Link Love January: Rom Com Dialogue & Millennial Burnout

Now that we’re halfway through January, how are everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions holding up? Normally by now, I’d be back to my usual deviant habits, but so far my 2019 Happiness Project is going strong! My focus for the month has been to boost my physical health, and I’ve been doing that in a few different ways: embarking on a round of Whole30 (it’s getting easier!), tackling those nagging tasks to clear up “brain clutter” (we’ll talk about that in a future post), and even by simply acting more energetic when I may not feel that way. I’ve been more successful in some areas than others, but I’m happy to share that I am starting to feel a lot healthier than I have in a long time.

Of course, in the midst of all of these changes, I’ve been doing a lot of reading! Check out my latest link love below and be sure to drop your own favorites (along with a resolution you’re working toward!) in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: NatureCoaster.com

Love Lessons from the Movies

e9431ded-5a77-4fec-8942-d8f5b0a500dbRegular readers of my blog will know that I love to write about romantic comedies. From the gender stereotypes they perpetuate to the misconceptions they give us about love to the modern-day endings to classic rom coms, I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of watching, swooning over and criticizing these films. 🙂

Of course, the romantic comedies we watch can actually teach us a lot about love and relationships! Below are some of the lessons I’ve taken away from these films, which will hopefully enhance your love life and bring you the happiness you seek!

  • High school is a drag, especially when it comes to dating, but if you change everything about your appearance and personality, you will finally find true love. – Grease (1978)
  • Living under the sea is a drag, especially when your only friend is a flounder, but if you sell your soul to a sea witch in order to change your appearance, you will finally find true love. – The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • Don’t fall in love with a womanizing slacker. Instead, fall in love with his workaholic brother who tried to ship you out of the country so he could complete a business deal. – Sabrina (1954)
  • When you love someone, the best way to show that love is by yelling at the other person. – Katherine Heigl movies
  • Women are most charming when singing among nature or not talking at all. – Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • If you really want to be with someone who is otherwise engaged, you should wait to reveal your feelings until that person’s wedding day. – Various films
  • If you begin a friends-with-benefits relationship with someone, you will ultimately fall in love and end up together. – Friends With Benefits (2011), No Strings Attached (2011), various other films
  • If you’re otherwise sweet and easy to relate to, then it’s okay to steal your best friend’s fiancé. – Something Borrowed (2011)
  • It’s not an inappropriate age gap if the older person in the relationship is undead and still looks like a teenager. – Twilight (2008)

Readers, what are some of the lessons you’ve taken away from the movies you’ve watched? Sound off in the comments section below!

The Role of Women in Romantic Comedies

sandrabullockIt has become a widely accepted fact that the plots of romantic comedies are just not realistic (for further proof, see here and here). Growing up with the now often-parodied teen flicks of the 90s and early 2000s, I can attest to the fact that the movies I watched when I was younger played a huge role in the misconceptions that I and so many of my peers had when it came to relationships. If a guy treats you poorly, he likes you. If you argue a lot with another person, it means you have chemistry. And if all else fails, you’ll probably just wind up with your best friend anyway.

I think we can agree that these misconceptions are harmful, but until recently, I didn’t stop to think just how harmful their portrayals of women could be. Most female characters fall into two categories: desperate to fall in love and get married (think of Ginnifer Goodwin in He’s Just Not That Into You), or too career-driven to ever want or attract a man (Sandra Bullock in Two Weeks Notice, The Proposal, Miss Congeniality or perhaps any other movie she has ever been in). Let’s call this second character Jane.

No-Strings-Attached_240These movies do an incredible disservice to Jane and characters like her because they paint them as cold, out of touch and clearly Missing Something. In fact, there is usually a best friend character prone to “messy” relationships who summarizes this sentiment early in the film by stating that Jane is so set in her ways and afraid of getting hurt that she risks finding true happiness. Also, would it kill her to put on a little more makeup and wear her hair down once in a while?

Never mind the fact that Jane loves what she does for a living and is well suited for it. Pop culture tells us that the woman who focuses “too much” on her career is simply doing so to distract herself from finding a soul mate. Only when she lets her hair down (literally and figuratively) and demonstrates some form of vulnerability, perhaps by crying or getting drunk in front of the male love interest, does she open herself up to a happy life. Only then does she truly become the character we like and root for. After all, what man would want to be with a woman who enjoys her job?

