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Chances are that on February 14th, you encountered some kind of romantic film much like one encounters a dead pigeon on the road. Valentine’s Day’s deadliest weapon IS the romantic movie. Whether Bridget Jones is on television for the billionth time, some low-quality ‘rom-com’ affair is being released at the cinema or you simply have too many chicks discussing their favourite flicks on their Facebook statuses declaring how they wish they could find a man who looks like Ryan Gosling, you may or may not feel nauseous in result.
They’re supposed to make us feel warm; remind us that hope is not lost; that having someone to share our lives with is pretty awesome or that one day we will all know a great love like that in Gone With The Wind. But wait, didn’t Rhett Butler reject Scarlett O’Hara at the end? Yes.
That feels more familiar.
It’s Not Real Life
The biggest issue by far with the romantic genre is the complete lack of reality. Why are their kisses so non-drunken and sloppy? Why does everyone have amazing wobble free bodies and perfectly ironed underwear when they go to have their very neat and un-awkward sex? Why do the couples never seem to have an argument about what to have for tea?
Instead, we are offered the perception that single women live in cool apartments and hang out with their friends drinking cocktails all the live-long day. The lovelorn protagonist is never your average Joe or Jane; they are always haplessly stunning but so unfortunate in the love department despite their flawless appearance.Single men are constantly hooking up with hot women using the delivery of one smooth line supplied by Will Smith. Couples are locked in eternal marital bliss where everyone eats heart shaped pancakes and strawberries every morning. Vampires get teenage girls pregnant. How did this happen!?
They will ruin every man or woman for you
Whether it be the proverbial knight in shining armour or the Manic Pixie Dream Girl your heart most desires; it can be guaranteed that you will never find this perfect being who stands outside your window in the rain with a boom box; declaring their unfaltering and undying love for you. Don’t let this discourage you. Yeah, if Jack maybe hadn’t died when the Titanic went down maybe he and Rose would have lived happily ever after. Or maybe they’d have three kids and then get a divorce over Jack’s overly expensive life drawing classes; who knows?There is someone out there for everyone but it might be useful to know that it’s probably not going to happen in a huge romantic gesture or even last past the three month mark.
It is physically impossible for real life boyfriends or girlfriends to live up to these impossible standards and it is damn hard work trying. Especially if you can’t draw.
They don’t teach us anything
As well as the above rules all you will learn from a romantic movie is that our only goal in life should be to acquire a love interest. Nobody in a romance movie ever wants justice or freedom or anything deeper than a snog. Just the all encompassing and frequently shallow love of a good looking man or woman will do. Take Sex and The City for example. A show that was about empowering single women somehow turned into two movies about how no one wants to be pathetic, old and single. Except Samantha. She just wants to have a lot of sex as apparently that’s the only other option.
Pretty Woman however is about a guy who marries a prostitute. Does it teach us that prostitution is illegal and wrong? No. It teaches us that some silver fox will totally dig your thigh high boots and rescue you from your pimp’s ivory tower to support you financially in marriage forevermore. A true fairytale of our age or just some warped fantasy?
They are most likely over compensatory slushy, badly written and/or unfunny
When it comes to romance the two main categories tend to be the Rom-Com and the Tear Jerker. The Tear Jerker is the type you will most likely hear about through other females recommendation, rather than men. They will tell you how sad and tender The Notebook was and how their wombs trembled at the scenes of horrible mushyness/unrelenting romance. The scripts are so corny that if your completely justified reaction of projectile vomiting on the DVD cover occurs, you are told bitterly that you have no soul because you haven’t decided to waste your vital bodily fluids in crying out pained, giant salty tears at a poor quality movie. Those tears arereserved exclusively for Babe and Schindler’s List I’ll have you know.
The Rom Com on the other hand comes with exceptions though it’s likely you will only be able to count them on one hand. Many have tried to emulate the formula of Love Actually to no avail. People today still quote Casablanca. In 20 years, despite having every actor on the planet on its bill no one will be quoting New Year because it was depressingly unfunny and crap.
It’s Not All Bad
There are some good romance films out there. Whilst Titanic, Romeo + Juliet or Moulin Rouge may be the films hailed as the greatest love stories of all time, there are so many others that serve the purpose in a less obvious yet more intelligent sort of way. Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Amelie, Lost In Translation etc. are all examples of films with a significant element of romance (and general dramatic kissing) but none quite fit the archetypal Romance template.
500 Days of Summer, Five Year Engagement, High Fidelity, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind and Blue Valentine explore the kind of crushing realism of bad break-ups, long distance relationships and confusing sex. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids and Never Been Kissed it was the underdog; the plain, goofy girl or guy that won in the end. Brokeback Mountain, Casablanca and My Beautiful Launderette are about real heartbreaking struggles and against-all-odds kinds of love. See, it’s not all happy endings! Cruel Intentions, Wuthering Heights and Sliding Doors spell out quite evidently why some people just suck and you’re better off single whilst Fatal Attraction remind us why cheating is wrong just in case you’re ever in desperate need and someone else’s spouses lips are the only ones available.
Still I suppose if there’s a market for weeping young women and the men that get dragged to these aforementioned awful romance movies; whether it be The Vow, Sex and The City 2 or He’s Just Not That Into You, they will continue to be made. Maybe once in while peopleneed to indulge in something sappy after being stood up or dumped. It’s cathartic, but more importantly, Rachel McAdams would be out of a job otherwise.
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