Sunday, November 7, 2010

Love Stories

I watched a lot of Horror Films before Halloween as per usual and wanted to write about the Genre as a whole. It was a lot to wrap my head around. So much was going on and there are so many sub-genre's and I need to figure out an outline to do it correctly. I would like to put something up and have decided to do the opposing genre, or some might say the same. wakka wakka
(that reminds me I should write about Jim Henson)

Ah, L'amour.

I recently watched Manhattan for the first time and thought it was bogus. It looked really pretty and I liked the pacing and loved the Gershwin, but all of Woody Allen's movies are so similar in that he can't deal with his life or the lead is neurotic and a self serving intellect or there is some lady half his age he is in love with. I just didn't buy a lot of what happened. As is the case with a lot of love stories. There were some great scenes but the movie as a whole didn't do it for me. Rather than talking about some movie I didn't like I think it will be easier for you to understand where I am coming from here by reading this list of my top Romance/Love movies.

1 Say Anything
2 The Notebook
3 Princess Bride
4 Dirty Dancing
5 Beauty and The Beast

Honorable Mention
Love Actually
Shakespeare in Love
Peter Pan
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Before Sunrise

I just compiled this list and have realized this might be a super long post. I am going to have to talk about all of them. I think explaining each of these will be a better way for me to explain how I feel about this type of film.

In reverse order:

Before Sunrise
Love at first sight. Awesome. Its something that we all want to believe in. Also it has happened to all of us, and we have spent an entire night with that person. Lost in their eyes and opinions trying new things that we never would have before. Before Sunrise also takes place in an exotic locale which for whatever reason that adds to the romance. Two strangers meet and fall in love but have to leave at dawn the next day. They decided to spend the night exploring the city with one another and fall in love. It ends tragically when they get on their trains after agreeing to meet back at that spot a year later to finally be together. Yes there is hope in the ending and a sequel explains what happens, but I would rather see them trade their tickets in for new ones to them same destination. Happily ever after always leaves you with a good feeling. And thats what I want to see out of a love story. Tragedy doesn't give me much hope for my own life.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
A tale of unrequited love as well as love that is requited. Lovers crossing the continent to fight for one another. There are Victorian overtones in terms of what is and isn't proper and who can marry who etc. The reason it isn't higher is because the awesome fight scenes easily overshadow the love stories and there is a little bit of tragedy at the end.

Peter Pan
The most recent 2003 live action version. We all know the story but this telling of it ups the ante of the wonder and mystery in the story which allows all of the fantasy to occasionally take a back burner to the love between Peter and Wendy. The subtle looks and eyes and fights and triumphs and smiles that each of these characters are given brilliantly by the actors portraying them and an honest and innocent love story is revealed. The characters are young and don't know what love is or that they are in it. This is what gets me, they don't know how do deal with love just like all of us but the process is simplified because of their age. The interpretation of the characters is written like Wes Anderson's creations. This isn't higher simply because they are younger and the love story is so subtle and not the focus.

Shakespeare in Love
Hysterical and amazing. Some more unrequited love, a parallel to "the greatest love story ever told" but alas, its harder for me to get behind because they don't get to be together in the end. Other than that it's perfect.

Love Actually
I just don't love this movie. So it isn't in the top five. However, I appreciate the interweaving tales from all walks of life and the different portrayals of how love can or cannot pan out. The little stupid things we do when we are in love. I mean STUPID things. What we do to try and get that love returned. The lengths that we will go to and what we will put up with, the sense vulnerability and the embarrassing situations we find ourselves in. All perfectly exemplified, just not one of my favorites.


5. Beauty and The Beast
A truly beautiful story. There are several kinds of love going on here. Belle loves her Father and sacrifices her freedom for him. The enchanted servants love their master, and desire to help him, they will also help themselves in the process but you know. Gaston has love for himself which is exemplified in a false love of Belle. And most important Beauty learns to love the Beast. Every time I have been on a date while sporting a full beard this movie pops into my head. What makes the story pure is that it is about pure love. There is nothing on the surface that influences the love. Two characters hate and resent one another then find out what is going on inside and make each other better give each other experiences that they never would have had otherwise. I mean thats all we really want anyway isn't it. New and exciting things and someone to inspire and make us better.
My favorite parts are as follows: Gift of the Library, "It would give me great pleasure if you would join me for dinner!...please.". Fighting of the wolves, the anger and ferocity in the beasts eyes when he threatens Belle, (only true love can make someone that angry). Also, the songs are good.

4. Dirty Dancing
This movie is fucking sexy. Thats why it trumps Beauty and the Beast. It makes me want to bone. The songs are better, the character growth isn't limited to the feelings for one another but in their individual growth. Swayze and Grey make new decisions and become adults. They fight for themselves and one another. It is one of those classic prince falls in love with the pauper type tales. I always like those. Romeo and Juliet has two character from the same status fall in love and when ever a Princess falls in love with a Street Rat, as it were, it always adds an extra level to the story.

