Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
Two years since I wrote Part 1 and I still agree with these thoughts. I’ll be darned.
It’ll be useful when I enter the mire of indie film-making and need a compass to get my bearings.
So in keeping with my promise to myself in that last blog post, I have been devouring rom-coms as quickly as I can. Which means a few a month (I have a toddler).
I’ve nailed down what I love about the ones I love. Looking at them now, they look like the tools from my emotional toolbox. Here goes:
1. ROLE PLAYING TO SURVIVE
In My Girl Friday, the role Hildy thinks she has to play is the one of the wife, away from journalism. But journalism, and her ex-husband, keeps sucking Hildy back in.
In Tootsie, he is encased in it i.e. starring as a woman in a soap opera. The first professional success he’s had in years. He falls in love with his co-star while knowing that escaping this role is practically impossible.
To me, this feels true to my life. It’s chaotic and love happens when I’m not paying attention.
The professor in Bringing Up Baby chases a bone and a leopard across three states and ends up falling in love while doing it.
The professor in Monkey Business is trying to nail down the formula for his anti-aging serum but instead realizes he loves his wife and couldn’t care less about aging with her.
Both professors are played by Cary Grant. When it comes to rom-coms, he’s just toppers (props if you know which rom-com that’s from. Hint: It’s also a period piece.)
In most of these madcap movies, it turns out the thing they were chasing wasn’t that important after all. As usually is the case with things we chase.
But my favorite and obviously the most contemporary one of this batch is Bridesmaids:
Annie is trying desperately to cover over her insecurities. But the more she tries, the more they burst to the surface, causing an ever-quickening tornado of chaos. Of course, climaxing with her punching a cookie. But finally she realizes that yep, she is at rock bottom but she’s going to be fine. Because all good rom-coms, whatever their engine of comedy or romance, are about – wait for it – loving and knowing yourself.
3. IRREVERENT MELANCHOLY
I’ve been around a lot of grief lately. I wish people handled it in as entertaining a manner as this. Or handled it at all, instead of bottling it up, though that’s another post entirely.
This is where I think my love of the perverse and sci-fi could really come out to play.
Eternal Sunshine may well be my favorite movie of all time. Largely because it devolves into….
4. MELANCHOLIC CHAOS
A lot of the time lately, grief blindsides me while we’re rushing around trying to hold it together. Grief is followed by chaos, or vice versa. And because we lean on people when we grieve, love often follows too.
Death at a Funeral is one of my favorite examples of this. Precisely because it follows that exact pattern.
In Bruges is about guilt followed by chaos and a good amount of violence, punctured with love between these two wonderfully charming Irish hitmen.
And Four Lions. Disenfranchisement. Chaos. A good amount of violence. Punctured with love.
Now I know, these aren’t traditional rom-coms. I’ve expanded the ‘rom’ to include all kinds of love. Because if we’re not writing about love, what are we writing about?