If you’re anything like me, a child of the 80s and 90s in America, you’ve watched not only too many movies but too many bad teenage romantic movies. I’m not talking about films here, I’m talking about movies- solely designed for entertainment and not designed for the true artistic motivations that inspired David Lynch to make Blue Velvet. You’ve been led to believe all of the following things are possibly true and that each of them has to happen to you:
1) A single impassioned speech can alter 90 minutes of you acting like a chump
2) We all only have one soul mate and one chance to meet that one soul mate. If you miss it, you might as well move under a bridge and turn into a troll.
3) Everyone getting in your way is a bad guy. If someone is dating someone you like, they’re automatically a surly dickhead with a letter jacket who doesn’t know how to treat the target of your affections. And let’s face it; you’re a much better person than they are.
4) The very concept of existentialism doesn’t exist. There’s one romantic comedy truth. For the single truth, see point 2.
5) In your times of despair, listen to the moodiest music possible. This really ought to help. Or at very least, it makes for a good mopey, ill placed montage.
Did I miss anything in that formula? I don’t think I did. If you can find anything, I bet it’s a variation on those points, but not a revolutionary redefinition. Hell, all movies are pretty much based on formulas anyway. The idea of 90% of romantic comedies is 2-1=1. You remove one person from a pre-existing couple where the man or woman was wrong for his significant other and all of a sudden you have the couple you’ve been rooting for. You’ve wanted them to get together. Now that they have, you don’t care what comes next. So what if they give birth to a serial killer or if they go on a ten state robbery spree (Side Note: Natural Born Killers is a phenomenal film and the only good Oliver Stone film past Platoon- sure I have a soft spot for “Any Given Sunday” but it still sucks). What happens next doesn’t matter.
Ever wish real life worked like this? I did. I’m also the same person who played a video game called command HQ as the Soviets and sent paratroopers into Miami to make this world Red. (Using nukes in that game causes countries who have become aligned with you to switch sides…so if you find an old Apple II computer and this game…use your nukes sparingly.) Through the years of 16-24 (I was slow to grow up…can you blame me, I’m an introverted person who watches too many movies) I tried many of the tactics that I saw in films. I thought there was something noble in the concept of the pursuit. While the rest of my friends were having random indiscriminate sex in the back of Volvo’s in the parking lots of a Northeastern Liberal Arts college, I was refining thoughts in my head about how I felt like Ethan Embree in Can’t Hardly Wait. The sad part is, I hate these fucking movies, yet, they’d invaded my conscious mind. I thought I was principled and noble and that everyone else was a savage. Turns out that I was just someone who threw away his male sexual prime for the chasing of fairy tales.