This past week’s been pretty stressful. My family, friends, work,
mental and physical health—it’s all been a bit precarious and messing
with my somewhat fragile emotional state. And so sometimes, when I’m
feeling a little energetically depleted, I eschew my usual fare of
heady indie, arthouse and/or foreign films for a depraved slew of
gawdawful romantic comedies in which I can give the ol’ noggin’ a rest.
Hmm… Romantic comedies: cerebral refresh or love lobotomy?
The devil incarnate, I say!
Anyway, this is what I’ve learned:
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Memorable Quote: “I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut
your hair. I hate the way you drive my car. I hate it when you stare. I
hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind. I hate
you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme. I hate the way
you’re always right. I hate it when you lie. I hate it when you make me
laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it that you’re not
around, and the fact that you didn’t call. But mostly I hate the way I
don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at
A high school kid devises a plan to get the token bad boy to date
the incorrigible sister of his crush, so that she’ll be allowed to go
out, too. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, this teen
flick starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger is actually one of the
better romantic comedies out there.
Lesson: Strong women do not need to be tamed; they simply need stronger men. Plus, Heath Ledger is really hot.
Tagline: She’ll get what she wants… no matter what it takes!
This one stars Heather Graham as a very sweet, naive nutjob named
“Jo”—but she looks really good in red vinyl pants and ridiculous
post-punk hairdos—who proves her commitment to love as she drives
cross-country in search of her whackjob husband (played by Luke Wilson)
who left her to “fulfill his potential” and other such bullshit things
jerk-off guys say to get their illicit shags on. She eventually finds
him in El Paso, makes friends with his lover, his neighbor and his
lover’s grandpa, who then equips Jo with a protective ceremony that Jo
must perform every night in front of the trailer of her wayward
husband, who then does indeed commit her to a mental hospital.
Lesson: Obsession and stalking shows you care.
The Perfect Man (2005)
Memorable Quote: “Attention shoppers, need a quick pick me up? Why
don’t you head on over to our coffee corner and pick yourself up a
half-caffe-caramel macchiato. But remember, coffee can be hot… it can
have an intensity like you’ve never felt before… searing deep into
your flesh… your tender… vulnerable… so easily hurt flesh. So, be
sure to ask for a protective sleeve when you pick up your coffee…
maybe ask for another one to slip over your heart. Thank you!”
Stars Hilary Duff as a teenager (!) and Heather Locklear as her
single mom. I know you don’t need to know anything beyond that but bear
with me for a sec. The story revolves around Hilary’s character
“Holly,” as she concocts a hare-brained matchmaking scheme because
she’s tired of moving every time her mom falls for some loser. Although
Chris Noth (Sex and the City’s Mr. Big!) stars as Holly’s model of the
perfect man—he’s handsome, successful, single, he cooks, loves flowers,
has a fabulously decorated apartment, and does crosswords in pen?
Hello, he’s gay!—the movie’s premise hits rock bottom when, at one
point, Holly is forced to maintain an intimate online chat as her
mother’s fantasy lover, wherein her mother reveals painful and personal
details about herself. Disturbing.
Lesson: Dating your mom is complicated.
Must Love Dogs (2005)
Tagline: The hardest trick is making them stay.
A divorced woman in her 30’s is pressured by her highly involved
family to begin dating again, starting with the gross propagation of
online personals ads. This movie might be one of the most contemptible
of its kind. Did you see the tagline? Depicting women as desperate,
deceitful, demanding damsels in distress? And I just don’t get it—I
mean, check out the cast! You’ve got the lovely Diane Lane
(Unfaithful), the king of ro-co himself, John Cusack, Elizabeth
Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermot Mulroney and Stockard Channing.
What the hell happened?! This just confirms my suspicions that all-star
casts suck up all the juice of a movie, veritably guaranteeing an
embarrassingly horrible flick.
Lesson: When it comes to romance, the less people involved, the better.
Samantha Campos starred opposite Don Johnson and the orangutan from Every Which Way But Loose in a made-for-TV romantic comedy called Strangers on the N-Judah. MTW