Bad Movies

23 09 2013

I appreciate bad movies. Sometimes, after a long day or week, it is super satisfying to watch a bad movie.  Don’t get me wrong, I love good movies OF COURSE.  But after thinking on my feet all day–teaching or performing or directing or writing–it’s a delight to sit down and watch something that doesn’t involve a lot of thinking.  Over the past month, I have watched an inordinate amount of movies on The Hallmark channel (please tell me I’m not the only one).  On this embarrassing channel and on others, I’ve seen a lot of romantic-comedies.

The Hallmark Channel is typically pretty good at bad movies.  And I love them for that.

The Hallmark Channel is typically pretty good at bad movies. And I love them for that.

A signature Hallmark Channel romantic-comedy move (although, I’ve for sure seen it in other places) is to have the main character living in a big city.  The big city has made her or him heartless.  Something necessitates a return home to the small town temporarily (s/he got divorced, a family member passed away, s/he got fired from their job, etc…).  Without fail, this results in meeting the love of his/her life who is able to teach our main character all about the beauty of living simply–something that (according to the Hallmark Channel anyway) is impossible to do in the big city.  More often than not, the main character is a woman and she is totally okay with leaving her job she worked so hard for to marry a man she just met and live in a town far, far away.  But I’m not even going to go into that one today.  I’m more interested in discussing this one:

This movie has both the last-minute wedding decision and the small-towns-are-better-than-big-cities tropes!

This movie has both the last-minute wedding decision and the small-towns-are-better-than-big-cities tropes!

Another recurring theme in many “romantic-comedies” involves the lead character being engaged to marry a man, but then falling in love with another man and ending up marrying the new guy–often times, using the same wedding cake.  Now, even if one had really good writing, it would be fairly impossible to realistically justify this scenario.  But of course, if you had good writers, you wouldn’t have this scenario in the first place.  I know, it’s a bad movie–I shouldn’t expect good writing.  But, come on!  Why is this trope so commonly used?  One of the ways this scenario is justified is by making the original fiance kind of an asshole.  Either he becomes an asshole during the movie for no real reason, or we are made to believe that he’s just been an asshole the whole time and our main character is so stupid, that she just never noticed.  Honestly, the only way to justify the whole ridiculous scenario is by having our main character be a complete idiot.  Sometimes the genders are reversed, but more often than not, it’s a woman.  She spends the entire film not really certain of who she should marry.  Sometimes, she wants to marry this one, sometimes, the other one.  And at the end, moments before the wedding (or in some cases, during), she decides that this isn’t right and that she’s really in love with the other guy, so she leaves someone at the altar and runs into the welcoming arms of the other dude.  And new-guy is totally okay with this.  He’s totally fine with the fact that a few moments ago, she was going to say “I do” to spending her life with some other guy, but then changed her mind.  So everything’s okay.  Happily ever after and all that jazz.  It’s less believable than being locked in a tower and being rescued by someone who climbs up your long hair.

Artwork by Carolina Tello Avarado

Artwork by Carolina Tello Avarado

Fairy tales have their own problems, but at least they were meant to teach a lesson.  Be a good person and you will win in the end.  Be honest and caring and generous, and you won’t get your eyes gouged out (or if you do, magical, loving tears will restore your eyesight).  Good deeds have their own rewards.  But what can one learn from this type of movie:   If you’re having doubts about marrying someone, marry someone else.  Whatever you do, don’t take any alone time to get to know yourself and figure everything out (unless you’re going to take some alone-time in your old hometown, and that guy you dated in high school just got divorced or widowed and you’d like to try to hook up with him).

Okay, I know, I’m being way too critical about movies that are bad.  They are supposed to be bad.  But when I’m trying to relax with a bad movie and the characters/stories have been written so poorly that it hurts one’s head to try to justify it all, then it’s not all that relaxing anyway.  All I want is BETTER bad movies.  Let’s raise the standards a bit.  But not too much!  I don’t wanna hafta think.





Online Dating Update

14 06 2012

Just had a guy I’ve never met before send me a LONG email because I mention in my profile that I’m not particularly interested in having kids (as there are a lot of people already in the world).  He tells me he must correct my misunderstanding. He says there are actually NOT that many people in the world.  And that if you give everyone 4 square feet, then all 7 billion people could fit in the greater Chicago area.

