Saturday, February 13, 2010

Anna Howard Shaw Day: A Movie Marathon

The title of this blog is a nod to the fantastic 30 Rock episode that aired this week. Thank you Tina Fey for giving Liz Lemon such a horrible Valentine's Day. I know she's not real, but she's real enough for me to feel better about myself and my own situation. Who can ask for anything more?

This year, it really seemed that those of us who were alone on Valentine's Day really wanted to voice our distaste for the holiday with notable intensity. Personally, I felt pretty good this week. Wasn't too bitter. It felt like for the first time in a long time, I was not trying to outrun the feeling of my own loneliness. So how did I treat my newfound sense of inner peace? I decided to watch a string of weepy romantic movies, and see if my mental state could hold up under the pressure! Here's how it all shook out.

The Proposal

Plot: In order to avoid deportation, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds decide to get sham married in Awesometown, Alaskachusetts. Along the way there are zany misadventures and kooky relatives, and through it all they teach Owen that no matter how many miles he runs, no matter how many pull-ups he does or crunches he crunches he will never looks as good as either Mr. Reynolds or Ms. Bullock.

Why It Gives Good Love: Betty White is on hand in a major way. Reynolds and Bullock have good chemistry and the writing plays to their strengths. They both look good naked and you basically see every inch of them except their naughty bits. The ending is a little wonky, but the original ending is included in the bonus features and trust me, the theatrical ending is MUCH better. I hadn't seen this movie before, but I'm glad I watched it.

Post-Viewing Mental State: Increased desire to have someone sitting next to me, so when they try to talk to me, I tell them to shut up and then start making out with them. This movie on the whole was sweet and fun. My feeling of self worth is sinking however, and my resolve to forge ahead is wavering. I suppress the urge to vomit as I think about the trauma that's on deck...

The Notebook

Plot: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams conspire to turn their off-screen love into an on-screen chemistry so intense everyone watching wants to die from shame that they will never experience such passionate love in their lives. If that fails, James Gardner and Gena Rowlands are on hand to rip out your heart and serve it back to you on a silver platter. Questions you ponder throughout the film: Who's that guy reading the notebook? Who'd Allie marry? What the fuck is going on here? Will anyone love me like this when I am old? Omigod, why am I SO ALONE???? Tell me, movie! TELL ME!!!

Why It Gives Good Love: Almost-Sex in the run down house! Sex in the Rain! All those sad years of longing in between those two events! Gosling in a cap! Gosling with a beard! McAdams with awesome hair! McAdams with rain-soaked hair! The awesome fight between them outside outside her car where he calls her a pain in the ass. Gena Rowlands making my brain cave in under the immense gravity of her performance.

Post-Viewing Mental State: This is a good movie, but I swear it's intention is to shove your face into the dirt and tell you how you will never experience a love as powerful as the love between and Allie. I'm starting to really feel bad about myself. Mission accomplished, Notebook. I guess the self-loathing wasn't over for me. It still isn't over! (smooch!)

At this point my brain needed a rest. I went to the gym to do some running and then BFF came over for some dinner and Olympics. I had one more movie on the day's roster and I wasn't gonna leave it alone and rejected on V-Day.

The Lake House

Plot: Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves are living in the same Lake House at different times and thanks to unexplained star trek level technology, they can talk to each other through the space time continuum via letters placed in God's Magic Mailbox. The twist is that they have met before they just don't remember the time that a home-grown terrorist placed a bomb on a public bus in Los Angeles. Also they kissed once at a party. These crazy kids made it through that insanity with the bus, and wouldn't you know it? They make it through this second time as well! Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a little while.

Why It Gives Good Love: Good use of a Paul McCartney song. Sandra Bullock is in it 100% even if some of the time-bending twists would cross a lesser woman's eyes. The Lake House with all its glass walls is oddly compelling. The supporting cast is great, including Christopher Plummer and Shohreh Aghdashloo. Plus, how can you root against Keanu?

Post-Viewing Mental State: I feel better than I did when I started watching it. The movie is very somber. Keanu and Sandy spend most of it apart and in a state of melancholy. Unlike The Notebook, this movie isn't concerned with you wanting to be like the lovers in this movie. If you walk away from this film thinking, "Gee, I wish I had a magic mailbox that could connect me to a pen pal in the past that i could fall in love with." you've got some problems. As a viewer, you're happy they somehow found each other, but if it takes THAT much effort, maybe living alone really ain't so bad after all.

Final Verdict: I got through it! If not unscathed, than at least still feeling okay. At least I didn't get dental surgery today and then high on anesthetic, start seeing the Ghosts of Girlfriends Past in front of me in my living room. That would've been much worse. Liz Lemon, thank for taking one for the team. Seriously, if you have not seen the episode, watch it now for free at

Happy Valentine's Day, No One!

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