Friday, September 18, 2009

Love Happens, Does It?

Irritant of the moment: Love Happens. This is one of those movies that promises to underwhelm and otherwise annoy from starlit beginning to predictable end. Oooh so sad singles (she chooses bad, BAAAD, and his wife died, weepy weeps) bump into each other and through average moments of wine-sipping dating they somehow (gasp) fall in LOVE. Because Love Happens. Is that a play on Shit Happens? Because A.) Outdated and B.) Cynical beyond any limit of charming…anyone? Anyone? Does anyone actually endure this shit for two hours anymore?

This is the type of movie that you allow to play in the background on TBS while you are trying to cook lasagna from scratch for the first time. All you remember is soft Aniston and yet another weird blond man that is somehow worth…an effort? Eckhart is really only compelling when he’s dialing up the crazy…and Aniston, for all her sweet, safe nothingness of late, could really do better. Really, Jen? There’s never going to be a Good Girl again? Because I don’t believe that the offers aren’t out there. What’s happening to you?

In the realm of ROMANTIC COMEDIES or whatever they are (since often they are not all that funny at all), the playlist on the HBO schedule tonight has inspired me to A.) Bash that idiotic, lazy-ass romcom Love Happens and B.) tell you that sometimes a stupid title and otherwise doofy romcom can really touch a nerve, touch it hard, and bring it up to a higher level than just Meh.

So, P.S. I Love You. What a fucking stupid title. It makes me want to stick a shard in someone’s eye socket.


When my mom visited over the Christmas break, she fully partook of my plentiful HBO on Demand selection. At the time, one of the many choices was P.S. I Love You, a movie I avoided for two reasons: (PS I love lists) A.) Ass Title and B.) Hilary Swank. Ever since I saw her eat a burger at the In-and-Out or whatever after winning her Oscar, she’s been nothing but a Maw of Death, nothing but teeth and saliva and hot jets of vomit.

So Mom chose it and I watched peripherally while simultaneously playing Rollercoaster Tycoon (shutup, it’s an addiction). I found Gerard Butler thoroughly annoying—he’s great when the script calls for MASSIVE OVERACTING but nuance is not his strength—and I was generally keeping up with the plot, getting the gist, and absorbing it superficially like so many romcoms before…until.

There’s a point in the movie when Swank’s character is faced with an imminent sexual encounter that she wants very badly but handles with terror, yammering, and a state of flustered panic that, while it was unspooling before my eyes, socked me full force in the sternum and made me hide my face. Mom, you may not have noticed, but the tears were standing in my eyes. Here’s the thing: My man didn’t die. I kicked him to the curb because he was mean as the devil and he undermined my self esteem at every cresting safe moment we ever shared. I dropped his ass 3 years and 6 months after I should have. But his familiar self, the good and funny man that I cherished so much, should not be denied or lied about. And his physical appearance? He was, to be perfectly blunt, the perfect, beautiful Manshape of my dreams. Some 4 months after our parting, viewing this scene, I totally understood Swank’s character’s reaction. In so many ways, on so many levels, I still belonged to him. Even though I surely wanted to attack some nice, anonymous gentleman and seek out that carnal perfection we all so crave, my heart quivered to shreds at the thought of it actually happening.

It is impossible to explain, I think. But in that moment that movie became more than a romcom. “How long has it been?” the friends ask. How long for what? Sex? Passion? Acceptance? Complete vulnerability? You might as well push us off the cliff, Hillary and I, for at that moment we met at a horrible crossroads. A crawling, searing spike of emotion and understanding.

Something tells me that the cynically titled Love Happens doesn’t have a moment quite like that. But hearing about it reminded me of an unforgettable moment of my own, I suppose, so THANK, as we say that the Grave. THANK for the memory.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Lovey, I had no idea you were paying even a smidgen of attention. Sounds like an angst ridden moment. Glad to see you write about it and the big dumbass too.

5:08 PM  

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