He can try to “correct” whatever he wants to.  But do you know what he can’t correct?  The fact that I really don’t wanna be birthin’ any babies.  Also, I don’t know why he thinks 4 square feet is enough room for anyone.  That’s smaller than my bed.  I’d hate to come off as high-maintenance here, but if I’m gonna spend more than an hour hanging out somewhere where I can’t walk around, I’d like to at least sprawl out on the floor.  Four square feet, Unknown Stranger?  Really?  His mathematical calculations haven’t left any room for things like kitchens or schools or gardens or hospitals or ping-pong tables or any of the other grand amenities we humans enjoy.

This guy has CLEARLY solved ALL of the population-related issues in the world.  Apparently, all we have to do is put everyone in a four by four foot cage with no food or water.  His ancestors must have invented factory farms.  You know, what Weird Dude?  If we stack people in those cages, we’ll conserve even more space!

Ugh.

Will someone PLEASE go ahead and set me up with that funny, smart, attractive guy friend they know?  He doesn’t have to be Italian.  But he should have his own place.  And it should be bigger than four square feet.





An Open Letter to the Idiot Who Wrote the Article, “Five Feminist Demands She Wants You to Ignore”

24 01 2012

To Whom It May Concern:

Ah, the internet…where just anyone can post their thoughts—whether they be mindful or misdirected—and have the whole world bear witness.  I read this article recently.  My first thought was to simply ignore the drivel—it was posted on Fox News, after all.  It’s obviously a sensationalist piece.  After reading it, it was still obviously a sensationalist piece, however, there was a part of me that feared that some might actually take it seriously.  Or worse, that the person writing it actually believed some of what they were writing.  The article is incompetently written, by the by.  Each section’s title is poorly (if at all) backed up by that section’s text.  But I’ll get more into that later.

In an effort to track down the author of said article, I went to askmen.com—apparently the source of this article.  If you don’t know about this website, suffice it to say that in mere clicking distance from one another you can find literary gems such as, “10 Reasons Why You Should Never Get Married” and “Top 10:  More Reasons You’ve Been Single Too Long”  …Not to mention, “How to Date on Facebook” and “How to Approach Women.”  Let me give you men out there a tip for the last two:  Don’t do it with this article.

Speaking of the obtuse article, let’s take a look at it, shall we?  Let’s start by listing the “Five Feminist Demands She Wants You to Ignore”:

I can carry my own bag!

Don’t objectify me!

I’ll pay my share.

I can think for myself!

I won’t be shackled into a marriage.

Oh, boy.  Where does one begin?  Let’s start with “demands” #1 and #3.  And just to be generous, I’ll add a #6:  Don’t open doors for me!  These all go into the same pot, as far as I’m concerned.  The problem with these is that it pigeonholes a man to choose between being either a selfish, impolite asshole or an asshole who opens doors for women only because he thinks they are the weaker sex.  Really?  These are the two choices?  Give me a break.  People are people.  If you’re not carrying any bags and someone is burdened with bags, you offer to help.  This is a no-brainer.  I can’t believe we’re still talking about this in 2012.

#2 is absolutely infuriating.  The thought that there is anyone who would say, “Don’t objectify me” and not mean it, is ludicrous.  Thankfully, because of this poorly written article, it’s clear that the author didn’t know what they were talking about.  Let me be unambiguous, oh anonymous bad writer:  Telling the woman you love that she looks really good in her outfit is not objectifying her.  My last statement is bound to insult everyone’s intelligence but yours, Askmen.com Essayist.  If I needed an actual example of objectification of women, I’m sure I need look no further than your website.

Alright, #4.  Again, simply reading it—juxtaposed with the title of the piece–it is an outrage.  But that’s what one expects from sensationalism.  (I wouldn’t even be typing this right now if I hadn’t been home sick for the last few days, otherwise, I’d have better things to do than to spend more than a minute dealing with this ridiculous article.  However, I’ve already watched a ton of movies online and spent way too much time playing Scrabble on facebook, so here I am.)  This section of the article unsuccessfully attempts to equate being thoughtful, courteous, and attentive to one’s partner with not letting them think for themselves.  What a moronic concept.

