Saturday, July 25, 2009

Too Much Girl Talk

Excuse me while I stand on my media literacy soapbox for a moment.

I can't tell you how many times I seen the same plot line delivered over and over again. You know exactly what I mean:

Boy meets girl.
Girl is high-strung and works as a [fill in glamorous career].
Boy must "tame" her to win her over.
Girl realizes error of her ways and falls madly in love with boy.
The end.

Here are a few variations on that plot: 27 Dresses, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 10 Things I Hate About You, When Harry Met Sally, The Wedding Planner, You've Got Mail, 50 First Dates, The Holiday, Made of Honor, The Devil Wears Prada catch my drift.

I will openly admit I own several of these movies. But what do they offer? A brief escape of reality. Unrealistic expectations about men. Guidelines on how men and women should behave in a relationship.

If I took anything away from MDA245 - Media Literacy it is this: movie companies will continue to write the same "formula" of movies because it sells. Not because it is original.

The chick flick/romantic comedy is one such formula.

I fault myself for not being more adventurous in my movie screenings. But when you gather with a group of gal pals, it's so easy to choose the classic "chick flick" because it seems like something "everyone" would like.

Watching a chick flick is equivalent to making Easy Mac. You're too lazy to try anything that might be too challenging or might not taste the same.

A series of events emboldened me to write this particular post:

1. "Confessions of a Shopaholic." At a dinner party, the entertainment was "Shopaholic," a movie based a popular novel. I had vaguely recalled seeing previews and thinking: "We're in a recession. What a time to promote credit card debt." The movie appeared to portray women as ditzy and focused only on shopping endeavors. The movie did have a good message in the end, but went about it all the wrong ways.

2. "The Proposal." At the invitation of a friend, I agreed to see one of this summer's chick flicks. Was I expecting too much because I'm a fan of Sandra Bullock? Yes. Same plot line, different actors. Must a woman always be type-A, control freak and devoid of any romantic history in order to find her one true love?

3. This movie review. This put the nail in the coffin. NPR called "The Ugly Truth," very simply, "not a pretty picture." I couldn't agree more. I haven't seen the Katherine Heigl movie, and I certainly don't plan to.

So why must I stand by and accept the movies advertised to me? While movies - and entertainment in general - are essentially a form of escapism, this does not mean we have to be fed the same story over and over again. I know I won't.

Carolyn McCulley wrote in the webzine Boundless: "The tool or the medium is not the problem. The content or the message — and the way our hearts respond — is the problem."

Consider Proverbs 4:20-27

My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil. (Proverbs 4:20-27 ESV)

So how about going for something different the next time around? Try an independent film, foreign film or just a different genre altogether. Fireproof does a great job of demonstrating the real "work" (read: romance) that goes into a relationship.

I'm going to bet it will taste better than the Easy Mac.


Corin said...

Love this post chica. I am definitely guilty of selection laziness when it comes to my movies. Maybe we should have movie clubs like we have book clubs, to make us all more intellectual in our movie choices. Also, great writing, I love how you compared the chick flicks to easy mac :)

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