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.
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:
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.
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.