Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jay-Z's Blue Print 3: Excellent

I'm loving this album. It sounds classy, sophisticated, and passionate. "Empire State of Mind" and "Thank You" are my favs so far, but I'm enjoying every track. Wow, hip-hop fans are really getting treated this year, what with Eminem's Relapse and now this from jigga man.

Norton Anthology of English Literature: this is my project for 2009!

Okay . . . for what's left of it. I really want to finish the Norton Anthology by the end of this year. Then I will tackle the Everyman's Library. Things must be done in order, good people.

Pretty Woman: the consummate chick flick

I'm a Julia Roberts fan and I decided to give her breakthrough hit a go (er, that's my excuse, anyway). So here's why I am convinced this movie was written for women, by women. And I promise. My next post will not be about romantic comedy or anything romantic-ish. (But maybe the post after that will be.)

  1. Women want to be loved for who they "really" are. A woman sees herself as a "diamond in the rough" and dreams about some guy coming along and appreciating all of her inner beauty and extraordinary qualities, the existence of which she is sure of, though said qualities have yet to make themselves manifest. Mr. Right will help her transform herself into the woman she believes she is, deep down. e.g. Julia Roberts is a crass, unrefined hooker, but Richard Gere believes there is an elegant lady underneath that street smart facade. Of course, he's right.
  2. Women want a guy who is just as interested in conversation as he is in sex. e.g. Julia Roberts is in langerie and climbing all over Richard Gere, who, unresponsive, asks if they can "just talk." Wow.
  3. At the same time, woman want a guy who is crazy about their body. I think Richard Gere and Julia found odd enough places to, um, be overcome by passion, so I think it's fair to conclude that, yes, Richard Gere is very crazy about Julia Robert's body. I might add that women want a guy who is crazy about their body as is. This is represented by Richard complimenting Julia on her red hair (she ditches the blond wig) and her height.
  4. Woman love it when men lavish money on them. For many men, money is the most important thing in their lives since they go to work all day for it. (You are how you spend your time.) Traditionally speaking, and particularly in a conservative social milieu, when a guy spends money on a girl, it's his way of saying, "I value you because I gave up what I prize the most just to please you." Richard Gere giving Julia his credit card and instructing her and the Versace sales clerk to ring up a storm fits the bill nicely.
  5. For some odd reason, women fantasize about influencing the men in their lives and bringing out the softer, kinder side in their men. Thanks to Julia, Richard Gere learns that money isn't always what matters most and he turns his back on a ruthless business deal in favor of a kinder solution. He has a change of heart just for her. Aw, shucks.
  6. Respect and power. Not more power, but equal power. Woman really want it, bad. Julia's know-how, as exhibited by her skill with the stick-shift (Richard could barely drive it) symbolized this. It was also quite nice how Richard would say things like, "Julia, what are you feeling? What do you want out of this relationship?" Oh my gosh.
  7. The test. Every romantic comedy has to have a test. It's where the guy is put through sleet, snow, and fire to prove that, yes, he really, really, really loves and deserves the leading lady. In this case, Richard has to chose between going back to New York and nursing his fears and phobias vis-a-vis relationships and women, or getting hitched to Julia. Can you guess what he chooses? And, oh yeah, there were lots of little "tests" along the way. Times when Richard would goof up and invariably apologize or do whatever it took to get Julia to stay with him.
  8. The fairytale, (the whole my prince is going to marry me thing and rescue me from the tower where I am held captive by the dragon, etc. etc.) I practically died of laughter when Richard asked another one of his "Julia, how are you feeling? What do you want out of this relationship?" questions and Julia recited her "childhood dream" of yes, being a princess trapped in a tower by her "evil step-mother," (when she was grounded by her mom, apparently), and how Mr. Knight rescued her from the tower, and so on and so forth. Verbatim! Julia! Don't you know this is the secret desire of every woman's heart and therefore it is sacred and only to be recited between the covers of a little pink journal clasped and locked closed with a little golden key? Julia!!!!! Wasn't it enough for you to have Richard climb up the fire-escapes of your lousy apartment building to bring you red roses and sweep you up into a glorious, cinematic kiss? What about when Richard came to your rescue and punched out that creepy rapist attorney friend of his? For shame, Julia. Keep it under wraps.
I really could go on and on . . .

So, what can we conclude about women from this? If this truly is the female fantasy, (and I think it is more or less), then I would pose two points. One is that women have serious issues when it comes to self-actualization and self-respect. I think too many women are waiting for some guy to "complete" them and they are also a little too excited about being needed by someone and "loved." It's the whole fairytale thing. The result is that they 1) may procrastinate becoming their best selves by their own independent efforts and 2) they may settle for some guy who isn't really worth them just because they are so darn delighted to be "needed" and "loved."

What can we conclude about men? A woman's desperation for romance and commitment as symbolized by "the fairytale" and "the test," suggest that men are perhaps a bit too stingy when it comes to bonding emotionally with the women in their lives. So guys: if you want to see an end to sappy chick-flicks and ooey-gooey Harlequin romance novels, step up the romance a bit. That way girls won't have to turn to entertainment to find sweethearts who are really sweethearts.

Which begs the question . . .

What would really happen to romantic comedies if girls and guys changed? Would the content and vibe of romantic comedies change or would romantic comedies vanish altogether?

Something tells me romantic comedies will always be with us. Whether we like to admit it or not, I think we all (guys and girls a like), adore watching people fall in love.