Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pretty Woman, or Why I Think Hollywood is Ridiculous

For some reason, I thought about Pretty Woman as I was riding MARTA home today. (Yes, I now ride Atlanta public transit.) Actually, I know the reason . . . I got on the train, and a woman who had extremely svelte calves sat next to me. I thought, "I wish I had longer, thinner legs." And then I thought about Julia Roberts' legs in "Pretty Woman." I remember a split-second in time when I thought about how wonderful it would be to look like her -- I'd get everything I wanted, right?

But then I started really thinking about that movie, and how even though I didn't look like Julia Roberts, I had better taste than to ever be in a movie like "Pretty Woman," if ever I was beautiful enough to be onscreen. I know, I know -- she was probably a poor, struggling actress. And I watched the movie, for goodness' sake. I was also a teenager when I watched the whole thing -- something that probably shouldn't have been allowed, but I think I probably sneaked it on TBS one Saturday afternoon or something.

I remember there are some hilarious lines, but reflecting on the plot now, I can see that there are some ridiculous ones. Let's consider just two things:
  1. Edward (Richard Gere's character) gets mad when he assumes Vivian (Julia Roberts) is doing drugs in his bathroom. Really, she is just flossing, but until he found that out, he was not going to stand for drug abuse in his penthouse suite. Forget that he hired a prostitute. Supporting prostitution? Sure! Abusing drugs? No, sir!
  2. At one point in their relationship, Vivian says she never kisses the men she sleeps with. Kisses, apparently, are much too personal; they really say something, you know? But sex is . . . well, just sex. Right? It's what began Edward and Vivian's relationship, but the kiss solidified it.
How backward is that?!? Again, I should never have seen this movie, but now that I have, I can tell you that a lot of Hollywood filmmakers are dumb. They completely twist relationships that have no basis in reality and persuade people to believe that true love is based on a kiss, an uncontrollable physical chemistry, or the stars lining up in the heavens at just the right moment. Sure, they're fun to watch sometimes, but they're highly problematic and extremely dangerous, especially for adolescent youth who are just learning about romantic relationships. This is not even to mention the nearly impossible standards of beauty actors and actresses set.

Here are some movies that I think portray love in a very good or nearly very good way:
Okay, I'm stopping there. You can finish the list. I know some of those movies have their own problems, but in their representations of love or relationships leading up to love, I think these movies are A-OK.

Thing I'm thankful for: quality sleep. And ovens that work.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a murderer of love, Sara.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great! Now I won't feel like I need to give in to the peer pressure to watch one more sleezy movie just cuz it's a "classic." Thanks, Sara! Good blogging.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Jacki said...

I really like this post Sara. I have to remind myself that if movies/books were really happening, you know, in real life, then I would be completely disgusted by the whole thing. Like if Jordyn really dated a vampire... I would never think it was romantic. I would make her run away... FAST!!

And about the elves... I tried to make it realistic. Do you think your brother would really be smiling if I made him dance like that for all of the internet? We are talking real life now! Not Hollywood :)

6:24 AM  
Blogger Jacob said...

I don't want to be seen as some pervert or anything, but I have to say that the two aspects you object too are completely plausible to me. Hiring a prostitute and doing drugs, while both immoral(and illegal), are otherwise totally different. Odd comparison, but it makes me think of how Ashley is bothered that I don't regularly mop my kitchen floor but seems totally unconcerned when it isn't swept. We all have things we don't like; Gere's character didn't like drugs. Also, I imagine the point of that scene was to show the audience that he wasn't a completely immoral character, and to get them thinking that maybe he only hired a prostitute during a moment of weakness. On the point about the kiss, although it does seem coounterintuitive, I think it makes sense that a prostitute would consider a kiss to have more meaning - if you're selling sex, something that you would normally reserve for those you care about, how do you differentiate those special relationships? One answer is that you carry this reversal all the way - you make sex the first step and kissing the last. It's backwards, but from the point if view of the prostitute, it makes sense. Unfortunately, I think the movie treats this reversal as cute or admirable in some way, when it should be a sad indication of how warped your worldview can get when you are selling yourself for sex. So I think the issue isn't so much these two twists on healthy relationships, but that the movie presents them as acceptable or even admirable.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Lexia said...

You know what's pretty?

Your FACE!

Classic Sara rant. I love it.

11:05 PM  
Blogger michele said...

Hey, did you know the song "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison was written about his wife? Apparently she "walked down the street" to the market one day, and by the time she arrived back home he had written the song. Number one hit!

Anyway, I like your theories about love. A lot of Hollywood movies make me puke in my mouth. But somehow I end up watching them anyway, out of peer pressure. I want to watch more movies with you, Sara!

(P.S. the sugar cookies you brought to us were delicious!!! Thanks!)

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Jacob sure does know a lot about prostitutes-how is that exactly? Just kidding. All I can say to you Sara is:
Cinder-rella and mine are broken

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You and I could be dangerous together. Ask Dave about my movie ranting sometime.....

11:31 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home