Last but not least, we have #5, which again, is a sensationalistic-header with a slight-attempt-to-placate-reality text.  The header boldly proclaims, in one fell swoop that ALL women say they don’t want to be married, when in fact, ALL women secretly want to be married.  It’s like a twelve year-old boy wrote this.  Wait.  That is unfair to twelve year-old boys.  The text beneath it goes on to state—with a slight hat tip to “exceptions to the rule”—that most women want marriage.  Well, here’s a new rule for you:  Women are people.  Men are people.  Some people want marriage.  Some people don’t want marriage.  Some people think they want marriage, but change their minds, and vise versa.

But that’s not all.  This anonymous columnist ends this piece declaring, “…women are a complete contradiction in terms.”  I’m not going to waste the reader’s time pointing out the author’s pronounced misuse of this common idiom.  So I will skip right to addressing what the author is trying to say—that women say one thing but mean something else all the time.  (Insert exasperated sigh here.)  Women are people.  People are different.  Not all women are the same.  Not all men are the same.  You can generalize until your head explodes, but you’re not going to get any closer to a healthy relationship with anyone in your life in doing so.  You also won’t improve your writing ability.

Sincerely,

Amanda Rountree





This post is gonna sound whiney, even if I try not to sound whiney….

23 01 2012

Ugh.  Being sick sucks.  I am typically an optimist.  But when I get sick, that half-full crap goes right out the window.  It’s like I feel like I’ll feel this way forever.  I’m hopeless.  It’s awfully sad.  It’s also short-sighted, stupid, ignorant, and (not to mention) shamelessly selfish. 

I’d like to think that maybe the reason I lose sight of the fact that I’ll be healthy again when I’m sick is because I’m so good at living in the moment.  Ah, that’s not it, though.  If I was truly living in the moment, I’d be simply thinking, “I’m sick.”  Instead, I’m thinking, “Oh, god!  What if I feel this way forever?!”  Haha….it’s pretty ridiculous, really.  But there you have it.  I am (although I hate to admit it) an absolute drama queen, when I am sick.  Fortunately for the rest of the world, I live alone and am usually so exhausted when I’m sick, that I don’t feel like talking to anyone.  So (excepting this post of course), everyone is saved from my drama.

But not me.  I’m not saved by it.  I’m tortured by it.  I get helplessly wrapped up in it.  Blah.  Also, two other unpleasant things happen.

1)  If I’m sick for more than a couple of days, I usually have to cancel, postpone, or find subs for any classes, rehearsals, and shows I have scheduled.  If I had a “day-job” there might be a tiny part of me that thought, “Woo-hoo!  At least I get a day off, I guess!”  But I love what I do.  And I hate when I miss out.  It’s important to note that since this isn’t a “day-job” we’re talking about here, I don’t have paid sick days.  So, in addition to staying home and feeling sorry for myself, I’m out the money I was planning on making.  (Oh, man.  This sounds super whiney)!

2)  I’m a single gal who lives alone.  Now, there are lots of reasons to be in a loving, healthy relationship.  And I’ve got a list if ya ever wanna see it.  But let’s face it, one of those reasons is that you get to take care of someone when they need it and you’ve got someone who will take care of you when you need it.  There are, I suppose, some very good reasons to enjoy being single as well.  But when I’m sick, there’s an awfully big part of me that would love for someone to make me some soup, do my dishes, and cover me up with a blanket.

So, here I sit, in bed, posting a woe-is-me piece for all three of my subscribers to read (Don’t worry, Mom!  I’m sure I’ll be good and healthy in no time)!  I just have a cold/sore-throat/typical winter-y thing.  I mean, it’s not like I went to war and had my legs shot off.  I’m so insensitive and selfish.

But, I have a comfy bed and a cozy home, food to eat and vitamins to take.  And I even had a friend who checked in with me to see if I needed anything.  So, I’m sick for a few days.  Yeah, it sucks.  But, if this is what I have to complain about right now, then life is still pretty damn good.