March 13, 2015

Movie Rewatch: The Freaking Notebook

I am not ashamed to admit that I read The Notebook when I was in high school.  Actually I'm a little ashamed about it.  For those of you who don't know what this book is, I don't know what to tell you.  At the time, I thought it was the greatest love story of all time.  It was written by Nicholas Sparks and is about two young kids who fall in love and then one moves away and drama ensues.  There are probably going to be spoilers in this blog, but if you haven't read the book by now, the time has probably passed.

Later on, there was a movie based on the book, staring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling who play Allie and Noah.  When I watched it for the first time in the movie theaters, I was extremely moved.  I sobbed at the end.  I thought, this is love.  Even though I was the same age as the characters, I hadn't ever experienced anything like that but I hoped one day I would.  I wanted the drama and the standing in the rain and the boating on the river in the rain.  Basically anything in the rain.

So, I hadn't seen the movie in a long time and it came on the telly on Valentine's Day weekend (OF COURSE IT DID), and I thought YES.  This is exactly what I need this weekend.  A good old fashioned love story.  I got prepared to watch the greatest love story of all time.

But as time often does, you begin to look at things differently than you would have a decade ago.  Suddenly this was no longer the greatest love story of all time.  It was now the most confusing love story of all time.  Here are my thoughts on this:

1)  Old People in the Beginning
This part is actually still adorable and so sad.  The movie starts with the main characters in old age (James Garner and Gena Rowlands who are wonderful), and continues to revisit them throughout the story in the care facility that they live in.  The older woman has dementia which is very hard to watch.  I couldn't handle this and tried to ignore the welling tears in my eyes while watching.  I started to remember why this film moved me so much until...

2)  Ryan Gosling is hanging off a Ferris wheel
In order to get Rachel McAdams' character Allie to go out on a date with him, Ryan Gosling's character Noah hangs off a Ferris wheel in front of her.  Please.  NO ONE survives this.  My sweaty palms would have slipped off from that bar in minutes.  Ridiculous, Gosling.  But charming. 

3)  Ryan Gosling says, "When I want something I have to have it, to be near it."
Red flag. Allie, run away.  This is what stalkers say.  Later, Noah literally grabs Allie's face to quiet her, which is unsettling.  Allie also beats the crap out of Noah when she's angry a couple of times.  Although Gosling could probably use a good smack, red flags all around on both sides are happening CONTINUOUSLY throughout the movie.  This movie was slowly teaching my young impressionable mind that love is constant battles and verbal abuse.  The last decade of my dating life has now been explained.

5)  Laying in the road
There is a scene where Noah and Allie lay in the middle of a road at Noah's request, to have fun.  This is ridiculous.  They almost get hit by a car, which is hilarious to Allie.  Then they go back into the street AGAIN to dance under the moonlight.  It's like they want to be hit by a car.  

6)  Rachel McAdams' dad's mustache
I don't know WHY I didn't notice this when I saw the movie for the first time, but WHAT is Allie's dad's mustache doing?  It is absurd and obviously not real.  He's like the brunette KFC guy.  Look it up.  Right now.

7)  Ryan Gosling taking Rachel McAdams to a haunted house so that they can do it
Red flag again.  This house is shady and gross.  When I first watched it, I thought it was so romantic.  Now I'm like, ew that floor they are laying on is moldy.

The use of the phrase "I'm a stupid woman" twice by two different characters
First Allie, and then her mother say, "I'm a stupid woman" when they have let themselves speak their minds or make a decision.  This is no good.  It is a period piece so perhaps it was meant to be a reflection of the time, but you don't hear Gosling saying he's a stupid man.  I never noticed it when I watched it as a kid, but it was glaring to me now.  You are not stupid women, Allie and her mother, where ever you are.

10) The ending *spoiler alert*
Then the ending sneaks up on you. The older version of Allie has a lucid moment where she remembers the older version of Noah and their love story (which he has been telling her this whole time, acted out by Rachel and Ryan in flashbacks).  They have an adorable dinner and then older Allie snaps out of her lucidity and starts screaming at older Noah because she doesn't recognize him.  Doctors have to restrain her and Noah sobs and it is DEVASTATING.  Then older Noah has a heart attack.  Then he sneaks into older Allie's room and I DARE YOU not to sob when the couple holds hands in bed and basically pass away at the same time in their sleep because their LOVE IS SO STRONG. 

So.  I sobbed at that part.  Like a lot.  An embarrassing amount.  I was sitting there and everything was fine and I was rolling my eyes at the whole movie, and then in a second, I lost it.  Just like I did a decade ago.  Those old people, man, they get ya.

