Romance is one emotion that has been time and again exploited and over-exploited in cinema. Hollywood, in particular, takes the cake. I, for one, firmly believe that many of these ‘romantic sagas’ are manipulative and pretentious. To defend myself here, let me discuss 5 goody-goody films that are generally loved by most people (especially women) but not by me.
5. Maid in Manhattan
Okay, IMDB shows a rating of 4.8 for this lousy film, which is good news because I think I am not the only one who thought this movie totally sucked.
The plot is about a charming politician played by Ralph Fiennes who befriends a maid working at a classy hotel in Manhattan. The maid (your proverbial damsel in distress) is a poor single mother. They fall in love, (the guy by the way, doesn’t know about her occupation and mistakes her for someone else. Read: A rich socialite.) The guy, the girl and her young son become a happy family until her charade is over. How it all ends? I think you must have guessed it by now.
If the story reminds you of Cinderella, it’s simply because the makers of this movie obviously had no creative talent. To make it more soppy, they got Jennifer Lopez to play the lead (you know getting brownie points from the Hispanic community). Every scene of this movie reeks of manipulation and that makes it a terrible watch. And, JLo cannot act. Period.
Boring, boring, boring
4. A Walk to Remember
Another tear-jerker this one. To be honest, I did shed a few tears while watching this movie. Cancer, pain, death. Well, I am human, of course. But unlike my friends who seem to think of it as some sort of modern day classic, I thought this movie is plain ridiculous and again manipulative.
It’s essentially a high school romance about this really spoilt kid who’s punished to join a drama club. Since he’s too cool to join any goddamn drama club whose members are all dorks, he’s really obviously pissed off. Then comes the girl (the goody goody girl) in oversized clothes trying her best to look ordinary and boring. She’s ridiculed by the cool kids but is too kind to take offence. Turns out she is the daughter of a reverend, has never been kissed and believes in God. While preparing for a school play, the guy spends more time with her and ‘surprisingly’ falls in love (who would’ve thought that, huh?) We get to know she’s not that boring and has some secret wishes (nothing kinky here, okay?)
Everything’s fine until one day the girl tells the guy that she has cancer and time’s running out. Poor chap is devastated and how he fulfills her wishes before she dies forms the rest of the story. Some people call it a coming-of-age movie (obviously they haven’t heard of the Graduate). To me, it’s so lame that even Mean Girls looks Oscar worthy when you compare the two. First of all, the way the girl breaks it to the guy that she’s dying is one of the most god-awful scenes in the history of mankind. It’s like you are in the middle of a date when you casually remark that you’re lactose intolerant. It’s really casual and quite unfair for the guy. Then, the girl! She’s a one-dimensional, lousy character who can do no wrong. Sorry, but I am not too fond of pious angels in movies, especially when the movie is set in the 2000s and in not some little village in Eastern Europe or the Middle East. Doesn’t fly! Even the guy’s reckless behavior is blamed on the broken home he comes from (again a stereotype). In short, no character development.
It’s basically one of those sweet movies that make you feel a little diabetic in the end.
3. Dirty Dancing
I have watched this movie many times for the moves. But I’ve never quite understood why many people think it’s a wonderful romantic film. Yes, there’s a romantic track (every movies has it) but that doesn’t make it a romantic saga, right?
More than anything, watch it for Patrick Swayze’s moves. Loved the way he looks and glides on the dance floor. But the romantic track is really, really overrated. The story is narrated by the lead who comes from an affluent family on their way to a fancy resort. She is shy, intelligent and kind. In the resort, she meets the poor hunk (Swayze) who’s the dance instructor. They fall in love and that pretty much sums up the story.
Now the problem with this movie is that it paints all its characters in black and white. The noble doctor, the girl with a golden heart, the shallow sister or the evil hotel owner. You don’t have to spend too much time on deciding who’s what. Plus, the leading lady Jennifer Grey is not easy on the eyes. She’s neither pretty nor charming. Her hair, nose, eyes, everything is less than ordinary and to think she’s paired opposite someone as good looking and charming as Swayze! Not fair on her, I guess.
Enough with Baby and her corner!
2. Silver Linings Playbook
Everyone has his/her take on movies that didn’t deserve an Oscar. This movie is mine. Apart from Jennifer Lawrence (who’s definitely among the most talented actors of our times), there’s truly nothing going for this movie. Not even the romance.
Talking about its plot is also a tiring exercise. The guy (Bradley Cooper) has come back from some rehab where he struggles to fit in with his own family. He wants reunite with his ex-wife and in the process meets a sex addict (Lawrence). The two get closer and participate in a dance competition, where they must score 5 or more (Exactly why, I can’t remember).
The problem with this movie is there’s no element of surprise. You know how it’s all going to end. The guy will end up with the woman and honestly, the dance competition bit is something we’ve all watched. The leads look good together but there’s not much focus on their chemistry. Rather, the director put his fingers in too many pies. Racial attacks, poverty, family disintegration. Blah, blah, blah.
In one word, Overrated!
1. P.S. I Love You
There are basically two types of people in the world. Those who love P.S. I Love You and those who don’t. Never came across an indifferent person who has watched this movie and hasn’t made up his/her mind yet.
Now why do I hate it? Maybe, it will be easier if I put that it points.
1) As I mentioned with A Walk to Remember, I detest stories that exploit loss and death. This movie does that, every scene, every dialogue is aimed at making people feel sad and terrible.
2) So, the guy dies and wants his woman to move on. Great! But with every letter, doesn’t he try to do the exact opposite? You keep reminding how wonderful you were together or how you met in the first place and still expect her to move on? A tad difficult.
3) I have no problems with Gerard Butler. But I’ve met many people who’ve loved it simply because of his accent and good looks. Of course, it’s hard to come to terms with the death of such a good looking husband. Would it not have been better if a regular guy was playing the character? Someone not so charming or good looking. An ordinary guy who could still leave an impression and make audience think why the woman is not capable of moving on after his death?
4) Hilary Swank. Give her a Million Dollar Baby, but NOT a mushy love story, please! She looked odd, acted weird and honestly seemed just wrong for the role. Case in point, watch her in the scene where she first meets Butler. It has the most awkward kiss in the history of mankind and it’s quite evident she is confused.
Everything said and done, I don’t have any problems with it. I just don’t understand how people can go all crazy with this movie, that’s it. It doesn’t strike a chord with me and I am happy to admit I am not a fan.
Greatest love story? Really???