3.  The Princess Bride
Classic Fantasy Love Story. Everything that should be in any other movie as well. Villians, monsters, sword fights, chases, jokes, stages of a journey that must be passed, pirates, more jokes, magic, learning how to bluff. What is interesting about this is that they are automatically in love from the get go the fight and discovery is getting back there. Two lovers become separated and must get back to one another. Thats what I like The fight to be together. Things don't get bogged down by status, or social mores, or having to check a box yes or no, or making the right impression, just true love. I don't want to speak out of place but I think every lady wants to be whisked away by a mysterious man and go on wonderful adventures and end it all in a kiss, I know that I would really like to have a sword fight fighting for the one I love and then defeating the villain trying to take her away from me so that she can run to me and then we can sail away or something. I mean think about it, that would be awesome. I don't think there is a bigger aphrodisiac than a sword fight or a rescue.

2. The Notebook
Yes I know it ends tragically but not before a full life of living together. Thats the key. Very rarely do we get to see that the happily ever after actually. This time we know that it happens. James Garner brilliantly plays self sacrifice and willingness, if not joy, to take his time to read to the woman he loves. Leaving her side is not an option. That is true love, that kind of self sacrifice. Now, I prefer the younger story which is the bulk of the film. Remember what I said earlier about doing stupid things for love? Well climbing  ferris wheel is dumb. What is really attractive is the playfulness, McAdams and Gosling were brilliantly cast and spend the whole movie playing with one another. They have wonderful passionate fights that don't matter and laugh all the time. Its another Princess and Pauper story. They deal with the obstacles that stem because of that and rise above them. The two lovers share joy and life not common interests. That is what I think I like. No matter what, distance and time, they simply like being in one another's company. That is what is important. I enjoy stories that take place in a different time, just like a foreign country it adds to the romance.  It is also interesting to note, that the characters don't really grow or change. It's because they don't have to in each other's eyes they are already perfect. Also, I have changed my mind, building a house trumps a sword fight as an aphrodisiac.

1. Say Anything
Oh man. I love this fucking movie. Everything about it is perfect. Falling in love with Ione Skye or John Cusack is simple and easy. Both of them are so awkward and graceful at the same time. Every experience that we all had in high school with love is told in this one story, lots of these experiences happen over four years with several people but this happens in a single summer with one person. Its everything that we want out of our love lives. The pacing and editing and story telling and music, and acting and script and tone of shots are all perfect. Lloyd gets so awkward Diane is so understanding, Diane gets so scared and Lloyd gets so protective. The last shot of this film exemplifies in every possible way what it means to love someone with all of your heart. No kiss can describe the situation better. To be in love is to be terrified and to take risks and put everything on the line, to leave everyone else who loves you and whom you love behind for something greater, it dare to be great, to jump blindly into a void screaming geronimo all the way down because the love that you have will give you wings, To get so angry and heart broken to become completely open and naked and be comfortable with it. In Your Eyes while in the back of a car under a blanket shivering and being held. Moving glass out of the way. Giving pens as gifts. Giving freedom with a watchful eye. Again staying out until the son comes up with no particular agenda in mind. Becoming involved in and proud of the things that someone that love loves. No fantasy, no magic, time period, no common interest, no trick aphrodisiacs, nothing except love. Simple and new and scary.

That geronimo line is from Conspiracy Theory but it is a good one for this situation.

1 comment:

  1. OOPS.

    Holy crap I can't believe I forgot these two. Place them at 4 and 5 bumping Dirty Dancing and Beauty and the Beast back.

    5. A Very Long Engagement.
    One of my Favorite directors that I often forget about because it is a feat to sit down and watch his movies. Now Most people liked Amelie. I like this one better. A long reaching epic set up against the great war. A long lost first love. In Amelie Audry Tautou looks for love. In this she has love and spends her whole life looking for him because she doesn't believe that he died. There are four other story lines about soldiers and lovers who want to be together and don't want to fight anymore. That is what I like, These men are willing to shoot themselves in order to get back to those they love. A woman is willing to kill for vengance, and communities band together to help true love come together. Stunning visuals, quirky characters, and A nice ending.

    4. Punch Drunk Love
    Adam Sandler rocks it in this flick. There are three scenes that define this movie.
    Adam Sandler running around a labyrinth of hallways in search of a missed first kiss.
    Our hero rushes to Hawaii to find our Heroine and calls a bunch of hotels. When she answers the light on the phone booth comes on.
    A drop of blood drips down Watson's face and Sandler destroys the men responsible.
    These scenes alone describe true love, and the score exemplifies the Chaos and Energy that being in love entails.

    I'm glad I amended this.