So, the movie is confusing and does not paint the picture of the perfect love, but in the end, it does paint the picture of a resilient love. Which is something that even through the ridiculous haunted house and mustache moments, still moved me.  Sometimes I wonder if romantic movies mess up our ideas of love and paint unachievable or unhealthy pictures of what love should be.  For example, that love should always be in the rain.  Love is not always in the rain.  But, I guess sometimes it is.  And maybe there is no such thing as "love should be".  There are a million ways to love, and dammit if I don't still love the magic of Gosling and McAdams on screen.

Notebook, you saucy minx.

March 10, 2015

Today I would like to direct your attention to an article I wrote for Disney on their Babble site.  So excited to be blogging for Disney!  You can see the article by clicking here:

Awkward Things People Who Don’t Know How to Behave Around Babies Do

March 2, 2015

Worst Dates (Part 2)

I went on a first date with a guy who was very proud of his ability to plan dates.  As such, I had no idea what was in store for me.  I was excited because rarely have I been on a surprise date. He picked me up right on time.  Everything was awkward, as it should be on a first date.  I think I said something about the weather and then immediately despised myself.  He started driving and I wondered where he was taking me.  He hinted that we would have great views where we were going.

I was secretly hoping it would not be the Griffith Observatory because everyone seems to think this is a very unique place to take someone on a date, but I think it is the obvious choice, because it is a giant building on a mountain that you can see from everywhere.  There is no secret about it.  Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful.  But, there is no wine there.  Or maybe there is, however I have never found it.  There should be wine there if there is not.

We were soon driving suspiciously close to the Griffith Observatory.  I wanted to guess that that was where we were going, because my date asked me eight thousand times to guess.  But I didn't want to crush him if I guessed correctly, so I kept saying random things like "Nebraska" and "Space!"  Little did I know.

So we took the turn onto the winding road leading up to the Griffith Observatory and it became obvious.  I managed to uphold my obliviousness until the last seconds when I yelled too loudly "Oh wow!  The Observatory!"  I had just been to the Observatory as a work outing, so I didn't think of it as the most exciting and romantic place.  However, I was more concerned with him thinking I was having a good time than actually having a good time, so I put on a smile.

He told me we were going to watch the next show in the Planetarium, which is a dome like room in which projections are made all around to look like the sky, as you sit in chairs that recline slightly.  I had no idea what to expect.  I hadn't had dinner yet, or any wine, so I was stone cold sober and a little hungry.

The show started.  There was a live person telling the story of the universe from the dark, holding a lantern.  Projections all around showed the stars and space and the earth.  I don't quite remember exactly what was said, but the message of the story was very clear: the universe has existed for a long, long, long, long time, with many great events shaping the earth, and an individual human's life is merely a tiny speck on that existence.  I looked over at my date and he was happily exclaiming about how pretty the stars were.  He put his arm around me.  Meanwhile, I was having an existential crisis.

I thought, I've got to do some things.  There are things to do!  What am I doing with my life?  I spent most of the day before watching a marathon of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  Was that a good use of my time?  I must make a difference.  I must change the world.  I must make myself a bigger speck, so that my life has meaning. there any point at all?  Should I just jump out of my seat, rip off my clothes, and go streaking through the Observatory instead?  Why not?  Why should I not do that?  Or maybe I should move to an island and live out my life in a tree.  Also - where is the wine when you need it?!

I was sweating and my eyes were watering.  I stared up at the night sky and the changing landscape surrounding me, taunting me, and when I could look at it no more, I glared at the woman who was telling the story of the universe.  How does she do this every night?

Finally, thankfully, the story ended.  I think the last line was, "You are nothing."  No, it wasn't, but it might as well have been.  We walked out and my date was chattering on about how cool that was, but I was in a state of shock.  We walked outside and took in the views of the city, and the cold air did me good.  I stared out at Los Angeles and thought about all of the things I came here to do.  I was having a moment.  Then my date broke the silence with "Do you want to get Thai food?"

I wanted to yell, "Does it even matter?!  The universe!  The universe doesn't give a shit if we get Thai food! That is a tiny problem!  There are things to do!  Big things!!  I must do all of the big things!!!"  But instead I said, "Yes, that would be wonderful."

We walked away from the Observatory.  As we got to my date's car, I took a quick look back at the dome that made me question my entire existence.  It really was a beautiful place.

The Observatory Planetarium kicked me right in the face that night.  It's very easy to get caught up in daily life and the little things, and forget about the big picture.  It's easy to get upset when we only see what is right in front of us.  I do it all the time.  And then I think about the Planetarium and the universe and the vivid and fiery landscapes that surrounded me in the dome that night, and I remember that there are bigger tasks at hand.  But I guess it is all of those little things that make up the big picture.  Because you never know when a tiny, tiny moment that means nothing at the time, will change your life or someone else's for the better.