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Play it again, Sam.


Definitely, Maybe, a good movie...

I just saw Definitely, Maybe.  The description I had going in was this, as I didn't ever see the trailer:

"A political consultant tries to explain his impending divorce and past relationships to his 11-year-old daughter."

It's not a whole lot to go on, I know, but it sounded intriguing.  In the past I've found some great movies by just looking at the box art and the taglines.  Maybe this could be good.

And it was good. 

I used to actually enjoy romantic comedies or romantic dramadies.  Usually people call them "chick flicks".  But people don't call hit songs about relationships and breakups "chick songs" (usually), so I didn't really care saying "1 ticket please, yes, just one ticket."

But then I realized most of these movies were really bad.  The methods used by the filmmakers to pull the heartstrings were always so obvious. When the music score would swell up during an emotional conversation and obligatory kiss, I'd often look around to see if anyone was watching.  It was embarrassing. It was emotional-porn. I got tired of it.

SO - I like good story telling.  But I don't like watching "action thrillers" and "serious movies about war" when I go to the movies, so the dramady/comedy choice is my preference.  But because of Classical Hollywood Cinema, these films are often focused on romance.

So since getting tired of the emotional porn of the movies, I have thus not gone as often as I used to.

But like I said, I DID see Definitely, Maybe. And I found myself not having any criticism of it while watching it.  I can't even go to a contemporary-styled church and have an experience like that most of the time.  I was so wrapped up in the story and the engaging characters.

A few points:

  • The film portrayed divorce as a hard thing, but also as something people do and try to press on afterwards.  Which is what I believe happens in real life.  The hurt is real but the Universe does not implode.  I bet the character will go through counseling.  
  • The lead character had his priorities straight with his daughter.
  • The music score was subdued.  For whatever reason, they were fine with letting hard and soft moments come and go without an orchestra.  They made the right choice.
  • The script's dialogue was subtle, effective, and funny.
  •  I didn't know where the movie was going to end.  It had many possible satisfying endings.
  • All the female leads were likable and believable.
  • Ryan Reynolds isn't playing himself.  He got into the role.
  • The movie had themes and ideas from lots of other good movies I've seen in the genre, but that's okay.

About that last point...

I've said for a few years that every contemporary romantic comedy owes so much to Woody Allen's Annie Hall. Granted, I've not seen every romantic comedy or dramady in existence, but I've seen many.  And we all know that movies borrow, steal, and draw from what came before.  Well, from what I can tell, Annie Hall is "what came before".  It was very fresh and breathed new life into mainstream movies. 

So I had some fun mapping out how I feel these movies relate to each other.  It's not exhaustive.  You'll notice that three of them were made by Nora Ephron - she pretty much helped define the genre in the 1980's and 1990's, but... she writes Meg Ryan remarkably like Woody Allen wrote for Diane Keaton.  Hmm.

Actually, you can't take my word for how important of a film Annie Hall was.  You just have to see it and try and connect the dots.

Perhaps like this:

A few notes:

  • Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail are... the same exact movie, except they add email and switch the kid out for a dog, which is good because the kid was annoying.
  • Here On Earth is an abomination.
  • Apparently, New York City is a romantic place.  Seattle and Chicago and New Jersey get quick mentions, but romantic movies are all basically set in New York, New York.
  • Debra Winger, the female lead in Forget Paris, was also the voice for E.T.
    I liked her better in E.T. I wish Meg Ryan was cast, instead.  Or Allie Sheedy, or something.


// Chad@HartLX.Com //




Jenny: Youíre very intense.

: What do you mean?

: That look on your face. I donít know what that look is about.

: That makes two of us. I think you catch me when Iím trying to think.

Jenny: Thinking about what?

Alex: Thatís what is so frustrating Ė I donít know what Iím trying to think about.


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