Sunday, November 29, 2009

My take on love stories (and romantic comedies for that matter)

I must've seen dozens of romantic comedies both foreign and local. Certainly more than I'd normally care for, but they do know how to suck you in. They reel you in with the a variety of overworn cliches that still makes you wonder "Hmm... that could happen to me, let's see how this one turns out." Even though we know deep in our hearts that probably all possible permutations of love story beginning-endings have been used and re-used.

I've just finished watching (500) Days of Summer1 and I can't help but think about relationships, falling in love, you know--all that crap. No, I'm not bitter--at least not in the guy-who-got-dumped sense, I'm merely thinking aloud. (And please no one start the "but there are a lot of different kind of loves" bs, you know very well that that's not what I'm talking about here.) Watching these films, they make you explore all kinds of possibilities.
"Aww... now that's just crazy, sure wish that would happen to me though."

"Hey! That's me! Totally me... except I don't live in NY and don't have a fancy apartment while totally not working."

"She's just like that bitch who dumped me for my dad's boss..."
Never mind that 80% of them will never happen in real life or that the 20% that do aren't even worth watching. We like finding people to identify with. See our situations mirrored on screen. I think we watch fantasy films for things would never happen, and love stories for things we wish would actually happen. And I don't know, maybe they do for some people. For all I know, maybe some of these films are written by people who's had those things happen to them. Maybe drop dead gorgeous ladies actually fall for supposedly-smart-yet-poor-and-underachieving men they just meet at a bar.

But while I can suspend belief while watching, I really can't after the end credit rolls. I know enough (at least I believe I do, which is same enough that it doesn't make a difference) to realize that these things don't happen--at least never to me. No one's out there just waiting to turn my life around. No sassy girl waiting to screw with my mind and make me fall head over heels regardless. No Rapunzel just waiting for me to rescue her and live happily ever after.

I didn't write this to dissuade anyone from falling in love. By all means, go. This is just a little reality check. If you want love, you better find it, because it sure as hell not going to fall into your lap. If you want an adventure, go read a book, or better yet, plug yourself into the matrix and see how far the rabbit hole goes. Inasmuch as you can identify with one of the characters in a Nicholas Spark novel, love stories are often simple and straightforward. Most of them aren't screenworthy, but who cares right? It's being in it that matters. Not how it might appear to anyone else.

I suppose that's why I still don't understand love. And while I wonder if I ever will, love stories like these will continue to reel me in.

1 I've never written a good movie review before and I don't expect to suddenly become good now, so I'm going to do all of you a favor and not review this film. What I would do though is to say that you probably should watch this delightfully different film with its cleverly told story. Good script, interesting characters, and sufficiently humorous that it won't be a complete waste of time even if you aren't you know... into love.


Lizz said...

You know, some people find it hard to find girlfriends or boyfriends while others have a seemingly endless parade. It's all a matter of personal standards, I think, and the lower you go, the more relationships will fall into your lap. I'm 26 and I've only had 2 boyfriends; my other girlfriends have had (on average) 5 to 10. When I ask them why they agree to commit to someone even though they know he's not "the one", they just say that he's "the one... for now". Lol. So I guess if you view every potential person you date as a possible life partner, you're going to be much more discerning than the average boy who just wants a steady date on weekends on holidays. Still, I have no doubt that you'll find someone to be with-- it'll just take more looking than the average schmoe.

crickette inserto said...

i believe in everything you said...

when i was single after my first bf and i broke up (yes in my 28 years ive only had 2 bfs), many people ask me then why i was "single"...

i wanted to cut their heads off! it took me almost 3 years to find a replacement for the the one who broke my heart and it wasn't really easy.

love is not like in movies and prince charmings don't come to the rescue every time your heart breaks...

nevertheless, i love sad sappy movies and romantic comedies that make you believe that love is that easy.

oooops, i think i've divulged too much about my pathetic love life already! (hahaha!) in all fairness, that was in the past... :P

Visual Velocity said...

Do you have the soundtrack? Dude, you have to buy one. It's really good.

Josh said...

You're right about love rarely falling into your lap out of nowhere. Most relationships, even the good ones, often start with the old boring "meet new people and ask them out on dates" route.

austenfan said...

I guess I also don't know how love really is. I mean 'real' love, not like the one induced by teenage wistfulness.

And I know these romantic books that I keep on reading are just setting my expectations too high, but they're so fun to read anyway! Haha.

philos said...

@Lizz: But I am an average schmoe hehe...

@Crickette: Really? I sure wouldn't have believe it if you didn't say so yourself.

@Andy: Is it now? Maybe I will "buy" hehe

@Josh: Sure would be fun if they'd fall on your lap every now and then hehe

@Austenfan: I know what you mean (not that I read books like that)... but funnily, watching Jason and Melai at Pinoy Big Brother Double Up, I can't help but think that maybe... just maybe, storybook love stories can happen.