crazy stupid love.
29 August 2011 § 1 Comment
The internet is broken, the hundred-pound puppy barks every time he looks at me, and the stale dog food on the table smells like rotten fish on a hot summer day. I left my car windows wide open last night because the sun has been beating down on us for weeks, since the day before I arrived in Washington, and I had little reason but the massive hurricane on the east coast to think that the weather might change today. I hope New York is okay. Then again, New York will always be okay, unless some movie-like devastation hits the city with unfathomable force, thereby convincing its millions of citizens to abandon the listing ship, one avenue, one bridge, one microphone at a time.
For two nights we’ve been running through a ‘Prison Break’ marathon of sorts – six hour blocks of a TV show I thought was dumb when it started because one of the main characters looked like Marshall Mathers, and had a cocky attitude. What a reason. The show isn’t spectacular, but is certainly a page-turner, or in this case, keeps us hitting the Play button when the credits roll, well into the glowy hours of the morning.
The characters make their way into my dreams when I’ve crashed and have no other stimuli – all of a sudden, the child-murderer/rapist is standing there with me in the mud pits on top of some skyscraper, ready to BASE jump into the sleek concrete Broadway valley. The falafel truck is leaving soon, and there’s no time to take the elevator.
Last night, Tony and I went out to a movie, just like the old days when Heeth talked him into picking me up too fir the Saturday matinee, even though Heeth’s mom was adamant against the idea. In her eyes, those Saturday afternoons were about Heeth bonding with a positive male role model (Tony) and not about anything else. Nevermind that Heeth had seldom had a good friend to share those types of things with – Brian might have gone along with the thing and made some jokes during those, but one day when Heeth said “hey man, you know none of this stuff we talk about goes beyond this car, right?” I knew that I was as good a friend to him as he would never know he was to me.
We went to see Crazy Stupid Love last night, at a run-down, one screen cinema. The film was scratched madly, as if some contemptuous projectionist held a potato peeler to the emulsion side of the film as it ran through.
Steve Carrell and a castlist of A- actors delivered a dramatic dose of truth in a genre whose audience rarely seems to digest it. Carell called out the cliches and lunacy when it showed up, and those few lines of pitiful dialogue were all that kept the film from being tossed in with a thousand romantic comedies which have all regurgitated theories as to what Love is and how universal Love can be, and the far stretches of who knows what Love can be and do.
Sure, a 13 year old can be in Love with his babysitter as much as she is in Love with his father, who is in Love with his wife, who doesn’t know if she Loves him so she sleeps with another guy she doesn’t Love, inspiring her husband to seek the (successful) womanizing advice of a Pick-up Artist, who later falls in love with the husband’s (his protégées) daughter. Jesus. If only it ended there.
Some might see the heart of the film as purporting the premise that history (kids, ice cream cones, etc.) alone is enough to keep a couple together through the tough times in life (“I’ve loved her, even when I’ve hated her. Only married couples will understand that one,” Carrell says at one point), but it’s more important than that. History is not love; history is just history. Love is love. When we’re lucky, they coincide.
The Pick-up Artist, a “wildly unhappy” tomcat, played by Ryan Gosling, was a crossed-t-and-dotted-i product of The Game (see: author Neil Strauss, et al.), and for all outward appearances, a success story: he bore the countenance of the pick of the litter, and thus had his choice of the litter. Any woman, any time. Confidence, awareness, self-care, grace, and charm. He had his approaches down pat and overcame objections like a top-notch salesman. The one girl he wanted, however, rejected him, called him out on his moves and lines, and like a true love, broke all of his rules.
Suddenly, all those behaviors those who are not in love judge as pathetic and ridiculous – handholding, funny voices, boisterous and sappy ‘I-love-yous’, and the anything-but-smooth honesty that only comes out when you think you can handle telling them that which you don’t want to say – become part of the game, when instead of saying to ourselves “what the fuck are you doing right now?” we say “that’s what she said about _____. Remember that.” and feel overwhelmingly bad for the time we forgot.
But is that love? That wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know what it would take to make the world right again? And the feeling that there’s no need to fight for it, that it would be a better idea to jump out of a moving car, or to drown yourself in vodka-cran at a club you’re far too old to fit in at – what about those feelings? Repercussions, punishment, penance?
Carrell may have had it right – his son’s speech did suck. Thirteen year olds only know as much as they’ve learned in thirteen years, at least in movieland. The acceptance of the womanizer as a possible future son, the naked pictures from the babysitter with the implication that she’ll wait for the boy to grow up – those things happen out here in the real world, I’m sure, but with far less happiness at the end. Drama is life with all the boring parts cut out, said someone in film a long time ago. It just depends on how hard we’re willing to fight.