relationships and love are complicated products of complicated human beings, full of grey areas, frustrations, and complexity. And I must give a shoutout to all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who make it over this hurdle and must contend with a society that does not recognize them. I mean, I have enough problems of my own, but I know fully that if things happen concerning relationships, I will be given no crap whatsoever simply because I'm a guy, and she happens to be a girl. But to know something is true and be told time and time again by people and laws that it is not is pathetic. No two ways about it.

So, let the arguments begin. But, in the end, just because you haven't found love doesn't mean you have failed.

And I watch romantic comedies religiously. Here ends the straight white guy and his soapbox.


At 12:14 AM , Anonymous Luke said...

13 Going on 30 is the example that we have to use? Damn. I made a point of renting that movie. I watched it alone so that I wouldn't be jeered by friends or family, thinking it would be a wonderfully guilty pleasure on a Sunday afternoon, but it stil sucked. I too watch romantic comedies, in spite of their tendency to reduce love into a 3 act formula, and I WANTED to like it, I really did. Jason, how were you sucked in? I was just sucked.

At 5:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, the movie was addictive, but my paper tore that shit apart. Seriously, a pink house like the one he put together in middle school? If that was reality, then I'd live in a house with wobbly walls and a dog made out circles, just like the ones I drew in kindergarten. We had glitter (oh, sorry, magic wish dust) back then too. Oh, and why can't we all be 13 again? I'll tell you. Because it SUCKED.


At 12:28 PM , Anonymous Caitlin said...

I LOVE that movie, and you know what? It DOESN'T fall into classic romantic comedy formula because in her "what if" life there was no happy ending. He told her that even though she'd crashed his wedding and expressed her undying love, and even though he still loved her, he had a life and it was real and they needed to get over themselves. Their interactions as adults and the conclusion of the movie are what make it a romantic "comedy." All's well that ends well (or ended well) because the real life kicker at the end of her "almost" future taught her a lesson (albeit, an old formula). I don't think the movie tells you that you'll reach love if you reach beyond the highest bounds; it tells you that you should love the things you have (which is an incredibly good message, and possible for anyone). So... appreciate those things that should be appreciated and they will appreciate you back, even if you don't end up marrying them (such as pets). Meow.

At 12:29 PM , Anonymous Caitlin said...

And what happened to appreciating the process?

At 5:50 PM , Blogger JP said...

Well, now we come to the crux of this Asian queer man's frustration with all gay movies (things are a little better if you consider the broader queer cinema, though not much). If you think you have it bad with straight romantic comedies, just WAIT till you try to find a gay romance - Brokeback included - that doesn't lead EITHER to

(a) the plot being totally stupid and/or just about getting some ass (à la The Trick) rather than any sort of love thing (not that sex is bad, it's just sometimes you want to see two men find actual love; or

(b) the plot being beautiful and rich but one or both of the romance-protagonists dying (à la Bent or The Trip) tragically, usually of either AIDS or hate-crime; or

(c) one of the two romance-protagonists actually being straight, and having been straight the whole time (à la Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss, which just barely skates away from category (a) as well).

I dare you, Jason, to find me a gay romance that breaks these rules, which I've been peddling as a theory of mine for a while. Hell, I'll even watch the movies with you in search of them. But I imagine you'll be just as disappointed as I have been. We can still hope, however.


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