In real life, there are gradients between these extremes. Women who love their careers and enjoy being in a relationship do exist. In addition, there are plenty of men who like independent women. Why do we have to box ourselves into these two very limited categories? (And for the women who don’t ever visualize themselves in a relationship, who are we to judge?)

ginnifer-goodwin-purple-nails-he's-just-not-that-into-you-nubar-pasadena-purpleWe value a woman’s willingness to be in a relationship as a trait to be valued, but not her independence. In the movies, Jane’s “independence” is clearly just a wall she put up after someone hurt her, a wall that is meant to be broken down by the male lead. (Jane’s best friend or love interest in the film may actually use the whole “wall” metaphor in a big speech that makes her realize just how closed off she has been the entire time.)

If a woman rejects a man or decides to put her career first, pop culture labels her as cold. (Tweet this!) What the movies – and the people who watch them! – fail to think about is the fact that we all have different priorities at different points in our lives, and while a woman may hope to marry and have babies someday, she might not be ready for that stage.

There are a few exceptions to the romantic comedy genre that don’t posit relationships and careers as an either/or for women, but all too often, pop culture dictates that we must choose (and that “career” is the wrong choice). Society – and women especially – need to remember that these options are not mutually exclusive, and that they can have both.

The Weekend Five: Romantic Comedy Plots That Don’t Work Out in Real Life

graduate2Valentine’s Day may be over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop binge-watching our favorite romantic comedies! From Sabrina to You’ve Got Mail, I have my go-to films that I can’t help but love, flaws and all. Of course, sometimes these movies may shape our own beliefs about love and relationships in an unrealistic way. As a personal service to my lovely readers, I’ll share five romantic comedy plots that just don’t work out in real life. (Feel free to add your own in the comments section below!)

The Weekend Five: Romantic Comedy Plots That Don’t Work Out in Real Life

1. Person A stops the wedding of Person B, and the two ride off into the sunset together.
This romantic comedy staple has always bothered me! First of all, who waits until the day of their beloved’s wedding to declare their love for that person? Second of all, who would want to be with someone who would leave their betrothed at the altar? Here’s what really happens when Person A stops Person B’s wedding: The two “ride off into the sunset” and enjoy a few happy months together before Person A starts to question whether Person B would actually run out on their wedding. Person B realizes that the woman he almost married has gotten better looking and more successful, and wonders if he made a mistake. Person A and Person B become so resentful of one another that they break up after a year and never speak again.

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Eternal-Sunshine-of-the-Spotless-Mind-movie_image2. Guy falls in love with quirky commitment-phobe who has a few serious issues and tries to fix her.
Unfortunately in real life, this happens all too often, but with one catch: he can’t fix her. People are drawn to the manic pixie dream girl or manic pixie dream boy (see: Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, etc.) but they don’t realize that they can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change.

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3. Two friends with benefits fall in love and live happily ever after.
In real life, these arrangements are usually much more complicated. Although attachments do occur, they are usually incredibly one-sided. Person A may be in love with Person B, but Person B doesn’t take Person A seriously as a potential love interest, and quickly brushes Person A aside once the stronger feelings have become more apparent. Hint: Do not start a “friends with benefits” situation with anyone you are even considering starting a relationship with in the future.

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movieimage4. A journalist lies about something important for an investigative piece, but winds up falling in love.
This goes against every ethics course you will ever take. No reputable newspaper or magazine will require their copy editor to pose as a high school student to run an exposé a la Never Been Kissed, and no self-respecting journalist would take such an absurd assignment. (Of course, it does make for an entertaining movie!)

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5. Person A lies to Person B about everything, but they still end up together.
Person B finds out in a horrible twist of events that Person A has been lying about something very important: his marital status, his identity, etc. In real life, this would lead to a lot of resentment later on. After all, how can you really trust a 25-year-old journalist who claimed to be a high school student in your English class? (Yes, I am still on Never Been Kissed!) Things might work out temporarily, but not very likely in the long run.

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Any other romantic comedy plots that you would argue would/would not work out in real life?

Best Cinematic Love Quotes

Two years ago, I shared a list of some of my favorite literary love quotes of all time. The list appealed to bibliophiles of all kinds, and remains one of my most popular blogs to date! This year, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I would like to bring my movie-loving readers five of my favorite cinematic love quotes. I’m a bit of a romantic comedy junkie, so this may get interesting! 🙂

Enjoy the list, and please feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section below!

bestcinematiclovequotes
1. “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
When Harry Met Sally (1989)

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2. “It’s gotta be that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of thing.” – It Takes Two (1995)

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3. “If I hadn’t been Fox Books and you hadn’t been The Shop Around the Corner, and you and I had just, well, met… I would have asked for your number and I wouldn’t have been able to wait 24 hours before calling you and saying, ‘Hey, how about… oh, how about some coffee, or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie… for as long as we both shall live?'” – You’ve Got Mail (1998)

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4. “You had me at hello.” – Jerry Maguire (1996)

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5. “The best kind of love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.” – The Notebook (2004)

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Well, friends, what are some of your favorites?